Does anyone use a Mac Mini + Thunderbolt Display?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Adamantoise, Oct 13, 2011.

  1. Adamantoise macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 1, 2011
    #1
    Why did you pick this combo over an iMac?

    Honestly, Mac Mini + Thunderbolt display would also be my preferred desktop setup (not sure why, I just think I'll prefer it) but I cannot see anything it nets you over an iMac.
     
  2. TuiSong, Oct 13, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2011

    TuiSong macrumors regular

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    Petone, New Zealand
    #2
    I've used iMacs since my lime green G3. After that one we got the iconic flat screen lovely (cost nearly 7k! O.O ) and then moved on to the white intel core duo. When that started failing recently (HD needs replacing) I had to start looking at replacements. Thing is. We still have the lime green one around being nothing more than a doorstop. It works fine, but yeah. The flat screen G4 iMac is in my sons room, it's slow on most things these days, but the lcd is still nice and bright and he uses it for playing movies and music.

    The intel iMac same thing really. HD dying, rings slowing down in general and unable to upgrade software to latest versions. But it is mostly ok, I'll get a new HD for it and see if we can squeeze some more years of use from it. What has bugged me about these is how much of the tech involved in both the iMacs, is still viable. It seemed a waste to be replacing a whole big computer when all I really needed to replace and upgrade was at the driving end of things. Plus the collection of keyboards and mice is getting a bit out of hand too.

    Price wise, I could have got more for my money if I went the iMac route again. But I would have been in the same situation of having to wait four or five years before I could even consider replacing, and then ending up with yet another large piece of equipment to either store, or recycle, when parts of it were fine. I dithered over the choice right up until the final click to order, I made it a bit easier on myself by upgrading the mini to i7

    I'm pleased with the set up I have now, the mini is very discrete, and looks great. I love the look of the ATD, it's very sleek and the glossy screen isnt bugging me at all. But the real beauty of this set up is to come, it will be cheaper to replace just the mini in favor of newer more powerful technology. So I'm hoping that going this route will allow me to keep a more current machine on my desk.

    ETA: Anyone ever stuffed a mac mini inside an old flat panel G4 iMac? I would love to breathe new life into it. I don't need the cd tray working. Just a way to fit it in and connect to the lcd display if it's possible
     
  3. NorCalLights macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 24, 2006
    #3
    Depending on which iMac you have, you might have been able to use it as an external display for your new Mac Mini.

    http://support.apple.com/kb/ht3924

    Also, the Mac Mini comes without a keyboard or mouse... doesn't it?
     
  4. Akack macrumors 6502a

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    USA
    #4
    In general, an iMac is a much more capable computer than a mac Mini + TB display.
     
  5. TuiSong macrumors regular

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    Sep 28, 2011
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    #5
    Thanks for the link, I had considered target mode but really we need a second desktop anyway. My recently broked iMac is a late 2006 20" model. Aside from the HD, it was running fine and hopefully will be ok for a few years of general web browsing yet, once I get a replacement hd.
     
  6. Adamantoise thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 1, 2011
    #6
    Yes, that much is obvious. I was just seeking insight as to the benefit of using a Mac Mini + TB display.

    It seems flexibility is the only advantage.
     
  7. 88 King macrumors 6502

    88 King

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    Jun 18, 2011
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    London, UK
    #7
    I'm going to sell my 4 months old imac in favour of a mini and a Dell 27" ultrasharp setup.

    I have to send the imac for repair which leave my 12.5 inch laptop as the main computer for working at home. Not only have I lost my main pc, I have also lost my monitor as well. This is the problem with having an all in one machine as the main pc, you need backup soultion for both pc and monitor.
     
  8. radek42 macrumors regular

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    #8
    I recently got a mini (first mac if that matters at all) and I am quite happy with my purchase. I did consider iMac for the longest time, but at the end I decided against it for couple reasons:
    1. I did not like the glassy screen
    2. I can use mini in couple years as headless file server/media center.

    The thing is I'll use it mostly for my photo hobby (Photoshop) and for that mini is more that capable machine especially when coupled with SSD. The fact that I can pick any monitor I please and reusing aging mini in future pushed me towards mini rather than iMac. I am quite happy with my decision so far.

    YMMV. R>

     
  9. KScottMyers macrumors regular

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    Orlando, FL
    #9
    I'm currently running an i7 dual core mini with the Thunderbolt Display. The mini is running two SSDs in RAID 0.

    Couldn't be happier.
     
  10. Chozo macrumors member

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    Jun 23, 2008
    #10
    Wouldn't running SSDs in RAID 0 be kinda redundant?
    I mean the point of RAID 0 is for speed/performance. Is that necessary (or even noticeable) with SSDs?
     
  11. KScottMyers macrumors regular

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    #11
    Quite noticeable. I get twice the read and write speeds of a singe SSD. I'm seeing about 500 MB/s. These are Sata 2 SSDs.
     
  12. FrankHahn macrumors 6502a

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    May 17, 2011
    #12
    I use my 2011 Mac Mini of 8 GB memory and two 256 GB SSDs with a 27" Apple Cinema Display. For ordinary daily use, I can't even tell the difference between the Mac Mini and the 2010 hex-core 3.33 GHz Mac Pro in my office. However, for number crunching and other heavy-duty jobs, the Mac Mini is surely not as powerful as the Mac Pro.

    I did not get an iMac because I can upgrade the Mini less costly. I can also use the display with my MacBook Air.

    Before I acquired the Mac Mini, it had been a long time for me not to be able to put a desktop computer on the top of my desk. All the desktops I used during this time, including the Mac pro, were actually under-desks.

    I am really happy with the Mac Mini + 27" Apple Cinema Display. BTW, I also use a Magic Mouse, a trackpad, and a wireless keyboard on the Mac Mini.
     
