Advice on how to replace my Mac Pro 3.1

flyman

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 28, 2004
108
0
Hi Everyone,

At the moment its only really used for a small amount of photo editing, emails, web browsing and gaming on Windows via Bootcamp. I keep all my media on internal hd's and backup to an external drive.

Now I want get myself a dedicated windows gaming machine with all the bells and whistles but being an Apple fanboy I still want a mac environment.

Have thought about a Mac Mini or a MacBook though not too sure - Does anyone have any suggestions as to how best go about making this change?

FYI: Not keen on going down the Hackintosh route as a bit of a noob with computers!
 

techwarrior

macrumors 65816
Jul 30, 2009
1,179
442
Colorado
It doesn't sound like you need much horsepower. MacMini may meet your needs, but with the rumors of a new model this fall, you might want to wait.

I made the switch from Pro 3.1 to Mini a couple years ago, not disappointed. The price is attractive, and you probably already have the monitors and such. My advice is to go SSD and don't skimp on RAM, RAM is not upgradable. If Apple's SSD prices are a deterrent, there are a lot of SATA SSD in the market and replacing a SATA HDD with SSD is not too difficult if you don't mind a little light surgery.

If this year's Mini refresh brings TB3 ports, external graphics may be a possibility. Not sure if Windows in Bootcamp can use external graphics, others may be more familiar with that option, but if it is possible, you may be able to skip a second Win machine.
 

flyman

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 28, 2004
108
0
Thank you, some very sound advice there.
I agree I think the Mini will suffice for my needs though I suspect I'll have to settle for a secondhand one as I want to spend more on the the gaming pc to be highly specced.

Inside my MacPro I currently have a 500Gb Samsung Evo SSD for System & Home and a 1Tb WD Green for my media.
Also another 500Gb Samsung Evo SSD for Windows 10 and a Western Digital Caviar Black WD640 for Windows backup.
I have on my desk a 2Tb WD My Book for Backups.

If I go down the Mac Mini route, would you suggest I get an enclosure to use the hard drives for storage (Photos & Music) and backups?

Apologies, not very technically minded when it come to this kind of stuff.
 

HDFan

macrumors 68020
Jun 30, 2007
2,121
529
Now I want get myself a dedicated windows gaming machine with all the bells and whistles but being an Apple fanboy I still want a mac environment.
gaming pc to be highly specced.
I'm not sure I understand what you want. A Mac and a dedicated gaming machine? Or one Mac, to run both MacOS and Windows? If so, via Bootcamp or virtualization (Parallels, Fusion)? If you want to run gaming on a Mac, a mini is problematic.
 

techwarrior

macrumors 65816
Jul 30, 2009
1,179
442
Colorado
Thank you, some very sound advice there.
I agree I think the Mini will suffice for my needs though I suspect I'll have to settle for a secondhand one as I want to spend more on the the gaming pc to be highly specced.

If I go down the Mac Mini route, would you suggest I get an enclosure to use the hard drives for storage (Photos & Music) and backups?
To be clear, the current Mac Mini has an underpowered video processor, so gaming is out of the question. However, if the new Mini (rumored to be on the slate for later this year) has Thunderbolt 3 and can support eGPU, running Windows gaming from bootcamp on the Mini might be possible. If this was the route you took, a large (1-2TB) SSD rather than HDD would be essential to run bootcamp for Windows gaming. I understand eGPU support for bootcamp is a little complicated now, but that might improve as more options become available.

If you decide to go Mini for general computing and a Windows PC for gaming, then the Mini HDD is not as important for the stated uses you mention. Capacity would be your main concern, and speed (Fusion or SSD) would be a luxury. If you need more storage, the 2014 Mini has both Thunderbolt 2 and USB3 for external drives, both are probably adequate for general purpose storage needs.

If you are willing to wait and see what Apple does with the next Mini, it is possible it might work for a single, dual boot system. eGPU is not cheap, but is probably less costly than a separate gaming PC. The added convenience of a single machine that can do both is nice in terms of reducing clutter.
 

flyman

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 28, 2004
108
0
I'm not sure I understand what you want. A Mac and a dedicated gaming machine? Or one Mac, to run both MacOS and Windows? If so, via Bootcamp or virtualization (Parallels, Fusion)? If you want to run gaming on a Mac, a mini is problematic.
Ideally a Mac Mini for general everyday usage and a dedicated high end Windows machine or gaming only.
[doublepost=1531766444][/doublepost]
To be clear, the current Mac Mini has an underpowered video processor, so gaming is out of the question. However, if the new Mini (rumored to be on the slate for later this year) has Thunderbolt 3 and can support eGPU, running Windows gaming from bootcamp on the Mini might be possible. If this was the route you took, a large (1-2TB) SSD rather than HDD would be essential to run bootcamp for Windows gaming. I understand eGPU support for bootcamp is a little complicated now, but that might improve as more options become available.

If you decide to go Mini for general computing and a Windows PC for gaming, then the Mini HDD is not as important for the stated uses you mention. Capacity would be your main concern, and speed (Fusion or SSD) would be a luxury. If you need more storage, the 2014 Mini has both Thunderbolt 2 and USB3 for external drives, both are probably adequate for general purpose storage needs.

If you are willing to wait and see what Apple does with the next Mini, it is possible it might work for a single, dual boot system. eGPU is not cheap, but is probably less costly than a separate gaming PC. The added convenience of a single machine that can do both is nice in terms of reducing clutter.
I don't want to go with a eGPU, I think it might cause too many complications!
Re the storage with my photos and music kept on an external drive the MacMini HD wont be much of a problem though having an SSD would be nice!
I'm not too worried about clutter as it wont be much different to what I already have.

One of my other concerns in knowing if a MacMini and a Windows PC can share the same monitor and keyboard?
 

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