Replacing dual 1.4 G4 PowerMac with Mini: an interim measure

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Blue Velvet, Apr 27, 2007.

  1. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    I've been thinking about my next home Mac and am wondering whether to get a top-spec Mini when they're next updated, and after Leopard is released, just to last a year or two until the 17" MacBook Pros get to a place where I'm happier with their overall spec in relation to their cost.

    I'm a print designer, and for this shortish time I need a machine that's merely capable and just as importantly, is quiet and takes up little room as I live in a very small flat.

    Also, now that CS3 and QuarkXpress 7 are universal, it's a better time to make the Intel switch, especially as I'll be installing both of those upgrades within the next couple of months. I also have a relatively new Dell monitor so that's also an incentive to go for the Mini.

    My home Mac runs Tiger but is not my main production machine. That is in the office, does most of the work, and is a dual 2.5 G5 with 2.5gb RAM and will be replaced next year by a MacPro.

    The one at home gets used for overtime and the occasional freelance project. It's four years old, is a dual G4 1.42, 2gb RAM, stock superdrive, FW800... the last of the MDDs that still can give good performance in relation to the early G5s. Four drives inside: 2 x 120, 1 x 320 and 1 x 40gb (scratch disk).

    Auto-startup apps that are always running: QuarkXpress 6, PhotoshopCS, InDesignCS, IllustratorCS, Acrobat Pro, MS Word, Mail, Safari, iTunes, Suitcase and an assorted handful of smaller design-related apps. Do a lot of print design work, some big publications 100page + or so, Photoshopping up to 350-500mb files but don't torrent stuff and rarely rip DVDs.

    Pros of the G4: Storage space for the drives, FW800 (very occasionally used)
    Cons: Large, bulky, heavy... very noisy (even with fan mods), USB1, overheats occasionally when the weather gets very hot, starting to feel a little slow.

    So, when the Minis get updated, does anyone think they'll be a viable option as a machine for my needs for the short-term? If I put at least 1.5gb RAM into one and move the best drives from the G4 into FW enclosures for additional storage? I don't necessarily see the core-duo Mini as an upgrade in terms of power, more in terms of having a quieter and smaller Mac of about the equivalent processing power for about 12-24 months that merely does the job. I can always sell it when I'm done with it... as I can also do with the G4 for a few hundred quid or so.

    Is there anything I haven't considered? As always, your thoughts are much appreciated.

    BV :)

    p.s. 1-2 years is short-term once you hit your mid-40s. :D
  2. wongulous macrumors 6502a

    Dec 7, 2002
    As long as you're only doing print design, you don't play games, and you don't expect miracles with any kind of rendering, then I think it'd be great. It would almost seem a marginal step up. If you have a powerful machine at work, a more consumer-level one at home shouldn't be too much of a bother. With all the money you'll save, you can get external enclosures for those hard drives and upgrade your CS, and then save for the next MBP iteration. (I honestly think they're fine, but that's just me.)
  3. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004

    Thanks. :)

    Play a game once a year or so, usually from start to finish. The last one I played at home was Castle Wolfenstein... gaming is the least of my worries. Roughly comparable if not slightly more processing power to the G4 in a much smaller, much quieter machine is the main appeal.

    Don't do much rendering of stuff and if I need to, that's what the office machine is for.

    This is assuming we'll see Mini updates soon and waiting for Leopard in October.
  4. dmw007 macrumors G4


    May 26, 2005
    Working for MI-6
    I would view the Mac Mini as a sort of a downgrade. Your Power Mac G4 can support multiple monitors, is far more expandable, and should not be that much slower. :eek:

    But if you are going for a reduction in size, noise, and heat, then the Mac Mini might just be right for you- especially if they are updated before you buy. :)
  5. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004

    Multiple monitors is not a concern. I've almost reached the end of my patience with this machine and don't want to spend any more money on it so my major concern would be grunt and storage which I don't mind doing by firewire. If I buy in October or November, the Mini would just be as a stopgap until early 2009 and I guess what I'm really asking is: if and when the Minis are upgraded, could they handle this type of work with about the same facility as the G4 can?

    If I sell the G4 for a few hundred quid, that will pay for most, if not all of the Mini, I guess. I haven't checked what they're going for on eBay.
  6. iGav macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    Not giving it away like those old Macs last year then. :D Shame. :( I luv's me some freebies. :D
  7. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004

    It'll take a little more than a bike ride up the Cotswolds or the Chilterns listening to Hotel Ambient under a starry night-sky, to persuade me to hand over my PowerMac for nowt, young fella. :D
  8. iGav macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    You obviously then, don't appreciate how much peddling I'd have to do to get us both up to the top. ;)
  9. Mord macrumors G4


    Aug 24, 2003

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