Suddenly thinking mini...advice?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by BartoK, Mar 10, 2005.

  1. BartoK macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2004
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #1
    I've been using my trusty Dual USB G3 iBook now for going on 4 years and have been trying to work out getting my next Mac for at least a year now. I have been determined to get an iMac (until a few minutes ago) and have been sort of stuck in a "an update has to come soon" wait. All of a sudden, though, I'm wondering if I might go with a 1.25 Mac mini and a 20" cinema display!

    Here's the rationale...

    1. I'm a basic user. The most advanced thing I'm looking to do is some light work in iMovie - which I currently can't do on the iBook due to a maxed out hard drive. So, while the iMac G5 will of course zoom past the mini, anything is going to seem like light speed next to my G3 500.

    2. I like the idea of investing in a separate display and machine but I'm not ready to go PM right now. Reason being, I think I could get more out of a resale in a couple of years and could probably get into a more frequent upgrade cycle. (Provided that the mini has some staying power!)

    3. I probably won't be interested in upgrading to Tiger right away - I was perfectly happy waiting to get Panther after it had been out for a year - so a G5 isn't an absolute need for me right now...but a new Mac is!

    Basically, I'm hoping to get away from the feeling that I need the top of the line consumer Mac and trying to get something that will serve me better long-term. Please share your opinions either way. Anyone who agrees is very welcome to say so, but if you were me and would run screaming in the other direction to the iMac, I insist you explain! ;)

    Thanks!
     
  2. AlephNull macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Location:
    Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
    #2
    BartoK-

    Assuming you are looking for a desktop machine as opposed to something more portable like your iBook, I would recommend the Mac mini.

    From what you said, if the most greedy app you will be using is iMovie, then a mini loaded with 512MB, or 1gig (preferably), is all that you need. I use my 512MB mini 1.25 for DVD ripping, viewing, office apps, photoshop and garageband, and I have experienced no serious speed problems. (This is coming from a 3 year old HP laptop though).

    Paired with a 20 inch ACD, the mini will definitely be a great machine, and if you are only going to be using it lightly (pretty much anything other than serious photoshop and FCP) the mac mini will just fly.

    But many will tell you to go with the iMac G5 because it will last longer, and if you can afford it, you may as well go for it. I disagree, because having a separate display and tower will make upgrading up to a PM or staying with the mini series all the easier.

    Good luck
     
  3. ncoffey macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    #3
    I just did the exact same thing. I ordered my 1.25 Mac mini with 512/BT+AE/Superdrive and then started looking around at monitors I could get for it. I couldn't find what I wanted anywhere else for the price range I wanted so I bit the bullett and added a 20" cinema display to my order. I was going to get a 20" iMac but I like the upgrade path of the mini and I don't need the power of the G5 at the moment. I also wanted a really quiet computer and the mini is certainly that. (Though I guess the iMac is in auto or reduced mode too) It's all about what you need though. Realistically I'll probably be using the computer for safari, iTunes, some word processing, and possibly some OpenGL programming in a few months time. (Nothing that'll need a lot of power yet, as it's more groundwork type stuff, and I don't even have to use this computer to do it.) I'd say I'll be using the mini for 2-3 years and then I'll upgrade to the then-current powermac using my current monitor.

    For your purposes I'd think about how much hard drive space you really want. I'm not you so I don't know but 80 gigs may not be enough, in which case I'd get the 40 with the computer itself and then buy a firewire or USB2.0 hard drive. (I had an extra 160 gig drive laying around so i got an enclosure for it for 70 bux Canadian and will be using that to store my music as I have a LOT of cds.)

    Anyway as a final note I'll reiterate that my decision was based on the fact that the mini is QUIET and I don't need a ton of power. (And the 20" display is a thing of beauty compared to a run of the mill viewsonic)
     
  4. feakbeak macrumors 6502a

    feakbeak

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    Location:
    Michigan
    #4
    I would also recommend the Mac mini, and not just because I own one. Although this is my first Mac I have been thinking about buying a new Mac for about a year, like yourself. I did not like the clunky looking eMacs. The iMac G5's are very nice - I love the design. However, I have always hated All-In-Ones. I like the flexibility of having a separate display. I am like you, I do not do a ton of photo or video editing, just a little bit. If you think you'll be doing more movie editing/burning in the future you probably should go with the iMac because of the faster and larger hard drive.

    If you do go for the Mac mini here are my recommendations.

    1. Get the 1.42 GHz model, it's a little faster and you get twice the hard drive space.
    2. Must get 512 MB. If you can afford it, get 1 GB. If you get the 1 GB buy it and install it yourself unless you are really uncomfortable with hardware.
    3. For the display I would go with the Dell 2001FP or 2005FPW (there's another thread on the 2005FPW going for under $500 shipped right now). It's a great monitor and half the price of Apple's. My mini looks great on my 2001FP.

    Good luck with your purchases, let us know what you decide on.
     
  5. floatingspirit macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2001
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #5
    Can the Mini drive a 20 inch Apple display? At 32 megabytes of video memory, could we watch a DVD movie, for example, and have sufficient video/audio quality in fullscreen mode? Any Macxperts wanna weigh in on this? I'd go the Mini route too, but I need it to serve as my VCR and I'm not sure if it can handle that with the 20 inch.
     
