Just bought a Mini...need opinions

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Kung, Sep 13, 2007.

  1. Kung macrumors member

    Feb 3, 2006
    I currently own:

    1.5Ghz "silent upgrade" Mac Mini
    5400rpm 80Gb HD
    1Gb RAM
    64Mb VRAM

    I just bought:

    1.83GHz C2D Mac
    5400 (I assume) 80Gb HD
    1Gb RAM
    GMA950 video

    What I have used, and will use, the Mini for:

    - some basic desktop publishing (church and work newsletters n stuff)
    - surfing
    - email
    - some basic coding (messing around with PHP files and stuff)

    Curious as to what difference in speed and such I'll see. I'll also be loading Vista on it.
  2. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
  3. Kung thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 3, 2006
    Yeah, I know, real dumb question, but one never knows. I do use some stuff that I know will probably slow it down a bit - i.e., Office 2K4.
  4. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    Dialog boxes seem to drag in Office. It's more RAM dependent then anything else.
  5. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
  6. flyinmac macrumors 68040


    Sep 2, 2006
    United States

    Personally, I wouldn't set my expectations too high.

    For the tasks that you mention, I would not expect a huge difference in performance.

    Now, if you were really pushing your old machine, and it was really bogging down, then I would expect to see some noticeable improvement with the new machine.

    But, honestly, I just moved from a 1.25 GHz Mac Mini G4 with 1 GB of RAM and a 40 GB hard drive to a new Mac Pro 2.66 Quad with 3 GB of RAM and 750 GB of hard drive space. And, for the tasks that you mention, I actually don't see any difference in performance.

    Now, I do see a huge improvement in the new system in:

    1) startup is much, much quicker

    2) Anything that accesses the hard drive a lot

    3) Running virtual machines with guest Operating Systems (such as Linux)

    4) Any task that is extremely processor intensive (like really, really intensive - such as encoding video, etc.)

    5) Playing games that have complex graphics

    Otherwise, if I were only using the machine for the tasks you describe (which is my usual daily stuff), I would say that the new Mac Pro is not any faster than my old 1.25 GHz Mac Mini G4.
  7. Kung thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 3, 2006
    Shush. You're not helping my case w/the wife. :p

    Seriously, though, you DID mention some things that I've actually done, which do justify it:

    - running VMs w/guest operating systems
    - hard drive intensive stuff (occasional)
    - running several apps at one time (i.e., iTunes, Safari, xPad, Quicktime, and some other stuff)

    And one thing that I most definitely CAN'T do on a PPC that I can on an Intel is use Boot Camp to run Vista or XP.

    So, based on what I've heard, I won't see screaming differences, but enough to justify the purchase, so cool. :)
  8. flyinmac macrumors 68040


    Sep 2, 2006
    United States

    Glad to help. If your wife is reading this, then perhaps I've saved you some money :p

    But, yes, as long as you are not expecting a machine that's twice as fast as what you have now, then you should be fine.

    Many people expect to see a blazing difference with their new systems, and the fact is, that the G4 was not as big a slouch as you might think.

    So, while the G4 was really much slower than the G5 in video encoding, the G4 was really very comparable in most average tasks.

    The new Intel processors are not really significantly faster. They are streamlined, and they are dual core. But, unless the task utilizes both cores efficiently, then you are looking at the benefit of only a slightly faster and more efficient processor.

    Additionally, I and many others, have observed that the Intel machines seem to need more memory than the PowerPC systems to perform the same task with the same program (even when using Universal / Intel Native programs).

    For example, I used to use Virtual PC with Windows XP Pro on my old iMac G5 1.8 GHz with 2 GB of RAM.

    I dedicated 1 GB of RAM to the Virtual PC, and the other 1 GB of RAM was left to OS X. And, that worked very, very well. The OS X environment still had a huge chunk of memory available.

    With my new system, I've tinkered with a few Virtual Machines, and found that 3 GB in my system is barely adequate to host a Virtual Machine with 1 GB of RAM. In other words, if I give my virtual machine 1 GB of RAM, then I start running out of real memory in OS X (which starts slowing things down). I actually got down to only 30 MB free / available the other day.

    As a result, I've scaled my virtual machines back to 512 MB just to keep OS X running (although still low on memory).

    This is using Universal programs, and no PowerPC stuff.

    Now, in other tasks, I find that 3 GB is enough. But, it still doesn't seem to stretch quite as far as 2 GB does in a PowerPC system.

    With the Intel Mac Mini's, you also need to understand that it uses a shared memory architecture. That means that video memory is taken from system memory (as opposed to dedicated video RAM).

    So, in the standard configuration, you lose 80 MB of your system's main memory to your video system. 64 MB of memory for video RAM, and the rest for system overhead.

    With the base 512 MB of RAM, that leaves a pretty good chunk missing.

    That said, you should be sure to pack it with as much memory as you can. And, you should be sure that you install your memory in matched pairs (identical modules). That will ensure that your performance loss (caused by the shared memory system) is minimized.

    Note that the performance loss will affect video more than the rest of the system. But, you will see reduced video performance when compared to systems with a dedicated graphics chip and dedicated graphics memory.

    Mostly, that will affect video rendering, 3D games, etc. (note that video encoding - like producing videos - is done by the CPU). Video rendering is going to be when your computer is producing a visual effect to be displayed on the screen.

    So, basically, having matched memory modules will enable the video on your screen to appear more fluid.
  9. Kung thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 3, 2006

    I ordered it, and expected it to get here next Tuesday.

    Well, the GOOD thing is that it was delivered to the local FedEx station at 3:52 a.m. today.

    The BAD thing is that it's not manned on the weekends.

    So I have to sit here knowing my new Mac is 15 miles away laughing at me and I can't get to it.


  10. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    I know how that is. The FedEx station here is barely a mile away from me. :(
  11. flyinmac macrumors 68040


    Sep 2, 2006
    United States

    When I ordered my new Mac Pro, I watched it sit, and sit, and sit, and sit for what seemed like forever.

    It came from California. So, it never had to come to the U.S. So, I thought it would move quickly.

    But, instead, it sat in Apple's warehouse for a day waiting for FedEx to come get it (as in notice sent, but not picked-up).

    Then, it disappeared from the radar for two days. Finally, a new scan showed-up saying that it was one state closer.

    Then, two more days of no activity. Then, it moved to another town in that same state.

    Then, about 4 days with no activity.

    Finally, it was scanned in our state. But, then it was only showing received.

    On the Friday of that week, it showed that it loaded on the truck for delivery about 50 miles away. And, there it sat until Monday. So, I got to wait the weekend for them to drive the truck.

    Finally, on on that Monday, it arrived.

    The wait was long, and obnoxious. But, it arrived in good order.

    Strangely, the Macs that I've ordered previously arrived faster from China. But, then again, those Macs all broke down pretty quickly.

    I'm very pleased with my American built Mac Pro :D

    Of course, it's surely built with parts from all over the world. But, I have my first computer in many, many years that says it was built in the U.S.A.

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