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View Full Version : Anyone using the Mac mini and a 20" display? (1600x1280)


Chip NoVaMac
Jan 26, 2005, 09:59 AM
From a really good review:

http://www.anandtech.com/mac/showdoc.aspx?i=2328&p=6


despite what I had originally expected, the on-board Radeon 9200 is a bit of a performance limitation.* I had the Mac mini hooked up to a 23" Cinema Display running its native resolution of 1920 x 1200 and was wondering why Exposť and a handful of other animations were choppy. After tinkering with resolutions, I found out why.* At resolutions above 1280 x 960, the Radeon 9200's 32MB of local frame buffer isn't enough to handle Exposť of even just four windows - swapping to main memory, and thus reducing the smoothness of the Exposť effects.* At 1024 x 768, it's great and it's even fine at 1280 x 960, but once you start going above and beyond that, you start running out of video memory real quickly.* I am concerned about performance under OS X Tiger, simply because with more being stored in video memory (e.g. font caches), you'll run out of video memory even quicker.* Granted, what I'm discussing right now isn't a reduction in actual performance, but rather a reduction in the smoothness of animations - which to a first-time OS X user can be a huge turn off.


I am tempted to get the Mac mini for use on my Dell 2001FP. I had thought about using the spanning hack on my eMac, but I had already tried spanning with my PB, and Expose does get sluggish (not that I use Expose much); so I assume that other aspects would be too (like for PS and InDesign, though I didn't notice it on my PB).

Anyone here with experience with the 1600x1280 resolution on the Mac mini?

BTW the review has some good insight on the video card and what it means to Tiger. Really making me think that a 64mb VRAM is going to be needed to have the best experience under Tiger.

vga4life
Jan 26, 2005, 10:48 AM
I am tempted to get the Mac mini for use on my Dell 2001FP. I had thought about using the spanning hack on my eMac, but I had already tried spanning with my PB, and Expose does get sluggish (not that I use Expose much); so I assume that other aspects would be too (like for PS and InDesign, though I didn't notice it on my PB).
Your assumption is fundamentally flawed. Having only 32 MB VRAM has no impact at all in Photoshop, Quark, etc. because they don't use OpenGL or Quartz Extreme for rendering (not directly, anyhow).

I drive an emac with an external monitor at 1344x1008 and the internal at 1024x768. If I have a dozen windows open, Expose is slightly choppy, but this doesn't bother me in the slightest, especially as with all that screen-space I seldom need to use it.

Once Tiger is out and there are CoreVideo-enabled versions of your apps, the GPU might matter to 2D application performance. That's a long ways off - in the case of Adobe, it'll never happen. They have said they're never going to code for CoreImage because it's not available on other platforms (read: Windows) that account for the bulk of their sales.

-vga4life

nylon
Jan 26, 2005, 10:49 AM
From a really good review:

BTW the review has some good insight on the video card and what it means to Tiger. Really making me think that a 64mb VRAM is going to be needed to have the best experience under Tiger.

Yes I agree with you here. I had stated in another thread that most probably Apple will diversify the Mac mini product line when Tiger Launches for the best possible experience. Possibly by adding a 64MB video card like the GeForce 5200. However, I think, as others have stated that Tiger will scale very well even to the current mini's simply not using those features that are video card intensive, i.e Coreimage.

Chip NoVaMac
Jan 26, 2005, 10:55 AM
Your assumption is fundamentally flawed. Having only 32 MB VRAM has no impact at all in Photoshop, Quark, etc. because they don't use OpenGL or Quartz Extreme for rendering (not directly, anyhow).

I drive an emac with an external monitor at 1344x1008 and the internal at 1024x768. If I have a dozen windows open, Expose is slightly choppy, but this doesn't bother me in the slightest, especially as with all that screen-space I seldom need to use it.

Once Tiger is out and there are CoreVideo-enabled versions of your apps, the GPU might matter to 2D application performance. That's a long ways off - in the case of Adobe, it'll never happen. They have said they're never going to code for CoreImage because it's not available on other platforms (read: Windows) that account for the bulk of their sales.

-vga4life

Thanks for the insight.

The point about Adobe is a real downer. I had hopes that they could/would add Core Image capability to PS with the release of PS in 2006 (if not with the upcoming version). Never saw the comments from Adobe on the matter.

So I wonder how long it will be before iPhoto takes advantage of Core Image then? And why Apple is even bothering with Core Image if they can't get someone like Adobe to adopt it?

brandon6684
Jan 29, 2005, 01:40 PM
The biggest reason why I'm apprehensive about getting a mini or iBook is the lack of VRAM. I have a G3 iMac, and the 16MB of VRAM hurts sometimes. I don't want to be in the same position within the next couple of OS releases(the iMac did come with 10.1 after all).

numediaman
Jan 29, 2005, 03:16 PM
The biggest reason why I'm apprehensive about getting a mini or iBook is the lack of VRAM. I have a G3 iMac, and the 16MB of VRAM hurts sometimes. I don't want to be in the same position within the next couple of OS releases(the iMac did come with 10.1 after all).

