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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > Mac Mini vs. MacBook specs

Mac Mini vs. MacBook specs
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opti
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May 16, 2006, 01:56 PM
 
Anyone else think the Mac Mini looks a little weak now compared to the MacBook announced today? Let's look at the specs of the last G4 models:

$500 Mac Mini:
- 1.33GHz G4
- Bluetooth, Airport Extreme optional

$1,000 iBook (July 26, 2005):
- 1.33GHz G4
- Bluetooth, Airport Extreme included

In all other respects, these had pretty similar specs, as far as I remember. But look at the $600 Intel Mac Mini vs. the $1100 MacBook: again pretty similar, except the Mac Mini has a Core Solo 1.5GHz, vs. a 1.83GHz Core Duo on the MacBook! That's faster than even the high-end Mac Mini.

The MacBook has an included iSight too, of course. The only downside I can see vs. the Mini is that you need to purchase an extra adapter for DVI.


I wonder if Apple will update the Mac Mini soon to bring it in line with the MacBook...
     
Mac Hammer Fan
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May 16, 2006, 02:18 PM
 
The price of the Mini will come down soon, I guess...
At this moment, the MacBook seems a lot better buy than a Mini.. (Solo or Duo)
MacPro SixCore 3.33 Westmere - MacBook SR 2.2 Ghz - PowerMac Dual G5 2.3
Besides Macs, I love Gothic Horror Films
     
Gordio
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May 16, 2006, 05:56 PM
 
I'm disappinted too the mini is so slow. I got the high end model. If they had a better high end option i would have gotten that. I might jus tupgrade the cpu. the way the chip is there, it's do-able.
     
Maflynn
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May 16, 2006, 06:51 PM
 
Faster computers are a fact of life, it was only a matter of time before apple rolled out faster models, it just so happened to be the iBook replacement.

Does your mini suddenly stopped working, no, of course not, will it be slower now that the macbook is out - nope.

So don't get wrapped up in having an outdated computer but rather be content with what you have.

Mike
~Mike
     
cornwallstone
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May 16, 2006, 07:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mac Hammer Fan
The price of the Mini will come down soon, I guess...
At this moment, the MacBook seems a lot better buy than a Mini.. (Solo or Duo)
Not when you consider memory and disk upgrades...

$2,067 - MacBook, 2.00 Core-Duo, SuperDrive, 2GB memory, 120GB hard drive, mini-DVI to DVI adapter, 13.3" 1280 x 800 display

$2,122 - Mac Mini, 1.66 Core-Duo, SuperDrive, 2GB memory, 120GB hard drive, wireless keyboard & mouse, 20" 1680 x 1050 Cinema Display
     
cornwallstone
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May 16, 2006, 08:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by Gordio
I'm disappinted too the mini is so slow. I got the high end model. If they had a better high end option i would have gotten that. I might jus tupgrade the cpu. the way the chip is there, it's do-able.
I guess I might be if I had to run a big graphics application under Rosetta, but I'm pretty happy with the 1.66 playing the 1080 QT trailers on the 23" display.
     
opti  (op)
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May 17, 2006, 12:44 AM
 
Originally Posted by Maflynn
Faster computers are a fact of life, it was only a matter of time before apple rolled out faster models, it just so happened to be the iBook replacement.

Does your mini suddenly stopped working, no, of course not, will it be slower now that the macbook is out - nope.

So don't get wrapped up in having an outdated computer but rather be content with what you have.

Mike
Mike, were you referring to Gordio's post? If that was aimed at me, I don't have anything to complain about in regards to the Mini -- I am running a PowerBook G4, a much slower machine incidentally. I'm just pointing out that the Mini is not in line with the MacBook's specs, as it has been in the past -- perhaps a sign that an update is imminent.

Looking at it from the opposite angle, I think it was quite surprising that they put such fast chips in the MacBooks. A lot of people were expecting Core Solos in the low-end model. Instead they put in Core Duos at the same speeds the MacBook Pros were running until today.
     
Gordio
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May 17, 2006, 04:45 AM
 
Originally Posted by Maflynn
Faster computers are a fact of life, it was only a matter of time before apple rolled out faster models, it just so happened to be the iBook replacement.

Does your mini suddenly stopped working, no, of course not, will it be slower now that the macbook is out - nope.

So don't get wrapped up in having an outdated computer but rather be content with what you have.

Mike
I would liek a faster computer. Some things lag a little. I'm picky, but since i run at 1920x1200, whe i ru front row (the icons look gorgeous! can't believe they drew these icons in detail), its frame rate is lower than smooth when i rotate the icons. Plus, ther eis lag, but it could be load time than CPU being incompetent.
     
harrisjamieh
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May 17, 2006, 05:27 AM
 
Originally Posted by miniMoe
Not when you consider memory and disk upgrades...

