Best Budget Mac Desktop Setup | $845 M1 ‘iMac’ on a Budget 2021

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Apple’s Macs are some of, if not the best, computers you can get. They’re powerful, efficient, and have sleek designs. What’s not to love? And now that Apple’s making its own Apple Silicon chips, all Mac computers are performance beasts and are way ahead of the competition! There’s only one tiny problem with them, though: they can be pretty expensive.

Some people might think it’s justifiable since users would only need to buy a new Mac every few years without compromising performance. While that’s true, you still need to spend a lot if you want to get one. Take the new iMac Apple recently announced. It’s powerful and probably the best desktop computer of 2021, but it’ll cost you at least $1,299.

Sure, you could get an older model, but you wouldn’t have the M1 chip, or new design, which makes the new iMac the best yet.

If you don’t want to spend more than $1,000, but you still want to have a powerful desktop that takes advantage of both the M1 chip and the Apple ecosystem, there’s still another way you can do it. You can create your own iMac setup for less than $850.

Of course, you might need to make a few compromises, but you’ll have a desktop M1 Mac that’ll be as powerful as the others.

The Budget

  • If you go for the least expensive items on the list, you’ll only need to spend around $845 (not including sales and discounts). That means you’ll save about $450 on a desktop M1 Mac, which is a far better deal compared to having to buy the cheapest 2021 iMac for $1,299.
  • The best part is that, even if you buy all the most expensive items on the list, you’ll still save over $250! That gives you enough money to buy some extra accessories or software titles to make your Mac mini even better than it already is. That’s a sweet deal if you ask me.

First You Need the Computer

✅ Our Pick: Mac mini

Right now, the most budget-friendly Mac Apple sells is the Mac mini. The starting price is $699, and it’s the cheapest Mac available that also has the M1 chip.

The great thing about the Mac mini is that, unlike the iMac or MacBook, there aren’t many differences between the base model and the higher-end Mac mini. Other than the storage, that is.

The biggest difference between the two models is that the $699 Mac mini comes with 256GB of SSD storage, whereas the other model has 512GB, which isn’t that big of a reason to pay $899. Plus, both models support up to 2TB of storage, but since we’re trying to get a budget Mac, the $699 model will do.

The only bad thing about getting the Mac mini is that you’ll only get the Mac mini. Meaning, you’ll need to get everything else for yourself. Fortunately, we got that covered too. 

Get the Mac mini Here

Next Is the Monitor

✅ Our Pick: Samsung Curved LED FreeSync Monitor

Other than the Mac mini, the monitor is probably the second most pricy item on the list. You can get really cheap monitors if you search around the web, but we recommend you a good one. After all, you’re going to be looking at it all the time.

Still, if you just want to put together your Mac setup quickly and don’t want to spend too much on a monitor, a solid budget option is the LG 24M47VQ. Yes, the name is a mouthful, but it’ll get the job done. For $100, you’ll get a 24-inch screen with a Full HD 1080p resolution. It’s not the best monitor in the world, but it’s a great option for the price.

Although, if you’re willing to spend an extra $50, which you totally should, you could get something like the Samsung LC24F396FHNXZA. It seems like the more complicated the name, the better the monitor, right?

This Samsung monitor has a 23.5-inch LED display with a 1080p resolution. The overall resolution is better than the LG monitor, and the colors look better too. Plus, it’s curved, which makes working, playing, or watching movies a bit more immersive.

Get the Samsung Curved LED FreeSync Monitor Here

You’ll Need a Keyboard, Too

✅ Our Pick: Apple Wireless Magic Keyboard

Keyboards are a dime a dozen, and there are many different keyboards in different price ranges out there, so finding a budget keyboard that fits all your needs won’t be complicated.

You might want to try to go for Apple’s very own Magic Keyboard, and it’ll be a great choice. It’s not that expensive, and you already know it’ll work with your Mac mini or any other Mac flawlessly. It’ll even work with your iPad if you want to. Still, for almost $100, it might not be the best keyboard for everyone.

Get It Here

Another great option is the Keychron K2 Mechanical Keyboard. This wireless keyboard is big enough for any hand size, and it’ll also work with your Mac, iPad, or any other computer you have. It can even be connected to up to three devices at once. Plus, this keyboard has all the necessary Mac functions you already know, so it won’t be hard to start using it. Not bad for $79.99.

Get It Here

But, if you’re looking for something a little more affordable, you can go for the Logitech K380 keyboard. Not only will it work with your Mac, iPad, and even Apple TV, but you’ll be able to carry it around because of its small size. The best part? Hou can get it for around $30. 

Get It Here

Last But Not Least, the Mouse

✅ Our Pick: Apple Magic Mouse 2

There are many mice for you to choose from, including the Apple Magic Mouse 2. This mouse is tiny but powerful, and, just like the Magic Keyboard, it’ll work with your Mac in an instant. However, there are two major drawbacks to this mouse. First, the size, although it’s light and portable, the Magic Mouse might not be for everyone. If you have big hands or work for hours on end on your computer, the Magic Mouse isn’t the most ergonomic out there, so you might end up sore from using it.

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Second, the charging port. If you’ve already seen this mouse, you know you can’t work and charge it at the same time. But if you need a mouse that can do both, you can go for the Logitech MX Anywhere 2S. This mouse is more ergonomic, can be charged and used simultaneously, and it’s less expensive, starting at $59.95. This is probably the go-to mouse if you want something affordable and functional.

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But, if you really want something inexpensive, you can try the Logitech B100 mouse. It’s definitely not the best out there, and it’s wired, but it’s durable, and it’ll get the job done. What else could you ask for just $6.99? When we say budget-friendly, we meant it. 

Get It Here

Which options did you choose? Or which options would you have included in this list? Let us know in the comments. Thanks for reading!

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