Need a hold-over machine...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by munckee, Feb 9, 2006.

  1. munckee macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
    #1
    Ok, I've been holding off on a new mac purchase for the better part of a year now. First I was waiting for the new powerbooks to be released. Wasn't too impressed with the last gen upgrades, so I decided to see what would happen with the intel powerbooks (macbook pro). Still not overly impressed, honestly, and since I need to run CS2 primarily, it looks like it won't do me the slightest bit of good to buy an intel mac until CS3 comes out (in about a year??).

    My end goal is to end up with a powerful portable for creative use and some sort of home machine for media use and as a backup machine.

    That leaves me a couple of options:

    1. Buy a PPC mac mini and load it down with ram (takes up to 1gig, right?) and then keep it as a media machine later on when I buy a portable.

    2. Buy a "cheap", lower end powermac and have a pretty damn usable machine that won't compromise much. Either sell it in a year or so and get a macbook pro along with the newest iteration of the mini for media/home use, or keep it as a better home machine in addition to the later portable.

    3. Buy a last gen powerbook. Keep it for 12-18 months and then upgrade. Worry about the media machine later down the road. (Have the fixed the issues with the screens and the 2nd ram slot?)

    4. Buy a new iBook with the intent of replacine it with a macbook pro as soon as CS3 comes out. Worry about the media machine later down the road.

    I don't really want an iMac because the whole integrated monitor thing annoys me. I'd like to get a Dell flat screen which I'd then connect to both my home media computer and my portable once I end up with that setup.

    Right now I have a G3 iBook (dual USB) that I've been running into the ground with creative work. It's slow and pretty much needs to go at this point. I can probably get a few hundred dollars back out of it.

    Thoughts? Say screw it all and buy a MBP running rosetta and figure it'll only get better?
     
  2. cnakeitaro macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Location:
    Virginia Beach
    #2
    i've personally been waiting for a long time. I also have been using a dual usb iBook G3 700 with 16vRAM, and I am ready to upgrade. I was planning on waiting til Merom, but those seem to be pushed back even more. I personally think if you were running CS2 on an iBook G3, that your not gonna have much issues with CS2 under Rosetta. It will probably run faster than it does on your iBook, but also to ensure this, you should probably get as much RAM as you can. I would personally order a MBP, which I am about to do. I'm kinda mad I cancelled my order now, only to reorder, and get a later ship date.

    If you don't want to do this, I would say get a mac mini or iBook to hold you over. Powerbook G4's are still overpriced in my opinion since the MBP's were announced, but they are still great machines (but not that much greater than the iBook G4).
     
  3. munckee thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
    #3
    Yeah, I'd really like to wait for Merom as well. Hence the consideration of a hold-over computer. You're probably right, rosetta will probably be faster than my ibook. But that's just my home computer (which was a hold-over itself) and its pathetically slow.

    I think my primary considerations are a mini, a new(er) ibook, or a powermac. I don't know that I really want to jump into a powerbook considering the issues as well as the price.
     
  4. Hodapp macrumors 6502a

    Hodapp

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2003
    Location:
    New York, NY
    #4
    I'm waiting for virtual reality controlled computers like Johnny Mnemonic.
     
  5. fotografica macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Location:
    Boston
    #5
    IMO,a mini is a nice "holdover" machine (see my specs)..I use CS and it works great,definitely need a gig tho.When I do upgrade to an IntelMac,my mini will be a nice media storage unit..
     
  6. Tony Clifton macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2006
    #6
    I'm waiting too

    I "switched" from desktop linux last year, and do a ton of java development on my mini. I've maxed the memory up to a gig, which works well, although the machine starts to really crawl when I've got Eclipse going along with MacMail and ITunes.

    Not sure about the latest powerbooks, definately waiting until May/June. The big question then, is whether to go for a new powerbook at ~2.5k when I've maxed its memory and such, or get a newish dual G5 powermac.
     
  7. cnakeitaro macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Location:
    Virginia Beach
    #7
    How did you get a 64MB video card in your system? I've never seen that option when ordering a Mac Mini.
     
