Mac mini's drive: is 5400 RPM enough?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by p0intblank, Mar 18, 2006.

  1. p0intblank macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2005
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #1
    Right now I use a PowerBook G4 with a 4200 RPM drive, so I could definitely benefit from the faster drive speed the Mac mini has to offer. My everyday "big" tasks consist of graphic design and digital photography. I tend to work with large files now and then, which brings me to my main question: would you suggest upgrading my Mac mini (if I get one) to a 7200 RPM drive myself? If so, is it difficult? 7200 RPM drives are pretty expensive on newegg.com, which makes me wonder if 5400 RPM is enough. Oh and I will be dealing with HD videos, but only downloading and playing them, not editing. Thanks!
     
  2. FF_productions macrumors 68030

    FF_productions

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2005
    Location:
    Mt. Prospect, Illinois
    #2
    The hard drives inside the mac mini's are 2.5 inches, I would not recomend getting a Mac Mini. I'm not sure how the Intel Mini's run, heck they may give my G5 a run for it's money. The huge bottleneck is that hard drive, I'm not even sure if you can replace it without any problems.
     
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #3
    Certainly, yes it's easy. Use an external, 7200 RPM, firewire drive.

    There is little point in upgrading the internal drive. They don't make really large ones and the 100GB drives they do make are expensive.

    Bette to get this:
    http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/ministack/
    and get 320GB for a lower price and it brings along it's own cooling and some extra ports too.

    But you say "large" files. Mini DV is 12GB per hour. My raw format Nikon NIF image files are like 7MB each. 2,000 of them add up to 14GB and then you might have copies in JPG and Photoshop formats. I've buying a scanner today so I can scan my negatives and transparentcies. Medium format film makes 100MB scans. I've got a two drawer file cabinet full.

    If you are like me you might be thinking about RAID. But my rule with disk is to always wait until the llast second, the prices are falling, no use letting the warenty expire on an empty drive.

    So, I'd buy a mini-stack and then start learning about RAID.

    I'm running a Linux based file server. The server has six drive bays.
    Using a s=file server makes the data acailable to all the computers on the local wired and wireless network. It also makes backup easy as all the data are centralized.

    But start with a 320GB minisack.
     
  4. ipacmm macrumors 65816

    ipacmm

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    Location:
    Cincinnati, OH
    #4
    If you really need an intel Mac Mini, I would do whatChrisA said, I would buy an external, 7200 RPM, firewire drive. If not, I would buy a MBP, or a PowerMac G5 because they will still run faster then the Mini and you can upgrade them.
     
  5. combatcolin macrumors 68020

    combatcolin

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2004
    Location:
    Northants, UK
    #5
    Internal is ALWAYS faster than external.

    Refurbished G5?, more affordable now and lots of more for expansion.
     
  6. p0intblank thread starter macrumors 68030

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    Sep 20, 2005
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #6
    Well I have always wanted a Mac mini since it was introduced in the G4 line. I just haven't yet had a reason to actually own one since my PowerBook pretty much outperformed it. But now that the new Intel models are out, I am really wanting the Core Duo model. Also I really want to be able to finally own and play around with Front Row.

    Oh and as for large files go, I really don't think that is going to be a problem anymore. I have gotten by pretty fine with my PowerBook's 4200 RPM drive, so 5400 RPM will be an upgrade for me. I actually do already own an external drive, but sadly it's USB 2.0. :( I may sell it for a replacement drive that will be FireWire. ChrisA, the one you are suggesting looks real nice. It would blend in with the Mac mini so well, it'll be like it is not even there... but I will stick look around for similar drives. Thanks for the suggestions.

    As for getting a G5 system, I have already told myself to stay away from them. I'm only looking into the future without even bothering a G5 system. I will have to use Photoshop CS2 under Rosetta, but I don't think the Mac mini would take a very hard hit, especially considering I am upgrading from a G4 system, rather than a G5. As for upgrading, that's not a big deal to me right now. I don't plan on playing any games on my Mac, so the integrated graphics should be just fine. The only things I will be upgrading is the hard drive, but the external will cover that, and eventually I will max out my RAM at 2 GB.

    Sorry for the long post... I just wanted to clear everything up. Thanks for the help!
     
  7. itcheroni macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2005
    Location:
    CA
    #7
    Actually, according to123macmini.com's review of the ministack, it's faster than the internal stock hard drive.
     
