Intel Mac Mini - Best Specs for £600?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Kardashian, Mar 11, 2006.

  1. Kardashian macrumors 68020

    Kardashian

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2005
    Location:
    Britain.
    #1
    Hello.
    I have around £600 to spend on a Mac Mini, at the Education store. So far the specs I have come up with, are:

    - Core Solo
    - 1GB RAM (Store Upgrade)
    - 60GB HDD
    - SuperDrive (Store Upgrade)
    - Wireless Keyboard & Mouse
    (£590)

    or

    - Core Duo
    - 512MB RAM (Standard)
    - 80GB HDD (Standard)
    - SuperDrive (Standard)
    - Wired Keyboard & Mouse
    (£612)

    I mainly use MSN Messenger, Safari, Mail, iPhoto.. native applications or ones that port easily under Rosetta. The only App I use that I don't think would work well under Rosetta is CS2. I do use this a lot as I am doing a Photography degree, but when the new Photoshop is released at the end of the year, I'll buy that. I am also thinking about buying the Miglia TVmini (£88.99) from the Apple Store. It says it works on a Core Solo.

    I just want to check what is the best spec for me, as I am not going to be upgrading next until around December 06/January 07? Personally, I think the first, it has more RAM, and wireless keyboard and mouse? :confused:
     
  2. munkees macrumors 65816

    munkees

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2005
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest
    #2
    Is there something you could sell to raise some more cash, I would get the Duo with 1 GB ram at least, this way your system performance will give you a more warm and fuzzy feeling.
     
  3. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2003
    Location:
    UK
    #3
    buy a stock duo and buy a 1GB stick for 1.25GB ram total, also buy an apple keyboard and whatever mouse you feel like.
     
  4. Lau Guest

    #4
    Don't forget you can upgrade things like RAM and the keyboard later. I would buy the faster computer with a bigger hard drive now and upgrade the RAM later.
     
  5. Kardashian thread starter macrumors 68020

    Kardashian

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2005
    Location:
    Britain.
    #5
    Unfortunatley, no. :( I'm already selling my iPod 5G to finance the £200 or so im short of from selling my G4 Mac mini. In a couple of months when I'm a bit more flash with cash, Im gonna either buy another 5G iPod or the new 'Video' iPod. (Being a Student my money sorta fluctuates!).

    At the moment Im still thinking the first option, its not exactly going to freeze, and be slow.. I'm putting in 1GB of RAM, and my 1.42Ghz G4 with 512MB RAM handled Photoshop and other intensive Apps fine, so wont this do the same? (I know not with Photoshop, but other intensive apps released in the future months). Thanks for your reply as well!
     
  6. Kardashian thread starter macrumors 68020

    Kardashian

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2005
    Location:
    Britain.
    #6
    Hmm, I understand what your saying, BUT the only Mac I have upgraded with RAM was an iMac, and that just had a nice little latch to open.. with the Mini I have heard about putty knives and this that and the other, which I DO NOT fancy doing myself.. and since there are no Apple retailers or anybody in the country that deal with Apple, I am a bit screwed (Country = Wales) nearest Apple stores and engineers are over the 'border' in England.

    I do want 1GB of RAM as that to me, is pretty much the norm for good spec, I have had 512MB over the past 2 years. If I bought a 1GB stick, with the stock RAM that comes with, I would have 1.5GB, not 1.25GB wouldn't I? (512MB + 1GB?)

    Oh I am sooooo lost! But for what I want, I can't help but think the first option would be fine? Its slightly better spec'd than the Mac mini I have just sold, so when Photoshop is released Universal, it should run ok if not better? And I get bigger RAM out of the box, no fiddling etc, and a nice Wireless set to make my desk look neat with my new Remote too :D
     
  7. Platform macrumors 68030

    Platform

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2004
    #7
    Core Duo....upgrade the RAM later ;)

    It will be faster, cheaper and you won't regret it.
     
  8. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2002
    Location:
    London, England
    #8
    Another vote for the duo, RAM is easy and relatively cheap to upgrade later, same can't be said fro the processor.
     
  9. MRU macrumors demi-god

    MRU

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Location:
    Ireland
    #9
    Defintly the duo. The extra core will make more difference on 'UNIVERSAL' apps than the extra 512mb.
     
  10. tomw macrumors newbie

    tomw

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2006
    #10
    simply the Core Duo, it will last you longer and the wireless mouse will cost you £££££ in batterys ;)
     
  11. MacSA macrumors 68000

    MacSA

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2003
    Location:
    UK
    #11
    Not true... it USED to be relatievely easy to upgrade the RAM at a later date. We've already had one report of someone destroying their mini by opening it up.
     
