VERY detailed mac mini question

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by baby duck monge, Jan 30, 2005.

  1. baby duck monge macrumors 68000

    baby duck monge

    Feb 16, 2003
    Memphis, TN
    alright, guys, here's the deal: i'm looking to buy a mac mini, but i am presented with a number of possibilites. i am looking at 5 possible configurations, and would like input about what y'all think is my best bet.

    option 1
    get an absolutely base model mini (1.25 ghz, no ram, no APE/BT, 40 gb hd)
    buy and install 1 gig ram
    buy and install 60 gig 5400RPM hd (assuming i don't get lucky and end up with one)

    total cost (depending on if apple charges sales tax based on shipping address or billing address): ~ $788 - $800 (though if i could find someplace that doesn't charge sales tax i could knock off $10 - $25 [lose edu discount, no tax])

    option 2
    get base mini with HD upgraded to 80 gig
    buy and install 1 gig ram

    total cost: ~ $715 - $730

    option 3
    get base mini + APE/BT
    buy and install new HD
    buy and install 1 gig ram

    total cost: ~ $870 - $885

    option 4
    get base mini with factory upgraded HD and APE/BT
    buy and install 1 gig ram

    total cost: ~ $810 - $828

    option 5
    buy 1.42 ghz mini with 512mb ram and APE/BT

    total cost: ~ $783 - $803
  2. baby duck monge thread starter macrumors 68000

    baby duck monge

    Feb 16, 2003
    Memphis, TN
    sorry for the DP, but i was worried about length...

    anyway, which setup do y'all think gives the best balance of price, performance, and features? i would like the wireless, but could probably live without it. maybe i would get lucky and my mini would come with a 5400RPM drive. what performance difference is there between a 1.25 ghz with 1 gig ram and a 1.42 ghz with 512 ram? with the upgraded HD? is it worth the risk of installing all this stuff myself?

    and other thoughts?

    thanks for your time and input!
  3. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    You forgot just one small detail...

    What will you be using the machine for?

    Saying that, there was a woman on here recently who originally couldn't make up her mind between the 1.25 with 1gb ram & the 1.42 with 512mb ram... Despite most people saying 'get the 1.42' she went for the 1.25 figuring that having more RAM would be better...

    If it was me, I'd get the 1.42 without BT etc. You can always upgrade the other stuff later... and personally, I don't mind wires to keyboards and mice. But that's just me...
  4. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    My Choice --

    1.42, Bluetooth and Airport. Add my own 1 Gb RAM. Take chances on hard drive (although it seems Apple is shipping Seagate 40's at 5400, not so on the Toshiba 80's).

    Here's hoping it's waiting for me at the dealership tomorrow.

  5. baby duck monge thread starter macrumors 68000

    baby duck monge

    Feb 16, 2003
    Memphis, TN
    right, my uses. ha! nothing horribly special, i'm afraid. mostly email/word/internet/itunes/watching movies. some light photoshop and dreamweaver, as well.

    as for the wireless stuff, i have a laptop and wireless internet going already, so it might be nice to be able to either ditch my wireless station and do it through the software base or to put the mini someplace i don't want ethernet or telephone cords running to. also the idea of wireless transfer between the comps is nice (also, my fiancé has a laptop with wireless, and we will be getting married and moving in together over the summer, so that would be another comp to connect to). then i figured i might as well add the $15 or whatever to get BT, too, because i might want it in the future. i would be using a wireless keyboard and wired mouse (items i already have), so those cables aren't an issue for me.
  6. MacAztec macrumors 68040


    Oct 28, 2001
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    If I were you, I would buy the 1.42 with the AE/BT. Then, wait a while, save up some money and upgrade the RAM. That seems like the best choice.
  7. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Sep 13, 2002
    Bristol, UK
    I would only get wireless if you plan to move it around. If you are planning in keeping it in one place then I would not bother.

    I would get the 1.42GHz option. I really would not get worked up about the hard disk, it is not going to make much difference with performance, and is not worth the cost of buying a new disk to install, if you do get the slower drive.

