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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

Dilemma: Mini or Power Mac G5?


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djmitch
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I've only ever used Windows-based systems to this point, but I'm pretty much now sold on the Mac based on what I've intensively researched, read, and heard about over the past few weeks. My desire is to have a Mac system where, like Windows systems, the CPU is separate from the monitor. In the Mac world, this leaves me with a choice between the 1.42 GHz Mac Mini and the 1.8 GHz Power Mac G5 based on what I use computers for (see below).

After fiddling with the numbers, I reasoned that although this particular Power Mac's cost may be nearly $700 CDN ($1 CDN = $0.75 U.S.) more than the Mini, its actual value is probably only about $300 CDN more since the Power Mac has the faster hard drive and SuperDrive, faster processor, more programs and ports, huge expandability, etc. I based this on a price comparison of both systems containing 1 GB of RAM, an 80 GB hard drive, and a Superdrive. (I have a monitor, keyboard, and mouse already.)

I use my home computer mostly for the Internet, for Office applications, for gaming (not really intense 3D stuff, but some older 3D simulation games), and for some Photoshop LE work. Now although these sound like jobs that the Mini can handle easily, I'm concerned that its lack of expandibility (1 GB max. of RAM) and slower components (4200 rpm hard drive, 4x Superdrive, etc.) might hamstring me only a couple of years into the future. The Power Mac, however, is something that I should be able to keep for at least twice that long if I'm able to upgrade RAM, add another hard drive, etc. So longevity is one of my main concerns here.

All this has thrown me into a dilemma: I was initially sold on the Mini, but should I splurge as a first-time Mac user and get the Power Mac instead? That is, should I dip my toe or should I take the plunge?

Specifically, is the Power Mac too powerful for what I'll be using it for? Might I outgrow the Mini too soon, especially if my usage patterns change and I demand more power? Also, how long have you owned your Power Mac for, and how often do you feel the need to buy a brand new system?

So many questions -- I'm confused!!! Your thoughts on any of these is appreciated.

Signed, the :dummy:
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flyingpostman
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If you outgrow the mini in a year or so, it can be relatively cheaply replaced. Seriously, consider the iMac, it sounds perfect for what you need and has a really nice screen. The powermac sounds too much for your needs, and in my opinion the great thing about owning a mac is that you can get away from the clunky tower (even though the powermac does look nice -- it is still a very large tower). The iMac is sleek and so is the mac mini. You should also consider an ibook or a powerbook. I bought a powerbook recently and I really like it. I always thought I needed a "desktop" system, but there is nothing better than being able to browse the internet and do computer "stuff" anywhere in the house -- like the livingroom! And the powerbook is powerful enough to handle most of your needs.
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James

 
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The mini is a great machine and would probably do 99% of what you do with no problems. Problem arises that should you start needing more, you would have no way to go with it.

The iMac G5 1.8 would be the next step up and is quite a powerhouse in itself besides being a great looking system on the desktop. You might want to rethink the all-in-one problem you have there, but there too, if you think you would ever want more, the iMac is not very upgradeable either, only in the ram dept, to a couple of gig.

The single processor PowerMac 1.8 would be your next step up and can be upgraded a little better, but remember the world is moving towards dual processors so you might want to take one more step up.

The PowerMac 1.8 dual system is one heck of a lot of bang for the buck and you can upgrade the heck out of it if needed, and a ram upgrade would be the first out of the box...upgrade ram to 1 gig, should be enough to hold you for quite a while, then up it again when needed.

If you can swing the extra cost you will have one heck of a nice system, upgradeable when needed. A dual processor 64bit system that will go for a long time into the future with you.

In short i would highly recommend to "take the plunge" and go for the PowerMac 1.8 dualie. Consider it an investment in the future. I've had my PowerMac for about 5 months now and i love it...
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djmitch
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James
The iMac G5 1.8 would be the next step up and is quite a powerhouse in itself besides being a great looking system on the desktop. You might want to rethink the all-in-one problem you have there, but there too, if you think you would ever want more, the iMac is not very upgradeable either ... The PowerMac 1.8 dual system is one heck of a lot of bang for the buck ... If you can swing the extra cost you will have one heck of a nice system, upgradeable when needed. A dual processor 64bit system that will go for a long time into the future with you.
I thought a lot about the iMac, but I had problem with not only the limited upgradability, but also the monitor and computer being one unit - if the monitor fries on a Mini or PowerMac, I could quickly buy a new monitor and at least still use my computer! But what bugged me most of all was how the cost of the iMac G5 1.8 (with upgrades) was about equal to the PowerMac 1.8 single system - I could spend the same and get a way better system with the PowerMac.

As for the dual PowerMac, cost is an issue here: trying to sell my wife on a $2,200 CDN single, using an OS that we've both never used yet, will be hard enough should I go that route!!
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djmitch
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Originally Posted by flyingpostman
If you outgrow the mini in a year or so, it can be relatively cheaply replaced. ... You should also consider an ibook or a powerbook.
One of my goals is longevity: if I outgrow the Mini and have to replace it with something costing the same or more in only a year or two, I would have been better off buying the PowerMac in the first place (I'm referring to the single 1.8 GHz PMac, by the way).

