Mac Mini now or wait for Mac Pro

NeverhadaPC

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 3, 2008
410
2
My wife's iMac G5 broke last October and life without a home-computer can only be extended so far with an iPhone.

Hence, I am in the market for a(n) (Apple) desktop and am torn over whether I should jump the gun now on a (cheap) Mac Mini or hold off (indefinitely?) until new Mac Pros are released.

Assumptions:
1) Money is not the main problem
2) I can wait to buy but not indefinitely --- say, 3 months max!
3) I would prefer a Mac Pro, but don't want to wait much longer...

Any advice/suggestions?

Thanks

----------

More than likely because there aren't nearly as many people who buy the Mac Pro as do iMac's and MacBook Pro's. The Mac Mini just isn't an as exciting computer to buy for most.

but, as already stated, you're free to start one, though I doubt it would get a lot of traction
I like this thread... fits my need EXACTLY!
 

saulinpa

macrumors 6502a
Jun 15, 2008
865
324
If you can wait 3 months then wait 3 months as rumor is that all parts will be available for a new Pro.

You don't state any technical requirements. If an iPhone gets you by then a mini is more than powerful enough. You just want the best.

Suggestion: Buy a 2.5GHz mini now along with keyboard, mouse, trackpad, and the thunderbolt display. If/when a new Pro comes out then donate the mini to charity and take the tax deduction.
 

donw35

macrumors regular
Jul 3, 2010
169
0
Los Angeles
Or get the mini now, if you computing needs are satisfied then pass on the Mac pro and save money, if your needs are not satisfied then get the pro and use the mini for a media pc or server, you could even sell it and not lose that much.

Either way, it's win win..
 

jimboutilier

macrumors 6502a
Nov 10, 2008
647
42
Denver
Given the age of your previous G5 and the fact you've been limping along on an iPhone I'd say it's a save bet you don't need the horsepower of a Mac Pro.

While there is nothing wrong with wanting the best, I'd say the PRO would be a vast waste of money for you. Get a nice i7 mini. Order it with a faster hard drive or SSD. Upgrade the ram yourself to 8gb. You'll have a great machine that runs fast, quiet, cool, takes up little space, is better in every way than what you had, and wil likely serve you well at a fraction of the cost of a Mac pro.
 

thekev

macrumors 604
Aug 5, 2010
6,721
1,820
What makes you want a mac pro here? Have your needs shifted? An imac G5 wasn't really that fast at the time they were produced. By current standards, it's quite slow. I'd just like to understand what problems the mac pro will solve for you personally that aren't handled as efficiently by the mini. Without that it's difficult to really offer a good suggestion. It just becomes more random internet posting. I'm in a different situation. If we don't see a solid new mac pro (soon), I will buy a PC workstation. If your alternative purchase would be a mini, it's hard for me to understand your consideration of a mac pro unless you're talking about mini + NAS connected via thunderbolt. In that case I'd say that the mac pro would be much quieter :cool:. I don't think we're going to see any insane updates here. Sandy Bridge E isn't looking terribly amazing, but it should produce a cheaper 6 core option.
 

philipma1957

macrumors 603
Apr 13, 2010
6,271
191
Howell, New Jersey
very easy choice buy this machine


http://www.amazon.com/Apple-MC815LL-Desktop-NEWEST-VERSION/dp/B004YLCLM6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1326043244&sr=8-1

with this ram

http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-1333mhz-PC3-10666-204-pin-CMSO8GX3M2A1333C9/dp/B002YUF8ZG/ref=pd_bxgy_pc_img_b

your cost is 610.

when the new mac pro comes out in april you can sell the mac mini and buy the mac pro or keep the mini and buy the pro. since money does not matter and you have a slow machine or had a slow machine the base mini will be fast enough.

the new mini runs lion and will not run snow leopard. the new mini does not have a dvd slot.

Since you have the coin to spend having the base mini for 3 months will not be a money problem. Then getting a mac pro will be a bit easier for you.
 

kas23

macrumors 603
Oct 28, 2007
5,626
291
There may not be a next Mac Pro. It may not make any financial sense for Apple to continue making them. They may go the way of the Xserve or Final Cut Pro. Either buy a Mac Pro or a Mini that is available today.

