Buy Mac Mini now or wait, save money for G5 PM?

chanoc

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 20, 2003
339
0
Anchorage, Alaska USA
Here's my situation: I wanted a Mac Mini next Monday, but the BTO has a 3-4 week shipping delay quoted on their Web site. Well, in another 4 weeks I have enough for this: 1.8GHz G5 PM (single), entry everything and without a telephone modem - owned five Macs and never used the darn thing! Total cost, with student discount, is only 1,233.00 - cheap for a PowerMac, considering what they cost a few years ago - and only a 1-3 day wait to ship.

So I think the logical thing to do is wait and save money for a G5. A G5 with my 19" Sun monitor is such a cushy feeling. ;)

So how is the entry-level PM with only 256MB RAM, 64MB VRAM, 1.8GHz G5 and FSB? I am used to these past Macs: iMac 400 G3, iBook 500 G3, iBook 800, 667 PB G4, 1.25GHz PM G4 and iMac G4 1.0Ghz.

Plan to expand the machine as time goes on. Primary use is Wed design, graphic design for the Web, streaming iTunes playlists with Nicecast, rip/burn iTunes and Toast, rip DVDs with HandBreak, video conference, some use of iMovie and iDVD, office stuff, games like Call of Duty and Max Payne, and more uses as time goes on. I see potential in the PM.
 

jsw

Moderator emeritus
Mar 16, 2004
22,910
41
Andover, MA
The PM G5 definitely gives you much better future-proofing. However: you need more than 256MB of RAM. 512MB is the bare minimum. 1GB is much better. But don't even order it unless you bump up to at least 512MB. Also, everyone recommends going to the next level graphics card - it isn't much more $$ but is a lot better.

I think, for you, the G5 is, as you say, the better bet.

Edit: the RAM and video card upgrades won't cost you much more than $100 total but will very definitely improve the perceived speed of the system.
 

dongmin

macrumors 68000
Jan 3, 2002
1,708
0
Benchmarks:
Mini vs. Cube, iMac G5, PMac G4
PMac G5 1.8 ghz vs. other PMacs

The PowerMac is almost twice as fast on Cinebench and three times as fast on Quake 3 (with the optional Radeon 9600xt which is a must-have upgrade at only $45).

While the Mini is cheap in its base configuration, once you start adding stuff like RAM, Superdrive, and faster HD, it doesn't seem much of a bargain. If you care about performance and you can afford it, the Power Mac is a no brainer.
 

vtprinz

macrumors 6502
Nov 30, 2004
395
0
jsw said:
But don't even order it unless you bump up to at least 512MB.
I wouldn't necessarily say this. The memory can be upgraded at any time. If you can't afford a PM with the memory upgrade now, don't even worry about it. The best adice regarding computers is to buy the best of the things you can't upgrade, meaning that if you can afford the G5, don't buy a G4 just so you can afford more memory. Get the G5 and worry about the memory/video card/hard drive/etc/etc/etc later on. You'll be much better off in the long run.
 

anubis

macrumors 6502a
Feb 7, 2003
937
50
jsw said:
The PM G5 definitely gives you much better future-proofing. However: you need more than 256MB of RAM. 512MB is the bare minimum. 1GB is much better. But don't even order it unless you bump up to at least 512MB. Also, everyone recommends going to the next level graphics card - it isn't much more $$ but is a lot better.

I think, for you, the G5 is, as you say, the better bet.

Edit: the RAM and video card upgrades won't cost you much more than $100 total but will very definitely improve the perceived speed of the system.

Definitely agree with jsw on this one. A few months ago I got a dual 1.8 G5. I ordered it from the factory with 512MB and then immediately upgraded to 1GB. Regardless of whether you get a Mac Mini or go with the Powermac, you should consider an upgrade to 512MB of ram essential.

Also, I did as jsw suggested and upgraded the video card from the nVidia to the Radeon 9600Xt. It was only like $40 more but gives double the VRAM and much better performance. Remember that all of the visual elements - the entire OS - on the mac is now rendered using the 3d hardware of the video card, so system responsiveness is now directly tied to video card power.

