To Mac Mini or not to Mac Mini

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by MacMeAmadeus, Jan 24, 2008.

  1. MacMeAmadeus macrumors newbie

    Jul 22, 2006
    I'm currently using a Quicksilver G4. Works okay, a little slow. But one thing about it that drives me nuts is the fan noise for which it's famous. The other issue is the limitations on ATA disk capacity. I use a KVM to switch between computers so an iMac won't work out for me. And the Mac Pro is way too expensive for me. So I thought about buying a Mac Mini. Of course, I kept up with the rumors and decided I needed to wait for the Core 2 Duo's. And shortly after that I read that the Mac Mini product line might be EOL'ed soon. What I'd like to see is a "Mac Midi" that uses a 3.5" HDD and HH optical drive so I could get more storage for a better price. However, all the rumors I've read on the Internet seem to guess at an even smaller form factor than the current Mini. The other thing that bugs me about the current Mini is the GPU and shared video memory, but they're not a huge deal to me given what I use my Mac for.

    So... given all that I'm tempted to buy a Mac Mini now despite what the MacRumor buyer's guide says, but it would suck if a Mini replacement was announced a month later. So now that MacWorld is over what is the next likely time to announce a new product line? WWDC in June? Guide me Landru!
  2. gazfocus macrumors 68000


    Jan 3, 2008
    Liverpool, UK
    I very much doubt that the Mac Mini is due to be EOL'd to be honest. It's one machine that most PC switchers buy to test the water so to speak.

    As far as updates go, I think it's highly unlikely that the Mac Mini will be updated soon. There was a year between the last 2 updates, and I think that it's likely to be a year between the last update and the next one to be honest.

    The Mac Mini's always seem to be the last computers to get updated, and we are currently waiting for the MacBook Pro, and the iMac to be updated before the Mac Mini will be.

    I reckon the current Mac Mini's are great computers so if you're currently in the market for one, I'd buy one :)
  3. G5power macrumors 6502

    Feb 25, 2005
    I went through the same process you are describing. In my case, I wanted to make the transition to Apple, but at the time there was no Mini and the G5 1.8 single was over priced for what it was. I waited around and finally gave up and got a used G4 tower (MDD) and then traded through several other G4's.

    When I got tired of waiting I got one of the Intel Mini's and have been pretty happy with it. Definitely max the RAM out and you will probably want an external drive.

    For general use it feels much faster then a QS 867 (with 1.5GB RAM). Also the mini is much more silent then your QS.

    If Apple ever did bring out a mid sized tower I would be all over it and move the mini over for other usage. The talk of an even smaller mini is discouraging and not the direction I hope it goes.
  4. Dimwhit macrumors 68000


    Apr 10, 2007
    I was using a G4 Quicksilver up until last part of last year. The fan noise definitely sucks.

    While waiting for the new iMacs, I decided to get a mini, and I was VERY happy with it. I recommend it. And I don't think they'll be updated soon. They certainly won't get the Penryn chips any time soon.
  5. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    I could see an update in the next couple of months. I'm guessing: MBP gets penryn in about a month, then, once the chips become more plentiful, the imac goes penryn a month or more after that. The mini will probably be updated with the imacs, so I'm guessing late march/early april on the minis? The update will probably be to something like the current macbooks - 2.0/2.2 core 2 duo with the GMA x3100. But of course, I'm just guessing.
  6. soLoredd macrumors 6502a

    Mar 12, 2007
    I'm STILL in the process of deciding between a new iMac or pick up a Mini and connect that to my 42" Plasma. Obviously, the iMac will be more expensive but the specs are more up-to-date. What I'm wondering is will the Mini display fine on the plasma using a DVI-to-HDMI cable? And will it be good enough to use instead of an AppleTV?

    I'm using a MacBook 2.0 C2D w/ 2GB RAM but I'd like something with a bigger screen when at home.

    Sorry to jump into your thread.
  7. MacMeAmadeus thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 22, 2006
    Thanks for all the info!

    I did some homework on the Intel CPU and CPU road map and it looks like the Penryn might be a good indicator of Apple's intentions for the Mini. Because the Penryn is the first 45nm process design, it will have to use a new chipset and if Apple goes through that much hassle I'd imagine the Mini will be around a while but I also imagine that will also mean a Penryn powered Mini will be a ways off (as you all said). The only thing I wish it had was a better GPU, but I suspect that any Mac Mini will be deficient in that department until consumer monitors larger than 24" become the norm. 1920x1200 is enough at present though (the biggest monitor I have is a 24" and the Mini will probably use a 22").

    Based on that I think it would make sense to buy a Mac Mini now. Then the next question is $600 for a 1.83 with 2MB L2, 80GB HDD and combo-drive or $800 for a 2.0 with 4MB L2, 120GB and Superdrive. $200 seems like a lot on the surface (it looks like it's only for the a little more CPU speed and disk space). The L2 Cache difference means the 1.83 is a Merom T5600. And because I've always read the motherboards were the same the 2.0 Mini must use a Socket M mobo and that means the 2.0 must be a Merom T7200. So same FSB, same TDP, same release date and about a $50 price diff. So the next question is what does one get for the remaining $150. Using the WD Scorpio on-line prices to estimate it looks like the HDD upgrade is about $20 (it's $75 on the Apple "configurator"). And it's about a $25 diff between a slim format combo-drive and a slim format DVD writer. So that accounts for about half the price diff. Then take into account the typical factory installed component bonus and full factory warranty preservation (I want to get APP) and it's relatively close.

    The memory upgrade is a little steep, even when figuring in throwing out the 512MB modules. It's about double the price of even premium memory, but factory RAM might be worth it to avoid chancing breaking the little plastic fingers on the case, etc. on a brand new computer (I upgraded the memory in a Core Duo Mini that belonged to my employer so I'm familiar with the process).

    So it will be about $1K off the dealer lot not counting tax and license. I could shave it down $200 by poking at it but that might void the APP and this thing is not a PC with generic parts so that would be a mess. Then I just add a pair of 1394 enclosures with SATA drives configured as a RAID 1 volume with the OS-X RAID software for my data and I'm all set. Not cheap, but about right for Apple and still a lot more affordable than a Mac Pro.

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