Mini faster than iMac G5? HELP PLEASE!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Etrain, Mar 7, 2005.

  1. Etrain macrumors 6502


    Feb 26, 2005
    Land of Cleve

    After about a month of researching Mac computers, I know I really want one but could use some help deciding which is right for me. Currently, I have a Gateway 2GHzP4 with 512MB RAM, a 64MB GPU and a 100MHz System Bus. I will be selling it to my cousin in April or May for $550. I will be using that money to offset the cost of my new computer purchase.

    Right now I use my computer for the basic stuff like e-mail, internet browsing, flash based internet games, some basic games like Roller Coaster Tycoon, Photoshop and of course fighting viruses. :rolleyes:

    I went to the Apple store in Cleveland where I played around with the iMacs, Power Mac, and the Mac Mini. I instantly fell in love with the 20" iMac but honestly could not notice a speed difference between the iMac and the Mini. I opened many programs (even Garage Band) and both seemed very fast. I even played the robot game on both and it looked great on both too.

    Now it would seem obvious that the iMac would easily out perform the Mini, however according to MacInTouch the Mini is actually FASTER than the iMac. The site Bare Feats shows the Mini slower but by only a very small margin.

    MacInTouch used Xbench to rate the system, however on Mac World they gave the edge to the iMac using Speedmark. Which should I believe? Any owners of both out there that can help me out? I am really honestly confused.

    Thank you.
  2. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    Goes to show you can't necessarily trust synthetic benchmarks.

    One issue is that the iMac G5 at its default "Auto" setting is actually running at reduced speed most of the time. You have to set it to highest performance in Energy Saver to get the best speed. When you do so it is clearly faster then the Mini. Amount of RAM also affects performance, as does the other programs running at the time.

    In general, the G5 will be faster in video and audio routines, and things that stress the processor and the memory more than the rest of the system. But for the type of work you may be doing, or the types of things you tried at the store, the difference may be too small to notice.

    Analogy: Not much performance difference between Hyundai and Porsche in stop and go city traffic.

  3. madmaxmedia macrumors 68030

    Dec 17, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Both computers should have been pretty snappy at what you were doing. I'm sure you know what type of apps (such as Photoshop!) take up a lot of CPU, and more specifically what type commands take a long time.

    It can be hard getting a sense of the computer's speeds playing around at a store. I don't know if any of the computers there have Photoshop installed, and you could actually run them through some better tests to gauge the speed. It may turn out that a Mini runs more than fast enough for your needs.

    The G5 iMac is definitely more powerful though. Everything about it is faster- from the CPU to bus speed to RAM speed to hard drive speed.

    Don't even worry about the benchmarks though as much as what you will be doing.
  4. GFLPraxis macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004

    XBench isn't very accurate. Look at the real-world tests, or the Cinebench benchmarks. The Mac Mini gets pwned in those by the iMac.
  5. RealDeal macrumors member

    Sep 17, 2004
    own both...

    I've got both, and the better RAM on video card (64 vs 32) helps with games in the iMac's favour, form factor for both is good, if you have spare PC monitor/kb/m then mini will save a few bucks (else Samsung flatscreens a total bargain- i have the 17").

    iMac may be due for a refresh soon- so maybe wait until then to decide.

    Bottom line- both are great pieces of kit.
  6. Palomino macrumors member

    Mar 6, 2005
    Adelaide, South Australia
    This does suprise me. No doubt there are some "Power restraints" in place in the iMac, because by all accounts the G4 proc is far slower than any of the G5 procs.

  7. Monk Edsel macrumors regular

    Apr 7, 2004
    I have to second the observation where the iMac G5 is set to Auto in Energy Saver and runs slower than it could. My friend was running iCursor (this app that makes your mouse pointer all sparkly) and it slowed down his iMac G5. I suggested that he go into Energy Saver and set the processor speed to Highest, which he did, and suddenly he was cursing in surprise at the newfound speed.

    Any modern Mac will seem to be very fast at average tasks (as well it should). You have to push it a bit harder to see where the extra speed gives an advantage. GarageBand won't give you a fair comparison until you are playing several tracks at once.
  8. zyuzin4 macrumors 6502

    Jul 22, 2002
    Eugene, OR
    MacAddict has a comparison between the two minis and a 1.8 iMac. They did real world tasks. I'll pull up the figures tomorrow
  9. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    If you already own a display of some sort (LCD or regular old CRT/tube), a USB keyboard, and a USB mouse, get the Mac Mini. If you don't own most of this stuff, get the iMac.

    For what you do, you'll be happy either way.

