Mac Mini vs 5 year old PowerMac G4

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by brianus, Jun 17, 2005.

  1. brianus macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2005
    #1
    Hi, I'm thinking of getting a Mac Mini soon - maybe when (if) Rev B comes out - but I've heard some complaints about its performance, particularly regarding the slow HD and a not entirely stellar multimedia experience. At work I use a 450MHz single-processor G4 from 2000, and I find it more than adequate for my purposes (mostly web design, programming, and office tasks; I use Illustrator and Photoshop but not in ways that really demand a fast processor -- usually just viewing files created by other people -- and I would like to use the mac for DVDs and music). The PowerMac does have 2GB of RAM, but other than that, at least going by the specs, I would think (hope) a mini with 1GB would be a match for it in overall performance. So.. how should I expect a fully-souped-up mini to stack up against my work machine?

    An iMac is out of the question for me as I need to share my existing monitor with a PC. If the Mini isn't good enough, I'll have to save up for a PowerMac, but I'd really rather not due to the cost, and lack of space for another massive tower.
     
  2. shadowmoses macrumors 68000

    shadowmoses

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2005
    #2
    You are running a simular powermac to me, and in my experience the mini out performs it considerably...so wait for the rev B mini and you will have a much much faster computer as the extra proccessing speed packs a punch when compared to 450mhz...

    ShadOW :p
     
  3. feakbeak macrumors 6502a

    feakbeak

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    Location:
    Michigan
    #3
    I have a Mac Mini - 1.42 GHz, 1 GB RAM, Super Drive, BT + AE and it performs quite nicely. In college I used 300 MHz and 400 MHz PowerMacs in the computer labs. My Mac Mini clearly out-performs those old machines. They didn't have nearly as much RAM as your work machine, so I'm sure that is a big factor but if you don't want an iMac and don't wish to drop two grand for a PowerMac - I say get the Mac Mini. It will surely be enough to tide you over into the MacTels arrive.
     
  4. Ryan T. macrumors 6502a

    Ryan T.

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    #4

    I'm in kind of a similar situation. I have a G4 450MHz Dual w/ 896MB of RAM and a bunch of upgrades (Geforce4 440MX, 7200RPM HDD's, Superdrive, Airport, etc).

    Is it worth it for me to consider a Rev B mini when they come out? Or will the performance increase be negligible enough so that I will regret spending the money.

    I suppose I could sell my PM, but it's more the type of machine that needs someone that understands it, if you know what I mean.
     
  5. feakbeak macrumors 6502a

    feakbeak

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    Location:
    Michigan
    #5
    I hear you. It can be a tough call. It really depends a lot on how you use your computer, if you like to upgrade components, etc.

    I'm a geek-head and love tinkering/building PCs. I would have loved a PowerMac but this was to be the first Mac that I owned. I used Macs in college but never owned one back then. I didn't want to spend that much money on my initial Mac purchase. Although I think the iMac G5 is a wonderful computer, I personally do not like all-in-one computers. Therefore, when the Mac Mini was announced, I bought.

    All totalled for the Mac Mini I spent a little over $1000. I have been pleased with my purchase and really like the Mac platform, I'll never completely switch but I will definitely be a dual-user for a long time to come. My Mac Mini fits my needs - email, IM, iTunes, browsing the web, Office, light web development and moderate iPhoto/PS Elements usage. My next Mac will hopefully be a full desktop Mactel once the dust from the transition settles. For my needs, I am confident my Mac Mini will hold me until then.

    Hopefully the rev. B of the Mac Mini will up the GPU for better performance and full Core Image support. Making the hard drive at least 5400 RPM on all Mac Mini's would be nice. Currently some are 5400, some (like mine :( ) are 4200 RPM. Some people hate the slow hard drive and say it makes a big difference. Personally, I only notice it in the rare cases where I'm working with really large files. (So, if you do a lot of video editing it's not for you, especially because of the GPU too.) Also, if you don't have enough RAM and you start paging a lot, the slow HD would compound the problem. I have 1 GB of RAM and with my usage I get very little paging going on, so not a problem for me. Of course, CPU speed bumps or BT 2.0 would also be nice additions for rev. B.

    I think the performance of the Mac Mini is good for most light/moderate usage. It is more a question of what apps you need to run and how much expandability you need.
     
  6. Ryan T. macrumors 6502a

    Ryan T.

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    #6

    Thanks for the post. It's really an odd decision for me. I'm fairly sure that in some tasks (like you said, large files), my PM w/ the quick disks can handle the task a little better than a mini. It's also nice when you're doing two things at once (one CPU to encode in iTunes, one to browse the web, etc.). However, there's no denying the mini is much "cooler" and would take up a lot less room on my desk. And obviously the CPU is a ton faster.

    And I would definately do the 1GB of RAM. I'm a big laptop geek, I know all about page files, forget it. Can I ask how hard it was to install? I know the whole putty knife gig, but I can just see myself putting a gouge in my new mini.

    I guess I'll wait for the revisions. AE/BT and a faster disk without too much of a price increase (obviously below the current BTO price) would push me to it I think. But then I have a Powermac to do who knows what with.
     
  7. feakbeak macrumors 6502a

    feakbeak

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    Location:
    Michigan
    #7
    Don't sweat the old PM - old machines are great. Turn it into a dedicated web server or just a local file server, etc.

    I installed a 1 GB Crucial stick into my Mini. I did put a small ding in it while opening it up with the putty knife, but it's only like 1 mm in size. You'd have to look for it to notice and it's on the bottom of the unit, so I don't really care. I don't run my Mac Mini upside down! :) It is definitely not an easily servicable machine by any means, but it can be done.

    It is a sweet little machine. I have it in a little nook between my kitchen and livingroom, along with a Dell 20" LCD - great looking system. I keep the clunky, noisey PC hidden away in my bedroom. Speaking of noise the Mac Mini is really quiet. When it gets stressed the fans kick in and it's comparable to a typical desktop machine but in my experience that only happens about 10% of the time maybe. Over 90% of the time the Mac Mini really is whisper quiet. You can hear it in a quiet room if you listen for it, but otherwise it is damn near silent. The optical drive is obviously much louder than the fans, but I don't use my optical drive much except for ripping new CDs, installing software, etc.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.
     
  8. Ryan T. macrumors 6502a

    Ryan T.

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    #8

    Thanks. I have a 16x DL burner on my PC, and a 2x Superdrive on my Mac, so there's really no reason to get one on the mini, but I find myself tempted anyway so I can test out some of that legendary Mac DVD content creation. We'll see.

    EDIT: By the way, great monitor. I have the 19" Ultrasharp, and I love it.
     
  9. feakbeak macrumors 6502a

    feakbeak

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    Location:
    Michigan
    #9
    Yeah, it's an awesome monitor in terms of the display performance. Plus, it is even better for the Mac Mini because it gives me three additional (and more accessible) USB 2.0 ports.
     
  10. Ryan T. macrumors 6502a

    Ryan T.

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    #10
    That's where the mouse and keyboard on my current Mac are plugged into now :)
     
  11. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2002
    Location:
    LaLaLand, CA
    #11
    Just get a CPU upgrade from some place like OWC, and maybe even a new video card. That'll do ya' for awhile.
     
  12. jeremy.king macrumors 603

    jeremy.king

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    #12

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