Considering Mac Mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by RedElectro, Mar 11, 2011.

  1. RedElectro macrumors regular

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    #1
    Don't know if anyone can shed some light on this, but...

    I currently have a Macbook Pro 15" i7 and a PowerMac G5 2.0DP with Cinema Display. I've got an Apple (Mini) keyboard and Magic Mouse also hooked up to the G5 and was wondering what you thought of me adding a Mac Mini to the setup?

    I don't want to lose the G5 (yet) and I'm wondering what I'd gain from adding a Mac Mini? I wondered if it would be possible to share the screen, keyboard and mouse with the G5 and also have the two machines networked for file sharing.

    I like the G5 and have tons of storage on it (and files) I would also like the benefits of an Intel Mac and would like to easily flip between the two when working. I'm thinking leave something rendering on the G5, switch to the Mini and work on a Photoshop file kinda thing?

    Is this possible/practical has anyone else done this kind of thing or is it just a massive waste of time?

    Cheers!
     
  2. Biscuit411 macrumors regular

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    Sep 29, 2010
    #2
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_1_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7E18 Safari/528.16)

    I've been wondering the exact same thing! Someone help us out after you finish waiting in the iPad lines...
     
  3. RedElectro thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    Seems as no-one's got any opinions on this Biscuit! :D

    There's a KVM switch by Belkin that seems to be a start on the subject, but I've heard that it doesn't support all resolutions?!

    Belkin Switch2 KVM For Mac Mini available on Amazon.
     
  4. philipma1957, Mar 12, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2011

    philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    #4
    I had a switch purchased it on ebay.it was a no name brand it worked for about 50 or 60 times then the picture got worse and it died. Maybe the belkin will last longer. I have an iMac a mac pro and a mac mini. I use all separate mice keyboards and monitors. I tie it altogether with

    this on a good sale:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...etwork+-+Routers+/+Remote-_-D-Link-_-33127060

    and this:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...2108042&cm_re=synology-_-22-108-042-_-Product


    I move a file to the nas from the mini or the imac and if I really want them I move to the mac pro.

    the nas is pretty fast it can stream two eyetv shows at the same time one to the mini and one to the imac.
     
  5. RedElectro thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    Thanks for the reply philipma1957.

    So this isn't as crazy as it first seems? I would like to still use the PowerMac (as it's great), but would like to switch to Snow Leopard (Intel) occasionally. I've plenty of storage on the G5 already, so don't really need a NAS, but would want to share the monitor. Is the separate keyboard mouse essential? Do you think there's any way of sharing those too?
     
  6. cocacolakid macrumors 65816

    cocacolakid

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    #6
    I think if you're using bluetooth keyboard and mouse you would want a second set due to not wanting to unpair/pair them constantly. If you're using USB keyboard and mouse you could just use a KVM switch, however to agree with another poster, my experience with KVM switches hasn't been great either. I had a Belkin switch that worked fine for a month or two and then just stopped working. I didn't buy a replacement because it was very expensive at the time. (that was about 5 years ago back in my PC days)

    But back to your premise, other than being a die hard Machead, I'm not sure why you would want to buy a mini when your other Macs are working fine and you intend to keep using them. If you just wanted to upgrade and probably wouldn't use the other Macs, or would sell/giveaway one, it would make more sense to me.

    What about buying an iPad instead? I use my iPad everyday, especially at the end of the day as I move off the mini and when I watch TV, etc. I sold my laptop because I never used it once I had an iPad.
     
  7. mw12a macrumors newbie

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    Nov 10, 2009
    #7
    I have a Mac Pro connected to a 27" ACD, and a MacBook Air connected to an older/cheaper Dell monitor on my desk. I use Synergy to share the keyboard/mouse between the two. It works really well.

    If I were you I'd get a cheap monitor, hook it up to your laptop, and share the keyboard/mouse from your Mac Pro. It'll cost you less than buying a mini and as an extra bonus you get more screen real estate.

    I used KVMs for a number of years and found them to annoying compared to my current setup.

    More info on Synergy here: http://synergy-foss.org/
     
  8. RedElectro thread starter macrumors regular

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    #8
    Thanks for that guys.

    Yeah... I suppose you're right about getting a MacMini, it was just one of those impulse idea kinda things!! There just seems to be less and less software compatible with the G5, but I still think it's a perfectly good machine and don't want to get rid of it. With Lion on the horizon, I just thought this set up idea would give me the best of both worlds.

    I'd never heard of Synergy before - and it does seem like a good option. I've just been "Screen Sharing" from the G5 to the MacBook Pro over Wi-Fi and while it's a bit sluggish, it's another option just to do simple functions on the G5 if I did go down the MacMini route.

    :)
     
  9. mdgm macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 2, 2010
    #9
    Well if you do want a cheap desktop to run Lion, then the Mini is a great buy. However I'd hold off for now as the Mini should see a good update this year.
     
  10. iDave macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    I had a Mac Pro and before it a G5. About a year ago I sold the Pro, switched to a mini with external storage and never looked back. The 2009 mini would run circles around an old G5 and is almost as fast as my 2008 Mac Pro. Now I have more space and a much quieter computer.
     
  11. RedElectro thread starter macrumors regular

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    #11
    That's interesting iDave. My original plan was to save up for the Mac Pro as an eventual replacement for the G5, but a Mac Mini would have less impact on my bank account/marriage! ;)

    Another option would be to get the Mac Mini and shove the G5 in a cupboard somewhere as a file server, just accessing it with "Share Screen" if I ever need to sort something out on it?!
     
