Mac mini questions (soon to be Mac n00b).

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by EM87, Nov 8, 2006.

  1. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2006
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    #1
    Hi all,
    I am a current Windows XP user and I really do not like it and I am looking at buying a Mac mini. I am going for the affordable option as my PC that I am currently using has very good specs and cost me a lot of money so I can't afford a expensive Mac right now. My main question is how does the Core solo 1.5Ghz compare to the Core Duo 1.66Ghz? I can get the Core Solo for a very low price of $699AUD and I can get the Core Duo for $950AUD, both have 512Mb RAM, 60Gb and 80Gb respectively, Combo Drive for Solo, Super Drive for Duo and the bad Intel graphics.

    I am just wondering if the Duo is worth the $250AUD more than the Solo? How does the Solo perform compared to the Duo? I don't run much multi-media apart from games on my PC so I doubt that I will use a Mac for for it either. I won't do much multi tasking on the Mac and will use it only for iTunes for my iPod, internet browsing, chat, email and the odd DVD every now and then. This is why I am considering getting a Solo because I think that a Duo (and the fact that it is cheaper) may not be needed in my case.

    Does anyone here know how would a Core Solo 1.5Ghz compare to my old Pentium4 2Ghz? I know that the Core architecture is far better than the Pentium's but will the slower clock speed make the Core Solo slower than the Pentium?

    I am also a bit curious about how Mac OS X Tiger as I have never used a Mac before. Can someone just give me a brief overview of it's major differences to Windows XP.

    Sorry about all the questions (I could keep on going but I will stop for now) but as the title suggest, I am new to Mac's and I also have little experience with Intel CPU's apart from my one P4, I had always used AMD's and I currently have a Athlon X2.

    Thanks in advance for any help/answers that you may offer.
     
  2. macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    Location:
    Bookshop!
    #2
    How long do you plan to use it for? The Core Duo will increase the life of the comouter dramatically, but if you are only in it for a taste of the Apple, the Core Solo sounds like a great buy!

    You don't have to worry about VISTA (viruses, infections, spyware, trojans and adware), much easier to learn, and much more powerful... you have to use it to believe it :)
     
  3. macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #3
    Core Solo 1.5 will be quicker than a Pentium 4 2Ghz.
    Also you will want 1GB RAM in either computer, the superdrive lets you burn DVD's but if you already can on your PC that might not be important.
     
  4. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2006
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    #4
    I am not sure how long I actually plan to use it for, I used my P4 PC for less then 1 year but my PC before that I used for 3 years. Lets just say 3 years is how long I'm planning on using it for. Would I be better off getting a Duo for that length? I also want to run Leopard when it comes out.

    LOL about the VISTA comment.
     
  5. Nym
    macrumors 6502a

    Nym

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2006
    Location:
    Porto, Portugal
    #5
    If you're really on a tight budget go for the solo, it should perform well enough for the kind of use you described :)

    As for Mac OSX differences to XP, it's a completely different "experience", expect to feel some confusion in the first days of using it, then it all goes away and you can never go back :D

    If you need any help on a specific topic just ask, or you can just go to the Mac OSX section of this forum and follow the links posted on the top :)

    Start by this one and welcome to the Mac world ;) :
    Mac Begginers Guide
     
  6. macrumors G4

    Chundles

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2005
    #6
    The Duo will give a dramatic performance boost over the Solo. With two processing cores you'll get faster OpenGL performance with the new multi-threaded OpenGL, much better multi-tasking etc basically the Core Duo is a much better machine. The Core Solo didn't really offer a decent-enough-for-the-price speed boost over the 1.42GHz G4 for my liking. The Core Duo was the only one I'd consider. You may not think you have demanding needs now but as you realise the strength of the OS and the abilities of the many applications for OSX you will start to do more and more and then you'll want the extra grunt.

    That being said the price for the Solo is damned good. But even taking that into account I'd rather save a little longer and get the Duo with at least 1GB of RAM.

    In terms of the differences between OSX and XP, that has been covered so many times that a really good guide has been made - you'll find that other people have already posted the links.
     
  7. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2006
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    #7
    Thank you for your help:).

    Also do the Mac minis use desktop RAM or notebook RAM?

    EDIT: Thank you for your help Chundles:).
     
  8. macrumors G4

    Chundles

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2005
    #8
    All Intel Macs (besides the Mac Pro) use the same RAM. 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM (PC2-5300) 200 pin SO-DIMMs. It's laptop RAM and Macs are very picky about the RAM they use - it has to be good quality. There are a number of places here that sell RAM guaranteed for Macs. Streetwise (www.streetwise.com.au) have reasonable prices. Doing a RAM installation on a Mini is not for the faint of heart and takes a bit of doing - you might be best going to an authorised service agent (basically your local reseller wherever you are in Aus) and getting them to install your RAM.

    Either that or get the RAM pre-installed when you order, Apple's prices aren't too far off market price for RAM here at the moment.
     
