Mac Mini (versus iMac) - Quiet and Fast?

mdewberry

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 20, 2003
139
2
Hi everyone,

I have been through 4 attempts (and returns) with the new 27" i5 Imac and returned them for multiple reasons:
1) iMac #1 had the 1tb Seagate drive, loud and grumbly
2) iMac #2 also had the loud 1tb Seagate drive, plus yellow tinge plus gray line at bottom of screen
3) iMac #3 (upgraded to 2tb drive, but yellow tinge (worse) and gray line at bottom of screen
4) iMac #4 had bad yellow tinge (most of screen) and gray line at bottom of screen

After the 4th machine I decided to opt for a refund and wait until the problems get solved...

Well, it seems that the problems are not getting solved, and my original intent was to wait for the next revision and hope for the best. But, I don't want to wait until summer and then have the possibility that these issues are not resolved.. So I have now been thinking about the Mac Mini...

In looking at the specs it is a Dual (versus Quad) core, and the graphics card does not seem nearly as impressive as the iMacs, but in thinking more about what I want to do with the machine is mostly iLife stuff (including iMovie editing), web browsing, and watching video content from Hulu, Itunes concent, DVDs, etc.. So now I am thinking the i5 iMac may have been overkill (kinda like the guy who goes and buys a top of the line Corvette and doesn't take it over 55!), and that the mini may be perfect for me.. I assume the hard drive is much quieter than the iMac (and if not I can get a longer monitor cable and put the mini down on the bottom shelf of my desk) and would also be buying the 24" LED Cinema Display to use with it...

I would be looking at getting the best possible configuration for the mini (500gb drive, 2.53 processor)... For those folks that use the mini, would it be able to handle iLife apps and HD movie content from iTunes (and elsewhere like Hulu) seamlessly and fast? I don't plan to do much gaming so that should not be an issue but do plan to use iMovie for home video editing...

Also not sure if I should spend the $135 to upgrade to the 2.66 processor?

Regarding the display, the reviews online of the 24" LED Display have been pretty great, it doesn't seem to be having the issues of the new iMac display, and the slightly smaller screen (24" would be a better fit for my work area).. Anyone heard differently??

So that is what I am thinking -- wanted to put this out there to folks who use the Mac Mini and see what you think?

Thanks for any advice and feedback!!!!
 

CJS7070

macrumors 6502a
Dec 10, 2008
755
0
Chicago, IL
I've got an Early 2009 Mac Mini and it's definitely quiet, it's not terribly fast but I only have 1GB of RAM in there, plus it's not the latest model.

I would probably take an iMac over another Mini though.
 

mdewberry

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 20, 2003
139
2
Thanks CJS7070, the mini I am looking at would come standard at 4GB of RAM, that should make a difference, right?
 

steve2112

macrumors 68040
Feb 20, 2009
3,023
6
East of Lyra, Northwest of Pegasus
I just upgraded to the base model (2.26) Mini. Granted, I'm coming from a 1.83 Core Duo Mini, but it seems pretty quick. I upgraded to 4GB of RAM and a WD 320 GB Scorpio Black. I haven't tried HD stuff from iTunes yet, but I have seen others around here say they have no problems. I have run Hulu with no problem, full screen and their higher def versions.

After seeing the benchmarks from OWC, I kind of wish I had gotten the 2.53, since there seems to be a nice jump from the 2.26 to the 2.53. Of course, those are benchmarks, not real world use, so I don't know how much difference I would actually see. They didn't test the 2.66, though. With such a small jump in speed, though, I don't know that you would see much of a real-world difference. Then again, if you can afford the extra money, why not spring for the best?
 

CJS7070

macrumors 6502a
Dec 10, 2008
755
0
Chicago, IL
Thanks CJS7070, the mini I am looking at would come standard at 4GB of RAM, that should make a difference, right?
You're welcome. The 4GB should absolutely make a difference. I've been contemplating upgrading mine to at least 2GB, but at this point I'm not sure it's even worth the time and expense.

The newer Mini should be better, though.
 

ParishM

macrumors regular
Aug 12, 2007
151
1
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
i have the 2.53ghz model and love it !
it replaced a 2.0ghz 2007 model and
it's much faster. it handles everything
i throw at it and plays HD media and
games full screen perfectly.

i would definitely NOT buy the Apple 24"
display ! look at the 24" or 27" new Dell
Ultrasharp monitors, they are much better
and have multiple inputs, USB hub, and
memory card reader built in. look for a
20% off coupon and you can really get a
deal on a Dell !!!
 

steve2112

macrumors 68040
Feb 20, 2009
3,023
6
East of Lyra, Northwest of Pegasus
You're welcome. The 4GB should absolutely make a difference. I've been contemplating upgrading mine to at least 2GB, but at this point I'm not sure it's even worth the time and expense.

The newer Mini should be better, though.
If you don't mind diving into the Mini, it is worth it. Moving from 2 to 4GB on my new Mini made a big difference, so I can imagine the jump from 1 to 4 would be very big. Heck, even moving to 2GB would be a nice improvement. With only 1GB, the 9400M graphics card is stuck at 128MB.
 

