New mac mini or used Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jja1, Sep 16, 2009.

  1. jja1 macrumors newbie

    Jul 2, 2008
    I know...weird choice to have to make.

    I have a retail photo studio that uses a PC specific piece of software. I want to switch to a Mac on our viewing workstation but need something powerful enough to run XP via Fusion well.

    I use a 32" 1080p LCD as our monitor that I'm sticking with.

    So, I'm thinking new 2.0GHz mac mini with 4GB ram and probably replace the HD with a 7,200rpm model
    I can get a good deal on a couple of year old Mac Pro with Two 3GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon 5100 processors

    Anyway to compare these two? On the surface it would seem the Mac Pro would be monumentally faster. True?

    Any help or guidance is much appreciated.

  2. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    On the surface, you are correct. Get the Mac Pro it is going to be blazing fast.
  3. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Nov 13, 2003
    I would lean toward the mac pro. But depends how much the price matters to you. Also what is considered a "good deal"
  4. Bartman01 macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2008
    It would help to know exactly what you need XP for.

    We run fusion and XP on our first generation MacBook Air for the windows version of MS Office 2007 and other windows only things that we need and for just basic use it runs fine.

    Realistically the current Mini is more machine than what XP was designed to run on initially so unless you are trying to do any real heavy work (like video encoding) I think a mini would be fine.

    If you go with the mini - take a close look at the CPU choices. I think there are features on the faster processor that make it more than just a minor clock increase.
  5. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816


    Jan 8, 2009
    Used MacPro.

    Even if it is a MacPro 1.1, which Apple just loves to support, anything and everything about it will leave a Cleavland Steamer on the Mac Mini. Since both are based on Core2, its fairly easy to compare the two. The MacPro will beat the Mini in single, multithreaded, memory-intensive and disc intensive applications if fed the right hardware.

    single - 3 GHz as compared to 2 GHz.
    multi - 4 or 8 core system as compared to 2 core system.
    Memory intensive - The Pro can hold more GB of RAM then you have digits.
    disc-intensive - multiple HDDs can be installed at low cost inside a MacPro and be software RAID'ed to heart's content, and there are some good hardware RAID solutions on the market.

    $$- Macpro>Mini, as usual :D
  6. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    The Mac mini also has dual-channel and always since release. That said the Mac Pro is a better choice in every way except size. If size is not a factor, the Mac Pro is the superior choice.

    Just keep in mind when buying any used computer to watch for evidence of neglect since if you were to find any Mac Pro even close to price to that of a Mac mini, you'd want to make sure that everything is working properly.
  7. Apocrathia macrumors 6502

    Jan 6, 2009
    University of South Alabama
    monumentally faster is an understatement. you're comparing a toyota camary to a maserati. get the mac pro, you can upgrade the hell out of those as well ^.-
  8. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816


    Jan 8, 2009
    Removed offensive post.

    Yep. Should have touched on that, considering a re-read of the OP's post. Upon the same tangent, the MacPro will consume a noticeably greater amount of power then the mini.

    And triple check. That's the most interesting thing; are there any specifics? Which store are you getting your MacPro from? There are some non-legitimate retailers out there...
  9. gugucom macrumors 68020


    May 21, 2009
    Munich, Germany
    I would just add the experience that I had with my three year old MacPro. I bought it three months ago as a used machine and was every bit as satisfied as I hoped for initially. Before I had G5 PMs MBPs and a Shuttle Bare Bone, which is a bit like the mini but more versatile still.

    But as it goes with computers and me I soon wanted to inprove every aspect of the machine to the max. I added RAM and upgraded CPUs from the 4 core 5150s to the faster 8 core 5365s. I added SSDs and RAID capabilities and huge Terabyte disks. It is certainly now the most awesome video computer I ever owned.

    So if you have ever felt that your computer might suit you better with some upgrades don't go for the mini because it will quickly be a dead end. That said, you may be a person who just wants his Mac to remain as is as my girl friend does. Then the mini is perfect like most laptop Mac.
  10. nullx86 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 26, 2009
    Wilmington/Jacksonville, NC
    personally Mac Pro / Power mac G5 > Mac Mini. Both the Mac Pro and Power Mac G5 will out preform the mini and run circles around it. I know someones going to nag me for even mentioning the G5 cause its not supported under SL, but under Leopard its one hell of a machine. If you can get/find the quad G5 with 3 PCI-e, take the offer in a heartbeat. It was the last G5 model of Power Mac before the intel transition and esentially the same as what the Mac Pro's have now. You wont be able to get a mac Pro for less then 2000USD. Trust me I have looked. I have found some deals on the Power mac though, check ebay, there were a few of those PCI-e models about 2 weeks ago for 900-2500USD. Hope that helps
  11. chaosbunny macrumors 68000


    Mar 11, 2005
    down to earth, far away from any clouds
    Yes the Mac Pro will run circles around the mini, but the G5 will struggle to hump along. The mini is faster in anything that doesn't use those 4 cores, which is pretty much everything except video/3D rendering applications.

    Apart from that the G5 will not be supported by many 3rd party applications very soon. And the mini comes with a warranty.

    Dear op, don't listen to anyone recommending a G5.

    I would think about getting the mini and use the savings for a propper monitor. If you are working on photos on that machine this 1080p 32" (TV?) monitor will suck pretty much.

    If this is absolutely not possible I'd recommend the Mac Pro too.
  12. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Nov 13, 2003
    Don't touch the G5's they are slow compared to any current intel product. Even the original Mac Pro blows them out of the water.
  13. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    Funny how the updated version of an older product would be superior...

    NVM, XP > Vista.

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