mac mini or mac pro: Which one should I get?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by saxman1969, May 16, 2009.

  1. saxman1969 macrumors newbie

    Jul 21, 2008
    I will soon be purchasing a new computer for my office (I teach college), but I'm having trouble deciding between a max-ed out mac mini and a quad-core mac pro. I like the small footprint of the mini, but wonder whether it will have enough power or memory to keep me content in the long run. I don't want to buy another computer until at least 2014. I like the power and upgradeability of the mac pro, but suspect it's overkill for what I need. Most of what I'll be doing is using the internet, doing word processingf, storing audio files (50 GB on iTunes and constantly growing), and, in the near future, some video editing probably using Final Cut Express. The other issue is that I really want to use dual monitors. I'm leaning toward two Dell 2209wa monitors, and I want to be able to use them without any resolution or connectivity problems. Money is not *that* much of an issue here since the funds will come from a research account. However, the more I spend on a computer, the less I'll have for other things; so I want to be financially wise. I also want to be strategic with this purchase, so that I don't end up with a computer I'm going to want to replace after only a couple of years.

    I'd appreciate any thoughts on which computer would be most suitable. Thanks.
  2. JayLenochiniMac macrumors G5

    Nov 7, 2007
    New Sanfrakota
    Definitely Mac Pro.
  3. MacAndy74 macrumors 65816

    Mar 19, 2009
    From the two choices the OP gave - I agree also.
    But if the iMac came into the equation, then a iMac 24" with 2.93GHz processor / 1TB HDD / GT130 would be a better choice than the Mac Mini *sigh* well, it's also the iMac forum :eek:
  4. saxman1969 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 21, 2008
    Well, I haven't completely ruled out an iMac, but I wouldn't get the aesthetic benefit of having two identical-looking monitors. I love the specs of that 24" iMac, though--especially the faster processor at a (more) reasonable price.
  5. synagence macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2008
    The MacPro is certainly a lot of machine for seemingly fairly simple needs...

    The mini is small and cheap but not as bad as some make out...

    The iMac is definitely the kind of machine you need power wise but unless you buy apple cinema display you'll not get 2 identical monitors.

    The Mac Pro is large, but is very expandable in memory, gfx and storage

    Might be good to know from you what you've been running up to now for the last several years ... to see what you've coped with
  6. rgarjr macrumors 603


    Apr 2, 2009
    Southern California
    I think you're comparing apples and oranges here. The Mac Pro is like the Cadillac of Apple's Macs.
  7. iVeBeenDrinkin' macrumors 65816


    Oct 17, 2008

    My vote is for the mini.

    BTW, are paragraphs still taught in college?
  8. vailance macrumors member


    Nov 29, 2008
    same problem

    i have a g5 dual 2.3ghz and recently it perform slower than i expected while surfing heavy javascripts web or streaming Hd youtube makes the whole thing slow. I was planning to get a New mac pro but the price for a student is overkill. So thinking to get a mac mini to max out the hdd(500GB) and 4GB ddr3. My questions is, the mac mini can last me around 2 to 3 year? well, i will use it for my normal research,web surfing, word processing, 24/5 torrent machine :p, HD movies media players and a small WoW used. Not really a heavy games as low/medium quality for my should be fine.
  9. mightyPhone macrumors newbie

    Aug 13, 2008
    It all depends on what you computing needs are. Of course if you have the money, go for a Mac Pro, but if you are on a limited budget, the Mini is a fantastic little guy for the bucks. I am surprised that Apple doesn't advertise it enough as people often say Mac is "Expensive". I have a Mini as a server sitting on my desk quietly and working hard for almost three years without issues. Absolutely love it!!!

    For the price, it beats any Windows/PC garbages.
  10. ditzy macrumors 68000


    Sep 28, 2007
    If you intend on keeping it for five years I'd get the pro. Though if it was me I'd get the mini and update it after two and a half years, as it's less than half the price.
  11. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

    Jul 5, 2008
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    #11're really asking for 180 degrees out aren't you...

