Decision: Mac Mini / Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by cfthomas, Apr 13, 2009.

  1. cfthomas macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2005
    Hi Community,

    I currently own a MBP 1,1 that is a Core Duo 2.16GHz, 2GB, ATI Radeon X1600.
    It (has) serves(d) me well for the things I'm doing:
    Software Development (Java, ..) and Gaming (WinXP: various MMORPGs and strategy games)

    I want to upgrade my system b/c of two reasons:
    Better computing power/ram
    Better graphics-card.

    I'm thinking about this issue for quite some time as money is a bit on the short side and I just cannot quite decide what I should go for. Here my thoughts:

    Most of my development I do at home - so dev-wise a fixed computer would be viable - I want to attach an external monitor (24") to it for more screen space.

    Most of my gaming I also do at home so same as above.

    But - I'm a consultant so I often work at a customer's site that's why I also need a notebook capable of at least some dev. things (2GB+)

    My thoughts to different macs:

    MacMini - Cheap, Core 2 Duo, 9400M - The cpu would be faster than mine!?
    What about the graphics card - is it comparable/faster/slower than the X1600?

    iMac - No, because I want the freedom to attach another monitor and idk don't like it right now

    Mac Pro - Perfect option for dev. @home: 2 Quadcore cpus (Is it viable to upgrade to a second cpu at a a later time or not a good idea? Never had a Mac Pro before), lots of diskspace, lots of RAM but expensive

    MBP - A new MBP would definitely enhance my work/game experience as it is better than my current one which I have the following problems:
    External monitor for gaming can't be the primary monitor. HDD somehow is limited (already replaced my HDD twice but still ..) - The price is somewhat lower than the MP but is it worth it?

    MB - I LOVE it - the size is sweet and everything is good - but the performance/graphics :-(

    MBA - Gorgeous! Even less performance than the MB and more expensive

    One idea I have (just lacking a bit of the money ;-)) is buying a MP and using my current MBP as a notebook and later upgrading the MBP to a new MB or MBA ..

    Some things that would help me right now:
    How does the current CPU in the mac models compare to my current CPU?

    How does the 9400M compare to my X1600 (so basically: is a MB/Mini faster/better than my current MBP?)

    I know this is all confusing but every option has its plus to me.
    Thanks for your thoughts on this!

  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    How about waiting until you have the money to afford a powerful system? That's what I'd do. Your current MBP sounds like it's working out just fine for you.
  3. throttlemeister macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2009
    There is a great site with comparisons of different cpu's and graphics hardware for notebooks. Their graphics list is here.

    Basically, your X1600 (position 84) is faster than the 9400M (position 98) but only slightly. They are basically in the same class.

    If faster graphics is what you need, you need to look at the MBP or MP. If graphics performance is not that critical, the Mini and MB are also alternatives.

    On a sidenote: I don't understand why you rate the Mini as a possibility, but the MB not because of performance/graphics. They both have very similar hardware, but the MB has the edge with faster CPU's and more dedicated memory for the graphics. The MB is going to be faster than the Mini.
  4. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    No problem if you don't like an iMac but you can attach an external monitor to it.
  5. cfthomas thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2005
    Thanks for the link!
    I thought about the Mini as a "at home workstation" for development (b/c of the faster processor)

    Just a thought: Unbelievable that a 2006 MBP still has a faster graphics card than a recent Mini - Reminds me of how valuable such a machine is!

    Thanks again for your thoughts!
  6. cfthomas thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2005
    I know - I had an iMac once - I just don't like the "all-in-one" concept right now (recently I replaced a harddrive of a friend's iMac - effort is comparable to MBP HDD replacement)

    Thanks tho
  7. macrumorsMaster macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2008
    Not a graphics card

    That's because the other poster was wrong, the mini and MB don't have a graphics card...they still have INTEGRATED graphics(shared), just like the new low end imac's

    Only the upper end imac's, mbp's, mp's have TRUE DEDICATED graphics.

    It only goes to stand that a dedicated card would perform faster(though not much because of the time progression and advancements in integrated graphics).
  8. nickane macrumors 6502

    Feb 24, 2005
    MM and MB performance is actually comparable if u get the hi-end mini. It has the same 256mb shared vram. Weighing up between the lowend mb and hiend mm myself. Minimal differences.
  9. throttlemeister macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2009
    I guess the decision then is portability versus price. :)

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