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

mini - Attn: Intel mini users...

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So I'm looking at making the switch from my POS PC to a Mac. My options are...

1) Core Duo mini with 2GB of RAM and a couple of Firewire drives for storage/backup & a 19 or 20" LCD. Knowing it will last for 2-3 yrs.

2) 20" iMac (either C2D or a refurb CoreDuo), 2GB of RAM and 1 or 2 Firewire drives for storage/backup. Knowing this will last 3-4 yrs.

3) Bite the bullet and get a Mac Pro, 2GB RAM, 20" LCD and extra SATA drives for backup/storage. Knowing this will probably last well over 5 yrs.

Now, I don't really run anything major, mainly Internet, office apps, some Photoshop, but nothing major with it, and some home movie editing. So the MacPro is way overkill, but I like the idea of not having to worry about upgrading it for a while, a long while. The iMac seems to have all the specs I want/need, but the all-in-one design kind of scares me. So that leaves the Mini. I want to know how does the mini do with running Photoshop apps? So if any current mini owners can answer that I would be greatly appreciated.
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The mini is kind of all in one. The only thing is it needs a monitor. I would go with the imac. Get a 500gb HD and forget the firewire drives.

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I would go mac pro and see how long you could get that thing to run for. Its a good system and will last you a very very long time.

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I have mini - it runs photshop ok, etc. But more than one big app open and it slows a bit but then I'm not using universal apps. It was my first mac machine, now I'm just waiting before the pro and mbp.

But the mini does absolutely fine. Overall as a general machine I really rate it. Currently have it dual booting Vista which flys like a dream. Reckon it would easily do what you want!

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Since you are not intending to run "major" stuff, mini would be more than enough. You can start your Mac experience with a small investment but it will never going to be a bad one. However I would suggest you to add more RAM to be on the safe side.
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If i were you i would get the mac mini loaded with RAM.

it will be sufficient for what your needs are. then when you think you need something a little faster sell the mini and buy either the iMac of the Mac Pro.

i intend on buying a mini to tide me over for 3-4 months until i can afford the Mac Pro. i wont lose a huge amount selling it on ebay a few months down the line so i really dont see it as a big deal.

remember macs dont lose their value instantly like the PC market, so a viable upgrade path is always to sell your current mac for the new one!!
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I too was trying to decide between a 17" and a mini. I went mini. It takes up so little space, has dual-core processor and is so quiet if it weren't for the LED you wouldn't know it was on. Then you can pick out your own monitor as you can get a 19" Widescreen for under $200 now. The only reason for me to go 17" was because of the neww monitor I need anyway (decided to not go intergrated) or to get the ATI x1600 vid card for games. I don't play games, so the choice was fairly simple.
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I would suggest that you use a 20" imac.

The best thing to do is:
upgrade the ram to the max
get the largest hard drive possible (I think right now its a 500 GB drive)
Get a 256 meg video card IF you intend to do some gaming or plan to perhaps add second monitor to it.

I don't think you really have to worry too much about the all in one design of the imac. Apple's quality and fit and finish is excellent and if you're really worried then just invest in apple care.
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Any one of those systems will do you well and last for 5 years (probably longer). Also, there really won't be a need to upgrade any of those machines considering your needs.
Your neeeds don't seem to be too intense, so I would rule out the Mac Pro. No need to spend money on a professional-level machine if you aren't doing any daily, professional-level work with it. :black:

So, it really comes down to if you want an all-in-one design or not. There is nothing wrong with getting an AIO. A Mini with a nice LCD is going to cost pretty close to an iMac, so there really isn't an issue with cost here.
Just go with whatever design fits your space and personal style best.

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Thanks all for the replies.

I went to CompUSA at lunch yesterday. I know, but it's the only place close to my work that has Mac's. I played with a mini, 20" iMac, and a MacPro, all standard configurations. Since they don't have anything installed on them but the base apple install I figured I would launch a bunch of apps all at once (itunes, iphoto, garageband, imovie, iweb and idvd) and just see the response time and how quickly they launched. First was the mini. It was fairly slow. The beach ball was bouncing for about 45 seconds before I could use any of the apps. Next I tested the iMac. All the apps launched almost immediately and they were all pretty much ready to use. Total wait time was maybe 5 seconds. Next the MacPro. It was actually slower than the iMac. Probably about 10 seconds to get all apps up and running. I figured I wasn’t seeing things right so I tried it again. Same speed. Now I know that not a “real test”, but with what I had to test with, it definitely is making me look more at the iMac, especially since I'll need to buy a new monitor as well. Hopefully this weekend I can get to the apple store and “play around” a little more with these models.

Now a question regarding the iMac. If I go with that, is upgrading the video really worth it? I don’t play any games, except maybe poker or blackjack online ever once in a blue moon, or really plan on doing any “major” video editing or getting a second monitor. Would it really be worth paying to upgrade the video RAM on it? Again I’ll mostly be using Photoshop and other basic apps. But I would like for the machine to last as long as possible and I will be upgrading to 2GB of system RAM. HD not sure about…
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The main thing that put me off about the mac pro is the ram costs! It's unbelievably expensive! I opted for the 24" imac fully loaded and I cant imagine needing a faster machine for all but the most intensive apps (shake, maya etc). I'd save my pennies and invest in the best computer you can get. It took me 2 years of saving to get my first computer but it was a dual PM G5 right when they came out. It really helps with the shock of using a new architecture to get a nice powerful machine. The mac mini's are great, but I think that there's something to be said about waking up in the morning, getting some coffee and sitting down to check your emails in front of a beautiful 20 or 24" iMac that runs silently. Maybe it's just me. -Tex
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If you don't play games then I wouldn't worry about the video card. Even if you get the 17" with the Intel950 intergrated graphics chip, it seems to handle the H264 high-Def Quicktime videos just fine
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The speed difference between the iMac & Mac mini was most likely due to the mini only having 512MB of RAM.

If you put 2GB in the mini it should launch apps at similar speeds to the iMac.

But personally if I were in your shoes, I'd go with the iMac 20".

It's very rare for LCD screens to have issues, so I don't think the all-in-one design should really count against reliability anymore.
The iMac has a really nice base configuration that will probably have slightly more longevity than the mac mini.
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So another quick question. If I do purchase the iMac, I would be getting the applecare plan. Just feel it's safer with a all in one unit. If I get a stuck pixel, can I call apple up and get them to fix it? I know with some external LCD's there is like a 4 or 8 pixel rule. Does apple have that type of rule?
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That would be my major reservation. It'd be a smart move for you to call Apple or even an Apple Store as they would know better than say a CompUSA or other 3rd party Apple dealer. If the policy is anything other than even 1 stuck pixel then I'd opt for the Mini and get an external monitor. I'm ALWAYS leary of integrated stuff which is why I got the mini. I knew that if something happened with the LCD then I'd be stuck with either a useless machine or a hefty repair bill. I opted for the mini and now I'm getting a 19" Widescreen monitor for under $200. Cost me less than a 17" iMac and getting a larger monitor.
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