Speed difference my pc and mac mini

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by buggybear, May 3, 2005.

  1. buggybear macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2005
    #1
    Hello everyone.

    I have a custom built computer. Its showing its age.

    It's a AMD Athlon XP 1800 at 1.53ghz 20 gig hard drive 768mb of ram and a TNT2 32mb video card.

    How much of a speed improvement would I see if I bought the entry level mini?

    I am needing to work on photoshop quite a bit - nothing too intense but would need more power than this pc can handle.

    Other than that I do nothing but web browsing, music, and email.

    Is the mac mini right for me or should I hold off and build another custom PC?
     
  2. gekko513 macrumors 603

    gekko513

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    #2
    You would probably just see small improvements. The G4 at 1.42GHz wouldn't be much faster than the Athlon XP 1.53GHz except for some Photoshop functions that take advantage of the Altivec unit in the G4. The video card in the mini is faster, but that doesn't mean a lot in Photoshop, I think.
     
  3. edwardk9 macrumors member

    edwardk9

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Georgia
    #3
    I think for photoshop and your other activites you would be fine. I know people who use photoshop on much less than the mini.

    I am curious to know if you can use the iSight with the mini at usable rates? I just ordered a mini and wanted to get the iSight but thought I should look into it first.
     
  4. chv400 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2003
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #4
    The iSight is useable on a mini it has to be since it i can do video chats on my 600mhz G4 with my vid cam i dont see why an isight would be any different.
     
  5. gekko513 macrumors 603

    gekko513

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    #5
    If you do go for a Mac mini, at least make sure that you get 1GB of RAM. Photoshop likes RAM.
     
  6. edwardk9 macrumors member

    edwardk9

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Georgia
    #6
    Will the mac mini really be about the same speed as that old athlon? That is really kind of sad.

    I recently ordered one and sure hope its faster than that. I guess its not supposed to be a speed monster or anything but an Athlon XP 1.53ghz. Ouch.

    I'll see, I guess.
     
  7. ZildjianKX macrumors 68000

    ZildjianKX

    Joined:
    May 18, 2003
    #7
    I personally would expect the Athlon to run a lot faster... when you test it out, let us know.
     
  8. feakbeak macrumors 6502a

    feakbeak

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    Location:
    Michigan
    #8
    I have a Mac mini and an old AMD system that is not too different from yours. I believe they are comparable in terms of overall performance. Obviously my videocard is better on the PC, which I use for gaming. The only thing that stands out to me is that my Mac mini seems to multitask better than my PC - it is easily noticable. I think this mostly has to do with the fact that I have 1 GB in my mini as opposed to 512 MB RAM on the PC. Plus, OS X just seems to perform better with multitasking than Windows does.

    Next thing on my techy-to-do list is to build a replacement PC. I will do this sometime in the next 12 months. I hope that by the time I bulid it I can get an Athlon 64 X2 (dual core) with dual video cards hooked up with SLI for not too much $$$. I say get a Mac mini, you can get it tweaked out and still keep it to about $1000. If you like all-in-ones I would strongly recommend the new iMacs, great rev this time. (I personally dislike all-in-ones) Then later on upgrade your PC. I really enjoy being a dual user - you can get the best out of both worlds. Can't beat OS X and iLife for ease of use and fun consumer-grade multimedia apps - and you can't beat gaming on a PC.

    That's my two cents.
     
  9. gekko513 macrumors 603

    gekko513

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    #9
    I don't think so. Those are the old Athlons and as you can see the PR rating is just 1800+. A G4 at 1.42 GHz would have a PR rating of 2000+ give or take.

    The 1800+ had only 256KB cache and a bus speed of 133(266).
     
  10. edwardk9 macrumors member

    edwardk9

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Georgia
    #10
    Yea this is the old Palomino w/ 256 L2 cache and 133 fsb. I sure hope the mini would be faster than that.

    I am really having second thoughts with the mini. 32mb of Vram and the processor speed of an palomino doesn't really add up to good. I should probably cancel my order and save up for a power mac - but damn if that won't be for a while.

    I would really like to own a mac but the performance/price ratio just isn't that great.

    I could build an athlon 64 with a fairly decent graphics card and all for 500 bucks. I guess the question would be style/form factor vs performance/upgrading.

    Humph.

    I have 600 bucks to spend on something.