  12. Stan Mikulenka macrumors 6502

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    Calgary, Canada
    #12
    Hi RedElectro,
    don't forget that a Mini (at least 2009 one) is more then 2x faster than exactly your G5:
    (The G5 being 100%, Mini {2009} being 215%)
     

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  13. RedElectro thread starter macrumors regular

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    #13
    Wow... it's no slouch then!!! Shows you how technology progresses! It's something I'll think about in the future definitely. :)

    Thanks. :)
     
  14. phyrexia, Mar 17, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2011

    phyrexia macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    I am in the same boat. I believe I have the same model PowerMac as you have.

    I am probably going to buy a Mini once they are upgraded this year. I plan to run two monitors like I do now (although I'm going to buy a 1080p res monitor to replace one of the current screens).

    What I will do (and you could as well) is to run desktop sharing (vnc) on the G5 and log in to it if you need to. You can run the client software fullscreen on one of your monitors (if you run a dual monitor setup, as I mentioned). I have a gigabit home network so it is pretty speedy using this method. (I do this with the PPC and Win7 currently)

    Also, I think it's funny that the Mini will fit on top of the Powermac, but will be easily twice as fast. I won't have a 1TB RAID 1 setup in the Mini, though.

    It won't be tough to network the two together. A $20 gigabit switch is all you really need, but I suspect your network environment may be more complex.
     
  15. Stan Mikulenka macrumors 6502

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    #15
    Hi phyrexia,
    you can run 2 monitors easy on the Mini (at least 2009 model - which some consider a better than the 2010 model). I'm using 2 monitor set-up with 28" and 25" monitors and sometimes I'll switch to 32" hi-def TV instead of the 25" one:
     

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  16. And macrumors 6502

    And

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    #16
    I have a G4 and mini running off a LCD Monitor (TV) without a switch. The monitor has VGA and DVI input, G4 is in the VGA, mini is in DVI. I just press a button on side of LCD TV to cycle through the inputs. It's a doddle!
     
  17. mr.steevo macrumors 65816

    mr.steevo

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    #17
    Such a simple solution!
     
  18. phyrexia macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    It doesn't take care of the problem of controlling the second computer, however.
     
  19. Tara Davis macrumors regular

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    Mar 29, 2007
    #19
    Hook up everything to the mini, and do everything on that.

    Leave the G5 running in a closet somewhere, controlling it with Remote Desktop when you need to. The mini is good enough that you can relegate the old machine to just being a file server that does some occasional background rendering.

    For that matter, pull the drives, put them in FW/USB cases and connect them to your airport hub or directly to the mini, and sell off what's left of the G5. Seriously, what will you need it for once you've got the mini?
     
  20. michael.lauden, Mar 18, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2011

    michael.lauden macrumors 68020

    michael.lauden

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    #20
    there's a bunch of different ways to take care of this... i.e: synergy
     
  21. phyrexia macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    cool. i've not seen that before.
     
  22. QuantumLo0p macrumors 6502a

    QuantumLo0p

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    #22
    @RedElectro
    I disagree with previous posts stating the Mini is faster than a G5. Generally, yes, of course but while the numbers are there they do not tell the entire story. Real world performance of a base config Mini with leave you astonished as to how badly Apple hamstringed the Mini; too little ram and a hdd that resembles a steaming dog turd more than an actual hdd. Cold app startups are painfully slow and file copying is lack-luster at best. My G5's raid 0 was quite snappy so comparing it to the Mini hdd isn't really fair. Graphics lag was sometimes terrible until too.

    Luckily a ram upgrade will transform the Mini into the computer Apple should be selling from the start. I recommend adding 4GB and if you feel like you'll use it then opt for 8GB. If you don't reboot much then many apps should stay cached in memory. If you feel like going beyond that, I recommend a Momentus XT or, beyond that, a SSD. If you want cheap price per GB I'd go with the XT but for performance I'd go with a SSD.

    Yes the upgrades will drive the Mini up higher by a large amount but in the end you will have arguably the best computer in that class. Check out other brand's offering for yourself and you'll see. Honestly, I am tired of hearing people whine about the Mini's price and they could build something more powerful. Blah blah blah. The fact is any home built is NOT a Mini and most certainly does not have its form factor. : )

    As for the old G5, well, it teeth are still getting longer. File server maybe? If you could find the aftermarket hdd bracket to add 3 drives you could have 5 total. Although I can't remember the drive size limits for that machine, perhaps it's not worth it considering the sheer mass of it and keeping the big power supply hot all the time.
     
  23. Terrador macrumors regular

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    Aug 22, 2008
    #23
    Solution:

    1. Get Mac Mini
    2. Use Mac Mini as desktop
    3. Get cheap RAID card for old PowerMac
    4. Network your PowerMac to the Mac Mini
    5. You now have a new Mac Mini desktop and your own server in a PowerMac shell
     
  24. RedElectro thread starter macrumors regular

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    #24
    Thanks for these tips, very useful info. Regarding the G5 drive size limits, I've currently got a WD Caviar Black 2TB drive running with no problems. I should imagine it would be possible to add more?
     
  25. RedElectro thread starter macrumors regular

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    #25
    Nice! ;)
     

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