My other goal is getting the most bang for the buck (yeah, I'm frugal): Powerbooks give you a puny screen (I'm WAY too used to my 19" monitor for my PC), plus you always pay more than for an equivalently-powered desktop. To me, it just doesn't make practical sense to pay that much for what you actually get.

It would seem after reading and thinking about these two posts that I'm leaning toward the single 1.8 PowerMac mainly for expandability reasons, but I appreciate your input nonetheless -- it's making me think hard about what I really want for my first Mac! So keep it coming ...
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Wapa18
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Originally Posted by flyingpostman
Seriously, consider the iMac, it sounds perfect for what you need and has a really nice screen. The powermac sounds too much for your needs
this is not true. for the single processor powermac, the front side bus and everything are exactly the same as the 1.8ghz imac. the only difference is in the L2 cache, which in the powermac is 512k, and in the imac, i'm not sure if it has it at all, or if it does i don't know what it is. the 1.8 imac and the single processor powermac are basically the exact same machine, just packaged differently and intended for different audiences. personally, i think the single processor powermac would be perfect for what you're describing....it's not overkill, but more than enough power for today and it will last you longer than the all-in-one would.
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macaudiodj
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I have a PM and a mni. The PM is blazing fast. I also have a mini its............ surly got bang for its buck. And my friend has a brand new aleinware comp. PC and i personly think the mini is faster (Just to give you an idea on the PC level). But are the type of person that does not like to wait for things to load or render go for the PM. If you do not mind waiting a couple sec. extra sec.s go for the mini. Just to give you an idea in normal use on my PM (aka Final cut, PhotoShop,Soundtrack,Ichat,safari,and itunes) i use less than 20% of my processing power (thats the peaks not the average).
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James

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djmitch
I thought a lot about the iMac, but I had problem with not only the limited upgradability, but also the monitor and computer being one unit - if the monitor fries on a Mini or PowerMac, I could quickly buy a new monitor and at least still use my computer! But what bugged me most of all was how the cost of the iMac G5 1.8 (with upgrades) was about equal to the PowerMac 1.8 single system - I could spend the same and get a way better system with the PowerMac.

As for the dual PowerMac, cost is an issue here: trying to sell my wife on a $2,200 CDN single, using an OS that we've both never used yet, will be hard enough should I go that route!!
That is a problem with the AIO computers alright. In defence of the iMac, my wife loves hers. It is smooth and it is fast, and it is stable, and it looks like a work of art on her desk. But, there isn't much to upgrade and that seems like a requirement to you so definatly go with one of the PM's.

Even with the single 1.8 you will have good upgradeability and no matter which PM you buy you will want to upgrade the ram right off, 512 is a bit short, i recommed at least a gig. This will give you smooth multitasking and speed. If you get into heavy graphics and editing movies you will probably want another gig, but that can come later down the road.

I think a dual 1.8 PM will go farther into the future with you as dual processors and 64 bit are the coming thing. Sure there isn't much software at the moment to take advantage of all the power there, but it is coming and you will be ready for it when it gets here.

As far as selling the wife on OS X, that should be the easiest part of the whole change. All you have to do is let her get her hands on it for a little while and OS X will do its own selling. It is easy to use, stable, and quite powerful.

That's one of the great things about the PowerMacs G5's, no matter which one you buy, you're gona like it!....(G)
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ApplejustWorks

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djmitch
I've only ever used Windows-based systems to this point, but I'm pretty much now sold on the Mac based on what I've intensively researched, read, and heard about over the past few weeks. My desire is to have a Mac system where, like Windows systems, the CPU is separate from the monitor. In the Mac world, this leaves me with a choice between the 1.42 GHz Mac Mini and the 1.8 GHz Power Mac G5 based on what I use computers for (see below).

After fiddling with the numbers, I reasoned that although this particular Power Mac's cost may be nearly $700 CDN ($1 CDN = $0.75 U.S.) more than the Mini, its actual value is probably only about $300 CDN more since the Power Mac has the faster hard drive and SuperDrive, faster processor, more programs and ports, huge expandability, etc. I based this on a price comparison of both systems containing 1 GB of RAM, an 80 GB hard drive, and a Superdrive. (I have a monitor, keyboard, and mouse already.)

I use my home computer mostly for the Internet, for Office applications, for gaming (not really intense 3D stuff, but some older 3D simulation games), and for some Photoshop LE work. Now although these sound like jobs that the Mini can handle easily, I'm concerned that its lack of expandibility (1 GB max. of RAM) and slower components (4200 rpm hard drive, 4x Superdrive, etc.) might hamstring me only a couple of years into the future. The Power Mac, however, is something that I should be able to keep for at least twice that long if I'm able to upgrade RAM, add another hard drive, etc. So longevity is one of my main concerns here.

