Mac Pro or Mac Mini??

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So I am looking to pick up a another computer for my desktop. I had been thinking I'd just get a Mac mini because I liked its price and ability to run as a low cost server and other generally good capabilities. I then got to looking at older Mac Pros, I have seen some good deals and even the older (2006) base model seems to have specs that are as good or better than the base Mac Mini. I'd like to spend under 1k on it and I know I can get newer than 2006. Things like RAM and HD size don't matter since I'll upgrade them on my own at some point. I care more can the base and expanding on that later if I need too. What do you guys think?

Dustin
 

RavingMac

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So I am looking to pick up a another computer for my desktop. I had been thinking I'd just get a Mac mini because I liked its price and ability to run as a low cost server and other generally good capabilities. I then got to looking at older Mac Pros, I have seen some good deals and even the older (2006) base model seems to have specs that are as good or better than the base Mac Mini. I'd like to spend under 1k on it and I know I can get newer than 2006. Things like RAM and HD size don't matter since I'll upgrade them on my own at some point. I care more can the base and expanding on that later if I need too. What do you guys think?

Dustin

That is a hard one to decide. I currently have a 2009 model Mac Mini and am thinking of upgrading to a Mac Pro when(if) they update it.

If they don't do the refresh on the Mac Pro then I am left with a similar decision, though not as much age disparity. Invest in a 2010 model Mac Pro or go with the latest Mac Mini at the time (1/2 the cost or less) and plan on replacing it in a few years.

I guess it really comes down to which is more important a factor, the small size and flexibility of the Mac Mini (works great as an ATV stand-in with the right software), or the expansion capability with the Mac Pro.

Don't think you can really go wrong either way, but my own inclination is to not invest a lot of money in older equipment (some of my friends on here will disagree I know) but I would have to spend a lot less than $1K to tempt me to go with a (soon to be) 6 year old computer.

Just my opinion, but you asked. ;)

EDIT: I said this was a hard choice . . . I am waffling, and honestly, if the 2011 Mac Mini and 2006 Mac Pro were right in front of me at the same price I would take the Mac Pro.
 
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looks like Ebay has a ton of 2006 mac pro's for $6 - $700
 

pigoo3

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If space was't an issue (Mac Pro large...Mac-mini small)...I too would find it a fairly tough decision.

Although the Mac Pro is very expandable...many folks don't do a lot of expanding beyond a larger HD & more ram (both of which can be done on the Mac-mini). Other things to consider:

- With the 2006 Mac Pro you could run up to 8 monitors (with additional video cards).
- With the Mac Pro you can have up to 4 internal hard drives
- the Mac-mini is much more "modern" (incorporates newer technologies)
- the ram for the Mac-mini is MUCH less expensive
- The 2006 Mac Pro can be expanded to 32gig of ram...the 2011 Mac-mini 16gig
- "Geekbench" scores:

* 2006 Mac Pro (quad-core Xeon 2.66ghz) Geekbench score of 5190
* 2011 Mac-mini (dual-core 2.3ghz i5) has a Geekbench score of 5839

For what it's worth...I sold my 2006 Mac Pro about 9 months ago...when I found out that the 1st generation Mac Pro's had a "32-bit EFI" (versus 64-bit). And I decided to sell it before it's value dropped even further (I sold it for $1000...the same price I paid for it used)...now they're selling for $600-$700 on e-Bay. I replaced it with a 2009 Mac Pro.

If you want to know more about EFI:

Unified Extensible Firmware Interface - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I think that if I was making the decision between a 2006 Mac Pro...and a 2011 Mac-mini...I think that the "Geekbench" score comparison is what made the decision for me. A Geekbench score of 5839 for the Mac-mini vs. 5190 for the Mac Pro is a big enough difference for me.

If you got the faster 2.5ghz 2011 Mac-mini (better graphics, more ram 2.5ghz cpu, $799)...the Geekbench score is 6393 (2011 Mac-mini) vs. 5130 (2006 Mac Pro).

