Cube vs. Mini

livingfortoday

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Nov 17, 2004
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The Msp
OK, this is a complicated series of questions, so bear with me.

I am soon to inherit a G4 Cube from my dad (he's upgrading to a G5), and am weighing the pros and cons of upgrading the Cube versus buying a Mac Mini. Here is what I plan on doing to each, and the relative cost:

Cube:
1.2 Ghz Sonnet Upgrade $310 (on newegg.com)
1.5 GB PC100 RAM (has 512MB now, so 2x512) $130
Have a 200GB 7,200 RPM HD
8x DL DVD-RW drive (from friend) $150
Total $589

Mac Mini
1.42 Ghz
1 GB PC2700 RAM
80 GB 4,200 RPM HD
4x DVD-RW
at Education pricing, $969

My questions are as follows. I know that PC100 RAM is significantly slower than PC2700, but would it make that large of a difference in speed? Also, would the extra 512MB of it make up for that difference?

I'm also worried about the hard drive. I know the Cube uses ATA-66, whereas the drive is ATA-133. I know they're downwards compatible, but would that big of a speed drop really take away any advantage of using a 7,200 RPM drive over a 4,200?

Finally, I've heard about the new Gigadesign dual 1.6Ghz upgrade for the Cube which runs at $749... thought it's more than twice the cost, would it be worth it over a 1.2Ghz Sonnet?

There's no big rush on this as I'm not planning on getting the Cube for another two or three months, but I'm curious as to what you all think. Which should I go for?
 

wordmunger

macrumors 603
Sep 3, 2003
5,124
2
North Carolina
Have you visited cubeowner.com? Lots of cube advice there. Personally I'd go for the mini. The cube might be able to be juiced up a little better in the short run, but in the long run there will be wear and tear, as well as compatibility issues.
 
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livingfortoday

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Original poster
Nov 17, 2004
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The Msp
wordmunger said:
Have you visited cubeowner.com? Lots of cube advice there. Personally I'd go for the mini. The cube might be able to be juiced up a little better in the short run, but in the long run there will be wear and tear, as well as compatibility issues.
Yeah, but you can't upgrade the Mini past 1GB RAM, and since the video card and processor are part of the logic board... kinda limits it. So I'm thinking more of a right now rather than "in the future", ya know?
 
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Lord Blackadder

macrumors G5
May 7, 2004
13,700
2,727
Sod off
The Cube has the capability to take a Radeon 9800 Pro graphics card and the CPU upgrades you mentioned. Configured thus, with a nice big 7200 RPM drive, it would easily outperform the mini - but it will cost you.

Ignore the RAM differences, the G4 is limited by its FSB and I really don't think it makes a big difference whether you use PC100 or PC2700.
 
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panphage

macrumors 6502
Jul 1, 2003
496
0
I'm a cubeowner, definitely go look at cubeowner.com. As some have already mentioned, the cube wins, no questions. There won't be any "compatibility" problems later that you won't have with the mini; the mini is a G4 as well. Exception: You will have some troubles with your 200GB drive, the ata bus on the cube can only handle 120GB internal. OWC sells a software driver that apparently removes this limitation for like $10.

For proc upgrades, it all depends on what you're going to do, but I'd probably get a powerlogix 1.2 with the 7557. It'll fly. The powerlogix parts have their own power supply, bypassing the cranky Cube VRM. The gigadesigns upgrades for the cube come with a replacement VRM unit that is supposed to be more robust than the original part. This is a big deal, the VRM is probably the most commonly burned out part on the cube, it's just in a bad spot for airflow.
 
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Mord

macrumors G4
Aug 24, 2003
10,090
21
UK
powerlogix tend to treat there customers like ****.... i wouldent go there untill the horror storys stop.

go with the cube, it's cooler faster and cheaper, there is no advantage to the mini useing DDR, a the the MPX bus cant use DDR speed it's effectively like pc167, also the mini's 2.5" HD is a fair bit slower than the cube's 3.5" counterpart, what gpu comes with the cube?, if it'a rage you'll be wanting to swap it out for any quartz extreme card (radeon/geforce), if you dont use an ADC moniter many pc cards can be picked up for cheap on ebay.
 
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ibilly

macrumors regular
May 2, 2003
248
0
Boulder
neither

buy an old emac and overclock it. A very capable system. see this thread.

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=53733
and this site
http://www.lbodnar.dsl.pipex.com/eMac/eMac-upgrade.html

unless desk space is a proble, methinks that this'd give the best performance/dollar. Especially with revenue form the cube!

the negatives are coolness, and desk space. If these are a problem, then I guess the emac's out. Then there's the overclocking which you'd need to do, or pay somebody to do. Other than, that, you have a VERY capable machine for $.
 
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Lacero

macrumors 604
Jan 20, 2005
6,639
2
Anybody realize the Mac mini is actually Cube G4 2G? The mini is actually the new Cube!
 
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ibilly

macrumors regular
May 2, 2003
248
0
Boulder
neither, vers 2

I reccomend that you look at xbench.com, specifically thier comparison site.
A maxed mini w/ gig of ram @1.4ghz scored overall 118 w/ cpu @ 171
http://ladd.dyndns.org/xbench/merge.xhtml?doc1=91336

another 1.42 mini w/ a gig of ram scored a 140, but got only a 173 on the proscessor test. These results are mostly typical.

a cube with a 1.2 ghz G4 and 1.5 gig of ram scored a 132 with a prosc result of 144.

an over clocked emac
http://ladd.dyndns.org/xbench/merge.xhtml?doc1=57739

go look for your self. some pretty telling results. the emac or cube look very good for their price, though a maxed mini beats them both...
 