  8. AJBMatrix macrumors 6502

    AJBMatrix

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2006
    Location:
    Athens, Georgia
    #8
    Would you be interested in an iBook G4 1.2 GHz 12" with 512 RAM and a 30 Gig HD. Bought at the end of last summer. Still has over 2 years on Apple Care. If you want it just email me at AJMatrix@uga.edu. It is in great condition. No Dead Pixels, Generally gets over 5 hours battery with light use.
     
  9. fotografica macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Location:
    Boston
    #9
  10. munckee thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
    #10
    I'm not familiar with Eclipse; how taxing is it? Its not terribly unusual for me to need to run all of the CS suite at once, in addition to firefox. Now, knowing that I have a less than ideal system, I can try to curb that need as much as possible, but it will arise on occassion. Will a mini stand up to that occassionally?
     
  11. fotografica macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Location:
    Boston
    #11
    Put a gig of RAM in,and you'll be FINE...
     
  12. rnb2 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2006
    Location:
    West Haven, CT, USA
    #12
    I'll go along with the prevailing opinion here - the mini is a great "tide me over" machine if you need a new machine but don't want to make a big commitment until the Intel line is filled out. I'm taking exactly that route, though I'm a "switcher" rather than an upgrader.

    What I really want is a laptop, since I do a lot of photography and would like to have something to process photos on the road, but buying a PB now for that purpose just doesn't make any sense. Still, after doing all that research, I really wanted to pick something up and learn OS X. The mini integrated well into my existing setup - my Viewsonic 20" panel has two inputs and a 4-port USB hub, and the mini sits right on top of my Shuttle PC. Even with buying iWork '06, a gig of RAM (Crucial from NewEgg), and a second 250GB Seagate drive and external enclosure, I still haven't spent $1k on the whole setup.

    So, I use the Mini for just about everything except photo processing (the PC is still much faster for that), and I'm learning OS X and having fun with my new toy. Around the end of the year, I'll see what the line looks like and decide what to do for a longer-term solution, and the mini will go to my fiancee.

    Everybody wins :)

    Rick
     
  13. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #13
    I think a Mini will blow your iBook G3 out of the water, and the relative speed increase you get from a new Mac Mini will be so massive that you'll actually be pleased. ;) Load it up with 1 GB of RAM and it should be great.
     
  14. mrichmon macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    #14
    I have one of the quietly updated Mac Minis (1.5GHz CPU, 64MB video RAM, 1GB RAM) and a 1.5GHz Powerbook. Running photoshop CS2 on both of these machines is very usable. Certainly in comparison to laying out dollars for a MBP but not being able to take full advantage of the extra speed until CS3 comes out.

    In terms of the current Mac Mini as a media server, my mini acts as a web/database machine, handles my dhcp server, cvs server, file server to backup the 4 laptops in the household, music player, region free DVD player, random other video player, and occassional development machine. I use the ATI Remote Wonder 2 remote control with the mini along with the MediaCentral application with lots of success. The nice thing about using this remote is that I don't need to turn on the screen to start and control iTunes.

    One drawback to the G4 machines is that they do not have the power to decode and playback HD video files.
     
  15. munckee thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
    #15
    :) Thanks guys! Some great responses here, as usual. I think I see a mini in my future.

    A couple more questions:
    -Whats the best way to guarantee that I get an upgraded one?
    -Is ram user-installable?
    -I've noticed the Lacie external for the mini; any reason not to get the one that's built to sit under the mini?
     
  16. Piarco macrumors 68030

    Piarco

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2004
    Location:
    Londinium
    #16
    I was in exactly the same situation as you and went for one of the stealth upgraded Mac Mini's.
    Because I really wanted the 1.5ghz/64MB vram models I was prepared to get on on ebay rather than chance going to an Apple store, but actually located one on an online noticeboard. Good price, sold by a Apple reseller, 1GB RAM, and new Apple keyboard and mouse - all for £400. I've no need for the KB&Mouse so I'm selling them on, so the total cost would be nearer £370.

    The same bundle would have cost £628 if I'd ordered from Apple - so I'm quite happy!
    I have heard people requesting them sepcifically in store, but I haven't actually met someone who has done it. I have my doubts that Apple would go to that lengths for a customer...