    Mac mini
    PSP + whatever else
    Another PC

    Mac is the most tempting. I just don't want to be dissapointed when it arrives. The reviews are mixed.
     
  11. Jo-Kun macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2003
    Location:
    Antwerp-Belgium
    #11
    the mac mini is basically an iBook in a desktop case... you even see the 'no battery' logo ;-)

    so you schould be better of by comparing the speeds to a pc laptop... because the mini uses a laptop harddisk, know to be slower...

    I used a mini with 512mb ram at a friends house and I felt the difference with my PM G5 (but thats comparing a BMW with a Ferrari ;-) the BMW drives very nice, is a great car... but if you have driven the Ferrari you will notice some differences when getting back in the other :p)

    and as mentioned: Photoshop likes the ram-restaurants telling it: all you can eat :p
     
  12. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #12
    Look, you're buying the bottom-of-the-line Mac. It's fast enough for what you say you'd be doing with it. What your $500 will get you is the Mac experience: Tiger, Spotlight, the iApps, crash- and virus-resistance. You're not getting a high-performance machine, any more than you would if you spent $500 on a PC.

    OTOH, if your current PC is clogged up with a lot of viruses/spyware, you WILL see a big difference.

    Also, you don't need a gig of memory just to use Photoshop. I use it just fine with 768 MB, and I used it fine with 512 on my old powerbook. The only time a gig would really come in handy is with intense multitasking: Photoshop, Dreamweaver, iPhoto, Safari, iTunes Word, Excel, all open at the same time. Come to think of it, I do that with 768 as well.

    Oh, and I'm on a 1.33 Mhz iBook -- about the equivalent of the mini in terms of performance.
     
  13. edwardk9 macrumors member

    edwardk9

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Georgia
    #13
    I wasn't trying to start a war or anything. I just wanted to know what to expect. But as far as $500.00 pc - sure the mac would beat any bottom line pre built pc but like I said before you can go to newegg and buy all the parts to amd64 computer that you can not only upgrade but probably get better preformance out of it. But then again the target audience isn't people who build there own computers.

    Again, I am anxious to become a mac user but would probably be better suited to wait for something better.

    Please don't think I am a pc enthuisiast because I am far from it. I hate XP. I have used linux but I really hate trying to tweak every little thing just to get things running.
     
  14. plinden macrumors 68040

    plinden

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    #14
    One important factor is just how fed up are you with Windows? If you're not too fed up, and since money is an issue, I would suggest you build a new PC. You can build a pretty good one for $600 (http://www.anandtech.com/guides/showdoc.aspx?i=2378&p=12, but avoid the Semprons) especially if you don't need to buy a monitor and keyboard. You won't need to buy any new software.

    Then save up for a future revision of the mini or iMac. Nothing wrong with using more than one OS.

    Edit: I posted before this
    If you hate WinXP, get the mini - it won't be much faster (if at all) than your current machine, but like WordMunger said, you'll get the Mac experience, which makes up for a lot.
     
  15. ravenvii macrumors 604

    ravenvii

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    Location:
    Melenkurion Skyweir
    #15
    You mean that icon in the menubar? I don't see any battery icons on mine. :confused:
     
  16. gekko513 macrumors 603

    gekko513

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    #16
    edwardk9:

    The Mac mini is a great computer. I have one myself. 1.42GHz with 512MB of RAM.

    It is fast enough for all my needs: Web, mail, Objective C programming, casual photo organzizing and editing, some graphics work and strategy gaming.

    But it isn't a performance demon. It isn't much slower than a basic $499 PC (Celeron and integrated graphics), but like the basic PC it isn't anywhere near a proper P4 or AMD 64 with a regular 128MB graphics card.

    And it's good that you realise yourself that it isn't fair to compare the price of a pre built PC to building a computer yourself. Buying separate parts can always save you a lot, but it also increase the time and effort you have to put in and you lose the comfort of a single vendor with a warranty and decent support.
     
  17. feakbeak macrumors 6502a

    feakbeak

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    Location:
    Michigan
    #17
    Here is a more practical way of judging the Mac mini's performance. I use Firefox, iChat, Mail and iTunes constantly - whenever my mini is running these apps are going. I use iPhoto, Photoshop Elements, Word, Excel and Powerpoint regularly. I use other apps and utilities sparingly. With Tiger, I now have 6-8 widgets running in Dashboard constantly as well. I never have a problem with this usage - for these tasks, even all at once the Mac mini holds up great! If that sounds good to you, consider keeping your order. I would get at least 512 MB of RAM though, 1 GB installed yourself is better as Apple's 1 GB is pricy.

