Second machine advice needed

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by zzzuppp, Jun 25, 2007.

  1. zzzuppp macrumors member

    Sep 17, 2004
    My family has been happily sharing a G4 with OSX 10.3.9 for the last few years,but the time has come to invest in a second machine.
    I'm looking at a Mac mini,just for affordability sake (unless someone can convince me that there's something more suitable for our needs-read on.I am going to have to get another monitor,so that might affect the issue.).I'm assuming it'll ship with the latest OS,and be faster than the G4.But there's various things I need to know:-
    My partner only really uses web browsers (Safari) and word processing software(Word,Mail etc),she's content with that and doesn't want to change. My son and I use a great deal more-music (I'm a pro musician),movies,photos,games,all kinds of software,and my share of the Gbs in use is way ahead of my partner.
    Q1-Would she be better off with the G4 or the Mini?

    Q2-OK I'm a comparative layman with regard to computer knowhow,and obviously we are going to need to transfer files from one computer to the other.I already have a separate HD attached to the G4,which will become mine of necessity.Is it as straightforward as copying everything I need onto the separate HD and adding that to my computer (whichever it is?).Can I do this with Apps that I've paid for,etc? Or do I have to rebuy/reinstall them on a new computer?

    Q3 At the moment we have a single USB ADSL internet connection.What is the best thing to do to get connection for two machines? (NB we live in a remote part of the UK countryside with barely 0.5 Gb coming down the broadband wire,which isn't going to get updated)

    Q4 Can you burn CDs/DVDs on a Mac Mini?
  2. Lovesong macrumors 65816


    Sep 15, 2006
    Stuck beween a rock and a hard place
    It's kind of an interesting question. The PowerMac or the Mini. Unless you're doing something that is rather graphically- intensive, or that requires some horsepower, the Mini will be faster than the G4. If you have enough RAM in there (at least a gig) it'll be fine for your needs.

    In terms of transfering things- yes the HD will suffice for transfering data. You can also hook up the 2 computers via firewire, and set the G4 in target mode (it's under prefs-> startup disk). The software I would actually recomend going via the "install anew" path. My reasoning is that you're going from PPC to Intel.

    Best way to go about the internet thing is to get a wireless router. You won't need anything of blazing speed (given your internet speed), so we're talking less than 20 quid here (and yes, I HAD to use that word).

    Yes, the mini will burn CDs with the combo drive, and CDs and DVDs with the SuperDrive.

  3. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    You're talking about a new (Intel) mini, right? What G4 exactly? Is this a dual processor Powermac or is it a low end iMac G4?

    Q1 -- Generally, yes, I think so, but I'm not sure what you mean. It seems like you would both be happier if she got to keep the G4. She's happy with it now, and you and your son get the far faster computer. The Mini will be faster than the G4 for the majority of things, although when you use older software, the G4 may be faster, depending on what you actually have.

    Q2 -- For documents, yes, it's as simple as putting them on the external drive, ejecting it from the G4 (dragging its icon from the desktop to the trash), unplugging it, and plugging it into the Mini. For applications, it varies from application to application, but the best bet is to just delete them from the apps folder of the G4 and then re-install them using the installation discs on the Mini. You should not need to re-purchase anything unless you want it on both macs.

    Q3 -- It's called a router or a switch. You can get a wired one, or you can get a wireless one, plug the G4 into it with a cable, and run the Mini wirelessly... it's a more involved discussion, but to give you a basic idea, most of them cost between £20 and £100, with the wired ones at the lowest end of that spectrum. There are numerous other threads discussing this that you can search for. It is a little complicated, but it is not insurmountable.

    Q4 -- Pretty much every Mini ever can read CDs and DVDs, and burn CDs. The ones that say they have a "Superdrive" can also burn DVDs. If you're getting a new one, you'll note that the less expensive one cannot burn DVDs.
  4. dartzorichalcos macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2007
    If you are going to get the Mac Mini, get this Mac Mini from the refurbished store:

    Refurbished Mac mini, 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo
    512MB memory
    80GB hard drive
    SuperDrive (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    Intel GMA 950 graphics processor with 64MB of DDR2 memory
    • Save 13% off the original price
    Original price: $799.00
    Your price: $699.00
    Estimated Ship:
    7-10 business days
    Free Shipping
  5. zzzuppp thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 17, 2004
    My G4 is a PowerPC,AGP graphics.
    dartzorichalcos,nice suggestion but I live in the UK :)
    Insofar as transferring Apps goes,what about ones I've downloaded (rather than having an Installation disc?)Do I have to remember all the codes I was sent? Wouldn't it be just as simple to copy it all onto the external HD?

    Next Q-is it theoretically possible to link both computers to one printer/scanner/copier?
  6. ktbubster macrumors 6502a


    Jan 20, 2007
    I know there is a bit larger difference between the mac mini and the imac in the UK... but you MIGHT be better off saving a bit more and lookin into the 2nd to the low end imac. You get the built in screen (all in one) keyboard and mouse, double the harddrive space (good for large music files etc) and double the ram baseline... all that is worth a decent amount IMO.

    You also said your son and you do a lot of bigger things like music and movies as well as gaming and such, and it might be alittle more difficult to get a mini to do that as well.

    I see that the UK has a refurb store online, but I am not sure if it is ever filled there? If so you could check every morning, or possibly check online for a used (or even just last revs model) ... I know they are saying they are updating the imac soon, so if you can wait a bit you can probably find THIS gen imac for a bit cheaper once the new ones come out and it'll still be a LOT of machine.

    The mini SHOULD be ok to suit your needs, but I just figure that an imac might be a more useful option for you and your son in the long run.

    P.S. you could always use the basic transfer program when you first et your mac ... and completely copy your other system over to your new computer via their super easy set up assistant and then just delete all the stuff you dont' want. That way most of your programs should copy over nicely ... and you can just delete all your partners and unneccesary stuff (as you said it was the majority yours)

    gl with your purchase! :)
  7. zzzuppp thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 17, 2004
    Thanks very much.
    Our UK refurb store doesn't seem to have any Minis at the moment so I'm starting to think iMac...:)
    Can anyone answer my printer hookup Q?
  8. MacDonaldsd macrumors 65816


    Sep 8, 2005
    London , UK
    You definitely can do it, not sure how. Isnt there a printer sharing option in system preferences.

    maybe bonjour takes care of it
  9. zzzuppp thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 17, 2004
    There is a printer sharing option in SysPref,yes. Just not the sockets in the back of the printer.Any ideas?
  10. tristan macrumors 6502a

    Jul 19, 2003
    high-rise in beautiful bethesda
    Don't buy! Wait for the next iMac update and for the mini update/death.
  11. ktbubster macrumors 6502a


    Jan 20, 2007

    I'm pretty sure (but i guess i may be wrong) that you can buy splitters or switches for your printer, so you only need the one plug in in the back of the computer that you have, but you would have a splitter/switch that you could use to have both connected at the same time or flip the switch depending what comp needs it...

    do a google search for splitters and printers.

    Also.. you could put a wireless hookup on the printer and get something for your older computer (if it doesnt already have something in it.. bt maybe?) as your new one already will....

    They might sell bluetooth adapters for printers that allow you to connect one printer directly too.

    I'd look into somethin like this maybe???


    for hard wiring straight to the printer.


    one of these for wirless access if you are going to be in different rooms.


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