    The RAM is completely user installable (see 123Macmini.com) so don't worry about that.
    The Lacie drive is probably the most sensible as the mini sits on the four outer posts, allowing heat to escape from the Lacie drive, and not be absorbed by the mini. So nothing to worry about!
    I was considering it, but decided to go for a 250GB Lacie network external HDD. Keeps the Mac mini in its simple state, and will allow easy access to my movies, tunes and pictures for future Macs - all wirelessly.
     
  17. rnb2 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2006
    Location:
    West Haven, CT, USA
    #17
    I don't know if it's possible to guarantee that you get an upgraded mini, but if you go to a store that sells a lot (ie, Apple store), your chances should be pretty good.

    Two things you can do in the store to get as much information as possible:

    1) if the store has public-accessible machines with internet connection, you can get the serial number off of the mini box when they bring it out, then go to the support page at apple.com and plug the serial number in - if it says "Mac mini (late 2005)", it's upgraded

    2) if the above isn't possible, take a look at the serial number anyways - the serial number will be two letters, followed by a string of numbers, then more letters; if the first three numbers are somewhere between 538 and 552, it should be upgraded (mine is a 552)

    The RAM is user-installable - I did mine myself, since the Apple store didn't have it in stock. You'll need a thin putty knife - getting the cover off was actually easier than I expected, but getting it back on was more difficult. You will need to detach one of the wireless antennas to get the RAM swapped - not a big deal, just don't lose the little screw :)

    The Lacie drives look really nice under the mini, but NewerTech has a competing product that is more versatile, since it has built-in USB and FW hubs. You can see them here:

    http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/ministack/

    Lacie has a similar product available for preorder, but they won't be available until next month. I'm wishing I had another FireWire port myself, since I could use it to network my Windows box with the mini and get near-gigabit speed for transferring files. As it stands, I have a couple Seagate 250GB drives in Mapower cases (set up as a software RAID 1 with Disk Utility) hanging off the FireWire port, but I still want to try the FireWire network and see how it works.

    Rick
     
  18. munckee thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
    #18
    Anyone know the best place for Mini ram? I looked on crucial's site, but their 1G stick was $135. It only costs $100 to upgrade through apple in the first place.
     
  19. fotografica macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Location:
    Boston
    #19
    I got all mine from the refurb section at newegg. I check there every morning as they constantly refresh.Most of the ram are returns that people ordered and returned.I didn't pay more than $75 shipped for any of them and they all work fine.The mini isn't fussy as far as ram goes.I've used pc2700,pc3200 and pc4200 in upgrades I did for myself and friends.No problems with any of them.Good luck..
     
  20. munckee thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
    #20
    Hmm. Somehow a $25 savings for a refurb item doesn't strike me as a great deal. I'd almost rather buy the ram from apple, have it installed by them at no cost, and know that it's under warranty with the computer.
     
  21. Chrispy macrumors 68020

    Chrispy

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2004
    Location:
    Avon, IN
    #21
    I ordered an iBook 1.33 for $899 new off amazon.com to hold me over for a year or so. I, too, need to be able to run CS2 with full support and I was looking for something portable. The iBook or Mac Mini is probably your best bet. I am going to beef up the ram as soon as I can. Best of luck in whatever you do.
     
  22. fotografica macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Location:
    Boston
    #22
    Whatever you feel most comfortable with.For me,the Amazon deal on the mini and the furb ram was a no brainer.Good luck...
     
  23. munckee thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
    #23
    Did amazon have a rebate recently? I just looked, but it looks like its only a $25 difference between them and apple.

    I can get the edu discount at apple (which isn't much on a mini, but everything helps).
     
  24. fotografica macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Location:
    Boston
    #24
    I ordered mine on 1/10/06.The unit was $544.99 PLUS a $25 rebate.I ended up getting it for $519.99 shipped.That's the no brainer part.Then when I got it and saw it was the souped up mini,I was stoked.Put the ram and the burner in and I was all set up.They just dropped the price on the G4 12" Powerbook by $100,so maybe they'll have some more cuts....
     

Share This Page