New mac mini + self upgrades - freelance weekend graphic designer

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by beatmonkeytwo, Mar 5, 2009.

  1. beatmonkeytwo macrumors regular

    Jan 22, 2009
    Hello. I need a bit of advice from you kind folk! :)

    I thinking of buying the new mac mini 2GHz £499 model (which I can get student discount), and carry out the upgrades myself to save myself some money. I was thinking of getting a imac, but as you all no the new base rate model is a lot more expensive than previous models, and maybe over my budget.

    I would upgrade the hardrive to a 320GB western digital (cost £55), upgrade the memory to 4GB (cost £52).

    I already have a apple pro mouse and keyboard.

    I wanted to use my spare lcd 26"tv as a monitor, but have been told it will be terrible, so I also need a monitor and was looking at this one:

    Couple of questions about this setup:

    1) Will this monitor be better quality than the new 20" imac screen?
    2) I work on cs3 to do some freelance in my spare time at weekends - indesign, editing in photoshop, and e.g. vector logos in illustrator etc to design flyers, banners etc. I will need all the cs3 programs open along with itunes and neoffice. Would this upgraded mini run well on it with this kind of multi tasking? I don't do any 3D editing.
    3) Will the minus 0.66Ghz less processor compared to the new imac be that noticeable for the work I do?
    4) The pros beat the cons as far as I can see -
    This mini setup can save me £180 over the basic new imac.
    Gives me a bigger screen, + maybe better.
    2GB more memory.
    Can use the 120GB replaced hard drive as a new external with a caddy
    It's Lacking 0.66GHz in processor speed compared to the imac

    Oh and i'm not bothered about games or HD videos as use my ps3 for them

    Any advice or direction would be great! :D:D:D
  2. beatmonkeytwo thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 22, 2009
  3. SimD macrumors regular

    Apr 15, 2008
    Hey there.

    The 9400 chipset is plenty fast for anything other than 3d manipulation. Since you won't be touching games, the 9400 will definitely meet your requirements.

    For the iMac vs Mac Mini debate, it comes down to personal preference.

    The monitor you showed is by no means a pro screen. If you're serious about colour retention and print quality, I'd suggest either look elsewhere or do your fine tuning on proper gear at a studio.

    .66 GHz won't show noticeable difference, but the extra 2GB of RAM will. Ram is key in your situation especially if you have ALL apps running (which I strongly suggest not doing as each of those apps are resource hogs.) Your best bet is to hit an apple store, see both Macs, see if you like glossy or not (both are fine in your situation as either way, you won't be achieving proper colour with either of the screens you mentioned) and see which fits your budget.

    Maybe you could save up a little more and pick up a last gen iMac or save a lot more and pick up a Mac Pro which would probably be overkill.

    It really all depends how serious you are.

    For comparison sake, I work on Aperture, CS3 and FCS2 on my MBP. It runs each suite fine, but when I open more than one at a time, I start to pull hair and bite nails... So expect to be somewhat patient with the 9400 but by no means is it weak.

    Google some benchmarks for the 9400 and you'll see what I mean.
  4. Pilgrim1099 Suspended

    Apr 30, 2008
    From the Midwest to the Northeast
    I was going to chip in and say that the 9400M graphics card is nice enough of a boost compared to my old PowerMac G4 1ghz/1gb RAM. Especially if I get the Mac Mini, I can jack it up to 4GB to be safe. I will most likely not go 3-D as I'm doing 2-D digital art/illustration. That card should be plenty powerful enough to do the job.

    If I go the iMac route, I have to use my current LCD 20 inch Formac monitor and hook it with dual display. My concern is if the new iMac is future-proof and have a feeling that Apple may create a new iMac within 2-3 years that might make the Mac Pro almost pointless.

    I do get tinnitus from hearing the loud fan on my old G4 and hope the Mac Mini or iMacs are quiet enough. But the idea of reaching over to load the CD on the side of the iMac seems to turn me off, especially if you mount it on the wall. That's one thing that I don't think Apple really THOUGHT it out well in advance.

    I can use the Mac Mini Intel for now as my interim graphics system until a few years because I'm getting worried that my G4 sometimes slows down when it should'nt be doing that.
  5. beatmonkeytwo thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 22, 2009
  6. DHart macrumors 6502


    Jan 17, 2008
    I ordered an Hitachi 7K/320GB drive and 4 GB memory from OtherWorld to upgrade my new Mini base-model with CTO 2.26GHz. I already have this same drive in a Mercury OTG pocket-sized portable enclosure and it rocks. Plenty quiet and it's fast. Hitachi has been leading the market in 2.5" drives for quite a while; they make great drives. Hitachi specs on power dissipation are virtually identical on the 7K320 as their 5K320 model that Apple uses as the stock drive in the higher end Mini, so I think the heat dissipation of the Hitachi 7K320 shouldn't be a problem in the Mini. Compared to the WD Scorpio Black, the Hitachi 7K320 has very slightly lower heat dissipation, so I'd say the two are probably comparable heat-wise. The Hitachi 7K320 is $67 with rebate at Otherworldcomputing right now. Great drive at a great price.

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