That said, I don't understand how one can be deciding between a Mac Pro and a Mini anyhow. It's sort of like a person, who is looking to buy some type of two-wheeled transportation, trying to decide between a bicycle and a motorcycle.
 

NeverhadaPC

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 3, 2008
410
2
Sorry for the ambivalence and thanks for your feedback.

The reason for my Mini vs. Pro conundrum is the birth of our first child and the explosion of data (pics + HD Video) that comes along with it. I currently own an uMBP that acts as my work-horse (serious MATLAB, writing, etc..) but the baby's data is slowly but surely filling up my device (curse HD video!)

Here's a list of what I expect each device to be able to do:

Mac Mini: internet, Office/iWorks, simple HD video/photo editing and storage
Mac Pro: full HD video editing, make home-movies, music and phoot storage, serve as "media server," acts as family back-up (storage), and of course Diablo III :)

I already have an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse, but will wait with Thunderbolt until more devices appear on market.

Makes sense?

In short, I will go this weekend and get the Mac Mini as a surprise to my wife. If the Mac Pros come out 3 months from now, I will either sell Mini or set up a MacMini media/backup server.

Thanks again!
 

kas23

macrumors 603
Oct 28, 2007
5,626
291
Sorry for the ambivalence and thanks for your feedback.

The reason for my Mini vs. Pro conundrum is the birth of our first child and the explosion of data (pics + HD Video) that comes along with it. I currently own an uMBP that acts as my work-horse (serious MATLAB, writing, etc..) but the baby's data is slowly but surely filling up my device (curse HD video!)

Here's a list of what I expect each device to be able to do:

Mac Mini: internet, Office/iWorks, simple HD video/photo editing and storage
Mac Pro: full HD video editing, make home-movies, music and phoot storage, serve as "media server," acts as family back-up (storage), and of course Diablo III :)

I already have an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse, but will wait with Thunderbolt until more devices appear on market.

Makes sense?

In short, I will go this weekend and get the Mac Mini as a surprise to my wife. If the Mac Pros come out 3 months from now, I will either sell Mini or set up a MacMini media/backup server.

Thanks again!
In this case, I like your idea of just buying both. You can get the base model for $568 nowadays. You could use this for now and wait to see if another Mac Pro comes out. When/If you buy a Mac Pro, I would just keep the Mini as a media server. Or, you can get an NAS that could act as your personal media/back-up server.

Current, I have a Synology DS212j, but am contemplating getting a use Mini too, to use as an iTunes server (I don't like Synology's iTunes server) and back-up-back-up server.
 

kappaknight

macrumors 68000
Mar 5, 2009
1,577
79
Atlanta, GA
You mini or mini server w/ upgraded RAM should be able to do all of that for you.

If it's storage you're concerned about, I would recommend checking out one of the larger Synology solutions like the DS1511+ or larger. You don't have to start with every slot filled - you can start with a couple of 2TB drives or 3TB drives and as you fill them up, add more drives to increase the RAID size. The benefits are that the files are protected via a RAID and it means everyone in your network will be able to access the files on the NAS. I know you can also share portions of your hard drive, but I've found NAS to be easier/better overall - and you wouldn't need to have the Mac Pro be on at all times.

I've also found an amazing way to share my home videos with grandma in another state via the Plex and Plex iOS app. We load the videos onto the NAS like TV shows and then she streams them on her iPad.
 

NeverhadaPC

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 3, 2008
410
2
How does Synology measure up against Drobo?

That's a fancy grandma you got there -- streaming to iPad :D
 

Furifo

macrumors 6502
Jun 1, 2010
276
5
If money is no issue and you cannot wait for the new mac pros, have you considered an iMac? They are fast and should suit your needs for a few years :)
 

jmhays

macrumors member
Aug 10, 2011
34
0
How does Synology measure up against Drobo?
Synology has excellent software and is very easy to use. I have the DS1511+ which has 5 bays, you can fill it up at once or work into as your storage needs grow. I have five 3TB drives in mine which "could" (but not recommended) give me 15TB of storage. They way I have it configured is that I have just over 10TB of usable storage using RAID so that if one of the drives fails I don't lose any of the data.

I also have the DX510 which provides an additional five bays and connects directly to the DS1511+ using a eSATA connection. I can still connect one more DX510 for a total of 45TB of raw storage (again, not recommended).

My kids are grown and I have all their pictures, plus sports pictures and videos, plus home data, plus 10+TB of DVDs and music in both FLAC and Apple Lossless formats.

