Decided to switch to a Mac... Which one to get?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Fuzzy Orange, Jul 29, 2006.

  1. Fuzzy Orange macrumors 6502

    Fuzzy Orange

    Jul 29, 2006
    Hi everyone. I recently decided to switch to a Mac, and am having trouble deciding which one to get. I have narrowed my choices down to a Mac mini and mac pro. I know there is an extremely big performance gap between them, but it's the cost and features that are the deciding factor for me. I could get a 1.66 GHz ICD mini with a 120 GB HDD, 2 GB of RAM, and a 23'' Apple Cinema HD Display for $2,330 with the Education discount. Or I could get a 2 GHz PowerMac with 1 GB of RAM, a 20'' ACD, Bluetooth+Airport, and nVidia GeForce 6600 for $2,720. Once again, I do know I am comparing a mini and PowerMac(Mac Pro when it comes out). I will be using it for Photoshop CS2, iMovie(maybe FCE), iWeb, and GarageBand (maybe even Logic Express!). I think messing around with Flash programs would be fun, but I would mainly focus on Photoshop. Would the 1.66 GHz processor in the mini be able to handle that? More importantly, would the integrated graphics card be able to handle those programs? I like to play games once in a while, but mainly World of Warcraft. Would that run smoothly on a Mac mini with 2 GB of RAM? The main reason I want the mini is for it's (somewhat) tower form, and it's limited portability. Plus I could get a better, high definition monitor and have 2 GB of RAM off the bat. I am no professional, and photography is just a big hobby of mine. My reason for considering the Mac Pro is it's expandibility(never know when you might want to drop in a Blu-Ray drive or bigger HDD!) and it looks to be very future-proof. Thanks in advance!:)
  2. gadgetgirl85 macrumors 68040


    Mar 24, 2006
    LOL kind of sounds like my dilemma except mine is whether to upgrade the memory or not in the mac mini so i can use adobe photoshop
  3. Aperture macrumors 68000


    Mar 19, 2006
    Hi Guys. I have a mini core solo and use Photoshop on a daily basis. Definately "Useable". Everything I do is pretty light so if you are going to be using it a ton for intense work you might want to go with a Mac Pro. Same think with FCE. iMovie isn't a big deal at all since it was made for the less powerful computers. It really depends how much you will be using those apps and what you want to do with it. If you are spending that much money for a mini anyway, go with a mac pro. Enjoy your mac.


    <edit>The Mini is *very* limited as far as upgrading, so you might be better off with a Mac Pro. What about an iMac? Is that not an option for whatever reason?</edit>
  4. 01jamcon macrumors 6502a


    Jul 24, 2006
    While what the previous poster said is true, "Photoshop is useable on a Mini", the added power of a PowerMac and more importantly a Mac Pro would probably come in more handy eventually, especially if you decide to do more intense work in future.

    I wouldn't choose between the two right now and would definitely wait the few days till Jobs announces the Mac Pro. Then you'll see what you'd really have to play with, and make a better decision then. Maybe there might be a Mini revision to choose as well.

    Also, on your current choices, is the extra 3" really worth it? Remember also, the Mini only has a Core Duo, running at 1.66ghz. If you need to use that many processor-intensive apps, I'd get the more powerful machine, and somehow scrounge some money together for the extra memory, (even though 1gb might be enough).

    Anyways, I'd advise you to wait, then you can get a new Mac Pro with a new 30" ACD with built-in iSight, running on Woodcrest 3.0ghz processors. (Or is that just a Apple fan-boy wet dream?)
  5. xfiftyfour macrumors 68030


    Apr 14, 2006
    Clemson, SC
    i'd opt for the Mac Pro long before the Mac Mini, but that's just me - it'll be a MUCH more powerful machine, will last you longer, and will be much more upgradable, making it easier to at least somewhat "stay with the times."

    just as an option, if you're open to getting something other than an ACD, you could consider a Dell 24" widescreen monitor instead of the 20" ACD with your Mac Pro package, so you don't lose out on screen space. They're about the same price (the Dell is $700 right now). The Dell has a lot more ports than the ACD as well, just fyi.
  6. Fuzzy Orange thread starter macrumors 6502

    Fuzzy Orange

    Jul 29, 2006
    Hmmm.... If you want to be fair, the mini with the exact same specs but with a 20'' ACD would cost $1,900. That is around an $800 difference. With Photoshop, what would you consider to be heavy Photoshop work? Would the lack of a true GPU hurt it's performance? The Mac Pro does look like a better choice for now, but would I really need all of that power now? An extra $800 dollars worth? I could get the mini when a speed bump comes along, and that could last me a good 2-3 years probably. Then I could sell it and get the newest Mac Pros. The only thing stopping me is the dumb integrated graphics!!! The requirements for PS CS2 right now say that it only needs a 32 MB graphics card, so I'm thinking that it could run on the mini, which has a 64 MB Intel GMA 950, right? FCE also says that it could run fine on a GMA 950. To the person who suggested the iMac, it really doesn't fit my needs. I would like to plan on buying a Mac Pro sometime in the future, whenever that may be. The all-in-one display on the iMac looks nice, but I don't think it's practical. If one part breaks, you're SOL until it gets fixed. Not to mention that when it does get too old, you would have to throw away the nice display that comes with it. Other than that, it does seem like a great value.
  7. macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2005
    Go for the Pro

    Photoshop and other Adobe programs run very slowly on the Intel Macs. Among major programs, they are the ones that suffer the most from the speed drawbacks of "Rosetta." Adobe has not said when it is going to upgrade its software for Intel chips, but it will likely be a year or more.

    So if your work is going to emphasize Adobe programs, you should go for the Mac Pro with the Power PC chip rather than the Mini with the Intel chip.
  8. coday182 macrumors regular


    Jul 26, 2006
    Jamestown, IN
  9. coffey7 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 12, 2006
    Buy a desktop, the laptops have some bugs to work out first.
  10. Xeem macrumors 6502a


    Feb 2, 2005
    A Mac Mini would do everything you want. Go for the Mini now, and save the ACD + accessories for when you upgrade to a Mac Pro somewhere down the line (but the Mini should hold you over for quite some time, I think). Just be sure to get a good 7200 rpm hard drive in there.
  11. Fuzzy Orange thread starter macrumors 6502

    Fuzzy Orange

    Jul 29, 2006
    Well, I would need a monitor now, too. I'm giving my PC I'm using right now to my brother, monitor included. To the person who said PS is "useable", how does it run? Do you have 2 GB of RAM? Is it barely useable, or does it run pretty fast? How much of the processor is used up when running it? Sorry if I'm asking too much questions, I just want to make the perfect desicion.

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