    I have no intentions of ever gaming on my Mac mini, so the crappy GPU doesn't bother me much. I have tried playing with iMovie once and it was sluggish. However, I don't own a video camera and don't intend to purchase one soon, so it's not a big deal to me. If I were going to game or do video editting a Mac mini would not be for me. I use computers constantly at work and very often at home. I hate sluggish computers. The Mac mini is responsive for most tasks and multi-tasking.

    You can build a PC, but for $600 you can't build anything that good - better than a Mac mini? Yeah... but not by much. You have to consider the case, mobo, CPU, GPU, RAM, hard drive, CD burner, and PSU (if doesn't come with your case)... it adds up quick. newegg is cheap, but not that cheap! :) I use OS X and WinXP daily. I like WinXP and believe it is a very good operating system. I agree with you that Linux is just too much effort for what you get, IMO. If you hate WinXP, I would say get a Mac mini.
     
  18. edwardk9 macrumors member

    edwardk9

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Georgia
    #18
    Yeah I think I am going to go ahead a keep my order. I do no gaming on my computer - I have consoles for that. I just didn't want the mini to be underpowered but given what you just said it sounds like it will be fine.

    I went ahead and got the stock 256 and will order a gig from somewhere else.

    But just to let you know...I configured a system on newegg considering parts I already have (eg hard drive, cdrom/dvd, floppy, ram) which isnt really a fair comparison of costs.

    Another question, I have a cheap stick of rosewell 3200 ram for my pc I just purchased like a month ago. Would this work in the mini?
     
  19. csubear macrumors 6502a

    csubear

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2003
    #19
    I don't see why any one would have any problem with a mac mini w/ 512 MB ram. Unless you are doing Motion or FCP, I think that the mini will do just fine with photoshop.
     
  20. dotdotdot macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    #20
    You would want the 1.42 GHz Mini w/ 512 Mb RAM minimum to use photoshop well...

    If you wanted, an eMac just updated would be good for photoshop as well.
     
  21. edwardk9 macrumors member

    edwardk9

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Georgia
    #21
    Yeah I think stick with the mini 1.4~ and buy a gig of ram from someplace else.

    I really don't like the all in ones so that wasn't even an option - to me anyways.
     
  22. feakbeak macrumors 6502a

    feakbeak

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    Location:
    Michigan
    #22
    I feel the same way about all-in-ones. The new iMacs are great machines, but I could never bring myself to buy one. Something about having my display stuck to my computer... fundementally, I just don't like the concept, even though I would recommend the iMac/eMac to people. Personal preference I guess.

    Let us know your thoughts on the Mac mini when it arrives and you've had a chance to try it out.
     
  23. Jo-Kun macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2003
    Location:
    Antwerp-Belgium
    #23
    well that is correct, in most occasions, but let me give you this 1.3GB full res tiff file I scanned a few months ago... you'll do grocery shopping while waiting it to open ;-)

    it all depends on what amount of work you need to do, you want to open a complete photoshoot or you go file by file? you have clients who ask you to make big scans for exhibition posters (the high res ones not the normal billboard style prints...) wich exceed 700MB in a glance and be able to do some editing on those?

    one rule wich still stands: if you want to work fast enough with photoshop
    the generally used filesize x3 is about the amount of available ram you need for photoshop, less will work, I used to work with 256MB ram on my PowerBook, but now having 1.5GB of ram... my work is finished faster, wich recoyces my clients ;-)

    it was on his, maybe something with the menusettings, but anyway it was there... just like my Pb used to have...
     
  24. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #24
    Well, next time I'm opening a 5-foot by 5-foot 300 DPI CMYK image, I'll keep that in mind.

    I think if I was working on images that size, I'd be thinking about a dual 2.7.

    Meanwhile, back in realityland, where most of us never see files bigger than 8 MB, a mini with 512 MB will do just fine.
     
  25. FelixDerKater macrumors 68000

    FelixDerKater

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2002
    #25
    The mini should have at least 64mb of VRAM...
     

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