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

mini - Your satisfaction with your Mini?


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Inno

 
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I am contemplating getting a Mini when the refresh comes out and pimping it out with a SSD and max RAM.

Now, obviously, we dont know what the new model is going to be like, but based on your experiences with the current mini's, are you satisfied? Would you recommend it to a friend? Are there any particular drawbacks you are seeing in performance or the lack of internal expansion?

How about the graphics, which are not discreet memory? I know that one shouldn't expect to get good gfx peformance out of such a device, but you dont want it too hobbled.

All thoughts appreciated!
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pigoo3

 
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It depends on what you are going to do with your Mini. If you're talking web surfing, e-mail, MS Office work, and light to moderate gaming...it will be fine.

But don't expect to do heavy gaming or heavy duty photographic or video production work like you might use a Mac Pro for.

Also...if you already have a monitor, keyboard, and mouse...then a Mini is a good deal price-wise...but if you don't have these peripherals, than an iMac may be a better choice.

Buying a Mac mini is like buying a laptop without the display & battery.

HTH,

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
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DanFlan

 
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I think you would be best to wait and see what the new Mini offers. Who knows, maybe a new refurbishing of it's general features will effect your decision.

"60% of the time it works, every time."
- Brian Fantana
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DarkestRitual

 
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My dad does his photo editing with CS 3 on his 1.33GHz powerbook G4 and his 1.83GHz late 2006 mac mini with the intel GMA950. He's dealing with mostly 6-12 megapixel images and runs a lot of filters. Though I'm sure that a Mac Pro or iMac would run these more quickly, the fact that he's not discouraged and is perfectly happy doing this on the Intel GMA950 leads me to believe that the 9400m will handle them flawlessly. I don't really do any photographic work on my alMB with the 9400m, but I wouldn't worry about the graphics capabilities of the mini for anything less than some gaming that is doing much more intense things than WoW. It runs WoW very well at high settings, but can get choppy at times (seemingly unrelated to in game events).
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkestRitual View Post
My dad does his photo editing with CS 3 on his 1.33GHz powerbook G4 and his 1.83GHz late 2006 mac mini with the intel GMA950. He's dealing with mostly 6-12 megapixel images and runs a lot of filters. Though I'm sure that a Mac Pro or iMac would run these more quickly, the fact that he's not discouraged and is perfectly happy doing this on the Intel GMA950 leads me to believe that the 9400m will handle them flawlessly.
I definitely agree! If an individual user is using Adobe products for photographic editing or retouching...and they are not expecting lightning speed processing or trying to do big batches of photos at any one time...a Mini is definitely doable!

It's only when you are dealing with "ginormous" amounts or sizes of photos that the performance of the mini may be limiting (compared to more "feature-rich" Mac's).

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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Raz0rEdge

 
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I've been using my 1.83 Ghz Mini for a bit now and have found it to be a good performer. I upgraded the memory to 3G and that made a ton of difference compared to the 1G it came with. I'll dump up the CPU speed maybe later, but for now it's perfectly fine.

I mainly use it for developing for the iPhone through Xcode, so graphics wise I'm not really pushing it. I do do some movie conversion for the iPhone and the Mini manages that with no problems, I usually do this while I'm away so I don't care how long it takes.

If they up the CPU speed on the Mini refresh, I think it's a VERY compelling reason to purchase that as opposed to the iMac. The Mac Pro is very expensive and you've gotta be serious enough to spend money on it knowing that you're going to be doing things that require that much power..

Regards
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dtravis7

 
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Comparing the Mini to a Mac Pro is like comparing a Quad Core Quad SLI Gaming rig with 1000 watt power supply to a normal say Dell desktop or Laptop. There is no comparison and the gaming rig has a price to match it's performance. For normal everyday work though you will see little difference between the two systems.

Same with the Mini. The Mini is very much like a Macbook in a very small desktop case. I took my stock 1.66 Ghz Core Duo mini and dropped in a 2.16 Ghz C2D and maxxed everything else out. In especially audio and even more so Video conversion, compression it blows everything in my house away. My iMac G5 2.1Ghz iSight takes 2.5 hours to convert an AVI to DVD for burning my video projects to DVD. With the exact same application and settings the 2.16 C2D mini takes 20-24 minutes.

