First time Mac User: Is mac mini a good option?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Hatchet, Dec 9, 2007.

  1. Hatchet macrumors regular

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    Baton Rouge
    #1
    I am looking at switching over to Mac for a multitude of reasons, but mainly for the operating system and interface.

    I've been looking into buying a Mac Mini 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo - 1GB memory - 120GB hard drive1.

    My first few questions are:
    • Can the mac mini handle programs such as Photoshop and Macromedia Dreamweaver running along other programs?
    • If i want to upgrade the memory, is it cheaper to get it at Apple? What is the maximum allowed?
    • What is the best monitor paring with the mac mini? I was thinking of getting the 22" Dell Ultrasharp that just went on sale for $298...

    Lastly, is there anything I should know before buying a Mac Mini or any mac?

    Again, this is my first time with a Mac and I work heavily with programs such as Photoshop and Dreamweaver but I am hesitant in dropping over $2799+ on a Mac Book Pro at first.

    Any help is appreciated! I am excited to finally switch over.
     
  2. psychofreak Retired

    psychofreak

    Joined:
    May 16, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #2
    If you're looking to buy a monitor as well, I greatly recommend the iMac...

    The Mini will handle what you want though :)
     
  3. Hatchet thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    I have been looking at the imac, however, the mac mini's ability to move with me whenever needed makes me lean towards that (2.9 lbs vs 20 lbs) and the fact that I can hook it up to another monitor with ease is also a plus. As much as I'd love a macbook or macbook pro, I think the mac mini or imac are the most affordable for me.
     
  4. psychofreak Retired

    psychofreak

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    #4
    How often will you move it and not need to move the screen?

    Its actually very easy to carry a 20" iMac, even with one arm if you're strong enough...
     
  5. Hatchet thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    It really depends. I was looking into a 22-24" screen for paring. I will keep the imac in mind though.

    I'll have to compare them right now and see.
     
  6. Royale w/cheese macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 5, 2007
    #6
    The mini will work fine, but the iMac would be a bit more desirable especially if you want dual monitors which I usually use when working with adobe. But a mini, especially if you jump on a refurb is not a purchase I would think you would ever regret.
     
  7. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #7
    The memory in a Mini is not particularly accessible, so although it's expensive from Apple, you'd be better off getting 2GB fitted before you buy.
     
  8. Royale w/cheese macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    It is actually not that hard to do if you just take your time and research it first. But I must say, it is kind of nerve racking the first time. About 15 minutes will do it though. Also the savings is around $110 or $60 if you get it installed by a third party opposed to Apple installed. But doing it yourself is an experience I have to say I enjoyed, if for no other reason seeing the marvel of the engineering that went into putting together the wonderful little machine.
     
  9. Hatchet thread starter macrumors regular

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    #9
    Ah Ok. That seems to be a good idea.

    Also, the 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo....does .4 GHZ make much difference from a user standpoint? I see the iMac's and Macbook Pros have more GHZ...
     
  10. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #10
    Not that you'd notice.
     
  11. Hatchet thread starter macrumors regular

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    #11
    So using iLife ’08 would be fine on the mini with that processor? I really liked using that while playing around with it at Best Buy and I think thats something i'd use quite often.
     
  12. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #12
    Absolutely.
     
  13. danny_w macrumors 601

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    Austin, TX
    #13
    The mini was what got me started with Macs (a G4 1.42GHz), and I will always think of it fondly. When I bought mine I really didn't know if I would like a Mac, so the mini was the only choice for me (the others were all too pricey for a "test"). However, as others here have stated, an iMac is a much better deal pricewise, but you may not like the limitations of the all-in-one design. If you use your own keyboard/mouse/monitor the mini is an excellent choice, and a much better buy than a MB/MBP if you don't need the portability. It can certainly do everything you have said that you want it to do.
     
  14. mkaake macrumors 65816

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    #14
    I started my grandparents with a mini, and if I had to go back, I would have pushed them to the iMac.

    The slowish laptop drive is really what does it for me - there are times where it just takes a few seconds before anything starts to happen, and even with 1.5 gigs of ram, I've seen the beachball almost as often on their machine as what I do with my 1.0 G4 eMac...

    When things get moving, it flies (it's crazy to compare it to my eMac...), but I find the occasional lag extremely frustrating. It's even more frustrating knowing that if they want to upgrade their hard drive, their best bang for the buck will come from an external, which kills the mac mini look entirely.

    That, and having to use a putty knife if you want to up the ram is a little... annoying. It's a really neat form-factor, and if I was going to set up a basic surfing station in my house (or hook up a mac to a TV), it would be at the top of my list. But for data crunching, the desktop drive makes a huge difference.

    Just my opinion...
     
  15. Hatchet thread starter macrumors regular

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    #15
    After careful consideration and the recommendations here, I think my best option is to go with the iMac. The price with a 24" monitor for the mac mini is only about $150 cheaper and I get a lot more storage space, a faster processor, a camera, and a better video card with the iMac.

    Is anyone aware of any issues with iMac screens or is this a solid monitor? (24")

    Thank you for all your help, it is really appreciated. I am beyond excited!!! :)
     
  16. Richard.John macrumors regular

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    #16
    The 24 inch iMac is a wonderful machine. The best computer I have ever owned and I recommend it without reservation. The screen is superb as well and is superior to the one on the 20 incher.
     
  17. jamesarm97 macrumors 65816

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    Sep 29, 2006
    #17
    My first mac was the PPC Mini 1.42 512megs of ram. My wife and kids fight over it now. I have since upgraded it to 1gig and Leopard. The new Intel minis would work well for a first timer. Ours is 2 years old and kicking. I don't like using it after using my macbook pro, but it is just a 1.42 PPC.

    - James
     
  18. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #18
    Get the minimum ram and hard drive, then buy 2 gigs ram and an external 500 gig firewire drive.



    • I use PSCS3 and Aperture concurrently. Talk about demanding. Only Aperture taxes it since most photo software, including CS3 apps, use the CPU and not the GPU (Aperture is one of the exceptions).

      Apple's expensive. Other World Computing is where I get mine. Two gigs ought to be the minimum you should go with.

    Get an S-IPS if you can.

    Don't be underwhelmed by its small size. :)
     
  19. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #19
    A lot of photographers, myself included, don't like glossy screens.
     
  20. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

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    #20
    Absolutely .. :mad:
     
  21. mag2001 macrumors 6502

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    San Antonio, TX
    #21
    The mac mini would be a great computer for you first mac. If you end up not liking it for some odd reason :eek: you will not have spent over a $1000 on it.
     
  22. SkyBell macrumors 604

    SkyBell

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    Location:
    Texas, unfortunately.
    #22
    Although you've made your decision, I must put in my word.

    First off, you said you'd like to carry your mac around sometimes. And I'm sure you've noticed, carrying a 24" iMac around probably isn't an easy thing to do.

    I think the mini would work great for your purposes, as it does for me.

    The only mistake I made in buying my mini, was accepting the RAM it came with from the factory (Which was 512 MB at the time, they come with 1 GB now.) I suggest either keeping the 1 GB and accepting a little slower performance, or bumping it to 2 GB for a little extra cash.
     
  23. Hatchet thread starter macrumors regular

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    #23
    How inferior is the video card for the mac mini compared to the 24" iMac?
     
  24. SkyBell macrumors 604

    SkyBell

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    #24
    Quite a bit, actually, but in my experience this makes a minimal difference in anything except for gaming.

    I could be wrong though.
     
  25. Hatchet thread starter macrumors regular

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    #25
    Well, I'm not a gamer. Just use Photoshop quite extensively.
     

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