  12. Kardashian thread starter macrumors 68020

    Kardashian

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2005
    Location:
    Britain.
    #12
    WOW! Looks like theres a bit of a debate going on here! Firstly, me and MacSA have both heard about horror stories with the new Mini's. I read somewhere that Apple has turned the RAM holders on their side or something, meaning you cant just pop-open the top of the old Mini, and there they are on the side facing you.

    Secondly, I don't have the guts to upgrade RAM myself.. at all.. never.. I just could not risk either scratching the casing, snapping it, breaking something inside.. anything like that. As I am a Student its my only computer and I cannot just afford to do willy nilly upgrades. Im sure a lot of the people that post here are very experienced when it comes to gutting a Mac.. I am not! I can upgrade Windows machines.. but after switching to a Mac, I would never want to go back. I found them easy because the casing only has a few screws and BAM! Your in! With a Mac its about looks as much as functionality, so Apple make it a bit harder to get into the machines, and their less easy to upgrade.

    Thirdly, There isnt anyone in Wales (the little bit stuck onto the left of England lol) who is qualified to do Mac upgrades, and my nearest Apple Store is in Birmingham. Don't really fancy lugging my Mac mini on a train for hours there and back for a RAM upgrade. But I see where your coming from.

    But for what I am going to use it for.. do I REALLY need the Dual core? Photoshop ran fine on my 1.42Ghz, 512MB Mini... surely a Core Solo and 1GB would be ample for the new Photoshop?

    Sorry to seem difficult, I am gratefull of the help.. really I am.. its just for me, I cannot see the point in losing out on RAM which I cannot get upgraded, and the wireless keyboard and mouse (B.T.W TomW... I have many rechargeable AA's.. never fear!:p ). I don't think I would benefit from the full power of Dual Core. I have heard it handles HD video better.. but here in the UK we have only just launched our first 3 HD channels, and you need a diff. Sky HD box, TV etc etc to receive them.. so I don't think HD is going to be an issue for at least 18-24 months with me (And I upgrade at least every 6-9months anyway)
     
  13. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    #13
    While there aren't any Apple stores in Wales, there must be some Apple certified technicians there who could open it up and drop some RAM in.
    If you're really only going to use it for 9 months, then the Solo will probably be fine. Otherwise get the Duo but you really would need the extra RAM.

    Why don't you just upgrade your current Mini with more RAM? And put that £600 towards getting something much better in 6 months time along with the Photoshop upgrade.
     
  14. Kardashian thread starter macrumors 68020

    Kardashian

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2005
    Location:
    Britain.
    #14
    Yes AppleSpider.. Thats the way I have been looking at it. I suppose it looks as if I am biast towards the Solo, but I just wanted to know if it would be suitable for me needs - I don't want a supercomputer, just something with as many bits-and-bobs for my £'s. Keeping it for 9 months is an exageration :p .. it will most likely be around 6 months (That way, I don't loose too much money in between each upgrade.. £100 or so?)

    As for keeping the £600 to add to something better.. I don't REALLY see the point.. and as for adding RAM to the Mini I have, well its just been sold so Im just waiting on clearance of funds.. and as stupid as this sounds.. I really don't like having 'dated' things - PowerPC is out, Intel is in. I WANT INTEL :D. Plus, there was Front Row on my Mac Mini, but I want the functionality of a remote, and I fancy a SuperDrive etc.

    Surprisingly, there aren't ANY Qualified Apple engineers in Wales' (that I know of) and I kid you not. Sure, theres plenty of people who would have a go, but if something goes wrong :eek: .. I want my Apple warranty!

    For what I need, and for the price, and for the amount of time I am going to use it.. I think the Core Solo options would suit me best - right out of the box
     
  15. mjstew33 macrumors 601

    mjstew33

    Joined:
    May 29, 2005
    Location:
    Illinois
    #15
    Dude, honestly, get the core duo. If you get the core solo, you'll be itching for that extra core. You can upgrade the Mini's RAM later... to up to 2GB. Yet, it will be much harder to upgrade the RAM, however, they are relocated from the previous model. I upgraded my brother's Mac mini to 512MB RAM (was 256) and that wasn't hard at all; this can't be that much harder...

    Bottom line: Get the core duo, you'll be sorry if you don't. ;)

    If money is the problem, just save a little longer! I did it, it was extremely hard, but I did it and I'm über happy with my purchase! :) :D
     
  16. MacDonaldsd macrumors 65816

    MacDonaldsd

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2005
    Location:
    London , UK
    #16
    The core solo is fine for what you want it for. But maybe you want the core duo for the photo editing as it would have an impact on this. All depends on if the ram is easily upgradable.