  9. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2006
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    #9
    I have just been looking at all the other Macs on http://www.streetwise.com.au and I have noticed that they all use the newer Core 2 Duo's, not the Core Duo like the mini does. Is there any chance that they Core 2 Duo mini's may be on the way because if they are I will wait and grab one of them.
     
  10. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2006
    Location:
    Cape Town
    #10
    I went from an AMD XP3400+ (64bit) to a core duo (1.66) Mini and found the mini to be significantly quicker in everything except 3D processing and raw storage - but them I did have a very fast Nvidia chipset in my AMD and 4 SATA drives in a RAID config.

    To me, more important that the CPU (I think the single CPU in the core solo is still beefier than the previous CPU you mentioned) is RAM - the speed boost you get (actually, the crippling you dont get) when you have RAM is enormous.

    If I had to chose, then, between 1.5 solo with >1GB RAM and 1.66 duo with 512, I'd go for the RAM option.. remember, once your mini is out of warranty, you can put a 2GHz core duo CPU in for a significant upgrade.
     
  11. macrumors G4

    Chundles

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2005
    #11
    I think they're still a way off yet, probably next year sometime. The iMac and MacBook Pro are the only models using the Core 2 Duo and judging from your usage whilst you'll definitely notice the increase in power from Core Solo to Core Duo you're unlikely to see any performance boost going from Core Duo to Core 2 Duo.

    I don't see any Macs coming for the rest of the year (the MacBook might be an outside chance for next week or the week after but that's it) with new hardware.

    Take a look at what you're willing to spend, focus on the RAM more than the processor - though I do recommend the Core Duo very highly, if budgetary constraints dictate the Core Solo you'll want as much RAM as you can afford to help eliminate system bottle-necks. 1GB should be the minimum amount of RAM, any more than that is a handy bonus.
     
  12. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2006
    Location:
    Cape Town
    #12
    a little off post - but..

    I recommissioned my mini when I got my MBP - stole the 2 x 1GB sticks I'd put into the mini so its now sitting with 1 x 256 (original mini) and 1 x 512 (original MBP).

    The mini sits under my TV and is optically connected to the hifi and via SVid to the TV.

    At some point in the past I'd installed the Canon Canoscan tool box (a PPC app). The mini was sluggish the other day - so I checked out what was running - the canon button manager the only PPC app running and total memory use was just under the 750 total. Uninstalled all the canon software, rebooted - memory usage back down with 400MB free and voila - seriously speedy box, once again.

    Moral of the story? Low memory causes paging, paging to slow (5400rpm) drives, causes system sluggishness..

    and there endeth the sermon (next to the mount (table mount(ain)))
     
  13. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2006
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    #13
    The Mac mini on this page is the one that I am looking at getting. I think I might get it and then take it to a Apple shop and get them to upgrade the RAM to 1Gb, then after a year and a half I will upgrade the CPU to a Core 2 Duo (if possible).
     
  14. macrumors G4

    Chundles

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2005
    #14
    Ah, it's also only got a ComboDrive, only burns CDs if that's a problem for you?
     
  15. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2006
    Location:
    Cape Town
    #15
    sheeesh - thats a good price - I dunno how Auz tax laws work, can you find someone with a company to buy it so you can get the VAT back? Or does Auz have GST
     
  16. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2006
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    #16
    Nah my PC has a DVD burner so thats not a problem.:)
     
  17. macrumors G4

    Chundles

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2005
    #17
    We have GST and the tax is already included in the quoted price as per Australian legislation. It's not going to get any cheaper than that.
     
  18. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2006
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    #18
    We have GST and that price was inclusive of it, I pay $699 for it and thats it. I could try to get a student sort of discount on a Core Duo one if Apple do that sort of thing.
     
  19. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2006
    Location:
    Cape Town
  20. macrumors G4

    Chundles

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2005
    #20
    10:42pm here - not what I'd call late.
     
  21. macrumors G4

    Chundles

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2005
    #21
    If you're in Uni there's an education discount store. You can pick up the current Core Duo 1.66GHz for $859. If you know a Uni student you can use their card for the discount.
     
  22. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2006
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    #22
    9.45PM here, god I love not having day light saving.
     
  23. Nym
    macrumors 6502a

    Nym

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2006
    Location:
    Porto, Portugal
    #23
    I guess you'll be fine even with the Core Solo, at home I have a 24" iMac but at work I have a eMac, 1.25ghz PPC, 512 MB RAM (no dedicated GPU) running OSX Panther, and it runs great, it never crashed, just the occasional slowdown when running Flash 8, Dreamweaver 8, iTunes and Photoshop CS at the same time :) but hey, that's normal, and it's only a little bit, nothing considerable :rolleyes:
     
  24. macrumors G4

    Chundles

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2005
    #24

    The eMac has a 64MB Radeon 9600 - it's not too bad a graphics card.
     
  25. macrumors G4

    Chundles

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2005
    #25
    Fading the curtains? :D

    Confusing the cows? :D

    Morning wood on the bus instead of in bed? :D

    God I love ribbing the banana-benders.
     

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