Is a Mac Mini right for me?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by enectrixx, Mar 31, 2012.

  1. enectrixx macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2010
    #1
    Hi!

    I have always used PCs until now, but since I love Apple products (iPhone, iPad, etc) and really hate Windows I want to switch. Since I don't have the money to buy an iMac, I'm thinking of buying the 2.3 GHz Mac Mini.

    I'm planning on using it for web browsing (with 20-30 tabs open most of the time), movie watching (in HD most of the time, I guess this will work well in QuickTime or VLC regardless of format?), document editing and some World of Warcraft (I'm perfectly with keeping the settings on low or medium if necessary). Occasionally (every couple of months) I will use Photoshop or some video editing tool. I do plan on buying more RAM.

    The most important thing to me is that it is reasonably fast even when having lots of tabs open or using a couple of apps at once.

    I currently have two PCs and I'm wondering how much faster/slower the Mac Mini will be:
    Desktop - AMD Phenom X3 8750, 4GB RAM, Radeon HD 4650
    Laptop - AMD Athlon 64 X2 QL-65, 3GB RAM, Radeon HD 3200
     
  2. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #2
    For everything but World of Warcraft, the base mini is awesome (especially with a memory upgrade). It will run World of Warcraft, but the mid-mini with the AMD 6630M would be much better. However, it sounds like you are willing to run it on low settings so that should be fine. I have a base mini with 8GB of RAM and an SSD (upgraded myself). It does a great job with everything I throw at it with the exception of Excel (but only when running heavy macros).
     
  3. Moonjumper macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    Location:
    Lincoln, UK
    #3
    The 2.5 version will be better for World of Warcraft because of the dedicated graphics, but otherwise everything will be fine.
     
  4. Lesser Evets macrumors 68040

    Lesser Evets

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    #4
    Also, I'd wait for the upgrade coming this June/July. We hope; no guarantee. You'll get a speed bump sans price jump for a few months' wait.

    I've never tried a mini with 20-30 tabs open on a browser, and it really depends on what you have in those windows. If the sites are generally text and some staid graphics--boffo. If you have 30 windows of YouTube open, it might be halting quite a lot while loading and playing if all are going. I generally operate 10 tabs on a slower-older Mac and there is no problem unless I begin opening lots of video.

    I'd be curious to hear from people watching HD on the mini while doing other things. I imagine it's not a problem. My Mac only encounters some sluggishness when running a 1080i movie, but it seems only while loading the bloated file. Once they play, they seem smooth and easy.

    You can run a dozen apps and will be fine, assuming those apps aren't giant drags. Stuff like the native OSX apps and text stuff are always effortless. These days it seems only video apps running relentless processing tend to foul the computer a little. It just stammers the running every minute for several seconds.
     
  5. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2007
    #5
    OK, I've got the Mini with the dual-core I7 and 8 GB of RAM.

    At the moment I'm watching Superman Returns from a 16 GB 1080p DTS HD-Master Audio file in Matroska container on a networked Hard Drive (Gigabit ethernet) that's attached to a PC with USB 2.

    I'm running a Dell U2711 as my primary monitor at 2560*1440, while the move is displaying on a standard 1080p HDTV via HDMI. The movie's being watched through XMBC

    I have 19 tabs open in Chrome and a RDC connection open to the Windows PC, as well as Outlook. I'm showing 2.34 GB of memory free.

    Activity Monitor is showing XMBC using about 15% of the CPU. For fun I just went to Youtube and started watching a 720p video full screen and the system didn't like that at all! Both videos were jerky. But it had no problem running it in the normal-sized web page window. The Shockwave Flash plug in for Chrome went up to about 15% CPU usage.

    I then used Air Video Server to transcode a 720p video on the fly and stream it to my iPad, and that brought the CPU use up to about 90% (all processes), but both videos were smooth.
     
  6. Lesser Evets macrumors 68040

    Lesser Evets

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    #6
    Thanks for that info. Good to know. The i7 is obviously the higher model, base price around $900 I think. So the i5s will probably be OK as well for 1080i video, but maybe not with lots of other windows and video playing together.
     
  7. enectrixx thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2010
    #7
    Thanks for all the replies! After a lot of thinking back and forth I think I'll buy the cheapest iMac (whenever the 2012 ones are launched) instead, mostly because I'd get a lot more value for my money. It will also give me a month or two to save up a little, and besides there are other ways of paying for it *hums "The credit song" by Arrogant Worms* ;) Put it on credit and then forget it, don't let it bother you no more, no more...
     

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