Mini vs. PowerMac Advice

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by ucdr2003, May 2, 2005.

  1. ucdr2003 macrumors newbie

    May 2, 2005
    Apologies in advance if this topic has been brought up before.

    I currently use a PC (1.6GHz Pentium M notebook) and am looking to switch to a mac desktop. I have a brand new 19in. LCD, so the iMac and eMac are out of consideration.

    I do occasional web development and graphics editing, somewhat rare video editing, and a lot of word processing and web use.

    I'm torn between the Mini and Powermac. Basically, I have two competing ideas:
    1) Spend more money the PowerMac dual 2.0 (about 1799 with my edu discount) and keep it for a while.
    2) Spend less on the Mini 1.42 w/superdrive, airport, bluetooth, 1GB aftermarket RAM (about 850 with my edu discount) and replace it in a year.

    I like the portability and the price of the Mini, but won't be happy with a computer that is underpowered (slower than my 1.6 pentium pc wouldn't be acceptable). In other words, i'd rather spend more on the PowerMac than be consistently unhappy with a cheaper Mini if it will be too slow for my needs. Any advice is appreciated!
  2. macbaseball macrumors 6502a


    Feb 27, 2005
    Northern California
    The Mini will be fine, as long as you upgrade the RAM and don't do any video. (The video will be slow). By the sounds of your monitor, it seems like the Mac Mini should be able to power it just fine.

    If you really want a Power Mac, just get one. By getting a temporary computer, you're just wasting money. (By the time you sell it, you will lose a lot.) There's no use in waiting for technology. Didn't really clarify anything, sorry about that. :D
  3. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    I'm sorry to make the comment, but I think that of all the, "Should I buy X or Y" threads, this is on the surreal end.... :rolleyes: Be prepared that, no matter what kind of mac you buy, you are almost certainly going to find something that is slower and something else that is faster than it is on the PC you own. This is just a fact of life when you change OS'es, as well as when you change architectures. Even if you put Linux on your PC, you'd find pretty much the same thing to be true.

    I don't mean that as an insult; I just mean it as a level-setter. Once you make the switch, and really spend quality time in front of a Mac, you are going to find that things are substantially different. I hope that you, like me, find that difference refreshing and worthwhile. But it is very rare that a power user who switches finds every single blade of grass to be greener on one side of the fence or the other.

    If your graphics work means applying PS filters to big images (let alone doing the equivalent in video), and you are very sensitive to speed, you are probably not going to be happy on a Mini, even though PS is eminently usable (in the sense that I can get good final product) on my iBook G4/800.

    Also, what res is your 19" LCD? The Mini will almost certainly drive it either way, but I think a higher resolution will tax a mini differentially more than it will tax a PMG5, by virtue of the small amount of video ram....
  4. feakbeak macrumors 6502a


    Oct 16, 2003
    While I can understand this argument, I disagree. I was in the same situation. Although this user was only considering headless Macs becuase he has a new LCD, I just personally do not like the concept of all-in-one computers, I am also not a big fan of laptops. Previously, my only Mac option was a PM which was too expensive for me to give the Mac/OS X platform a test drive. When the Mac mini came out, I bought one all tweaked-out - see specs in sig.

    Although it may seem odd to compare the budget Mac mini and the high-end PowerMac initially, it does make sense if you are only interested in headless desktop Macs - these are the only two that Apple offers. Personally, I wish there was a mid-end headless Mac with similar specs to the iMac G5 with a little bit of expandability, that is what I would have bought given the choice.

    As it stands now, I am very pleased with my Mac mini and OS X. The Mac mini is powerful enough for my needs. I mostly use it for email, IM, web browsing, iTunes, iPhoto and Photoshop Elements. I don't do a whole lot of photo editting. I played around with iMovie once and even with my 1 GB of RAM it was not the smoothest experience.

    My next Mac will probably be a PM. Hopefully I'll be able to upgrade in about 12-18 months. I need to upgrade my PC first. I'm not a switcher, but a dual user as I'm a programmer for Windows apps and a gamer. Maybe Apple will have a mid-end headless Mac by then, but I doubt it... so PM it is.

    My advice to the original poster is to figure out your needs in terms of computing and finances. Think about how long you intend to keep the computer and how you will use it and then just take the plunge. Good luck!
  5. ucdr2003 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 2, 2005
    I appreciate the advice. My intention is not to create a surreal thread, as, to me, this issue is real. I work closely with management of an institutional IT department. The people there are adament that buying an expensive, high end machine is unnecessary and that it is better to simply buy an entry-level model and junk it every year or so. I have always done the opposite, and ultimately, don't really care about having the latest and greatest technology, as long as i'm getting a good value for my dollar. The Mini and PowerMac seem to be on two ends of a spectrum, and being new to Macs, I wanted to raise the question.

    The LCD is a Dell UltraSharp 1905FP 1280x1024 btw.