    Doesn't the ram have to be installed in pairs ?
     
  17. combatcolin macrumors 68020

    combatcolin

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2004
    Location:
    Northants, UK
    #17
    Referbished G5 Powermac if you can afford it.
     
  18. Kardashian thread starter macrumors 68020

    Kardashian

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2005
    Location:
    Britain.
    #19
    lilstewart92: Whilst I understand what your saying, I dont have the confidence to open up a Mac mini, Im not sure if you had read through all the posts here, but I did say quite a few times, that there are no Apple Stores where I live, even in the country (Wales, stuck onto England, UK) and there are no Certifified Apple technicians.. if any work was to be done, it would have to be done by myself - which I don't fancy at all :(

    MacDonaldsd: My thoughts EXACTLY! For what I need it for, I can get more goodies for my money, as Im not really going to unleash the full power of the machine for the tasks I do. Like I said higher up, CS2 ran fine on a 512MB 1.42Ghz G4 I just sold.. I imagine a faster Core Solo and 1GB of RAM should be ample for CS3 or whatever their going to name it, when its released later this year. As for the RAM issue, Apple have made it more difficult to change, you have to remove more parts (apparently) and they have tipped the RAM cage on its side.. and your comment about installing in pairs seems right, 512MB on the Apple Store is made up of 2 x 256MBs, 1GB is made up of 2 x 512MBs etc etc

    combatcolin: NOW THAT I FANCY! :p :D :rolleyes: :) You selling?
     
  19. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    #20
    The Apple UK site seems to list a few certified technicians in Cardiff at least so there must be some.

    As for PowerPC being 'out', I'd agree if everything was running as Universal binaries. Since Photoshop etc aren't yet, then for the sake of 9 months, I'd have kept it and upgraded later.

    If you're selling so fast, you'll have some interest in the resale price. I suspect the Duo will give you more chance to sell to upgrade again.

    To be honest, it sounds like you know what you want to do since despite all the advice you're getting to go Duo, you're defending the Solo.
     
  20. zap2 macrumors 604

    zap2

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Washington D.C
    #21
    I go with Dual Core, and upgrade RAM later, with 512Mbs i'd stay away from CS2 for a little
     
  21. Kardashian thread starter macrumors 68020

    Kardashian

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2005
    Location:
    Britain.
    #22
    AppleSpider: I did say in my last post to you that it does seem as if I am slightly biast towards the Core Solo. Sorry, just sensing that you seem a bit peeved! Im not defending the Solo, that is has qualities the Duo doesn't or anything ridiculous like that - Im just simply saying, for ME as an individual, I think it would make more sense for me to get a Solo, and save some money and hassle (in the longrun) by getting the extras I want and will need (RAM) installed right out of the box. Im quite pleased that there are Technicians in Cardiff however that doesn't REALLY help me as Birmingham (across the border in England) is faster to get to by train than Cardiff is by car (Plus im only 17 and don't drive... yet!) Although I really appreciate the time you spend finding that out :D

    You mentioned about it being worth my while to keep my G4 mini until the Intel transistion is at least almost all done.. but I get money to put into new Macs by selling the old ones, and adding around £100-£200. If I had kept my Mini until the transistion was over, it would be probably worth single figures, since Apple are selling them brand new on their site for something ridiculous like £230 (I saw the other day, refurbished store)

    A year down the line, I would be lucky to get £100 for mine.

    I think (after considerating all of your opinions and comments) I am going to go with the Solo configuration. It may not be as powerfull as the Duo, but for what I want, it will suffice. I get the SuperDrive I have wanted in my past 2 Macs, Wireless Keyboard and Mouse, and the 1GB of RAM that is needed these days. I think Im going to be very happy with my purchase :p (If not.. I can always sell up and get a MacBook...)
     
  22. mjstew33 macrumors 601

    mjstew33

    Joined:
    May 29, 2005
    Location:
    Illinois
    #23
    I'm sure you will be happy, when are you going to get it? Are you buying today?

    :)
     
  23. Kardashian thread starter macrumors 68020

    Kardashian

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2005
    Location:
    Britain.
    #24
    lilstewart92: Thanks v.much :) . Urm.. Money is clearing into my bank account on Wednesday morning, so thats when Im gonna be ordering it :cool: Dispatched within 24Hrs.. So Im hoping to have it on Friday :D May seem a bit too optimistic but Apple have always been fantastic with their deliveries. I'll post back and let you know what I think.

    Thanks again for everyones help!
     

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