    If you can afford the Mac Pro, get it...
  12. barkmonster macrumors 68020


    Dec 3, 2001
    I can appreciate the lack of issues with a mac. The only real problem I ever had with the spinning beach ball or outright freezes were with a cheap £10 USB wi-fi adapter, it's lousy drivers and ability to lose power once it heated up.

    Once I fitted an official airport card, I've had no issues at all with my G4 the whole time I've had it. I've also upgraded it quite a bit with 2 additional internal drives, a second graphics card and a dual CPU board pulled from a 2001 quicksilver model. OS X has being rock solid too, I just wish spotlight was even 10% as good as sherlock was under OS9, no boolean search is pathetic in an OS like this after 8 years.

    There's plenty of core 2 quad based mini-tower PCs for the £499 - £649 price point of the mac mini with 2.4Ghz or faster CPUs.

    Don't kid yourself that a 2 year old, dual core laptop CPU and integrated graphics beats ANYTHING just because it's got a better OS than Windows and a nice shiny Apple logo.

    Geekbench scores don't lie, in fact from personal experience after a CPU upgrade, they're understated if anything. My system only scores 739 on geekbench 2 but the difference to my audio apps is more than double the plug-in count and zero slow down. It also encodes video at least twice as fast as it did with just a single G4 with no L3 cache.

    The Mac mini (Early 2006) Intel T2300 1.67 GHz (2 cores) scores 2138 but what's really interesting is how core 2 quad systems available for the price point of the entry level mac mini stack up:

    Just to show how much faster a Mac Pro is after 3 years clock for clock...

    4975: Mac Pro, Intel Xeon 5150 2.66 GHz (4 cores)
    8144: Mac Pro (Early 2009), Intel Xeon W3520 2.67 GHz (4 cores)

    or for less than 3rd of the price...

    5024: Hackintosh, Intel Core2 Quad Q6600 @ 2.40 GHz (4 cores)
    3058: Mac mini (Early 2009) Intel Core 2 Duo P8400 2.26 GHz (2 cores)
    2768: Mac mini (Early 2009) Intel Core 2 Duo P7350 2.0 GHz (2 cores)

    I think those results speak for themselves.
  13. Winni macrumors 68030


    Oct 15, 2008
    I could ask you the same question that I'm asking myself more and more often: Does it have to be a Mac? Except for the design, Dell kills Apple in every regard - not only with their prices, but especially when you need support and service. Dell's business support is by far the best in the industry. And you can buy your computer with a five year support plan from Dell. Apple does not sell more than three years of support.

    But if it has to be a Mac, and if you don't want to buy another one before 2014, you better go with a Mac Pro. It's the only computer that Apple sells that can be upgraded. Minis and iMacs are nice machines, but they cannot grow with your needs.
  14. 300D macrumors 65816


    May 2, 2009
    The mini is an overpriced joke, get the MacPro.
  15. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

    Jul 5, 2008
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    #15 I guess you're not happy with the one in your sig:eek:
  16. MultiFinder17 macrumors 68000


    Jan 8, 2008
    Tampa, Florida
    I'm sorta in the same boat as yourself; I'm a student, and I tend to hang onto my machines for as long as possible, until they absolutely cannot do what I need them to anymore. My main laptop is a 4-year-old 1.5GHz 12" PowerBook G4 that I expect to last me a good while still, and until very recently, my main desktop was a 9-year-old dual 500MHz Power Mac G4. I finally upgraded to a base-model Mac mini that I bumped up to 4 gigs of RAM, and expect to be very happy with it for a good long time. Maybe not 9 years like the G4, but at least four or five.

    People keep saying that the mini is a crappy little machine, then rolling out benchmarks comparing the little bugger to a Mac Pro... A Ferrari will blow the doors off a Honda any day, but the Honda will still get you to the same places. Perhaps with a little less style and speed, but you'll get there.