    Anyway, thanks again to those who replied for your advice.
  6. hanumang macrumors newbie

    Mar 7, 2003
    Top cabinet, 2nd shelf
    Based on the first 3 items on your list, I'd say get the PowerMac - but be sure to get additional RAM. OS X is elegant, dependable and very RAM-hungry.

    Also, PowerMacs tend to have very good resale value (for computers, that is ;)) so should you feel that its too much power (or just plain being used too little), you can sell it and afford to buy more than a happy meal with your earnings.

    The mini is nice (and cute) but it's really limited - pretty much for the 'web & email' crowd, IMNSHO.
  7. _pb_boi macrumors 6502

    Feb 25, 2004
    As in, the PowerMac sp 1.8GHz - or am I missing something?

  8. feakbeak macrumors 6502a


    Oct 16, 2003
    Yeah, I suppose you are right. Guess it just seems odd that they need to use that huge frickin' case for that machine.
  9. cyclotron451 macrumors regular


    Mar 16, 2005
    <As in, the PowerMac sp 1.8GHz - or am I missing something?>

    I'm also looking for a headless "mac" and mini- or power- is the only choice.
    I checked out the 1.8GHz PMac in a local store and it is such an enormous box! up to nine (usually slow running) fans - the decor also didn't match my living room.

    I yesterday ordered the Mac mini 1.25 40GB minimum ram, with the idea to open and overclock to 1.58GHz, stick in the RAM stick, and use an external FW400 Hdd. I feel this system will fit in my living room quite well!

    Also on order is the 1280 x 768 W2600 Dell 26" TV/Monitor.
  10. nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    My entire web devlopment/graphics business is all done from a 1.25 Ghz G4--so if you do those things only occasionally anyway, a Mac Mini will do fine (with added RAM).

    And if you set a goal like "wait until there's a G6" you'll end up a LOT faster in the end! You could get the bottom-end G6 even. (When? Sometime next year? Who knows.)

    Meanwhile, a G4 is faster per MHz than a P4, so overall you shouldn't feel like you're taking any step back.

    A G5 tower will be A LOT faster at the moment--but maybe that's not the top priority. Your call.
  11. Mord macrumors G4


    Aug 24, 2003
    get the powermac, if you buy annother mini in a years time thats almost as much as a powermac now and will at best be half as fast, buy the powermac.

    when i look back to when i bought my cube it was the cube or an imac, now the imac had a G3 but it not many things had altivec back then, and the imac was cheaper if i bought one of them i'd have to replace it for the graphics card, an 8MB rage sucks full stop, now i still have my cube with a radeon 9700 pro and a dual 450MHz cpu (soon will be upgraded to a dual 1.7 when powerlogix gets them out the door)

    its the same predicament back then an 8MB rage was "just fine" but now you cant do jack all without feeling the urge to destory the thing, if i got the imac i'd have to upgrade it to a flat panel one when they came out and then i'd have to upgrade the flat panel one to an imac G5 soon. spending far more than i would on my cube which will be much faster than any imac g5 when i put in my next upgrade.
  12. _pb_boi macrumors 6502

    Feb 25, 2004
    Well Apple came in for a fair bit of stick re the sp 1.8GHz case - they cudda cooled the processor in a case a fraction of the size. Guess they had their reasons - maybe they didn't wanna marginalise the sp1.8GHz by having it in a different housing to its peers, or needed to use up cases or somethin :rolleyes:

  13. rp_chan macrumors newbie

    May 3, 2005

    Mac are not junk after one year anyway. I have a 7 year old mac that still works great with certain programs. My iMac DV does everything wonderfully except for the most demanding video apps.

    the video card is the only that will make a mini mac not worth the money.
  14. TheMasin9 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 22, 2004
    Huber Heights, OH

    I dunnow what ur thinking, the g5 is still in its early years, and they havnt even jammed it into the emac or portables. the g5 is gonna be around for a while, dont wait on the g6.
  15. G5power macrumors 6502

    Feb 25, 2005
    Mid Range headless system

    I also am waiting for a decent mid range headless Apple. The AIO systems do not appeal to me with the limited ability to upgrade. Additionally I have a 19" monitor that I plan to use for another year or year and a half.

    The problem with the PM single 1.8GHz is that the price point (edu $1349) is horrible for it's specs. In particular compare it to the iMac line. The "old" iMac 17" - 1.8 GHz - Superdrive, offers 256MB RAM, 80 GB hard drive, 64MB video for $999 plus it's a 17" LCD.

    Or compare the the PM 1.8 single to the revised 17" - 2 GHz iMac is edu priced at $1399 with double the memory, double the hard drive capacity and double the video with the LCD panel for $50 more then the PM 1.8 single.

    The current PM 1.8 single needs to be priced at $999 or offer the same specs as the revised iMac.
  16. noel4r macrumors 6502a

    Jul 17, 2002
    Los Angeles
    You can get the newly released iMacs. In my opinion, the 2.0 ghz 17" is the sweet spot. Just use the new 19" LCD as a second monitor.

Share This Page