Mac mini: Questions

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Hatchet, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. Hatchet macrumors regular

    Dec 9, 2007
    Baton Rouge
    Hi guys, I have a few questions about the Mac mini...

    1. Can I use a 24" monitor from Dell flawlessly with the mini? Will it have an performance issues or stretching the picture?

    2. In terms of the video card, will this effect movie watching quality on the mini? This is one of the drawbacks for me buying it seeing as it's the most inferior card offered...

    3. How well does a mini run Bootcamp? I am looking to put away my old PC (3.00 GHZ Pentium D, 500 GB Harddrive, 2GB Memory) and use this as the best of both worlds replacement? Will it satisfy my needs?

    4. What is the max Memory upgrade? I've seen eBay flaunting 4GB but i notice you can only upgrade to 2GB on

    On a side note: I use Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and the normal day to day Internet, Office, iTunes, etc.

    Lastly, what are the chances Apple will discontinue this machine? If they discontinue it, is there any rumors about a mid-range option? For me, the Mac Pro is way too powerful and simply too expensive.

    Thanks in advance, your answers are really appreciated in helping me become a 1st time Mac owner. :)
  2. iTiki macrumors 6502

    Feb 9, 2007
    Maui, Hawaii
    My son uses a 37 inch LCD and it kicks a$$ with his mini. Don't be afraid to go big.
  3. tersono macrumors 68000


    Jan 18, 2005
    1. Provided your screen has a max res of 1920x1200 or less, the mini will drive it just fine
    2. The graphics card should be fine for movies - it's not great for gaming, though.
    3. Bootcamp works very well on the Mini - you'll get the Windows performance you'd expect from the hardware spec: fine for office applications, but a bit choppy for games due to the integrated graphics (equivalent to an average laptop). I'll be noticeably faster than your P4
    4. 2gb is the mac that the mini will address currently.
    For the apps you mention, the mini should work beautifully. I've no real clue about it being discontinued - last time this was mooted, they actually upgraded it slightly. I doubt that they'd ditch it entirely - I'd suspect that they'd be more likely to replace it with something new, if they do anything. If it was me, however, I'd be inclined to hang fire until after the 15th, as if they're going to make any changes, that's the likely next date :)
  4. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Provided it's a DVI display capable of 1920x1200 resolution it should be fine.

    There won't be any issues for the Mini. Video is 2D graphics, thus the Mini does it just fine. We have an Eye TV Hybrid on ours and it does 1080 in Dolby Digital (1.66 Core Duo).

    It runs Bootcamp fine, too. Don't expect it to be a 3D gaming machine. Also, unless something has changed, your Win partition must be on the internal drive. I use Parallels, not Bootcamp.

    Two gigs. A limitation of the logic board chipset. That might change with the upcoming MWSF (fingers crossed). If you want to save money, buy the Mini with the minimum RAM from Apple, then upgrade yourself. It's about a 20 minute job the first time you open a Mini.

    I run Photoshop and CS3 concurrently with very few performance issues.

    I think it's certain that Apple will discontinue this machine. But no one knows when. Might be this year, might be in 5 years.
  5. Hatchet thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 9, 2007
    Baton Rouge
    What's the difference between Bootcamp and Parallels? I'd most likely get a matching external HD for this if I end up getting it.
  6. kresh macrumors 6502a


    Actually the Ram limit is 3 GB's. I use a 2GB and a 1GB modules in my 1.83GHZ C2D Mac Mini. Apple recommends matched pairs of memory to take advantage of slightly higher transfer rates, but I opted for the extra 1GB ram even with the 5% speed penalty.

    I purchased my Ram from OtherWorld Computing.

    Here's the page on OWC's store. ($75.00 USD)

    Here's a great article about the pros and cons of using match pairs of memory. It's written for a MacBook, but it also applies to the Mac Mini.

    In some situations the 5% penalty in speed does not offset the 30%-50% gain in performance with some apps (like CS3).

    edit: There is a 2GB limit for the CoreDuo and CoreSolo Mac Mini's, but it's 3GB for the Core 2 Duo Mac Mini's.

  7. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Bootcamp requires that you boot your Mac as a Windows machine. Parallels (and Fusion) run Windows within Mac OS X, thus both OSes run concurrently (the Windows OS is just another app to the Mac OS).
  8. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Well, there you go!
  9. Hatchet thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 9, 2007
    Baton Rouge
    Performance wise, is there a big difference from the 2GB's to 3GB's? Is this safe to do to the machine and will apple cover it if something happens?

    I've been using 2Gb's of memory on my PC since 05' (Pentium D, 3.0GHZ) so I don't know if i'll see a difference. People have been telling me the 2.0GHZ C2D's are a lot faster than my current Pentium D, regardless of GHZ.
  10. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Pentium D speed are pretty pumped up, does not really perform that well. AMD, G4 and G5 of lower clock speed usually outperforms Pentiums in many tasks. If it performs, they will still be selling it. C2D are faster.