For the OP, based on what I have read so far, I would recommend buying the Mac mini now plus a storage device like the DS1511+ if your current storage solution does not provide enough. This way you have a computer you can start using today. "IF" the new Pro does come out in a few months, use it as a media server or sell it for about what you paid for it and buy the Pro. If the Pro does not come out, you still have a computer that you can use for many years.
 

kas23

macrumors 603
Oct 28, 2007
5,626
291
How does Synology measure up against Drobo?

That's a fancy grandma you got there -- streaming to iPad :D
I have read nothing but great things about Synology on this board and read multiple poor reviews of Drobos on here too. I have a Synology DS212j. It's the entry level 2 bay Synology and it has done everything that it advertised. Perfectly. It is extremely simple to set-up.

That said, any advanced use requires knowing your way around Unix, which I don't have. Therefore, sometimes I think I would have done better with a base Mini instead. It would have been faster, I could have configured it better to meet my specific needs, and I could have put basically any software on it. Unless you know Unix well, you will be stuck with the basic Disk Station software. Don't get me wrong, DS is excellent the way it is shipped, but it is no OS X. Or, if I could go back, I would have bought a Synology with an Intel-based processor.

I still could get a base Mini though...
 

THX1139

macrumors 68000
Mar 4, 2006
1,928
0
All the OP needs is new iMac and a decent external storage solution. He should look into buying a Voyager Q drive that will allow him to use cheaper 3.5 inch bare drives to store data on. He could run the Voyager off FW800 and edit directly to the drive. I now that will work because that's what I'm using for 1080P footage on a measly 2008 MacbookPro unibody.

Unless a person is rich and likes to spend money frivolously, the Mac pro is total overkill for non-professional consumer environments.
 

philipma1957

macrumors 603
Apr 13, 2010
6,271
191
Howell, New Jersey
All the OP needs is new iMac and a decent external storage solution. He should look into buying a Voyager Q drive that will allow him to use cheaper 3.5 inch bare drives to store data on. He could run the Voyager off FW800 and edit directly to the drive. I now that will work because that's what I'm using for 1080P footage on a measly 2008 MacbookPro unibody.

Unless a person is rich and likes to spend money frivolously, the Mac pro is total overkill for non-professional consumer environments.
I agree with some but not all of your ideas. The baby will touch or want to touch the iMac. so I am against the iMac for op. Your statement that the mac pro is overkill is pretty much true.

I think the op can get a base mini.

Then decide how to add storage.

Synology has low cost reliable gear and high cost reliable gear.

Op has stated money is not a big deal if true a base mini 8gb ram and a promise pegasus r4 works.

I have a promise pegasus r6 it is outstanding but costly. I was luck and got one before the hdd shortage cost was 1320 plus 2 spare modules cost was 214 total cost 1534.

this would now cost more then 1850.


http://www.provantage.com/promise-technology-pr601us~7PROM1KW.htm


http://www.provantage.com/promise-technology-hdsata1tb~7PROM1L6.htm


a 4 drive setup is 991


http://www.provantage.com/promise-technology-pr401us~7PROM1KU.htm

this will let you add any sata hdd up to 2tb and any 2.5 inch hdd or ssd .

you can run the drives as jbod that allows for safety as each hdd stands alone. 1 drive failure is just that 1 bad drive not the whole set of 4.

this is the big advantage over raid0 or raid5 yeah raid5 has issues of data loss. plus you can pull a drive out and stash it in another location then put one in its place. fast and stable.
 

Flynnstone

macrumors 65816
Feb 25, 2003
1,421
73
Cold beer land
I'm in the "look at the iMac" camp.

OP has a monitor, is it a good one? Like IPS ...
A MacPro has plenty of horsepower, but to get the full Mac experience you need a good display. Something like what's in an iMac.
 

theSeb

macrumors 604
Aug 10, 2010
6,963
83
Poole, England
I would also look at the iMac if it had a desktop GPU, user upgradable hard drives (without taking off the screen) and the option to choose my own monitor. I don't want a 27" laptop.
 

kappaknight

macrumors 68000
Mar 5, 2009
1,577
79
Atlanta, GA
How does Synology measure up against Drobo?

