Looking at a used mac mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Chad H, Mar 10, 2008.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    Chad H

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2008
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    Auburn, AL
    #1
    Hey guys,
    I am looking at buying a used Mac Mini or Mac Mini G4. I am looking for something to run leopard and Aperture. I have a MBA that I carry everywhere but I want a somewhat stationary desktop to do hardcore photo editing on. The HDD doesn't have to be huge since I have a 500gig Time Capsule which I store my photo's and complete i-Tunes library on. I am just looking for some suggestions or hints as to what to look for. I have been looking on ebay but these things seem to range between 1.2ghz and 2.0ghz. Also, I didn't know what was upgradeable. I don't mind cracking one open and upgrading the HDD or RAM. I appreciate any advice you guys can give. As I am still new to the Apple framework.

    -Chad
     
  2. macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #2
    What's your budget? Intel minis have RAM, disk and CPU that can be upgraded. On Core Solo and Core Duo minis you can put in up to 2GB (2X1GB) RAM. On Core 2 Duo minis you can put in up to 4GB (2X2GB) RAM but only 3GB is usable. Core Solo and Core Duos can be upgraded to Core 2 Duos but the RAM configs are limited to the original spec. Some people have also had success upgrading the WiFi to 802.11n using laptop WiFi cards. The Intel minis, especially CDs and C2Ds will give you more bang for your buck than the G4s. If it fits your budget, check out Apple's Refurb store as well.
     
  3. macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #3
    You may want to wait for updated Minis.

    Hardcore photo editing on an older Mini with GMA950 graphics may be a bit whimpy. Definitely go with Intel.

    The new Minis you can probably bring up to 4 Gig and will have a newer graphics chipset in it.

    See what happends tomorrow or next Tuesday... ;)
     
  4. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Chad H

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    #4
    Well, I don't mean very hardcore photo editing. I just meant manipulating photo's and making HDR's. But, I would love to keep my budget less than $500. If I go above that, I might as well just buy a new one.
     
  5. macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #5
    Here are the Apeture specs:

    http://www.apple.com/aperture/specs/

    It requires at LEAST an Intel Mini w/ 1Gig.

    If the new Mini's are out tomorrow, you should be able to get some smokin' deals in the Apple Refurbished Store.

    I did with my MacBook...
     
  6. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Chad H

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    #6
    Well, I'm honestly looking on ebay right now. Whatever I get, the RAM will be upgraded to the max. Meaning solo with be upgraded to 2gig and duo to 3gig/4gig.
     
  7. macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #7
    Occasionally one of the older Core Duos pops up on the refurb store for less than $500. Its a good deal considering it comes with a 1 year warranty. The advantage of the newest ones are the memory expansion since they are the only ones that can go to more than 2GB.

    What photo editing software are you considering? CS2 is only PPC so if you are going that route, then a late model G4 might note be a bad idea but a Core Duo with CS3 will smoke it hands down. Graphics cards are not much of an issue if most of your work is in 2D and even the "soon-to-be-promised" upgrades will only be moving to a GPU that is fractionally better than the current one.
     
  8. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Chad H

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    #8
    Well, I am looking at Aperture 2.0 and Photomatix. I have found several Core Duo's on ebay with processors ranging from 1.4 to 1.66 mhz for about $150 to $350. I am going to upgrade the RAM to 2gig which should be just fine. Now, what about the wireless cards? I have everything in my house running on 802.11n w/ my MBA and 500gig Time Capsule.
     
  9. macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #9
    There are some videos and still series floating around about the WiFi card. Apparently Dell cards work. Note that that will be another $90 or so. You could always stick to ether as the mini isn't really going anywhere. The 1.4GHz minis are G4s, btw. Lightroom might be a better choice for the mini as Aperture tends to be quite heavyweight.
     
  10. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Chad H

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    #10
    Well will a G4 running lightroom be that bad of a setup? Also if i leave the standard airport card in the mini will that suffice? And lastly, how upgradeable are the G4's? Because besides photo editing, music, and occasional tv show watching. Thats all this thing will be used for as I have a MBA and Apple TV.
     
  11. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Chad H

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    #11
    Also, I don't have to run wireless as my Time Capsule will be sitting right next to it I can just plug it up using the standard ethernet port.
     
  12. macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #12
    The Intels are so much better than the G4's. If there's a refresh tomorrow for the Minis, jump onto the Refurb Store.

    Usually, the base refurb Mini goes for around $500.

    How much are you willing to spend?

    I may be PM'ing you tomorrow depending on the announcement. Check my sig... ;)
     
  13. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Chad H

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    #13
    Haha, okay. Well now I am looking Intel core duo's specifically. I didn't realize the older G4's didn't come with Intel chips. I am willing to go around $500.
     
  14. macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #14
    Feel free to PM me if there's an announcement tomorrow and nothing at the Apple Store (regular or refurbed) catches your eye... something will probably catch mine. :D
     
  15. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Chad H

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  16. macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #16

    Priced too high for an old Core Duo with only 512 Megs RAM...
     
  17. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Chad H

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    #17
    Well whats the difference between it and the one refurb on Apple's website besides the warranty? The one on Apple's website is $649.00 and its only at 1.66ghz.
     
  18. macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #18
    Apple simply takes a percentage off the retail, and the retail at the time of sale these models was $799...

    Plus, Apple Store ones come with Leopard discs dropped in... so $649 - $129 = $519, I guess...

    Not really worth it...
     
  19. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Chad H

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    #19
    Well honestly I was looking. I might just buy a brand new 1.83ghz with 1gig of RAM and upgrade to 2gig once I get the display and stuff. I found the 2gig online for $78.00. Would that setup run everything pretty decent? Also, how hard is the RAM to replace on the mini.
     
  20. macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #20
    Keep looking, I paid $74 for 2 x 2Gig chips (for a total of 4 Gigs) for my MacBook... same memory I think.

    Upgrading the Mini's RAM is a bit of a chore...

    EDIT: WAIT UNTIL TOMORROW - If Apple comes out with updated Minis, that will DRASTICALLY change the pricing and value of older models. You may scam a good deal tomorrow if that happens...
     
  21. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Chad H

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    #21
    Alright, thanks alot for all your help and advice. :):apple:
     
  22. macrumors 604

    gkarris

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  23. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Chad H

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    #23
    I might be buying a new one! Oh yeah I think I'm gonna get a LCD tv and run my mini off of that.
     
  24. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Chad H

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    #24
    Well it looks like I will be buying a brand new mini. Is their a big difference between the 1.83ghz and 2.0ghz? And would it better or any difference if I bought it at a Apple store or just order it online? Also, I will upgrading to 4gig of RAM immediately.
     
  25. macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #25
    ^^^^

    Slight speed diference.

    I would make sure you know the place's return policy.

    Next Tuesday may be the day for new Minis. Plus if you put in 4, the current Minis will only see 3.

    Hold off before upgrading too - that may void the warranty/return policy.
     

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