    2gb or 3gb of ram depends on what you want to do and how long you want to keep it. If you open multiple apps under Rosetta you might need more ram. If you use photoshop or apps that would speed up with more memory, then you need more ram. Try it with 2gb first, unless money is not an issue, then do 3gb or possibly 4gb (but only 3gb available). But for movie playing and general purpose, 2gb will be fine. You can add another gig later.
  11. kresh macrumors 6502a


    To be honest I don't have any real experience with 2GB's in my Mac Mini. I went from 1GB to 3GB and noticed a tremendous decrease in wait times. It's entirely possible that 2GB will do nicely for you, I was just bringing it up as an option since it had been stated that 2GB was the limit.

    If you use PhotoShop extensively, then I would definitely consider the 3GB.

    As far as comparing even a 1.83GHz C2D against any Pentium D, I don't think anyone would argue against the difference being huge. My Mac Mini runs Windows XP, using BootCamp, seemingly much faster than my parents Pentium D Windows box. However that could be due to memory or the fact that they have the original install of Windows (so there's no telling how much crap is running hidden).

    All in all, the 1.83 GHz C2D Mac Mini is an awesome little machine. I even play games like Knights of the Republic (KOTOR I & II), as well as some other older games. I use it to serve media to all the other Macs and AppleTV in our house. If you don't have the need to run the latest 3D intensive games then you will be well pleased and amazed!

    edit: My setup is a little wierd though. I use the Mac Mini connected to a 32 LCD TV in our bedroom and it's connected via Gigabit ethernet to an Airport Extreme Base Station. 3 iMacs and an AppleTV are connected via WiFi N, and the two old iMacs are not networked. The Mini amazes me. It will feed the same movie, concurrently, to the 3 iMacs and the AppleTV (on a 47" LCD TV) and I can play KOTOR for OS X all at once (I love the BT keyboard and mouse for laying in bed and playing games 15' away) . I tried it to see if I could bog the Mini down and it just keeps chugging away. I absolutely love my Mini and will despair if Apple discontinues it.
  12. Hatchet thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 9, 2007
    Baton Rouge
    Another question:

    I'd assume that using iTunes on the mac mini will take up hard drive space.

    Is it possible to store those songs, movies, tv shows on an external hard drive?

    I'd be getting a similar shaped external (probably 500GB) if I decide to go with the mac mini so I can stack them on top of one another.

    Right now, you guys are easing my worries and I think I'm sold on it.
  13. OllyW Moderator


    Staff Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    The Black Country, England
    No problem, I've got my 96GB iTunes library on a Firewire drive with my mini (also running 3GB of RAM).
  14. Hatchet thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 9, 2007
    Baton Rouge
    What would I need to do in order to do that?

    What type of drive do you have and what is firewire?
  15. kresh macrumors 6502a


    FireWire is Apple's commercial name of IEEE 1394.

    The stated maximum throughput is 400Mbs vs USB 2 with 480Mbs (not sure of Mbs or MBs), but in actual use the substained rate of transfer is higher with Firewire. Firewire also uses a dedicated chip to handle all transfers, while USB 2 uses the CPU to handle transfers. In real life the FireWire connection is much faster than USB 2. It uses a cable that resembles USB.

    You mentioned that you were getting one of the stacking drives with your Mini. The NewerTech Mini Stack V2 is the perfect stacking drive. It is USB2 and Firewire. You can set the drive to use Firewire only or AutoSelect, plus it has a built-in Hub for USB2 and Firewire. I think it adds 3 more USB 2 and 2 more Firewire ports. I personally own the NewerTech Mini Stack V2 and I use it with my Mac Mini for my media storage. I can attest that it is a wonderful drive. I even added one last November to my Airport Extreme so my kids could have a back-up drive.

    edit: To use an external drive to hold all your media, just set iTunes to use a folder on the external drive as your iTunes folder.
  16. Hatchet thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 9, 2007
    Baton Rouge
    Very nice. Thanks for your responses, I really appreciate it.

    Seems like a really good option. I think I'm sold on the mac mini. I'm hoping they will maybe upgrade it a bit at Macworld (let's hope they don't discontinue it) and then I'll buy it and the external drive you pointed me too.

    Thanks again!

    I can't wait!
  17. kresh macrumors 6502a


    Good luck to you. I think you will thoroughly enjoy you're Mac of any flavor.

    Once you get over the culture shock of changing OS's, you'll really start to appreciate your purchase. I know it took me two weeks to stop staring at the screen waiting for a pop-up box when I plugged something in, or giggling in amazement at how easy it is to install and uninstall programs.

    You've already found the biggest asset to owning a Mac. It's Macrumors (and also AppleInsider). I've been involved with a lot of on-line communities and support groups (anybody remember Team OS/2 on BBS?) but Macrumors is by far the greatest group of people on the planet.

    I have never seen a community that is so patient with new users, or that will go so far out of their way to help you with a problem. When I have a problem I come here first, even before visiting Apple's own support forums. It inspires you to help other people here as you gain mastery over all things Apple.

    Welcome to the family!

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