Upgrade old G4 or buy Mac Mini?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by neilc01, Nov 8, 2007.

  1. neilc01 macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2007
    Can someone help me decide on an upgrade path?

    I have a G4 533 MHz AGP tower with 384Mb memory. It is my second machine, the other is a G4 upgraded to a 1.2 GHz processor. I also have a G3 laptop upgraded to a G4 processor.

    I want to convert my DAT and MD recordings to DVD Audio format. I have an old Digidesign Audiomedia III soundcard, from a previous G3, that will cost $85to upgrade to work with OSX and the G4 architecture – easier to buy a new soundcard.

    I also want to convert my movie DVDs to DIVX format, via Handbrake, to watch on my Cowan A2 video player.

    I have two upgrade options:

    1. Replace the G4 533 MHz processor with a NewerTech 1.4Ghz processor; add an extra 512Mb memory and the M-Audio Audiophile 2496 soundcard. Total cost about $500.00

    2. Buy the cheaper Mac Mini (I already have two DVD burners, so I don’t need the Superdrive) and add 1GB of memory. It includes digital in functionality, so I don't need another soundcard. Total cost around $600.00

    I do not want an iMac or Mac Pro because I need to keep the upgrade visibly hidden from my wife – she will divorce me if I get another Mac! – plus the Mac Pro is overkill for me now.

    I know there are performance issues with the Mac Mini, but I’m not sure that upgrading the G4, with its 133 Front Side Bus, will give me the performance of the Mac Mini anyway.

    Is it foolish to invest in the older G4 technology, or should I just get the Mac Mini?

    Appreciate any advice!

  2. dopey220 macrumors 6502


    Jul 19, 2006
    Well, if your wife's going to divorce you if you buy another Mac, then the upgrade's your only option.

    Seriously, though, you could just sell the tower you want to upgrade and put it towards the purchase of the Mini. That's what I'd do.
  3. chaos86 macrumors 65816


    Sep 11, 2003
    I absolutely suggest going with the intel mac mini. It will be faster, because the FSB, RAM, and processor will all match in speed, and you'll have less problems with it than a 3rd party upgrade (those can do very weird things to mac that never expected to have non-apple hardware in them). Also, you don't really realize how much benefit there is in having two computers until you do it. set up the mac mini with the old keyboard, mouse and monitor, but before you do make sure you can access your g4 with some remote desktop software over the network. use it as a file server, a dvd ripper, a media center, a protein folder, without taxing your primary machine's processor.

    you also need to sit down and talk to your wife
  4. neilc01 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2007
    Thanks for the very quick response, and good advice. Like many people, I really want a monitor-less iMac.

    The trouble with my wife is that she wants a swimming pool, so buying another Mac (I already have 3) will just provoke an argument that is better avoided. Plus we've just bought two new cars, paid the IRS, etc.

    As I have my main Mac for doing everything else, the Mac Mini will be a good buy.
  5. chcr macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2007
    Middle Tennessee
    *LOL* Can't let your domestic life interfere with your computer habit.

    We already have a pool. It's a hell of a lot of work, but well worth it when the weather gets warm. Now my wife wants a Mac (after years of Windows PC use, never could get her to try Linux). I'm going the mini route myself simply due to the cost factor. If she (or I) like it a lot I'll probably upgrade to an Imac or Power Mac next year.

    I'm an IT guy and can second everything said about FSB and processor speed. I don't have a lot of experience with Macs (yet) but all computers basically work the same way. The Mini will definitely be faster and probably more stable than the upgraded G4. Hope this helps.
  6. neilc01 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2007
    Thanks for the advice. I've owned Macs since 1994 and I love them, but have to put up with Windows at work. Once you use a Mac you will not go back!
  7. admiraldennis macrumors regular

    Aug 19, 2002
    Boston, MA
    Get the mini, no question about it.

    The Intel Core Duo / Core 2 Duo is so much faster than the G4, there's really no comparison.
  8. disconap macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2005
    Portland, OR
    Sorry, but wouldn't it just be easier to use what you have in OS9? Audio is audio, and digital audio is digital audio, no matter the hardware, software, or OS...
  9. i0Nic macrumors 65816

    May 17, 2006
    Sydney, Australia
    Why don't you sell your current macs and get a new one, wouldn't that solve the wife issue since you have less computers in the house.
  10. neilc01 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2007
    I like to have multiple computers: I have one to do email, web surf, etc, one to process DVDs and/or audio (the one discussed in this thread) and a laptop in the family room I can web surf on while listening to the Hi-Fi. They are all pretty old, but fully functional.

    I think I'll get the Mac Mini becuase if a headless iMac or similar comes out I, I'll buy that and use the Mac as a media entertainment unit.

    I really do not want to go back to Mac OS9 and my software is now old OSX.

    Thanks everyone.
  11. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6


    Aug 17, 2007
    Agreed. Gotta keep the wife happy! ;) Maybe she won't mind you getting a new one if you get rid of one.

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