    I would get bluetooth even if you don't plan to use it initially, not only can you use wireless keyboards and mouse, but you will be able to sync your cell phone as well.
  8. baby duck monge thread starter macrumors 68000

    baby duck monge

    Feb 16, 2003
    Memphis, TN
    that setup is more expensive than what i would like to spend. really, option 3 is more than i want to spend, but i thought i should put it in for more accurate reporting.

    interesting to find out some sort of rhyme or reason to which HDs are the faster ones, though.
  9. blackfox macrumors 65816


    Feb 18, 2003
    Do you have a keyboard/mouse?

    reading a linked review here the other day, the relative lack of USB ports (2) might be something to look into. If you are planning on buying (or have) an Apple keyboard (w/ two extra usb ports), then it really doesn't matter, but BT might be a nice option also, and allows for a cleaner set-up.

    Personally, I would go with the 1.42 option w/ 512 Ram (poss. bt/ae). If that proves insufficient for your needs, you can easily replace Ram and HD at a later date, while the cpu is non-upgradeable.

    I also don't know what you are doing with the machine, but considering both of my current macs are under the specs of the mini (except HD speed) and perform admirably, I wouldn't sweat it.
  10. baby duck monge thread starter macrumors 68000

    baby duck monge

    Feb 16, 2003
    Memphis, TN
    already have a USB hub (and a firewire hub, for that matter), so that is not too much of a concern

    i would not even dream of using the mini with less than 512MB, and would like not to really deal with upgrading it for at least a long time, so i don't know how i feel about this. i mean, i could always put in the 512 on the front and then get a gig later, but that seems like a bit of a waste.

    ps - i love macrumors. thanks for all the quick responses
  11. redeye be macrumors 65816

    redeye be

    Jan 27, 2005
    Was having this same issue.

    Today i ordered me a
    mini 1.42 Ghz - Disk speeds would be OK as i've been told (thx macrumors)
    ae included, no bt. guess i'll add a usb bt adapter when/if i need one
    512 Mb RAM - should get me started good. When it proves not to be enough, i'll upgrade to 1 Gig
    Corded keyboard and mouse. The mouse i will be replacing with a 2 button + wheel one, but first i have to get the mini itself :rolleyes:

    all this cost me 775,14 € (with a edu discount - i'm kind of a teacher ;) )
    see for conversion :D

    Hope this helps you a bit.

  12. ravenvii macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    Melenkurion Skyweir
    I have just placed an order for a Mac mini, 1.42 GHz with 1 GB RAM and BT+AP. I'm excited!

    I suggest you include BT and AP, even if you don't think you'll use it. They're cheaper BTO than if you buy them later, and you would probably be happy you got it if you decide to go wireless. And I suggest you get a 1.42, gambling on a 5400 RPM drive in your 1.25 just seems a bit silly to me. And besides if you decide to do it, a HD in the mini is much more upgradeable than the CPU.

    Good luck!
  13. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    If it were me, and $$ were an issue (when isn't it?), I'd get a 1.25, upgrade the HD to 80GB, add on AE/BT, and up the RAM to 512MB.

    Total edu cost: $680.

    I'd start with a wired KB and mouse, again to save $$.

    Why 1.25? Because the speed differential between it and the 1.42 isn't worth the $55 edu differential ($100 - $45 for HD upgrade). The 1.42 is faster, but more than 10% faster overall (i.e., equivalent to price difference)? No. Plus, 1.25 will be good enough for anything 1.42 is good enough for, and 1.42 won't be fast enough if 1.25 isn't.

    Why upgrade the HD? $45 to double the capacity seems reasonable. Yes, a 7200 RPM drive would speed things up - but if you want to spend all that, buy an iMac or an eMac. The mini's all about cost savings.

    Why AE/BT? Because you can't beat the combo for $89 edu.

    Why 512 MB? Well, because, even though 1GB would help, it's a lot more money ($100 more, or more, even 3rd party). Should you decide you need it, you can sell the 512MB for something, whereas the 256MB sticks are essentially worthless.

    For $680, you get a system that's similar in performance to one costing $200 more, and you don't price it high enough that an eMac or iMac become reasonable substitutes.

    If 1GB really matters to you, it'll run you ~$100 more (buying 3rd party, installing yourself) than 512MB. I think I'd rather add the SuperDrive (now 8x, apparently) for $90 than the RAM.

    Edit: didn't mean to imply the 1.25 is as fast as the 1.42, only that, since money is an issue, it probably isn't worth the premium for you.

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