G5 iMac vs. Mini


macrumors 604
Original poster
Apr 11, 2005
I have a 1st gen. G4 450 "Sawtooth", which even with 768 Mb RAM runs now at a snail's pace. It is up to date with iLife and Panther, but at 5+ yrs. old it is time to replace.

Do I get a 1.42 gHz Mac Mini with a Superdrive, which is more cost efficient, use my current 19" LaCie Electron Blue monitor, which is large (depth) but fantastic (and I have a corner desk so space is not an issue), arm it with bluetooth and airport for the wireless experience and put my 120 GB Western Digital SE HD in a firewire case for music and video storage, or

Spend about twice that for the new 20" iMac 2.0 gHz (when it is released), in which case only boosting the processor performance in the System Prefs to the max will actually give me an increased performance over the Mini (at least according to all the bench tests I've read). And will there really be a bigger difference between them once they are running Tiger. How well will Tiger run on a G5 or how poorly on a G4, comparatively....

Major uses are iMovie, iPhoto, some Garageband, and a whole lot of email and surfing. Don't really do much Photoshop or other graphic design anymore but may also be running FCE soon.

Input greatly appreciated. Thanks.


May 26, 2004
Randy's House
Go for the iMac (but wait for updates)

Sounds like you are headed that direction anyway.

I'm pricing out mini systems, and although I understand you already have a monitor....the iMac is so sweet.

Edit - iMac ESPECIALLY if you want to run Garageband or FCE or iPhoto.


macrumors 6502a
Oct 16, 2003
I have a Mac mini and love it. For my uses it is ideal, especially since I have an aversion of All-in-One designs.

However, based on your intended usage and the fact that it seems this will be your primary computer I would go for the iMac. Since you do a lot of iPhoto, iMovie and possibly FCE you will want a better graphics card. The 32 MB 9200 in the mini is bearable, but not great, especially if you want to have this as your primary machine for a long time. The rumored GPU updades (128MB 9600) in the rev b iMacs will be impressive if the rumors are true.

Also if you use Garageband I would assume you'll want to have an audio line-in, which the iMac has but the Mac mini does not.


macrumors 65816
Jan 1, 2002
South Pole
How does the video card have anything to do with this?

Get the iMac because it has a G5, faster architecture, line in, massive hard drive and modern screen.

The current iMac GPU is programmable so it will be compatible with Core Image, yes a 9600 will be better but you might find deals on Rev A iMacs in the next couple of weeks.

People with 1.25 G4 towers equipped with RADEON 9000 can run iPhoto, FCE, etc. just fine. That is essentially what a mini is in terms of performance (a bit slower due to the hard drive's low RPM).


macrumors 68040
Oct 19, 2004
Calgary, AB
well it kinda sounds like you've made your mind up on the mac mini already. I mean the G5 iMac is a great machine but a mini may serve you just as well.


macrumors 68040
Nov 9, 2004
Salt Lake City, UT
If it were me, I'd go for the iMac (and probably will in a year or so when it's time for a new computer), but in the end it's up to you. The Mac mini is a nice machine, and will work well for you, but the iMac will be better for FCE and Garageband in particular. Either one will be a big upgrade over your G4 Sawtooth.


macrumors 65816
Feb 22, 2003
Reston, VA
Garageband LOVES the G5 and memory. upgrading the RAM on an iMac is also a lot easier. Upgrading the wireless card is also easier. The iMac is more of the machine I would recommend because you will notice a speed difference in iPhoto and Garageband. The iMac has a 7200RPM HD, and the macmini has a 4200RPM.
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