  6. dont24 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2005
    Location:
    Northeast
    #6
    I'm also very close to buying a mini. I was really waiting for Tiger and/or an upgrade to the PM line. But this will be my first Mac, and I want one now :)
    Can't wait any longer. This system will go to my Son, when the PM line is updated. My local Apple store has the minis in stock. 1.42, 512MB memory, Superdrive, BT, Wireless, 80GB HD. I want to do some light Video editing using iMovie. I've read some of the threads and seems like I need to buy an external firewire drive. My question is, which drive should I buy? I was thinking I'd get a 160GB HD.
     
  7. feakbeak macrumors 6502a

    feakbeak

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    Location:
    Michigan
    #7
    According to Apple's site on the Mac mini's Tech Specs, it can push the 20" and even the 23" HD displays.

    I'm running my mini with the Dell 2001FP 20" display at 1600x1200 and it hasn't flinched. I tested out watching a DVD and the sound and video were fine, no hickups or anything. I'm sure you would be fine with Apple's 20".
     
  8. Trout74 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2005
    #8
    go for it!

    Iv'e been Pcing it for 10+years and just bought a mini 1.42 w/512 RAM and combo drive. IT seems very fast to me, and the only time i felt like it was lagging was when I was ripping a CD and playing tunes in the background and surfing the web all at the same time. And to tell you the truth is was probably my Internet connection.

    Comming from a PIII with 256 RAM and 64 MEgs GPU, my 1.42 G4 with 512Ram seems lightning fast. I will be happy for a year and get a faster Mac in a year and in the meantime, im happy as a clam.


    Trout
    :)
     
  9. punkmac macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2004
    #9
    Can a mini run a cinema display.....


    I was at an Apple reseller today and popped a dvd in a mini. It was hooked up to a 23" CD and looked fine.

    I had the same worries and wanted to check it out.

    I.
     
  10. Tuned MP5T macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2004
    Location:
    New York City
    #10
    The Mac mini and the Apple Cinema 20" Display work well together. :D
     
  11. floatingspirit macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2001
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #11
    Mini+Big Display

    Cool. Thanks for the input folks. Excellent!
     
  12. monty77 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    UK, South Coast
    #12
    People running the Mini with large monitors or running high resolutions ... how does it handly Expose when you have lots of screens open?

    Its the only time I see my Mini slow down, very laggy using F9 to see all open screens.

    Otherwise it's a great box, I just think the graphics lets it down a bit.

    Adam
     
  13. feakbeak macrumors 6502a

    feakbeak

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    Location:
    Michigan
    #13
    I'm running 1600x1200 on a 20" LCD and I do not noticed any lag or choppiness when using Expose. I think so far the most windows I've had open is about 12-15. How many were you working with when you noticed some slow down? Perhaps, you were doing something CPU-intensive at the time?
     
  14. monty77 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    UK, South Coast
    #14
    Interesting. I wasn't doing anything exciting and only 4-5 screens. The animation was very slow, I'll take a vid to demonstrate what I mean.

    I had the Mini hooked up to a CRT monitor today at work (1024x768res) and there was no lag. My TFT at home runs at 1280x1024 - a lot fewer pixels to drive than yours.

    Maybe I have a software issue somewhere, I'm doing a fresh install over the next couple of days so maybe that'll fix it.

    Thanks,
    Adam
     
  15. _pb_boi macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2004
    #15
    To reiterate what everybody else said; it'll do that absolutely no problem. The setup in my sig performed great for that use. Used to come at 4 or 5am slightly inebriated, stick on one of the Matrix trilogy movies and fall asleep to that. Watching it from my bed :D Great fun!

    andy.
     
  16. floatingspirit macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2001
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #16
    Fresh Install?

    Dude,

    What's with the Fresh Install? Sounds like a drastic measure. Was there a problem?
     
  17. marknicholls macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2004
    Location:
    Bristol, England
    #17
    If i get a mac mini without airport extreme, is it easy to upgrade myself?

    Thanks
     
  18. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #18

    Sorry, but it's not looking good.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=114322&highlight=upgrade+mini+airport+card

    Just for future reference, and I'm not getting angry or anything. It might help you if you do a quick search first. Then, if you can't find a solution, post a new thread rather than a post in someone else's slightly related thread. That's probably the best way of solving problems.

    Hope you get the mini, they're great machines. Although, having said that, the new eMacs have much better video cards and also faster hard drives if you wanna give them a look.
     
  19. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus

    Mitthrawnuruodo

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2004
    Location:
    Bergen, Norway
    #19
    As far as I remember, Airport (and/or Bluetooth) is not something you want to upgrade yourself. It involves a virtual disassembling of the mini, and you'll have a real hard tim getting your hands on the (custom) Airport module... Sorry...

    I think RAM is the only "user accessible" upgrade on the mini (even though with a bit of digging you probably could change the HD)... ;)

    Edit: Beaten by a mile... there you have it for reading the entire thread... :eek:
     

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