    If you want a machine that will remain on the cutting edge for a year or two before starting to fall off, go for the Mac Pro. If you want a decent little machine that will fall off the cutting edge within a year or a little more, yet still remain totally useful for a good while after, go for the mini.
  17. JDee macrumors 6502a

    Aug 31, 2008
    When I saw the thread title "Mac Mini" or "Mac Pro" it's a no brainer what to pick. It's your decision.

    If you want a machine that is super fast, efficent and will last you a long time (2014) buy the Mac Pro.

    If you want a machine that will last you a few years, and you will need to replace it sometime soon - then obviously go for the Mac Mini.

    The question is stupid.
    Buy an iMac if you are having trouble deciding.
  18. zap2 macrumors 604


    Mar 8, 2005
    Washington D.C
    If you want your computer to last until 2014, I go Mac Pro.

    I mean the Mini will still be here, but it won't be nearly fast enough for modern OSes at that point. May I suggest a Mac Mini now, then updating in 2011ish? By then I'd have to imagine the Mini would be faster then a Quad Core Mac Pro from today.
  19. Cynicalone macrumors 68040


    Jul 9, 2008
    Okie land
    Mac Pro for sure then.
  20. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    Get the Mac Pro if you need the computer to last 7 years.

    I'm not :D
  21. arcadeforest macrumors member

    Feb 25, 2008
    For the use you are describing I would get the mac mini. For the price difference you can get a new mini today, a new one in 2011, a new one in 2013, and a new one in 2015. That way you would be staying current with technology based on your described usage, always be in warranty, and have the pleasure of buying a new computer every few years. On top of that you can sell each one as the new one comes home and recoup some of your costs back (or convert them into htpc's for the bedroom's, kitchen mac for recipies and media, etc.). Really unless you need the raw power of the pro (from your desribed usage you don't) or you just want to have biggest and baddest mac out there then go with a mini.
  22. arcadeforest macrumors member

    Feb 25, 2008
    In re-reading your original post I caught that you will be purchasing the mac out of a research account. That takes away my argument about reusing / selling the macs and buying a new one very two years. Go with the Pro if you will be using it for work in your research facility. I stand by my other post if this was for home.
  23. zap2 macrumors 604


    Mar 8, 2005
    Washington D.C
    No, it really isn't

    My Components
    Intel® Core™ 2 Duo T6400 (2.0GHz/800Mhz FSB/2MB cache)
    Genuine Windows Vista® Home Basic Service Pack 1
    No Monitor (System includes DVI and HDMI ports. VGA is not supported)
    2GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 at 667MHz (2 DIMM)
    160GB SATA Hard Drive (5400RPM)
    Slot Load CD / DVD Burner (Dual Layer DVD+/-RW Drive)
    Intel® Integrated Graphics Media Accelerator X3100
    Built-in Dell 1505 Wireless-N Networking
    Dell 7 in 1 Media Card Reader
    Integrated 10/100/1000 Ethernet


    Mac Mini
    2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    1GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 1x1GB
    120GB Serial ATA Drive
    SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    wireless N and bluetooth


    Yes, the Dell has a better HDD and RAM, but the Mini has the better graphic card. I'll take the Mini based on how either one has a user upgradable graphics card. Other mights disagree, but its not a blow out on either side

    That said, the OP still should go Mac Pro
  24. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    That's what I'd say too. The mini is a great computer, but I wouldn't count on it being able to run then-current software in 5 years. The mac pro will last that long, in part because you can upgrade a lot of the hardware as necessary.

    However, a new mini every 2 years is still cheaper than a new mac pro every 5, and for what you're doing, a mini will certainly suffice in the short term.
  25. Chris7 macrumors 6502

    Aug 8, 2008
    Lost in Thought
    Another vote for the Mac Pro. This computer is most directly completive with today's mid-line Dell's (which cost about a third the price for the same specs).

    All Mac hardware is overpriced. We buy Mac's because we want the OS, and there's no other way to get it.

Share This Page