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BulletproofBob 02-09-2011 03:03 PM

building mac mini
 
Hey Guys,

I'm new here, and forever I have sworn I would never touch a mac but I am interested in trying one out for various reasons.

I was thinking about getting a mac mini 2GB and upgrading it to 8GB via third party memory. I also noticed it had a 5400 RPM drive, I have lots of 640GB WD Black (Dual Processor) 7200RPM 64 Cache drives and even some raptors, is switching the hard disk to something faster difficult?

My windows box is running Intel G2 SSD drives and raptors, hard disk performance is always important to me, I also run liquid cool system, so any small tweaks I can make to make the experience better would be helpful without getting to deep into it. If I really like it I will buy a Pro.

I run Lightroom 3 and Adobe Creative suite, (although I rarely use photoshop and mostly do my work in Lightroom 3). That is what I want to try mostly initially, but I also want to try other things I typically do in Windows and see how it is under MacOS.

I thought about just getting an iMac as the cost isn't too much of a problem, but I already have 3 24" monitors on my desk and other things and I don't have room to put another monitor, I was just going to throw the iMac Mini on an alternative port of my main HP LP2475w. So the mini is attractive entry point as I don't need to deal with an additional monitor. Although I still have to deal with second keyboard/mouse which is a pain but I can just move one when i am working on the other.

I would rather just try buy the Snow Leopard disk and try it out on VMWare, but the Mac mini is pretty cheap and I don't want to deal with the hassles.

mdfuller 02-09-2011 03:28 PM

Memory is a cinch. Hard drive is another story. I would use the one that comes with it and see if it will work for you before attempting to upgrade. The Mini has become a very capable little machine:

Mac Mini Model A1347 Teardown - iFixit

pigoo3 02-09-2011 03:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BulletproofBob (Post 1183446)
I was thinking about getting a mac mini...

You should tell us what sort of Mac-mini you're thinking of purchasing (new or used...and if used, which model). Mac-mini's have been available since January, 2005...and depending on what model you buy...there have been some significant architecture changes which could definitely limit the things you mentioned wanting to do.

- Nick

BulletproofBob 02-09-2011 03:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mdfuller (Post 1183471)
Memory is a cinch. Hard drive is another story. I would use the one that comes with it and see if it will work for you before attempting to upgrade. The Mini has become a very capable little machine:

Mac Mini Model A1347 Teardown - iFixit

I would run the stock drive initially, unless it wasn't that difficult, 5400 RPM drives gives me headaches and would love to just swap it before I put real data on it.

Is the drive swap difficult physically, or the actual install of the OS?
If it is physical, I don't mind, I've been building computers since I was 10 and there isn't much tearing down that bothers me.

Are the iMac's much faster?
Is the 2.66 processor really worth the $150 upgrade price? The memory I can do myself, but I believe the processor you have to chose up front and can't switch later on. 5400RPM drive is unacceptable for me, and I won't use anything long term that isn't 7200/10000 RPM with a large cache.

I assume if I swap out the disk with a WB Black or Intel SSD and bump it up to 8GB, it should perform very well even with PS & LR?

BulletproofBob 02-09-2011 03:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pigoo3 (Post 1183476)
You should tell us what sort of Mac-mini you're thinking of purchasing (new or used...and if used, which model). Mac-mini's have been available since January, 2005...and depending on what model you buy...there have been some significant architecture changes which could definitely limit the things you mentioned wanting to do.

- Nick

Sorry about that Nick,

I would purchase one new.

BulletproofBob 02-09-2011 03:37 PM

Does the mac mini take standard hard disks or only 2.5"

pigoo3 02-09-2011 03:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BulletproofBob (Post 1183479)
Sorry about that Nick,

I would purchase one new.

Ok no problem...that clears things up.

- Nick

mdfuller 02-09-2011 03:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BulletproofBob (Post 1183481)
Does the mac mini take standard hard disks or only 2.5"

2.5" only.

pigoo3 02-09-2011 03:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BulletproofBob (Post 1183481)
Does the mac mini take standard hard disks or only 2.5"

Depends on what you mean by "standard hard disks". In the "Macintosh World"...Mac-mini's have always had 2.5" hard drives (since 2005)...although initially they were IDE...now they're SATA. So a "standard hard disk" for a Mac-mini is a 2.5".:)

- Nick

BulletproofBob 02-09-2011 03:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mdfuller (Post 1183485)
2.5" only.

I can throw a Raptor X in it as I have some 2.5" 300G ones around. Provided the install of the OS isn't difficult, I would likely go that route.

Does it come with install media or can you at least make a disc?

Standard disk, I meant the full size drive, but forgot it was likely a 2.5" drive.

mdfuller 02-09-2011 03:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BulletproofBob (Post 1183496)
I can throw a Raptor X in it as I have some 2.5" 300G ones around. Provided the install of the OS isn't difficult, I would likely go that route.

Does it come with install media or can you at least make a disc?

Installing the OS is very, very simple. It will come with a disc specific to that model.

BulletproofBob 02-09-2011 03:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mdfuller (Post 1183504)
Installing the OS is very, very simple. It will come with a disc specific to that model.

So provided I swap out the disk physically, reinstalling the OS the new disk is pretty trivial?

If I put in 8GB ram & Raptor X 300G disk, would I have a pretty good performing machine or would it not give me a good experience of Snow Leopard. I am a heavy user and would really want to put it through its paces, but I am not going to swing a Mac Pro right out of the gate, I don't know how much I am going to like it. I have almost no experience with MacOS.

Which brings up another question, what is the learning curve with Snow Leopard coming from hightech Windows user since 3.0 days.

mdfuller 02-09-2011 04:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BulletproofBob (Post 1183513)
So provided I swap out the disk physically, reinstalling the OS the new disk is pretty trivial?

If I put in 8GB ram & Raptor X 300G disk, would I have a pretty good performing machine or would it not give me a good experience of Snow Leopard. I am a heavy user and would really want to put it through its paces, but I am not going to swing a Mac Pro right out of the gate, I don't know how much I am going to like it. I have almost no experience with MacOS.

Which brings up another question, what is the learning curve with Snow Leopard coming from hightech Windows user since 3.0 days.

Indeed. You could clone the drive, but since there is nothing there anyway I would just do a clean install. The experience should be very decent. If you know your way around computers in general it will not take more than a few days to be off the races. I am not saying you will know everything about Mac OS X, but you will have no trouble getting stuff done.

pigoo3 02-09-2011 04:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BulletproofBob (Post 1183513)
So provided I swap out the disk physically, reinstalling the OS the new disk is pretty trivial?

Pretty much. Boot from the disk...follow the onscreen instructions.

But in your case (considering you're using drives that may have been previously used in Windows computers)...you probably will need to reformat the different drive you're installing so it will work in a Mac. When you boot from the Mac OS install disk...you need to open "Disk Utility" to format the drive.

Quote:

Originally Posted by BulletproofBob (Post 1183513)
Which brings up another question, what is the learning curve with Snow Leopard coming from hightech Windows user since 3.0 days.

I would say just use it...then when you can't figure something out...post questions here.

- Nick

mdfuller 02-09-2011 04:11 PM

Pick this up if you're really concerned about it:

Amazon.com: Mac OS X Snow Leopard: The Missing Manual (9780596153281): David Pogue: Books

Great read and reference.


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