CJS7070

macrumors 6502a
Dec 10, 2008
755
0
Chicago, IL
I've considered buying 4GB for my MBP, then putting the 2GB from the MBP in the Mini... Should I just deal with the expense and spend the $100 or so to go through with it?
 

ParishM

macrumors regular
Aug 12, 2007
151
1
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
i upgraded my 2007 2.0 C2D from 1GB to
4GB memory and it made a huge difference !

Apple says it was only upgradable to 2GB
but i installed 2x2GB and it worked fine.
the C2D chip saw and recognized the 4GB
but only used 3.3GB

the newest mini's will handle up to 8GB but
it's still way too expensive. 4GB for now still rocks ! Macs can never have too much memory !
 

steve2112

macrumors 68040
Feb 20, 2009
3,023
6
East of Lyra, Northwest of Pegasus
I've considered buying 4GB for my MBP, then putting the 2GB from the MBP in the Mini... Should I just deal with the expense and spend the $100 or so to go through with it?
Yeah, that would be a good idea if the MBP is your main machine. Like I said, you would see a nice improvement going from 1-2GB in the Mini.

I was going to upgrade my new one to 8GB, since I run some VMs on it, but then I realized I would be spending almost as much on RAM as I did on the Mini! :eek: 4GB is working nicely for now.

Oh yeah, I agree about the Dell monitors. I have a Dell 2209WA attached to my Mini. It's not as nice as the 24 or 27in Ultrasharps, but it is very nice. The IPS panel is amazing, and I love the Ultrasharp warranty. One dead/stuck pixel, and they will advance ship you a new one! I also love the USB ports and the multiple adjustments. Why is it so difficult to find a monitor that is height adjustable? Not to mention the tilt and rotate adjustment.
 

belltree

macrumors 6502
Feb 17, 2008
394
60
Tokyo, Japan
Hi everyone,

I have been through 4 attempts (and returns) with the new 27" i5 Imac and returned them for multiple reasons:
1) iMac #1 had the 1tb Seagate drive, loud and grumbly
2) iMac #2 also had the loud 1tb Seagate drive, plus yellow tinge plus gray line at bottom of screen
3) iMac #3 (upgraded to 2tb drive, but yellow tinge (worse) and gray line at bottom of screen
4) iMac #4 had bad yellow tinge (most of screen) and gray line at bottom of screen
This is exactly why I would never get an iMac. The Mini , not being tied to a display, just makes the most sense. If the display goes bad, why the f*** would I want to send out my whole system (with my data!) to get repaired.
 

ParishM

macrumors regular
Aug 12, 2007
151
1
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
i'm a huge Apple fan but the iMac has been the
most problematic machine Apple has ever built.

i had one of the early 20" G5 iMacs and even
it had several problems. the logic board died
in the first 60 days and again after 6 months.

the Mini from what i read has had the least
problems of any Mac ever !
 

steve2112

macrumors 68040
Feb 20, 2009
3,023
6
East of Lyra, Northwest of Pegasus
This is exactly why I would never get an iMac. The Mini , not being tied to a display, just makes the most sense. If the display goes bad, why the f*** would I want to send out my whole system (with my data!) to get repaired.
This is exactly why I went with the Mini. I couldn't afford the Mac Pro, and I didn't like the all in one form factor.
 

mrsir2009

macrumors 604
Sep 17, 2009
7,501
156
Melbourne, Australia
The Mini should be great for iLife stuff. The Mini is pretty much a MacBook Pro but a lot cheaper (the specs are very similar). I think you should get a 4GB Mini with a 500GB HDD. :D
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
63,851
30,368
Boston
I just picked up the base model mini for my kids and can't believe how quiet it is and how fast. I was toying with the iMac model for a bit because I purchased a mini and a 24" ACD. The cost of that was close to the 27" iMac however the 24" ACD was for me and not for my kids :D

Anyways the ACD is a fabulous display, I'm not sure if the dell 2410 display is LED but it is less expensive. I had the 2405 and it laster 5 years so I can attest to the durability of the monitor. Ascetics wise, my ACD looks a whole lot better and being LED, the thing outshines everything else literally :eek:

I have absolutely no buyers remorse with the purchase, my kids finally have a computer they can call their own and quite a good performer as well, and the ACD is a great display.
 

thejadedmonkey

macrumors 604
May 28, 2005
7,984
533
Pennsylvania
My parents were using a G4 mini before upgrading to a 2.66ghz iMac, and (personally) I think the mini was a nicer machine. It's quieter, more self-contained, and ironically enough there is less cable clutter as the guts were out of sight. :confused:

And if you're just using it for iLife, well the G4 could handle it slowly, I'd imagine the current crop of mini's would be a speed demon, especially with 4gb of RAM.
 

citivolus

macrumors 6502a
Sep 19, 2008
763
85
don't mean to steal this thread, but I'm considering buying the 27" i5 Imac from Apple's refurbished store and am wondering if I'm going to get one of the following returns:
I have been through 4 attempts (and returns) with the new 27" i5 Imac and returned them for multiple reasons:
1) iMac #1 had the 1tb Seagate drive, loud and grumbly
2) iMac #2 also had the loud 1tb Seagate drive, plus yellow tinge plus gray line at bottom of screen
3) iMac #3 (upgraded to 2tb drive, but yellow tinge (worse) and gray line at bottom of screen
4) iMac #4 had bad yellow tinge (most of screen) and gray line at bottom of screen
If this had been purchased from the Refurb store, could I have returned any of them for the reasons stated above?
 