This whole system cost me $1884 with the mentioned upgrades, no modem, and the bluetooth/wireless keyboard & mouse combo.

In conclusion, getting a Powermac with the upgraded RAM and video (less than $100 worth of upgrades) will make you much happier than a Mac mini. I believe it will also last a lot longer than the Mini thanks to the Powermac's excellent upgrade capabilities (2 hard drive bays, PCI slots, user-upgradable video, etc.)
 

yamabushi

macrumors 65816
Oct 6, 2003
1,009
0
Buy both. Buy a Mac mini now @1.25 w/512MB RAM. Then wait a few months and buy a midrange powermac after the next update instead of the entry level now. Sell your Mac mini for almost as much as you paid for it or give it away to friend/family.
 

ravenvii

macrumors 604
Mar 17, 2004
7,584
490
Melenkurion Skyweir
For you, most definitely get the PowerMac. No question. If you can afford it, and size is no concern, the PowerMac is your machine. Hands down.

I'm still going to get a mini even though I can afford a dual 2.5 if I have to, because I need the size - I shuttle between college and home during breaks, summers, etc, and the mini's size is just perfect for that. I don't need a laptop because I never use it away from the desk at school or home.
 

chanoc

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 20, 2003
339
0
Anchorage, Alaska USA
vtprinz said:
I wouldn't necessarily say this. The memory can be upgraded at any time. If you can't afford a PM with the memory upgrade now, don't even worry about it. The best adice regarding computers is to buy the best of the things you can't upgrade, meaning that if you can afford the G5, don't buy a G4 just so you can afford more memory. Get the G5 and worry about the memory/video card/hard drive/etc/etc/etc later on. You'll be much better off in the long run.

I intend to buy a RAM stick every payday until the machine slots are full. The video card on the base configuration has double the VRAM of the Mini, so this is not an immediate issue.:)
 

Squareball

macrumors regular
Mar 16, 2004
167
1
Palo Alto, CA
chanoc said:
I intend to buy a RAM stick every payday until the machine slots are full. The video card on the base configuration has double the VRAM of the Mini, so this is not an immediate issue.:)
Not a bad plan. I do believe that you must add ram sticks two at a time (of the same type and size). :)
 

Tuned MP5T

macrumors regular
Nov 6, 2004
177
0
New York City
I was in the same situation as you but I've come to a solution. Since this will be my first Mac I'm going with the Mac mini. I'm going learn everything I can with the Mac mini and then get the next generation PM.
 

jaromski

macrumors regular
Jun 18, 2004
150
0
zion
chanoc said:
I intend to buy a RAM stick every payday until the machine slots are full. The video card on the base configuration has double the VRAM of the Mini, so this is not an immediate issue.:)
Sounds like you have already made up your mind... :)

The biggest impediment to the mini IMO is the 32mb video. Yeah I know it is an entry-level system, but maybe apple will release a 64mb version on the next round. Even if it was on the high-end version that would be coo. With a 1.67ghz G4. Yeah I could go iMac, but I don't really like them. I still prefer having the separate components for some reason. But the upgraded "mini2" would be plenty of system for most everybody I know (including myself) But I don't really do video editing or rendering so the G5 would be overkill. That's not to say I wouldn't accept a G5 donation system. :)

The crazy bit is I was just thinking a few years back I paid $4000 for a system that had an 8GB hard drive. Now you can get 8GB RAM for a fraction of that price. Ah, I am waxing nostalgic now...

-jaromski
 

chanoc

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 20, 2003
339
0
Anchorage, Alaska USA
yamabushi said:
Buy both. Buy a Mac mini now @1.25 w/512MB RAM. Then wait a few months and buy a midrange powermac after the next update instead of the entry level now. Sell your Mac mini for almost as much as you paid for it or give it away to friend/family.
I have changed my mind and am going to go with your suggestion. :cool:

I have noticed on eBay, bidding for an entry-level Mac Mini is going for more than they cost on the Apple Store Web site. :rolleyes:
 

mak

macrumors member
Feb 19, 2005
41
0
are you all happy with your mac mini?

any regrets on not getting the powermacs now and being stuck with a mac mini for next year or so?

thanks,
 
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