Mac Mini - Just how good (or bad) is it?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Unspeaked, Aug 2, 2006.

  1. Unspeaked macrumors 68020


    Dec 29, 2003
    West Coast
    I've got a friend considering a Mac Mini, and I'm giving him a hand with the shopping.

    The choice is either the high end, duo core Mac Mini or the low end, 17" iMac.

    He's already got a Mac with a mouse and keyboard, so that's not an issue. He also has a flat panel already, and doesn't want a dual monitor setup, so that's one of the reasons he's edging towards the Mini. Also, he'd like to keep the total purchase under $1,000.

    Mainly it's a machine for surfing the web. However, he does do a lot of iLife stuff on it, so it'd have to handle iPhoto and especially iMovie pretty well.

    The one big disadvantage I see with the Mini is the hard drive. The on board graphics won't make a big deal, as he's not a big gamer, and the processor is only negligibly slower.

    Will the 2.5" 5400 RPM drive make that much of a difference? Will it totally choke in iMovie? Is it worth it to go to a 7200 RPM drive?

    I was thinking 1GB of RAM and a 100GB hard drive.

    Any suggestions?
  2. gadgetgirl85 macrumors 68040


    Mar 24, 2006
    I have to say I LOVE my mini! Its the best thing ever. The graphics are a little weak but otherwise its tops!
  3. daze macrumors 6502


    Mar 11, 2006
    San Jose, California
    Mac Mini is nice as a server box because of its size, speed, and low power consumption. My G5 stays on 24/7, and chews a lot of electricity. I'm thinking of picking up an old Mac Mini and leaving that to handle file sharing, and running my USB based phone answering system.

    Anyone want to sell their old Mac Mini for a few hundred bucks? :)
  4. risc macrumors 68030


    Jul 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Australia
    Personally I'd go for the iMac but that is just me, there is nothing wrong with the Mac mini as long as you don't need to do 3D work. The 5400 RPM notebook HDD is good enough for normal use.
  5. tipdrill407 macrumors 6502

    May 26, 2006
    The Mac Mini is good enough for anything that is not GPU intensive. Also, if you want to spend less than $1000 you have to get a mini anyways.
  6. xfiftyfour macrumors 68030


    Apr 14, 2006
    Clemson, SC
    i'd think the mini would suit his needs just fine, but is there an apple store anywhere near you guys? perhaps it'd be better to 'sample' both in person and see which he likes better (like, run iMovie a bit on both). if he can't tell much of a difference, then obviously go for the cheaper mac mini.
  7. Sesshi macrumors G3


    Jun 3, 2006
    One Nation Under Gordon
    I use the Mini as an audio (and sometimes video) playback client in my living room hooked up to a TV, and so far it's been the only Mac that hasn't failed in some way :rolleyes:

    I don't do any video editing - well I've kind of dabbled but only on the MBP / iMac - so I can't comment on the Mini's suitability for that. Playback is fine though, and better than I expected out of an integrated chipset.

    It has however been absolutely the most ideal computer to use in places where noise is an issue and where things need to appear unobtrusive. For a time I had it under the TV with a shroud over the rear cables and some friends of mine thought it was a fancy plinth for a vase :D
  8. srf4real macrumors 68040


    Jul 25, 2006
    paradise beach FL
    I upgraded to a mini a year ago from my '99 bondi imac... it's like a ferrari compared to the old one! thinking about replacing the 256mb with 1gb ram for better application response, but I'll be happy for years until apple quits providing system updates for it.
  9. Dunepilot macrumors 6502a


    Feb 25, 2002
    The intel Minis like mine have crap Airport reception, though...

    Does anyone know if they've addressed this yet?
  10. crazycat macrumors 65816


    Dec 5, 2005
    I love my mac mini but if you want to play games, doing movie editing and anythign else that needs good graphics power then it would not be enough. I huge factor of the mac mini is that it is small, really really small and fits anywhere.
  11. Unspeaked thread starter macrumors 68020


    Dec 29, 2003
    West Coast
    Well, here's his current setup that he's looking to upgrade, and here's what he'd be upgrading to (if he got the Mini):

    BEFORE: PowerMac G4 Dual 450MHz, 2GB of RAM, 40GB Hard Drive

    AFTER: Mac Mini 1.66GHz, 1GB of RAM, 100GB Hard Drive

    Will it be a faster machine? A much faster machine? A slower machine?

    What prompted him to approach me about the upgrade in the first place was a desire to move to the Intel chip set. I think he doesn't want to be left back two generations of processors.

    Also, he's VERY interested in gettinf the double-layer SuperDrive...
  12. Chundles macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
    Much, much faster. It will basically thump the dual 450MHz PowerMac, even if it does have 2GB of RAM and a faster HDD.

    The Core Duo machine comes stock standard with a dual-layer super drive (an 8x one unlike the 4x ones in the MacBook and 15" MacBook Pro) so that's all good.

    Doooo it, doooooo iiiiiiiiit...
  13. pianoman macrumors 68000


    May 31, 2006
    i don't see how you could get a new iMac for less than $1,000.
  14. Unspeaked thread starter macrumors 68020


    Dec 29, 2003
    West Coast
    That's why I said he'd LIKE to...

  15. conditionals macrumors regular

    May 5, 2005
    I bought a core duo mac mini after my powerbook g4 exploded a few weeks ago. I have to say that it is totally amazing. Encoding LAME mp3s or avi's in handbrake is up to 20x faster.

    Intense and recommended.
  16. roland.g macrumors 603


    Apr 11, 2005
    One mile up and soaring
    I'd go with the Mini, that's what I'm planning on getting. As far as the HDD, go to OWC.

    they have a stack that has the Mini footprint that you can get for $80, slap a 7200 RPM drive into and use for video and graphics files via firewire. Also adds more ports. Or you can get for $299 and it comes with a 500GB 7200 RPM with a 16MB cache.
  17. fireball jones macrumors member

    May 31, 2006
    I have a G4 mini, it does everything well enough. I have booted OSX from an external 7200 RPM drive, it's faster for some things, but not really noticeable on video/photo editing. I'd suggest getting an external drive anyway (what's 100GB good for these days?) and throwing media on that.

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