4 Replies Latest reply: Aug 13, 2013 10:42 AM by Bunta80
GoogolPlanck Level 1 (5 points)

I'm considering getting an iMac or Mac Mini so I can run Xcode.

My budget is low, so I'm considering just getting a Mini and using it with an old VGA/DVI monitor.

However, as the iMac includes a monitor, mouse, and keyboard, it's actually the same price as a Mini with a mouse, keyboard, and monitor.

Plus, the iMacs are more powerful.

I don't intend to do much on it, just Xcode and maybe some gaming. Gaming is not the deciding factor here.

I've been searching for an answer for hours, and all I found were outdated threads.

My question is:


Are 8GB of RAM really necessary for Xcode, and is the quad-core CPU of the iMac needed?



I also read that an iMac can be used as an external display, but only the 27" models.

I am looking at a 21" 2013 model.

I currently use a Windows gaming desktop, and have lots of extra monitors lying around.

Multi-display support is a must for me, and the iMac screen is way better than anything else I have.


Is it possible to use a 21" iMac as an external display for a Windows machine using a DVI/DisplayPort adapter?

I've read in different forums that "it has to be Thunderbolt". "It has to be a 27" not a 21". "It has to be 2010 or older".




Can I use an iMac as an external display for my Windows desktop, and can it be the 21" model?


I'm not getting a Mac very soon, so please take your time.


-Thanks a lot,



BTW: This is my first post, so it's probably horrible.

  • BDAqua Level 10 (122,286 points)

    Hello Nick, A a warm welcome.. great 1st post too!


    I'm afraid using the iMac for a PC Monitor is out, unless it might be a newer PC that has a thunderbolt prt & can output Video through TB port. 2009/2010 iMacs can use MDP. But 21.5" iMacs work as well as the 27" ones for either method.


    Not sure DVI or even DisplayPort converters work though.


    Here's how it's supposed to work...




    Mid 2011s & up need Thunderbolt!



    Are 8GB of RAM really necessary for Xcode, and is the quad-core CPU of the iMac needed?

    Well, problem is twofold, 4 GB is barely enough for the OS & one App, & you can't really upgrade the RAM yourself later.


    I'd go for the Quad core, computers always get slower over time!


    Might be some 209/2010 options here...





  • GoogolPlanck Level 1 (5 points)


    I was afraid of that.


    Thank you so much for your help!

    I just wish I could install a Thunderbolt bay into my PC. (Searched NewEgg, nothing.)


    Do you the 27" Retina is worth the extra $500?


    Just one more question:


    Can Macs make $1700 appear out of thin air?

  • BDAqua Level 10 (122,286 points)

    Well, reports are the 27"  is very good, 21.5" is too short for my purposes. 27" too  wide.


    Some have failed even with a thunderbolt equipped PC, I suspect drivers.

    Can Macs make $1700 appear out of thin air?

    They can make $1700 disappear!

  • Bunta80 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi to follow on from the initial question, you mention that 4gb is barely enough for the OS and an app. As this will be used for app developing is it advisable then to skip the mini completely as in order to get to 16gb it's pushing almost the same cost. I've also heard rumours that the mini doesn't perform well with a DVI adapter when using a stock pc screen which is where i would save space by using the same monitor for a windows based PC as well as the mac but I don't know how true this is.


    Any advice? Thanks.