Don't worry about it. Go to an Apple Store -- you'll see the mini hooked up to Apple displays. At the store near me, they loaded up the mini with all the usual software -- packed it up full. You can demo Final Cut Pro, etc.

I was pleasantly surprised to see how well the mini performed. It's not a G5 PowerMac -- but then again you're not paying for the PM.

Chip NoVaMac
Jan 29, 2005, 06:43 PM
Just setup my eMac with the spanning hack to run my 20" Dell 2001FP through the VGA mirroring port. Everything is working well. Expose is just a bit choppier spanning two monitors. Can imagine that the Mac mini would have next to none.

ddtlm
Jan 29, 2005, 09:30 PM
My ol Quicksilver with a 64M R-8500 really suffered under two 20" LCD's. Made me a bit steamed seeing PC-firmware R-9000 with 256M for $100 or less (these days a R-9600 with 256M goes for as little as $70). That V-ram would have rocked. (I say "would have" because I sold the machine.)

ravenvii
Jan 29, 2005, 11:05 PM
I just went and did that spanning hack on my iBook. I'm going to sell it soon anyways, so it wasn't too risky on my account ;)... Well, what can I say? It works great! Yes, on my iBook's Radeon 7500 32 MB, expose is a bit choppy. Not that bad though. The machine itself didn't slow down at all. It was great to finally see my LCD's full potential - 1280x1024 instead of being limited to 1024x768 in mirror mode.

And I can't get over dragging my windows between the displays. So... novel! :D

ReanimationLP
Jan 29, 2005, 11:42 PM
I got 64 MB of RAM on my Radeon 7000. I'm set for Tiger. :P

Lacero
Jan 29, 2005, 11:44 PM
VRAM is useful for OpenGL and buffers for things like Expose, but it doesn't really necessary for 2D stuff, which most people use their computers for.

ReanimationLP
Jan 30, 2005, 02:14 AM
lol. I tried running an N64 emulator on my G4. It was brought to its knees trying to play Super Mario 64. PCI bus probably cant keep up. Ah well.

vollspacken
Jan 30, 2005, 08:12 AM
why would anyone buy a 23" cinema display in order too hook it up to a Mac Mini???

I guess that guy completely misses the point... :rolleyes:

vSpacken

carpet
Jan 30, 2005, 02:26 PM
The apple store near me has the mini hooked up to a 20 inch display and expose IS choppy. Everything else seems to work pretty kick arse. I guess if you can get over the choppy look of expose then who cares. I love the 20 inch apple display but i dont love the size of the pm. So personally i would over look the choppy expose because number 1 i like the price and size of the mini and number 2 i really like that 20 inch display.

clayj
Jan 30, 2005, 03:26 PM
why would anyone buy a 23" cinema display in order too hook it up to a Mac Mini???

I guess that guy completely misses the point... :rolleyes:

vSpackenI'm using my Mac mini with a 23" Sony LCD monitor (SDM-P234)... works fine, even at 1920 x 1200 resolution.

QCassidy352
Jan 30, 2005, 05:56 PM
The biggest reason why I'm apprehensive about getting a mini or iBook is the lack of VRAM. I have a G3 iMac, and the 16MB of VRAM hurts sometimes. I don't want to be in the same position within the next couple of OS releases(the iMac did come with 10.1 after all).

I think your concerns are justified. Don't get me wrong; I'm a big fan of both the mini and the ibook, both great values. But If you're looking for a long term machine (as I bet you are, given that you've kept a G3 imac this long) I wouldn't go with something with 32 MB video memory on a weak graphics chip. A 32MB radeon 9200 is basically the bare minimum *today;* imagine how it will stack up in a few years when OS 10.6 "Tabby Cat" is released. :)

If it were a second computer or you were prone to trading in every year or two, I would say that you'd be fine, but not if you plan to keep it 4+ years.

jaromski
Jan 30, 2005, 09:16 PM
Good point. I really want a new Mac Mini for the home computer, but the 32MB video card definately killed the mood for me. I wonder if their next iteration will have a 64MB card? A 64mb 9600 or 9700 would rock. Yeah it wouldn't run DOOM3 the greatest, but they really need to put a better video chip in the Mini. I would definately buy one then, no questions. I love the whole "less is more" concept with the Mini. But I confess I would attach a 23" Cinema Display, so I guess that isn't really "less" there...But I would probably get a new Mini every year or two and it would make upgrading much easier and cleaner. Plus I could give the old ones to my parents, etc., when I didn't want them anymore.