The main thing the Mini (even the latest one with the 9400m) is not well suited for is demanding 3d Gaming or rendering. For everything else it's great. Sure it's no Mac Pro but it does not cost $2400-$3300 either.

If you are poor or need a small form factor and are not into heavy 3d gaming and video rendering, the Mini is a nice little machine. I never have one regret with my purchase of the Intel Mini and even the G4 Mini before it.
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pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtravis7 View Post
My iMac G5 2.1Ghz iSight takes 2.5 hours to convert an AVI to DVD for burning my video projects to DVD. With the exact same application and settings the 2.16 C2D mini takes 20-24 minutes.
Nice comparison...numbers like that really help make "sense" of things!

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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dtravis7

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
Nice comparison...numbers like that really help make "sense" of things!

- Nick
My one Power PC loving (Intel Mac hating) friend did not believe me. I had to screen shot both systems with the About This Mac open to prove it to him.
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pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtravis7 View Post
My iMac G5 2.1Ghz iSight takes 2.5 hours to convert an AVI to DVD for burning my video projects to DVD. With the exact same application and settings the 2.16 C2D mini takes 20-24 minutes.
It would be really neat if this test (or any comparable test) could be performed on a:

- iMac G5
- Intel Mac Mini
- Intel iMac
- MB or MBP
- Mac Pro

Just to see how things compare. I'm talking tests where the results are in seconds/minutes...which is a "measure" that all of us deal with everyday.

Sometimes review/benchmarking articles don't always cover a broad enough spectrum of computers & ages...and don't always report the results in a format that "means something" to everyday computer users.

- Nick

Quote:
Originally Posted by dtravis7 View Post
My one Power PC loving (Intel Mac hating) friend did not believe me. I had to screen shot both systems with the About This Mac open to prove it to him.
BTW...this Intel Mac hating friend is going to be left "out in the cold" eventually as the PPC machines get older...and newer software is no longer written for them.

PPC to Intel CPU's is a much more difficult philosophical transition then going from the Motorola 68k series CPU's to PPC CPU's, or switching from OS 9 to OS X...but I totally understand where they are coming from.

Just got to be flexible, and roll with the punches!

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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dtravis7

 
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Agreed completely. If I owned all the machines I would run the tests. All I can do here is older Power PC's and the Intel Mini.

I think the OP will be fine with a Mini unless he needs a portable system, then I would suggest a Macbook.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtravis7 View Post
Agreed completely. If I owned all the machines I would run the tests. All I can do here is older Power PC's and the Intel Mini.
Actually I could run the tests...I have a broad range to choose from. The only problem is having them set up identically with the same version of the OS...unless no one would find fault with the results if the machines had 10.4, 10.5, or 10.6 on them.

The test would have to use software compatible to all of the computers.

If someone could suggest a test or tests (no more than 2-3)...I could run them, and see how the times compare.

It would be neat to run a test(s) that would take like 1-2 hours on the slowest machine (a G3)...but only minutes on the fastest machine (Mac Pro).

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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Zena

 
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The Mini is a cool little machine and it's wonderful if you do have a monitor already.
It's quiet and doesn't require much space. Even has full wireless functions.
But, buy the time you upgrade it to it's full potential, you're in the iMac price range.

But, I much prefer the iMac choice - the screens are incredible, it's compact - similar footprint.
The one in our kitchen gets used constantly - surfing, viewing a DVD, or just checking the weather.


Fewer wires is a big deal for me. Just one cable to the 110v outlet.
No video monitor cable, no mic or speaker cables, no network cables.
Even the printer is wireless.

iSight is what makes is foolproof and powerful for communications.
Having that built-in video camera, microphone, and speakers is a huge feature.

Also, with the iMac you can add a 2nd monitor. (- that's a little awkward technical trick on a Mac Mini.)


But, small is good too. Mac Mini's a great for a Kiosk or to drop in a box and ship them to someone.
The iMac is really to heavy to tote around, much less to try and mail it.
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