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yippy

macrumors 68020
Mar 14, 2004
2,087
3
Chicago, IL
I would go with the CUBE. You can have a better graphics card, bigger-cheaper-faster hard drive and I think they look cooler. Oh, and they have more ports and can take PCI cards.
 
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timdeleware

macrumors newbie
Jul 13, 2004
22
0
Detroit, MI
i think it s important to note that the mini is much smaller than the cube.

which is oddly not mentioned, and i think pretty important

ends up with the classic expandability vs. size
 
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jamdr

macrumors 6502a
Jul 20, 2003
659
0
Bay Area
I'd upgrade the cube--but I have question. Why did you price the Mac mini 1.42GHz if you were only planning on upgrading the cube to 1.2GHz? Why not price a more comparable 1.25GHz mini? Either way, though, I'd upgrade the cube.
 
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jamdr

macrumors 6502a
Jul 20, 2003
659
0
Bay Area
I just checked out sonnettech.com and I see they also make a 1.7GHz Cube upgrade for $500, which you could get on newegg.com for $433 here

Does that fit in your price range?
 
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Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
24,415
124
Location Location Location
The 512MB difference in RAM won't make the Cube any faster than the Mini (its a lot of RAM already), and the faster RAM used in the Mini won't make it much faster than the Cube. The difference in CPU won't make a huge difference, either. The biggest difference will come from the speed of the HD, and the Cube has a much faster HD, even if it's ATA-66.

From specs, I'd get the Cube. However, I'd be more inclined to get the Mini because its newer, looks great, and is small. I don't really like upgrading Macs, mostly because I have never done it before, and it's less prevailant in the mac world than in the PC world.
 
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Hemingray

macrumors 68030
Jan 9, 2002
2,914
26
Ha ha haaa!
Lacero said:
Anybody realize the Mac mini is actually Cube G4 2G? The mini is actually the new Cube!
Yeah, except this time Apple got the price point right and it actually fits into their product matrix. :)
 
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panphage

macrumors 6502
Jul 1, 2003
496
0
yippy said:
I would go with the CUBE. You can have a better graphics card, bigger-cheaper-faster hard drive and I think they look cooler. Oh, and they have more ports and can take PCI cards.
No PCI cards in the cube. There isn't even a slot. Or, well, there is, but the agp riser is plugged into it.
 
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livingfortoday

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Nov 17, 2004
2,903
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The Msp
jamdr said:
I just checked out sonnettech.com and I see they also make a 1.7GHz Cube upgrade for $500, which you could get on newegg.com for $433 here

Does that fit in your price range?
Yeah, I looked at that, but I believe it has no L3 cache as opposed to the 1.2Ghz one, and the reviews I've read said it runs like a 1.4, not a 1.7.

Anyways, thanks for all the quick replies, I think I may just stick with the Cube. I mean, the Mini is great and all, and it's a third of the size, but I think the ability to upgrade the processors and the video card are what won me over with the Cube. That, and all the benchmarks I've seen that you guys have linked to pretty much put the fears I had of the RAM holding it back to rest. So thank you!
 
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Dont Hurt Me

macrumors 603
Dec 21, 2002
6,055
6
Yahooville S.C.
Mini has a lot going for it but Apple is using the same videochip/card handicap they have for years. A modern Gpu could make mini stellar but this is Apple so we have outdated video in every product but perhaps top powerbook. Its sad that Apple has resorted to using such low performing graphic chips. 9200 kills off the Mini for me. Nanosaur looks like crap on it. I love Apple and how they brag on their very stale video systems. They should have spent $5.00 more and put in fx5200 vs 9200 :cool: Cube is a better machine because it has a videocard period.
 
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brap

macrumors 68000
May 10, 2004
1,701
0
Nottingham
livingfortoday said:
Anyways, thanks for all the quick replies, I think I may just stick with the Cube. I mean, the Mini is great and all, and it's a third of the size, but I think the ability to upgrade the processors and the video card are what won me over with the Cube. That, and all the benchmarks I've seen that you guys have linked to pretty much put the fears I had of the RAM holding it back to rest. So thank you!
Considered selling the 'inherited' cube, and putting the money toward a Powermac? Those things really hold their value, you know.
 
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Chaszmyr

macrumors 601
Aug 9, 2002
4,264
76
Normally, I'd say go with a mini over a cube hands down... But since you "inherited" the cube itself for free you're saving about $300 on that machine, so you may as well stick with that.
 
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livingfortoday

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Nov 17, 2004
2,903
0
The Msp
brap said:
Considered selling the 'inherited' cube, and putting the money toward a Powermac? Those things really hold their value, you know.
Yeah, I thought about it, but I don't think my dad'll let me sell it. Plus, the Cube's a pretty sweet looking machine, I'd really hate to lose it either way, you know?
 
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Candyfingered

macrumors member
Mar 10, 2005
46
0
I would go with the Mini. It's more modern and unless you're going to be upgrading it's just a much faster option.
 
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Mechcozmo

macrumors 603
Jul 17, 2004
5,215
2
I vote the Cube. You can upgrade it to the point that it will beat the Mini for not much more than the Mini. Plus, if you start out with "major" upgrades like Processors and Hard Drives it isn't too hard to add in a new video card later, and then more RAM when you have the cash.

The Mini.... you can use as a large coaster when its old.

(OK, so that isn't true, but you get what I mean, right? ;))
 
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