HTH,

- Nick
 
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DustinB22
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Thanks for the replies guys. Yeah I scratched the Mac Pro 1,1 and Mac Pro 2,1 (2006 and 2007) off my list soon after I wrote this. I did a ton of research since I still know very little about Apple's computers over the years. It wasn't until last year when I bought my MBP did I start paying attention to their other products. The Mac Pro 1,1 and 2,1 are off the list since I will be expanding the computer over time and at the end of the day I don't want to be investing in a 5-6 year old computer no matter how good they are. Also a few other things was the low bench mark. The base Mac Pro 1,1 is still even much lower than my MacBook Pro which came in at 5933 at 32 bit. The tower I am replacing only came in at 3261 (2007 PC) so anything is an upgrade.

I think the prefect Mac Pro for me would be the standard Mac Pro 3,1 (2008) or higher. That way it can run the kernal/efi at 64 bit and it comes with two quad cores. I care more about those things since I will never change or try tinkering with them. Also I can now throw the mini out since I do like that I have 4 HD bays. I plan on running a small 40-60 gb SSD for the operating and then just use the rest for storage as I need them. I do have a lot of movies/video. I will be upgrading the graphic card and running boot camp because I do play a few games. I do have a dual screen set up now and I'd like to add my wall TV to the setup. I will running a version of Windows since I play the games and I will use it for work and a lot of my accounting software is made for PC. The standard 2008 Mac Pro has a bench mark of 9231 which I think is a good starting point :) I now know I might have to spend little more to get it but the fact that is it very expandable make me feel better about it. I would like to try and still find the tower itself for under 1k and I'll upgrade along the way.

What else should I be looking for or need to learn about? Any input is great. Thanks guys.

Dustin
 
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I'm just a newbee but I looked at the Mac Pros and was taken back by the cost of the new ones. Speaking to many people at Apple Store and reading the forums many suggested that the new Imacs have the most bang for the buck over any other Apple computer. I've had mine for a week now and ready to Marry it.

The only con is expansion. If you know a lot about computers and like to upgrade and tinker with computers the newest generation Mac Pro is for you. If you want an out of the box ready to go comp I like the Imac
 
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I like the iMac but they won't work in my set up since I already have dual monitors and I now plan to hook up the plasma. Also I like the fact that I can upgrade and expand as I go. That's always been important to me. The only reason I suggested the Mac Mini to begin with is because I liked it low cost and I could just stick it in place of my current desktop. I wasn't going to run boot camp on the mini like I plan to on the Mac Pro. It's going to run lion sever (when I'm not in windows) and really I need better specs than I originally thought. I've been running server on my MacBook Pro for awhile so that I could get a feel for it and made sure its what I wanted to invest it. Now I know I like it and works for me I took it off and I'll set up a new system with the Mac Pro. I have two computer rooms/offices going on in my house right now so I think I'm going to merge it all to one and run the server out of there. Even on my little MBP it ran decent. I know it will fly on a MP.

Now my questions have shifted to which Mac Pro? I originally just wanted to spend around 1k on the tower and go from there. 1k wasn't my an actual "this is all the money I got to spend" but more of a "how much does this really the mean to me?". I have already came to the conclusion I will spend more on this than I had originally thought. I just want to buy one that fits my usage and the within a reasonable price. And so far it is between the Mac Pro 3,1 (8 core model) and Mac Pro 4,1 (4 core model). It I've had a tough time finding the 2009 models and prices have been all over the place. I guess my question is. What would you rather have??

The 4,1 (4 core model) (This will cost me a little more and it has a little bit lower benchmark but the cost of expanding RAM is a **** of alot less. And it has a improved chipset, faster system bus and improved graphics card.)

The 3,1(8 core model) (The benchmarks seem to be around 9100 and will cost less than a newer model. Everything else but the ram seems to be similar. The RAM seems to cost a arm and a leg compared to newer models.

So

Mac Pro 3,1 (8 core model) or Mac Pro 4,1 (4 core model)?
 

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