MacBook vs Mac Mini w/dual monitors

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Andy348, Sep 17, 2010.

  1. Andy348 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 18, 2009
    Location:
    Montreal
    #1
    I currently have a MacBook (see specs in sig). I like it in all, but most of the time it is on the shelf hooked up to my external monitor. I would have gotten a Mac Mini and ran dual displays, but everyone told me I'd really need a laptop for school. Well, it is my fourth week of school and I realize that I don't really need a laptop for classes, while most of them will let me, I find it easier to write by hand and type the notes up later.

    So a friend of mine has offered me $700 for my MacBook. I'm willing to put in a max of around $500, so my budget is roughly $1300. I could get a 2.66GHz unibody Mini with the 330M graphics and run dual displays for that price.

    Would this be smart? I don't know how fast the Mac Mini's are, especially when connected to dual monitors. I do prefer the desktop aspect rather than laptops though.

    Any thoughts?

    EDIT: gaming. I wouldn't mind a little CS:S among others. Is te Mac Mini capable?
     
  2. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Location:
    forlod bygningen
    #2
    There is always the option of using a Matrox Dual/TrippleHead2Go* or a USB video adapter, which allows you to connect a second display via USB, though it is not fast enough to display fluent video playback via USB.

    * uses the video out port of your Mac and splits the signal to two/three displays.
     
  3. jbyun04 macrumors 6502a

    jbyun04

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2008
    Location:
    Canada
    #3
    If you find yourself not needing a laptop get the Mini. Upgrade it to 4GB (probably cheaper to not get it from Apple) and run the dualies. 320M should be more than capable of driving two displays.
     
  4. Andy348 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 18, 2009
    Location:
    Montreal
    #4
    Would this take a toll on the Mac's performance at all?

    I just might do that..
     
  5. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Location:
    forlod bygningen
    #5
    The USB adapter would definitely take a toll on your performance, as as USB is using the CPU directly.
     
  6. cluthz macrumors 68040

    cluthz

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2004
    Location:
    Norway
    #6
    When you're putting up $1300+ already you're approaching the price of an 27" i5 iMac (shouldn't it be obtainable for 1700-1800 with edu pricing?) which will be much faster (talking more than twice the speed) which doesn't need any upgrades (4GB RAM and 1TB HD standard).

    The gaming performance on the i5 iMac will be several times better than the mini. (the 5850M 3d mark06 about 10k vs 3.5k on the 320M)

    As for the CPU the geekbench on the mini 2.4 ghz is around 3400 and the i5 iMac around 8000.
     
  7. Andy348 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 18, 2009
    Location:
    Montreal
    #7
    A $500 jump is pretty steep, considering I'm already putting up $500. Thanks for the thought, but I really can't afford throwing another $1K into my set up when my current machine will technically serve me fine.

    How are the graphics in the old Mac Minis with the 256MB Nvidias? There are a bunch on the Canadian refurb site for very cheap. Can you dual monitor those?
     
  8. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
    Location:
    On the fence
    #8
    I believe those have a mini-DVI and a miniDP, so you should be able to do two displays. Or if you want to get a new mini, you could stick with the 2.4GHz model (the processor upgrade is way too much for little benefit), and stick 4 gigs of ram, and still have $400ish for a display and whatnot to go with it.
     
  9. musique macrumors regular

    musique

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2009
    #9
    Another option

    Take a look for a MacMini unibody in the refurb section of the online store. I don't know what your student discount is, though, so it may be a wash.

    Also, you can run one display off the Mini-DisplayPort and another off the HDMI port. This works fine. However, you should confirm at the specifications site for the MacMini what the maximum resolutions are when using two displays. I THINK that you cannot do maximum resolution on both displays, but I'm not sure.

    Best of luck making your decision. I use an older iMac at work and have a MacMini unibody server at home and they're both great machines.
     
  10. willieva macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2010
    #10
    Just curious, what's wrong with running both your mb and and external monitor simultaneously? I use a 24" external monitor behind my open 13" mbp so that the glass is above the open lid of the mbp. In system preferences the monitor is above the main laptop screen so that moving the mouse up puts it on the external. I find it's plenty of screen real estate, and preferable in some ways to running two monitors side by side.
     
  11. MacSignal macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 8, 2010
    #11
    I ran dual 19 inch flat panels with the previous generation Mac Mini 2.26 GHz and 2 MB Ram. It was fine for word processing, spreadsheets, browsing and coding. No issues at all.

    YMMV if you are a gamer or edit video. If you think you might get eventually get into gaming with the Mini you buy, then I think that might tip the scales in favor of the current model.

    If I were buying the previous version Mini as a refurb now, my first choice would be the 2.53 GHz model because it seems to be a little bit better value for the money, considering the larger HD and extra RAM.

    Running with 4 MB RAM is good advice, regardless of which Mini you get. Good luck!
     
  12. jbyun04 macrumors 6502a

    jbyun04

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2008
    Location:
    Canada
    #12
    To be honest, I don't know if the dual monitors are a dealbreaker for you, if I were you I would just put the $700 towards a refurb iMac. There's a nice 21.5 i3 on the store right now and if your 24" Asus is a native 1920x1080 you should be able to extend your desktop onto that provided you have an mDP adapter.

    At $1099 it already comes with a better processor, 21.5 screen, iSight, 4GB ram, 500GB and a 4670HD which is about 50% faster than the 320M if I remember correctly.
     
  13. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #13
    I can't believe you are going to want to do all of your school work in your dorm room for the next four years...:confused:
     
  14. smetvid macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2009
    #14
    Aren't you taking a massive $ loss by doing this?

    I also agree about the 21.5" iMac and not because I have one. When you sit down and add up the price of the Mac Mini plus 1920x1080 monitor (decent one at least) plus keyboard and mouse (Apple if you like them) then you really start to get very close to the price of a 21.5" iMac. Especially if you get a refurbished one.

    I like the Mac Mini but a 3.06 Ghz i3 cpu is faster then the fastest cpu in the Mini and you can double the maximum amount of ram in the imac if you ever so choose to. If you really want to ditch the laptop and go desktop that would be my choice.
     
  15. Pillar macrumors 6502

    Pillar

    Joined:
    May 25, 2010
    Location:
    CA.

Share This Page