All this has thrown me into a dilemma: I was initially sold on the Mini, but should I splurge as a first-time Mac user and get the Power Mac instead? That is, should I dip my toe or should I take the plunge?

Specifically, is the Power Mac too powerful for what I'll be using it for? Might I outgrow the Mini too soon, especially if my usage patterns change and I demand more power? Also, how long have you owned your Power Mac for, and how often do you feel the need to buy a brand new system?

So many questions -- I'm confused!!! Your thoughts on any of these is appreciated.

Signed, the :dummy:
IMO, I'd go with the PowerMac series instead of the Mac mini. The way you make it sound, in the future you may be getting more advanced. As well, I'd recommend against the iMac, if and ONLY if you have a display that you can happily use. The PowerMac series offers more expansion(4GB Ram for the Single models, 8GB for dualies, etc) vs the iMac with a 2GB Max. As stated, I wouldn't go with the mini in that you sound like you may get above the means of the mini(heavy rendering, etc.).

So..if cash flow allows, go with the PM DP 1.8(Dual rocks!),ONLY if you have a display!!
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djmitch
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So far you've all helped me make my decision more clear. At this point, the single-processor 1.8 GHz Power Mac seems like the one I'll go for. I've read the arguments in favour of the dual processor, but frankly I think the single will be more than enough for my needs even a few years from now. If I somehow get into a profession that requires heavy-duty power and speed, even then I think I could get away with the single if I max out the RAM.

Anyhow, thanks for your input so far. Feel free to add more!
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icantsurf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djmitch
So far you've all helped me make my decision more clear. At this point, the single-processor 1.8 GHz Power Mac seems like the one I'll go for. I've read the arguments in favour of the dual processor, but frankly I think the single will be more than enough for my needs even a few years from now. If I somehow get into a profession that requires heavy-duty power and speed, even then I think I could get away with the single if I max out the RAM.

Anyhow, thanks for your input so far. Feel free to add more!
I personaly have the dual 2gig G5 PM and LOVE it! Something you may want to consider is setting your budget and shopping for refurbs. the nice thing about an apple refurb is it carries the same warrenty as a 'new' unit.

I ended up with a nearly loaded dual 2gig with a superdrive and 9600pro videocard for less than the cost of a 'new' student discounted dual 1.8 base model. (and that's after I had an extra gig of RAM installed) so seriously consider the apple refurbs.

The dual processor is the way to go for anything remotely related to rendering so if you tend to use multiple layers in Photoshop you may want to seriouslly consider the dual. The single procesors are pretty $#@! quick too though but you will definately need to invest in RAM with a single processor setup.
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djmitch
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Quote:
Originally Posted by icantsurf
Something you may want to consider is setting your budget and shopping for refurbs. the nice thing about an apple refurb is it carries the same warrenty as a 'new' unit.
Does the Apple web site sell refurbs? If not, then who would sell them who's reputable and "Apple Authorized"?

Let's just say I won't trust an on-line purchase of this magnitude unless it's from Apple itself or someone "authorized". In particular, I would want a Canadian-based dealer because our nation's customs people are a bunch of __________ [fill in the blank] when it comes to importing stuff from the U.S. I've known people who've never received what they've ordered - it's somewhere in the "black hole" of Canadian Customs.
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James

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djmitch
our nation's customs people are a bunch of __________ [fill in the blank] when it comes to importing stuff from the U.S. I've known people who've never received what they've ordered - it's somewhere in the "black hole" of Canadian Customs.
Hahaha, your guys been watching our guys again have they...eh?

I know one thing for sure about your custom people, they simply can't believe than an American motorcycle rider doesn't carry a hand gun. Thought they were gona strip search me in Ontario and Bc both...(G)

By the way, where is Podunk in Alberta? I'll be coming up through BC and over to Jasper and down through Calgary in July, anywhere near that?...(G)

Mac Pro Intel 2.66 - 4 Gigs Ram - 10.6.1 - 30" Apple Monitor
iMac 24" 2 gigs ram - MacBook Pro
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zap2
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i would like to say that the mac mini and the powermac are on different ends of apple desk-top-line on being the computer for entering the mac world the other for hard time mac users who like the upgradablity and speed. Perhaps you should look a the emac or imac both great computers and the imac is a great deal and i would wait until tiger come out before buying anything
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djmitch
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James
By the way, where is Podunk in Alberta? I'll be coming up through BC and over to Jasper and down through Calgary in July, anywhere near that?
Actually, I lived in Calgary my whole life until last August. Now I live in a village of less than 400 people about 1 1/2 hours east of there, which I affectionately call "Podunk" - a fictional name I give to tiny settlements with few amenities. Although I really enjoy the very peaceful small-town life, I sure miss paved streets and high-speed internet!!

By the way, enjoy your trip this summer. You'll be experiencing one of the nicest parts of the world! Try to also make the Calgary Stampede in early July, if you can - it's quite a huge event.
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