Advice for buying Mac mini

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I currently have a 4 year old Macbook, a 23" widescreen LCD and a 5 year old linux desktop. I spend half the time on my Macbook hooked up to 23" LCD in dualscreen setup and half the time on Linux.

There are 3 reasons for considering buying a Mac mini:
  1. Now that I have a smaller desk at home connecting Macbook to dualscreen has become nuisance.
  2. Whenever I try to run 2 virtual private servers (350 MB each), do some basic video editing or watch a movie the ventilators start making lots of noise and things slow down.
  3. I cannot afford to buy nor have the place for an iMac. I will not stop using my linux desktop and I don't have the place for a second display (iMac). If I buy a mini it is going to be 2 computers connected to 1 display

The main reason which is holding me back is the price. For the price of the basic Mac mini ($599 / €599) I can buy a desktop PC with twice the hardware specs (quad core 3 GHz, 8 GB RAM, 1 TB hard disc, ...).
However, I don't want to give up on using a Mac because I need iTunes (iPad, iPod, audiobooks, ebooks, music, video), I want to keep on using one commercial OS (and Windows raises my blood pressure), and for the occasional video and photo editing.

What kind of improvement can I expect with the current
* Mac mini (2.5 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5, 4 GB 1333 MHz DDR3 RAM, 500-GB hard disc 5400 rpm, AMD Radeon HD 6630M)
compared to my 4 year old
* Macbook (2.16 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB 667 MHz DDR2 RAM, replacement hard disc after crash 500 MB 5400 rpm)?

If I buy a Mac I also want the Apple Care protection plan and €1000 / $1000 is my limit. Means I might just upgrade to 2.7 GHz, but larger and faster hard disc or upgrade to 8 GB is out of the question. For the price of 8 GB ($400 / €400) for Mac mini one can buy a complete desktop pc.

Is a Mac mini worth it? Or should I buy new desktop pc (8GB RAM, quad core 3 GHz, 1 TB HD, ...) for linux for less money and use my Macbook just for iTunes? For getting things done (text editing, Libre Office, GIMP, browsing, email, ssh & VNC, blogging, skype, google talk, ...) there is very little difference (90% of the time) for me between using Mac or linux.

Thanks for your time and I hope you can convince me a mini is worth it.
 
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Over 350 views and no replies. Did I broke a rule by mentioning linux? :-/
 

RavingMac

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Over 350 views and no replies. Did I broke a rule by mentioning linux? :-/

Actually, several reasons for no response.

1) A lot to read. Long posts often don't get as much response as shorter ones
2) This sentence "Thanks for your time and I hope you can convince me a mini is worth it."
Few of the regular members here will try to convince you. We like our Macs and welcome you to join us. But if you think a Windows box suits you better we're good with that.
3) I read this before but it looked to me that you had done a lot of research and just needed to sort through it. And, I was put off by the length. Didn't feel like trying to address so much at one time.

FWIW I think a Mac mini would be a good choice for you. Have to run right now. Might post back later with more.
 
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Thanx Razormac,

Going to focus on the essence then:

What kind of improvement can I expect with the current
* Mac mini (2.5 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5, 4 GB 1333 MHz DDR3 RAM, 500-GB hard disc 5400 rpm, AMD Radeon HD 6630M)
compared to my 4 year old
* Macbook (2.16 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB 667 MHz DDR2 RAM, replacement hard disc after crash 500 MB 5400 rpm)?

Especially when it comes to making videos with iMovie (lets say 10 minutes long) or even watching DVDs or YouTube movies. Ventilators kick in on my 4y old macbook and everything else (not the video) slows down.
 

RavingMac

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Thanx Razormac,

Going to focus on the essence then:

What kind of improvement can I expect with the current
* Mac mini (2.5 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5, 4 GB 1333 MHz DDR3 RAM, 500-GB hard disc 5400 rpm, AMD Radeon HD 6630M)
compared to my 4 year old
* Macbook (2.16 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB 667 MHz DDR2 RAM, replacement hard disc after crash 500 MB 5400 rpm)?

Especially when it comes to making videos with iMovie (lets say 10 minutes long) or even watching DVDs or YouTube movies. Ventilators kick in on my 4y old macbook and everything else (not the video) slows down.

Macbook 2.16 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo - geekbench 2786

Mac mini 2.5 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 - geekbench 6393

EDIT: Some additional info

Mac mini 2.7 GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 - geekbench 6936 [To me not sure its worth the 10% performance gain over the i5]
Mac mini 2.0 GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7 (server) - geekbench 8611 [Unfortunately you lose the separate Graphics and Graphics Memory]
 
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Another thing to mention about the "views"... Those are not just users, but web crawlers indexing the site. I wild imagine 75% of the "views" are not actual people...
 
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Thanx Razormac,
That was useful information. Just tried out geekbench (the free 32bit version), the score for my 2007 Macbook is 2942. Means the new Mac mini is more than 2 x faster than my current Macbook. Gonna sleep over it. If I buy Mac mini it is going to be the 2.5 GHz one. As I read on another post in this forum, you don't have to use RAM from Apple to upgrade and crucial.com is sooo much cheaper. Upgrading from 4 to 8 GB next year might be better investment than upgrading to 2.7 GHz now.


PS: I had the impression that my 5 jaar old Ubuntu linux desktop (AMD dual core 2,41 GHz and 3 GB RAM) was faster than my Macbook, but its geekbench score was 2245.
 
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Which one?
What part of the world are you in? If you are in the US, I recommend buying your Mac Mini from Amazon. I just purchased my newest Mac Mini for $30 less than Apple. Plus Amazon did not charge me sales tax. Between $30 lower price and not paying sales tax, I got mine for for about $90 cheaper than if I had gone to the Apple Store or apple.com
 

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