  13. KScottMyers, Oct 14, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2011

    KScottMyers macrumors regular

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    #13
    Precisely... The same reasons I chose the mini.
     
  14. Adamantoise thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 1, 2011
    #14
    No.

    RAID 0 increases your write and read speeds by the number of disks you have in the array, that's the point of striping.

    If you have 4 disks, in RAID 0 you should be seeing 4 times the write/read speed of the slowest disk in the array.
     
  15. Halon X macrumors regular

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    Sep 22, 2005
    Location:
    Malibu, CA
    #15
    Mac Mini + Promise R6 + 2x Thunderbolt Displays

    I need to run dual screens and can't stand that the iMac and Cinema Display don't line up. I boot off a Dual SSD RAID 0 partition on the R6 with the remaining 4 disks (4x3TB) in RAID 0 for data. Everything is backed up locally and off-site so lack of redundancy with RAID 0 is not a concern for me. This setup allows me to quickly replace a failed disk and makes any kind of upgrade or replacement to the mini plug and play.

    It's fast as hell with this setup and does everything I need plus some.
     
  16. zap2 macrumors 604

    zap2

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    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Washington D.C
    #16
    Yes, I have that set up with a 20'' Apple Cinema Display. I got it because I wanted to up the specs in my Mac, but if I went with the iMac, I wasn't comfortable opening it own my own, plus I'd have less money for a larger SSD, HDD and RAM. So I went Quad Core Mac Mini(upgraded to an SDD, 750GB and 8GB of RAM( then a few weeks later I realized I could afford a Thunderbolt display, so I bought one of those.

    Recently I've been checking out a refurb 24" Cinema Display to replace the 20" ACD, but I'm having troubling justifying the 599 when there are other thing I could use.

    I like this set up because I have more control and can upgrade more often, so if next year the Mac mini with a discrete graphics card comes out, I could buy it and my 27" display wouldn't go to waste. Heck my 20" ACD is nearing 6 years old, so I can see having the Thunderbolt display in 6 years, I can't imagine having the same iMac for 6 years.
     
  17. zap2 macrumors 604

    zap2

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    #17
    In general yes, but the ability to upgrade the Mac Mini shouldn't be under sold. Two hard drive slots goes along way. The Mini tops out at 16GB of RAM, and I think the iMac does as well.(Although Apple only supports 8GBs)

    If you don't get the SSD from Apple on the iMac, the Mac mini has more storage potential. Graphics/CPU performance the iMac is the clear choice. I like the iMac, but its a shame Apple forces users into an all in one if they want a quad core computer and decent graphics performance. I know Apple isn't coming out with a mid ranger headless Mac anytime soon, but I hope they upgrade the 799 Mac mini to support a quad core CPU next upgrade cycle. Or put the insides of the 21.5" iMac into a Mac Pro shell. I'd buy that ASAP.
     
  18. radek42 macrumors regular

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    #18
    Is it impossible with current heat dissipation of quad core processor and discret video card? I went for quad core since I don't game much these days.
    R>

     
  19. zap2 macrumors 604

    zap2

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    #19
    I'm not sure...I sort of assumed so, but there is that extra space because there is only 1 HDD in the $799 Mini, but then Apple would have to have two different internal designs.

    I'm assuming Intel will push the heat output of their quad CPUs to levels equal to the 2 core CPU in the lower end Mini now.
     
  20. Adamantoise thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 1, 2011
    #20
    It's not a heat thing, the power supply in the Mini is not sufficient to power all that equipment.

    Apple could have gone with a brick style adapter (external power supply), but they wanted the Mini's power cord to look sexy.
     
  21. zap2 macrumors 604

    zap2

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    Mar 8, 2005
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    Washington D.C
    #21
    Not that I don't believe you, but do you have a source?

    Some quick googling just turned up this article

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3468

    Which stops at the 2010 Mac Mini. I do love the internal peer supply as that was formerly one of my dislikes about the Mini, but the lack of a discrete graphics card is a bummer too.

    I'm also curious as to Apple's ability to find a better power supply that was the same physical size. Again, more money. I get Apple not wanting to spend the extra cash, they're trying to make a profit, but one can dream.
     
  22. DeepIn2U macrumors 68040

    DeepIn2U

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    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    #22
    Somehow I doubt that its a power supply issue/restriction.

    If Shuttle can bring on PCIe 16x 1GB graphics extension, with single/dual Quad-Core i7 (2nd gen) with 2 SATA3 HDD and SuperDrive equivalent on a 400W power supply then I bet the 2011 Mac Mini can as well.

    Honestly I believe the ONLY restriction is Heat dissipation along with product warranty longevity.

    I will be upgrading the family's early 2009 Mac Mini to the mid-tier Dual-Core i5/i7 2011 Mac Mini. The current benefits (soldered dedicated video card) make it worth the upgrade. In 2yrs or less my daughter can easily take this with her to university with the BT keyboard and MagicPad in a napsack with room to spare for an iPad, school materials and pickup a low cost LCD when she arrives on campus.
     
  23. Adamantoise thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 1, 2011
    #23
    Philipma opened up his Mini(s) a while back and did some analysis and it's the conclusion he came to.

    Mini Server Processor: http://ark.intel.com/products/52219/Intel-Core-i7-2630QM-Processor-(6M-Cache-2_00-GHz)

    Mini Discrete Processor (Worst Case): http://ark.intel.com/products/52231/Intel-Core-i7-2620M-Processor-(4M-Cache-2_70-GHz)

    TDP differs by 10W ... You think Apple couldn't accommodate cooling for an additional 10W?

    In any case, I guess it doesn't really matter. Whoever is right won't change the fact that Apple doesn't offer discrete in the Server model.
     

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