Macbook as Mac Mini replacement?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by andyr2120, May 22, 2008.

  1. andyr2120 macrumors member

    Apr 26, 2008
    Hi - I am currently using a G4/1.5ghz Mini as my primary computer, and I have been waiting for the right time to get a new Apple desktop. I've been a little frustrated waiting for a Mini refresh. The iMac doesn't quite work for me. I am starting to consider the Macbook as an alternative.

    The Macbook and Mini are fairly similar in terms of processing and graphics power. That is not completely true, but it is close enough. The Mini is more or less a laptop in a custom desktop case. For reasons known only to Steve, the Mini seems to use components that are one refresh behind the Macbook.

    My question to Macbook owners is whether I would regret buying a lappy when I will use it at a desk, attached to an external monitor, KB and mouse most of the time? Will I hose the battery life? Should I be concerned about cooling if it is turned on but in sleep mode 24/7?

    I know I will grow to love the portability, and I already have wireless G all over the house (but Gig-E at my desk...) so that is a huge bonus. Huger than huge!

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Cheffy Dave macrumors 68030

    Cheffy Dave

    Feb 5, 2007
    Sunny Florida, on the Gulf Coast in Homosassa Fl
    That's exactly the way I use mine, just drain the battery once a month, and enjoy;):apple::apple:
  3. lamerica80 macrumors 6502a


    May 22, 2008
    Thats exacly what im planning to do, and from what ive read it shouldnt be a problem to run it closed most of the time. Im gonna use it connected to my TV as a HTPC for HD movies mostly.

    If anyone uses their macbook for this plese give your opinion! :)
  4. Chundles macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
    The MacBook is considerably faster than the Mac Mini, faster procs, more RAM, bigger HDDs, "better" graphics and it's portable, got a screen etc.

    It's a better machine than the Mac mini but then it's a fair bit more than the Mac mini.
  5. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2008
    The base macbook is $100 cheaper than the iMac, and the mid model macbook is $100 more, I say get the iMac and enjoy the huge screen and graphics card.
  6. marbles macrumors 68000


    Apr 30, 2008
    EU mostly
    Pretty much what I'm thinking of doing

    ...personally I'm not not sure whether to get a macbook or MBP , then, when and IF the mini
    gets a decent refresh I'll buy one of those........... I'll then use the mobile for gigs and on the road tasks (providing I can save enough coin for another machine after buying a laptop that is)
  7. lamerica80 macrumors 6502a


    May 22, 2008
    The imac is still pretty small for a TV..and its not something u bring on a trip :)

    like i said my macbook is gonna be for HTPC to my 40`samsung LCD plus the occational portability..

    My only concern is the the book, in clamshell mode, will overheat while playing HD movies and the fan noice will be too loud..
  8. netherfred macrumors member

    Oct 24, 2004
    Rotterdam, the Netherlands
    If battery issues are a concern, just run it without the battery when it's connected to the mains. That worked for every Powerbook, iBook and MBP I've seen, so it should also work on a MB.
    If you need portability, just pop in the battery and go!
    It's also supposed to run in clam-shell mode (closed lid) and that should work 24/7 I guess, so no concerns about the temperature.
  9. stridemat Moderator


    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    This is the same set up as I have, it works really well. I too echo the fact that the battery should be drained at least every month, to keep it in a good condition. What's more I would elevate it too allow air to circulate underneath the mac as mine gets quite hot. Perhaps have a look at the Griffin Laptop Elevator?
  10. Qwest905 macrumors 6502


    Sep 12, 2007
    if you do it that will only use 50% of the CPU power
  11. krye macrumors 68000


    Aug 21, 2007
    Before I bought a Mac Pro, I ran mine with a Apple wireless keyboard and Mighty Mouse connected to a Cinema Display for a year. I had no problems using it as a dedicated desktop. I did drain the battery down to 0 and recharge once a month. And my battery health is still 100%.

