custom built pc vs mac mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by rizin, Feb 27, 2007.

  1. macrumors newbie

    I am a graphic arts student. I also play games occasionally (mostly WoW when I have time). Currently, I have a 14" G4 ibook w/ 1G ram. I don't normally play the game on my laptop b/c its pretty crappy. Usuallly, I use my bf desktop pc. I do, however, use my laptop for school. I'm running Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign for most of my projects. I've been thinking about getting a new computer that will handle graphics better. I'm on a budget right now so my options seem to be 1) purchase a new mac mini (1.66 or 1.83) or 2) have my bf build me a custom pc.

    My question is which would be a better path? Custom PC or Mac Mini? Also, if I were to go w/ the mac, what sort of difference is the processor going to make in running my graphics programs better?
  2. macrumors 603


    Well, as I'm sure you're well aware, you could likely build a pc yourself for less than the cost of a new Mac mini (or at least get more performance at the same price point). However, since you say you're using Indesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc. on your iBook, don't forget to factor in the cost of buying PC versions of these if you choose to go that route.

    If you're currently using a G4 iBook I'd expect you'd be pleasantly surprised with the increase in speed you'd get with a Mac mini.
  3. macrumors 6502a


    The processor in the Mini is a Dual Core Intel Processor, meaning that your applications are going to run much faster vs. the G4 in your iBook. Keep in mind, however, that you'll need to get the universal version of your graphics applications to run them natively on the Mini. Since the Mini runs off an intel chip, and your iBook runs off a PPC chip, the codebases are different. You could still run your PPC versions on the Mini, but it would be slower, albeit, still probably faster than your G4. Keep in mind, you'd have to do the same thing if you get your bf to build you a custom pc, as your mac versions will not work.

    If I was in your situation, i'd get the Mini. That's probably because I value work over play. ;) It really depends on how much WOW you really play. While the Mini is an excellent machine, it is not built around gaming. The graphics card isn't really anything to get excited about. It would probably do a bit better than your iBook, but don't expect to be dazzled. Other than gaming, you're going to see much faster performance with just about everything else you do.

    Cheers :)
  4. macrumors newbie

    do you think there is that much of a difference between the 1.66 and the 1.83? i really know anything about processor speed and what it does, so im getting a lil hung up on that part.

    as far as the gaming is conserned, i dont play that often at the moment because of school. i think im really more interested in how it will help with my school applications. when i do play, i play on his pc which runs it very nicely.

    o yea, also, what about going with the 1.66 with 2g ram? how is that going to compare to the 1.83 with 1g ram?
  5. macrumors 601


    The price of an upgrade would be cheaper than buying a whole new windows version. Personally I would go with the mac mini.
  6. macrumors 6502a


    There is a speed difference. It's not huge. In my opinion, you'll notice the money you save more than the speed it will afford you. If you feel like splurging more money and going for the fastest one, feel free, but i'd go with the 1.66. Plenty fast.

    If you don't play that often, and you're more interested in school applications, then this is a good choice for you. Just steal your BFs comp on the occasions that you play. It's not worth spending money on a gaming machine when you only play occasionally.
  7. macrumors member


    In your case--mac mini
  8. macrumors member

    Mac Mini isn't worth it.

    I suggest you to buy an iMac 17" 2.0GHz. They aren't expensive and run games (like WoW) just fine.

    (if you can afford then go with 20" iMac thou ;))
  9. macrumors newbie

    From what it sounds like, it kind of comes down to software and what platform you want to use. If you're more involved on the print side of design, mac is probably a smarter choice, even though you can run the same stuff on a PC, you're still dealing with a majority of people on a mac in the long term. However, like someone said before, the current adobe software runs like crap on the mac intel machines so If you were able to get your hands on the new CS3 software in a couple months, that's probably the best route.

    More ram will probably help you more than a measly difference between the 1.66 vs 1.83 processor. I wouldn't worry about it. Just keep in mind what your needs really are, and if it's for design, mac might be a better choice, but if you're looking to kick some a$$ in WOW, go with a better graphics card on a cheap PC.
  10. macrumors 6502

    That right there is some good advice.

    Also, how big of a hurry are you in? I'm a big mini fan, but they're at an all-time low in the bang-for-your-buck category at the moment, sorely in need of an upgrade. Furthermore, the above poster who recommends the forthcoming suite from Adobe, which will run natively on the Intel chipset, is also right on the money: the old versions are kinda gimpy on Intel macs, even for casual work. It's not their fault, Rosetta is impressive technology, but the fact remains...kinda gimpy.

    All of this to say that if you can hang on a month or two or three you might be happier with your purchase. If not, get the mini now and adapt as necessary; it's still a great little box.
  11. macrumors 68000


    how about plan 'C'. sell the ibook, put the new computer money in with it, and buy a refurb MBP? current stuff would work, games through boot camp, and a built in space heater... :apple: and since the bf already likes you, you wouldn't have to worry that he only likes you for your new laptop. ;)

    wait a bit, and you would even get leopard and ilife for free. free is good when you are a student.
  12. macrumors 604


    i agree..but there is a definite difference in price between the two...
  13. macrumors member

    Yes, but if you buy Mac Mini + brand new monitor + keyboard and mouse, then it is about the same price..
  14. macrumors 6502

    Almost the same, yes...but the key is you can get more screen space, which is important to some. There are nice 19-20" monitors with good specs for 200-250 Euros (I presume the US price ratios are similar), and keyboards and mice can be found for peanuts. Also, there is something to be said for having separate parts; anyone who has ever had an iMac spend a key month in the garage for a purely LCD-related problem knows how troublesome this can be.

    iMac is a great product, and currently a better value than the mini, no argument with's just not the ideal form factor for everyone.
  15. macrumors member

    Not to mention that iMac has 1GB RAM by default and better processor (C2D compared to CD in Minis), dedicated video card and faster and bigger harddrive.

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