That's a fancy grandma you got there -- streaming to iPad :D
In many ways, the Synology is superior to the Drobo; faster speeds, more reliable hardware, better support. However, what pushed me over the edge was that they showed their support forums out in the open whereas Drobo hid it behind the customer wall. I like to research things before I buy and I pay particular attention to problems that the customers bitch about. In this case, Drobo had something to hide, and Synology over all was pretty mild in terms of issues - mostly software, none hardware. Whatever issues were present, Synology has been really quick to fix them - so add me to the list of happy customers.

Also, I don't know about the lower end or older Synology NAS, but with the DS1511+, you can manage the entire thing via the web console, no knowledge of Linux is really needed unless you want to manage it through command line.
 

NeverhadaPC

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 3, 2008
410
2
I would also look at the iMac if it had a desktop GPU, user upgradable hard drives (without taking off the screen) and the option to choose my own monitor. I don't want a 27" laptop.
27" Laptop -- brilliant. ;)

iMac is not an option mainly because of it's static nature and high cost -- I a 10-year computer. Last experience with iMac was really poor too (G5 dies 1 month after AC ended... AC wouldn't help me out!).

Synology sounds pretty good.

On the money issue: what I meant with "money is no issue" is that I have saved up for Mac Pro over last couple years not that I have $100K waiting to be spent ;)

Mac Mini + Mac Pro + Synology = Mac Success at good value (longevity + performance + ability to upgrade hardware) :D

----------

I'm in the "look at the iMac" camp.

OP has a monitor, is it a good one? Like IPS ...
A MacPro has plenty of horsepower, but to get the full Mac experience you need a good display. Something like what's in an iMac.
Main reason for Mac Pro is high performance (HD edits on my uMBP is wayyyyyy to slooooow) + ability to upgrade hardware as technology moves forward. I am thinking 8 cores should be enough for 10 years and upgrade graphics+RAM as needed.

iMac's a not built-to-last, imo.

My screen is decent but not IPS (yet!)... I honestly have not used screen much besides 2nd monitor for G5 iMac, but that was not by choice (failed iMac graphics/monitor)...

Thanks for the helpful discussion.
 

iamthedudeman

macrumors 65816
Jul 7, 2007
1,194
84
full HD video editing, make home-movies, music and phoot storage, serve as "media server," acts as family back-up (storage), and of course Diablo III

A i7 mini with SSD will do all of that with relative ease.

A mac mini i7 will suit your needs well. Pair that with a Thunderbolt display and you are good to go. If you are worried about if your computer is up to date or not on why are you going to spend $3000 on a Mac Pro, and keep it for 10 years. Keeping a Mac as long as possible you actually lose money. If you added up all the time lost using a slow machine you would be amazed.

Your plan would work if you bought a PC. Not so much a Mac. Macs hold there value well. Why not take advantage of it. You're still using a G3 and G5. Are you serious? And you're worried if a Mac Mini would be fast enough? A Mac Mini if faster than your MacBook Pro. Much faster.

Who even knows if a Mac Pro will even be produced. The Mini might be the only headless mac going forward.

Wouldnt it make better sense to get a mini and sell it every two years to have the latest and greatest? You might lose $200 max. That is $100 a year to have the latest and greatest.

Keep the monitor and just upgrade the mini. A Mini four years from now will be faster than a 2012 Mac Pro.

Just as a Mini Server is faster than a 8 core Mac Pro from 2008. That is just 3 and a half years ago.
 
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NeverhadaPC

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 3, 2008
410
2
What about the 15" MacBook Pro you claim you own in your signature?
2008 MBP is great for my work (MATLAB, paper writing, etc) but I did some basic video editing and it was excruciatingly slow for small video clips (to MPB's defense, I was using iMovie --- so Adobe's suite might have performance increases to consider.

Perhaps the i7 Mac Mini is indeed the most cost-effective solution with Synology as back-up.
 

NeverhadaPC

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 3, 2008
410
2
Just as a Mini Server is faster than a 8 core Mac Pro from 2008. That is just 3 and a half years ago.
:eek::eek::eek::eek:

Is that really true?

If so, I hear the following in my ear:
"The Mac Mini killed the Giant Mac Pro..."

Mac Mini it is then. ~4 year "life" span ==> $333 per year for Mac Mini i7 - sales price.

Re: SSD Mac Mini, is it really worth it and can I install it myself (without voiding the warranty?)????