OrangeSVTguy

macrumors 601
Sep 16, 2007
4,109
54
Northeastern Ohio
I got the new 2.26ghz Mini and upgraded to 4gb and 500gb 7.2k rpm HDD. For what you intend to do with it, it will work great. Plays HD content just fine from places like Hulu.com and 1080p trailers from Apple.

It runs remarkably cool and very quiet. It's in my room and it runs 24/7 and I never hear it unless in the near-dead silence of night, then you can just barely hear it :p. I have the fan set to 2000rpms.
 

mdewberry

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 20, 2003
139
2
I got the new 2.26ghz Mini and upgraded to 4gb and 500gb 7.2k rpm HDD. For what you intend to do with it, it will work great. Plays HD content just fine from places like Hulu.com and 1080p trailers from Apple.

It runs remarkably cool and very quiet. It's in my room and it runs 24/7 and I never hear it unless in the near-dead silence of night, then you can just barely hear it :p. I have the fan set to 2000rpms.
Awesome! This is all great feedback.. Just curious, I checked on apple.com and the 500GB upgrade is still a 5400rpm... Did you get a 3rd party hard drive for the faster rpm?
 

Shpenza

macrumors regular
Mar 12, 2010
127
3
Barcelona
Hi there,
I have just gone through the same experience, returned 2 27" core i7 imac because of diffrent problems, and i am now thinking that it might be best to buy a 100% working mac mini with a nice display form a diffrent brand. (even save some $$$).
My only doubt is, should i wait untill the Mac mini´s are refreshed with the new Core i processors, as i bought the i7 iMAC because of its CPU, therefor buying a C2D Mac mini wont be so smart.
When will the refresh be you might ask? dont really know, does anyone has some information regargin the refresh?

Thanks,
 

OrangeSVTguy

macrumors 601
Sep 16, 2007
4,109
54
Northeastern Ohio
Awesome! This is all great feedback.. Just curious, I checked on apple.com and the 500GB upgrade is still a 5400rpm... Did you get a 3rd party hard drive for the faster rpm?
Yes of course, 3rd party all the way. I got the Patriot Memory from Microcenter.com and the 7.2k 500gb Hitachi drive from newegg.com. Buying upgrades from Apple will obviously cost you more money.
 

mdewberry

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 20, 2003
139
2
Hi there,
I have just gone through the same experience, returned 2 27" core i7 imac because of diffrent problems, and i am now thinking that it might be best to buy a 100% working mac mini with a nice display form a diffrent brand. (even save some $$$).
My only doubt is, should i wait untill the Mac mini´s are refreshed with the new Core i processors, as i bought the i7 iMAC because of its CPU, therefor buying a C2D Mac mini wont be so smart.
When will the refresh be you might ask? dont really know, does anyone has some information regargin the refresh?

Thanks,
Y'know, I had the same thought, as there are rumors that the MacBook Pro line will be updated soon with new mobile class quad chips, and that means that they could possibly end up in the mini... But as MacRumors states the mini is in mid product cycle and not sure when the next upgrade will be it could be a while...

Also frankly after my experience with the new iMacs, not sure if the quality is there with new versions of their product.. It is sad but with Apple now I think to myself "hey, here is this product that has been out a while and works well, better buy it before they upgrade it and screw it up!) (-:

I am thinking the same way with the 24" Cinema Display - it seems to be a very good product now and I may want to buy it now prior to it getting upgraded and having the same issues as the new iMac screens... (I know ParishM recommended the Dell, but I really like the look of the Apple monitor and I know that Apple will switch it out for me with no hassle if there are problems..)
 

mdewberry

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 20, 2003
139
2
Yes of course, 3rd party all the way. I got the Patriot Memory from Microcenter.com and the 7.2k 500gb Hitachi drive from newegg.com. Buying upgrades from Apple will obviously cost you more money.
Interesting! Did not know that was an option... Is it difficult to swap out the drive?
 

OrangeSVTguy

macrumors 601
Sep 16, 2007
4,109
54
Northeastern Ohio
Interesting! Did not know that was an option... Is it difficult to swap out the drive?
Look around as there are guides all over the net. I used a pizza cutter to open up mine but others recommend using a putty knife. Can't even tell mine had been opened. Only took me about 5-10 minutes to change out mine. Then I had to open it again since I changed out my memory but that should be done at the same time if you plan on doing both.
 

steve2112

macrumors 68040
Feb 20, 2009
3,023
6
East of Lyra, Northwest of Pegasus
Interesting! Did not know that was an option... Is it difficult to swap out the drive?
How comfortable are you with computer hardware repairs in general? It's not that hard if you have done your own work before. There are also several video guides to help you out.

Edit: Ooops, I got called away in the middle of posting. SVT's post wasn't there when I started. :)