    As far as a Mini replacement, you'll see a great boost. Not only because you are going from a G4 to a brand new Intel Dual Core, but you can also get up to 4G of memory in it. As far as the graphics go, I bet the new Intel graphics are better than the old ATI one that yours has. Also, you can just grab it and go when you're on the run. The best of both worlds.
  12. Auzburner macrumors 65816


    Apr 11, 2008
    Syracuse, NY - USA
    Basically how I use mine - take it on trips about twice a year, otherwise I always make sure to condition the battery and I have a higher battery capacity than OTB after 14 months with this baby!
  13. ebutka macrumors regular


    Feb 25, 2008
    I stopped using my PC as a desktop and now using my Macbook as a desktop. I love it.
  14. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2008
    I know I've already posted here, but I must say that unless you were going to take it out and use it as a laptop some of the time, it would be pointless when you can get an iMac, with a much larger hard drive, same speed etc. for less money. And with a 20" display (to which you can then connect your other display and run a dual display setup.) And of course you get much better graphics.
  15. Luigi239 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2007
    I'm doing exactly what your doing. My Macbook is mostly hooked up to a 20" dell display with a wireless kb+mouse. It works great, and the portability is really nice when you dont feel like sitting at your desk.
  16. SFStateStudent macrumors 604


    Aug 28, 2007
    San Francisco California, USA
    Remember to consider how often you're going mobile. You don't have to worry about the battery if you're going to leave it plugged-in 24/7. It sounds like you want a MB without the transportability. I would go with a Mac Pro, but if $$$$ is an issue, just go with the new Mac-Mini. :cool:
  17. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    You can just drain the macbook battery one time and have it always just plugged in rest of the way.

    Also just use the macbook in closed shell mode and you have a bonus of carrying with you if you ever need to or to lie down on a couch, bed or at another table, etc..

    Especially being able to use 4gb of ram as to the mini.
  18. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    This something I've saying for while; if you're considering a Mac Mini, get a Macbook instead.
  19. andyr2120 thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 26, 2008
    The enhanced graphics on an iMac would be the only thing I miss. I'm certain that I would use a macbook away from my desk some of the time. I have seriously considered the iMac and might still go that way, but I think I have managed to rule it out.

    I will have a 24", 1920x1200 LCD on my desk, regardless of any other choices. That works great with a Mini or a Macbook. It would take a lot of space when paired with an iMac, but that isn't necessarily a killer. At the same time, getting a screen built-in to an iMac is a lot less useful when you already have a good one on your desk. I see some advantages there, but nothing that would tip my hand.

    The choice seems to be (1) Mini for lowest cost, or (2) Macbook for greater flexibility and portability. (3) iMac would be for best performance.

    Unless the new Mini arrives soon and is better than expected, I'm going with the Macbook -- especially since it may also be due for a refresh soon.
  20. andyr2120 thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 26, 2008
    That really seems to be Apple's hidden message. There is little doubt that Apple could make a better, low-cost desktop if they wanted to do that. It could either be cheaper or perform better. The Apple laptops are more attractive products.
  21. lamerica80 macrumors 6502a


    May 22, 2008
    But is the macbook really made to be used as a mediacenter with a large flatscreen? Could it be that the picture quality is better with a mini or something?
  22. PowerFullMac macrumors 601


    Oct 16, 2006
    I think they should do a complete refresh of the Mac Mini and make it look like a small version the old iMacs! In different colours! That would be cool, I bet they would sell a lot!

    EDIT: Just so you know, I was talking about these ones.
  23. marbles macrumors 68000


    Apr 30, 2008
    EU mostly

    That sounds like an iPod touch or an iPhone to me
  24. jnc macrumors 68020


    Jan 7, 2007
    Nunya, Business TX

    Anyway... OP, this is EXACTLY the move I made. G4 Mini to MacBook.

    It's basically a more powerful Mac Mini that you can take on the move. It doesn't have full DVI like the Mini so you'll have to buy an adapter if you want to use a secondary display, but it's not expensive - that's the only compromise I can see to moving to MacBook.

    Otherwise your setup shouldn't have to change at all. Plus, better internal speakers, iSight+mic as a bonus :)
  25. nyprospect macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2004
    Im sorry to highjack but im in the same boat.I am interested in moving to a macbook from a mini.My only concern is the magsafe adapter.I dont wanna burn down my apartment.Should i still purchase the macbook or just stay safe with my mini.Thanks in advance.

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