    You could also save your money and get an iBook if, again, you don't own the USB keyboard and mouse, and a display. Its also fast enough for what you do, and it's portable and comes with everything. :)
  10. ewinemiller macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2001
    west of Philly
    You can sell that machine to your cousin at that price and still sleep at night? Does it include a bunch of hardware and software you're not mentioning?

    You could pick up a new dell that would be nearly 50% faster, more future proof (SATA, DDR2, PCI-express), and have a 1 year warranty for about the same price. Check out the Dell refurbs and your cousin could save even more.

    Sell it for that price if you can get it, but not to family, that's just wrong.
  11. bellychris macrumors member

    Sep 25, 2003
    New Jersey
    I don't understand, why does the imac G5 have an auto option in energy prefrences, let alone have it on default. I could understand this for laptops, but for a computer thats plugged in all the time?
  12. Mantat macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2003
    Montréal (Canada)
    Energy saver also limit the amount of noise the computer make...

    One thing that almost everyone forgot to mention is that the iMac comes with a gorgeous 20" screen. The fact that the computer has such a nice display and that you can use BT keyboard and mouse really improve the work environnement. Also, 20" wide screen is so more usefull than a normal aspect ratio screen, its unbelivable!

    This may sound ridiculous but working with a gorgeous computer in a nice environnement tend to make you more productive.

    I would clearly go for the iMac but might try to hold on a bit for a refresh (should be in less than 4-6 weeks) if you can.

    The iBook option can be good if you need to do portable but I wouldnt advice it otherwise. Too much cable management and its not as fun to use as the iMac.
  13. apple2991 macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2004
    You're friends with Elton John?
  14. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
    Don't forget the iMac computer itself is in a narrow 2" wide space so is effectively a laptop, with all the attendant heating issues - hence the talk about it being more silent on auto setting. The lower temperature would mean that the fans would be working less.

    I guess for normal use, you could keep it at auto, and set it to high if you need the processing power.

    By the way, the fan for my Dell desktop (see my sig) is on /all/ the time. I work surrounded by a constant whirr. In fact, now that I'm thinking about it, it's starting to be incredibly annoying.
  15. dsharits macrumors 68000


    Jun 19, 2004
    The People's Republic of America
    Yep, that was a good review. I couldn't find the information online, but the only thing the iMac lost on was ripping CD's. Other than that, it just about blew the Mini away.

  16. Etrain thread starter macrumors 6502


    Feb 26, 2005
    Land of Cleve
    For the price she is getting all of software. Photoshop, Fireworks, Dreamweaver, Microsoft Office, and all of the other software I currently have. Plus my speakers because I will be getting the creature ones. Photoshop alone cost me around $700 2 years ago. I don't think it's bad at all. She has done alot of shopping around and she agrees that it's a good deal.

    Thank you all so much! I am going to get the iMac 20". I will be buying in May so they might have an update by then but if not it's okay the way it is in my eyes. :D

    I would love to see the Mac Adict comparison! Please post. :)
  17. iKnezek macrumors newbie

    Feb 28, 2005
    North Texas
    MacAddict Benchmarks

    These Percentages are relative to a 1.8Ghz 20 in. iMac w/512mb of RAM. Both minis had 512mb RAM also, otherwise, they were stock.

    Import Photos into iPhoto 5:
    1.25: 87% 1.42: 98%

    Export video from iMovie HD:
    1.25: 52% 1.42: 67%

    Create DVD image in iDVD 5:
    1.25: 45% 1.42: 52%

    Export PDF file from InDesign CS:
    1.25: 73% 1.42: 77%

    Perform real-world photoshop action:
    1.25: 70% 1.42: 73%

    Duplicate 2GB file in the finder:
    1.25: 98% :confused: 1.42: 80%

    Rip CD in iTunes to 18 kbps AAC file:
    1.25: 130% :confused: 1.42: 110%

    Compress DV file to MPEG-4 in QuickTime:
    1.25: 53% 1.42: 73%

    (these may not be 100% accurate, as the info. is shown on a graph. Also, the iMac whooped the minis on games (175% higher on UT2K4), while the 2 minis performed exactly the same.
    Anyway, hope the info helps.
  18. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    The G4s always tend to be faster than the G5 when they are configured with the same amount of memory.

    Seems the slower FSB on the iMac G5 makes this a little bit more apparent and makes even slower G4s able to kick it's butt.

    You probably won't get the G5 spanking the G4 until you boost it to 1-2GB of memory.

    The G5s have always needed a lot of memory.
  19. baby duck monge macrumors 68000

    baby duck monge

    Feb 16, 2003
    Memphis, TN
    the first of these might be because the particular 1.25 mini they got had the faster HD. and that could also have an effect on the second test + maybe the mini has a faster optical drive? is ripping a cd not optimized for the g5 like it is for the g4?

Share This Page