  8. mjstew33 macrumors 601

    mjstew33

    Joined:
    May 29, 2005
    Location:
    Illinois
    #8
    The G5's are GREAT machines. They really are; they have a lot of life left in them (not for future manufacturing, but for use) and they run FAST. Don't limit yourself from them.

    They still have a long road ahead of them, it's not like they're gonna stop getting supported or something.
     
  9. FF_productions macrumors 68030

    FF_productions

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2005
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    Mt. Prospect, Illinois
    #9

    Rosetta eats away ram, start off with a gig of ram if your going ahead with a mini.
     
  10. p0intblank thread starter macrumors 68030

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    Sep 20, 2005
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #10
    I understand the G5s are great machines, but like I said, I only want to look ahead. The Core Duo and G5 are pretty close as far as performance goes. Yes, it's no Quad... but I don't need that much power. A dual-core processor alone makes me happy. :D
     
  11. ckeck macrumors 6502a

    ckeck

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2005
    Location:
    Texas
    #11
    If your coming from a 4200 RPM hard drive right now then the 5400 RPM drive will be a nice performance increase already. It will be fine.
     
  12. combatcolin macrumors 68020

    combatcolin

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2004
    Location:
    Northants, UK
    #12
    Thats spin speed, even an old ATA is faster than FW 400 or 800, but thats not really the point - ATA and Serial ATA don't have to worry about being unpluged and cable lengths, so they can concentrate on better speeds.

    Anyway, a big FW external drive is OK for just about anything, the bigger the better!
     
  13. kwikdeth macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2003
    Location:
    Tempe, AZ
    #13
    i think it depends a lot on what's important for you... the minis are solid little machines, and I dearly love mine. apparently tho, im the only crazy guy who wants to do audio on them.... god forbid I demand a silent machine! Gee... let's see, spend $3000 on a machine that makes an annoying variable fan noise and, more importantly, emits a hellish noise through every single firewire audio interface you plug into it... (gee, i thought proper grounding was something that got taught in basic electronics)
    with a dual-g5, you're paying for a few things: PCI slots and RAM expansion. if you don't need that stuff, then a machine with a fast hard drive and a decent amount of RAM will do you nicely. Having said that, given that you are already on a powerbook, I would recommend selling your powerbook and then using that money plus what you planned on spending on a mini towards a macBook pro. that way, you can get the performance of a G5 system with the portability of the powerbook. trust me... you do not want to surrender the portability that the laptops offer, especially since you are doing photography...
     
  14. itcheroni macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2005
    Location:
    CA
    #14
    Isn't the spin speed 7200 and 5400? No offense but that's a bit obvious. I'm referring to people stating that it's genuinely faster. But that's hearsay. I found this chart if it at all helps.

    http://www.123macmini.com/accessories/images/xbenchv2.jpg
     
  15. p0intblank thread starter macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2005
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #15
    I really would love to buy a MacBook Pro, but I just can't sell my PowerBook. It holds a special place in my heart. :p It's my first Mac, so I don't think I would ever sell it. And plus, I am still paying it off, so I don't know how well that would work out. I would like to have a 15" notebook, as opposed to a 17" one, but I don't see myself giving it up anytime soon, if ever.

    The Mac mini should be fine for what I plan to do. I already have a Dell 2005FPW, so my display is set. I actually plan on upgrading to their 24" model sometime in the future, so that brings me to another question: how does the Mac mini perform at the resolution of 1920 x 1200? My PowerBook is already using extended desktop on my Dell display and I can notice a hit on the graphics performance sometimes (i.e. the Dock's framerate drops when playing videos in iTunes). So do you think the Mac mini would perform perfectly, especially considering it's using GMA950 graphics? Thanks again for all the help.
     
  16. miniConvert macrumors 68040

    miniConvert

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    Location:
    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    #16
    While it was alive, my Mac mini seemed to handle the Apple 23" ACD with ease. Damn it looked beautiful. I didn't get chance to test it out to the extreme, but think it's likely you'd notice a performance hit sometimes if you were doing a lot on such a slight piece of hardware. I wouldn't use that as a reason to back away from the combo though.
     
  17. combatcolin macrumors 68020

    combatcolin

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2004
    Location:
    Northants, UK
    #17
    Data transfer speed.

    Can't be arsed looking for a link but Internal is always faster, of course now we have either USB2 or Firewire as a cheap high speed external conection method you don't rally have to worry about slow hard drives and or the horror/delight of SCSI.

    Good rule of thumb, install an app on an internal hard drive and the content you created with that app on an external hard drive.
     

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