It would also be great if the next release they put a 1.5ghz or 1.67ghz g4 in the top model. That would kick some ass.

Jaromski

dm33186
Feb 3, 2005, 12:12 AM
just got my mini today (first mac btw WOOT!). It is hooked to a 17 inch dell with dvi running at 1280x1024 and expose is smooth on it. have 6 windows open right now and going to the all apps mode is fine on 256 ram even.

TyleRomeo
Feb 3, 2005, 01:10 PM
Good point. I really want a new Mac Mini for the home computer, but the 32MB video card definately killed the mood for me. I wonder if their next iteration will have a 64MB card? A 64mb 9600 or 9700 would rock. Yeah it wouldn't run DOOM3 the greatest, but they really need to put a better video chip in the Mini. I would definately buy one then, no questions. I love the whole "less is more" concept with the Mini. But I confess I would attach a 23" Cinema Display, so I guess that isn't really "less" there...But I would probably get a new Mini every year or two and it would make upgrading much easier and cleaner. Plus I could give the old ones to my parents, etc., when I didn't want them anymore.

It would also be great if the next release they put a 1.5ghz or 1.67ghz g4 in the top model. That would kick some ass.

Jaromski

don't hold your breath on a 9600 or 9700 landing inside the mac mini. just take a look at the card inside the imac g5 and most g5 towers. ohh and if you want to play doom 3 you better have g5 chip inside or it won't run.

Tyler

jaromski
Feb 3, 2005, 10:10 PM
don't hold your breath on a 9600 or 9700 landing inside the mac mini. just take a look at the card inside the imac g5 and most g5 towers. ohh and if you want to play doom 3 you better have g5 chip inside or it won't run.

Tyler


Yeah but I can hope, right? The integrated chips are only getting cheaper. Even if they just put a decent amount of vidmem on it, say 64mb I would be happy. But I don't really game on my mac.

Also if you really want to _run_ Doom3, get a PC. A $500-$700 barebones PC kit will clobber the G5 (with Doom3). Not because the G5 necessarily sux, but the port and the openGL support on the mac is well um...crap. As are most game ports for mac.

-jaromski

spacepower7
Feb 4, 2005, 01:37 AM
Do you really think that Apple would release the Mac mini, partially designed to attract PC users, only to lure them to Tiger 10.4 (a paid upgrade), then to tell them that their new Mac mini isn't supported (in Core Video)

I have to admit that Apple has done many stupid things in the past, but this would kill them in the potential of attacting switchers in the future. I believe that the Mac mini will support core video. It would be business suicide if they didn't support all features on machines less than a year old.

If you want games buy a PS2 or god forbid an XBOX, and stop complaining.

jayscheuerle
Feb 4, 2005, 10:10 AM
People are putting entirely too much emphasis on Core Video... It's something most people won't even notice, like Quartz Extreme. There are plenty of machines that can't run Quartz Extreme and yet they are running Panther without a hitch.It's just going to be going on in the background. Pretend it was never mentioned and you'll be fine...

Chip NoVaMac
Feb 5, 2005, 06:39 AM
People are putting entirely too much emphasis on Core Video... It's something most people won't even notice, like Quartz Extreme. There are plenty of machines that can't run Quartz Extreme and yet they are running Panther without a hitch.It's just going to be going on in the background. Pretend it was never mentioned and you'll be fine...

For those that have read about the basics of Core Image, it is a technology that they want/need/desire for their uses. In terms of filters for photographic images, it shows the direction IMO of iPhoto as an image editor for the masses. I know that for myself, Core Image is a technology that I would like to take advantage of based on the hype that Apple put behind it.

Of course that can/will be dampened once Tiger gets released; and real world tests show whether the filters really do speed up what they claim to.

gallagb
Feb 5, 2005, 09:03 AM
i got the 23" a while ago for useage w/ another machine-

but recently got a mini- and decided to try it out

it works fine

yea- expose is kinda choppy
but not annoying

other stuff runs fine
DVD's @ full screen work great

now i don't run any video editing stuff on it- or havn't yet
but everything i've tried has worked fine

again- (as someone said) you get what you pay for-
if you are a perfectionist - then you shouldn't go that route-
if you don't mind a lil choppy-ness - then don't worry about it, grow up, and appreciate how awesome the 23" looks on your work surface
next to the tiny mini

:) enjoy your new toys should you decide to go this route

Synapple
Feb 13, 2005, 03:43 AM
I dumped a terrible iMac G5 and I'm typing this on a Mini+20" apple display.. it's just a dream.. I've noticed exposť is choppy when you have 4 or more windows running from different applications... on the other hand, I had 9 images open in preview and exposť was incredibly smooth with them..