$2,067 - MacBook, 2.00 Core-Duo, SuperDrive, 2GB memory, 120GB hard drive, mini-DVI to DVI adapter, 13.3" 1280 x 800 display

$2,122 - Mac Mini, 1.66 Core-Duo, SuperDrive, 2GB memory, 120GB hard drive, wireless keyboard & mouse, 20" 1680 x 1050 Cinema Display
For the same price, I would much rather the MacBook than the Mini - faster proc, and portable, option of dual screen etc
iMac Core Duo 1.83 Ghz | 1.25GB RAM | 160HD, MacBook Core Duo 1.83 Ghz | 13.3" | 60HD | 1.0GB RAM
     
Maflynn
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May 17, 2006, 07:32 AM
 
Originally Posted by opti
Mike, were you referring to Gordio's post?
Nope it was gordio's post.

Originally Posted by Gordio
I would liek a faster computer.
Not to sound harsh but the mini is being marketed as a low end, entry level computer. Its specifications are going to be at the bottem end of what apple provides. If you needed something faster then perhaps you should consider selling it and picking up a faster mac.

For my $.02, I really like the mini, I understand the issue of the intergrated graphics and to be honest I am disapointed that apple cheaped out on this, especially since they made it a point to advertise that the (g4) mini has a better GPU then other low end PCs. Of course I'm not computing the mass of the sun or using any heavy duty photoshop processing either so I can understand the angst, but you do have options to rectifiy the problem.


Back to the OP's topic:
The new macbook looks really nice except I'm not quite sold on keyboard.
Since the specs look nearly identical except that the Macbook has a slightly faster cpu. It would appear that the macbook is a better deal if you have to purchase a monitor (and keyboard/mouse). For instance I picked up a mini but no monitor or keyboard as I already had these so it makes more sense for the mini IMO.

Also one other thing to note, how readable will the 13" display? For me and my 40+ year old eyes I'll have a difficult time. I chose the 15" PB over the 12" just for that reason. You need to be comfortable with all aspects of the laptop, keyboard and display.


Regards
~Mike
     
cornwallstone
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May 17, 2006, 07:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by Gordio
I would liek a faster computer. Some things lag a little. I'm picky, but since i run at 1920x1200, whe i ru front row (the icons look gorgeous! can't believe they drew these icons in detail), its frame rate is lower than smooth when i rotate the icons. Plus, ther eis lag, but it could be load time than CPU being incompetent.
Just curious... are you still running just 512MB of memory? I don't see any lag when rotating Front Row. Don't "see" any dropped frames in the 1080p trailers with fullscreen QT either. I DO see that wired + active > 512MB immediately after a reboot and pulling up the dashboard.
     
MacOS-Fan
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May 17, 2006, 07:30 PM
 
The two are very close in performance. Basically you are just picking between laptop and desktop. I am not denying that the MacBook is faster, but the margin is very small. I personally am not a fan of laptop's and would therefore never buy one.

There have been very few reports of the Intel CoreDuo Mini seeming slow. It is certainly not a graphical power-house, but the CPU is anything but slow. I have owned Macs for 15 years and my CoreDuo Mini is the quickest that I have ever owned (it is also the latest, so what do you expect?).

Bottom line= the Mini is an entry-level Mac and you get a lot of performence and hardware the for the small price that you pay.
20" iMac (Intel CoreDuo)
- 2 GB's of RAM
- Logitech X530 Sound System
     
cornwallstone
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May 17, 2006, 07:53 PM
 
With a little luck, it won't be either/or for me. I loved the iBook I borrowed for a summer a few years ago, and know the MacBook is even better. But I also have a lot of experience with notebooks, including my current 1920 x 1200 2GHz Dell with a FusionHDTV USB tuner. A notebook, especially one you're going to tote, isn't a substitute for a dedicated HTPC Mini. I have a port replicator for the Dell, so I'm not wearing out a tiny mini DVI connector constantly plugging and unplugging.

They're different tools for different jobs, and the 1.66 (with adequate RAM) has been found to be sufficient for 1080 use by more than just me (see AVS Forum - HTPC - Mac Chat).

I also have a 3.6 P4/2GB XP desktop with 256MB NVIDIA 7800GT next to the Mini, and while certainly not as fast, it performs quite respectively compared to the beast.
     
Sparkletron
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May 18, 2006, 05:24 PM
 
My theory is that the Mini will get an update that will rebadge it as an HTPC/PVR right out of the box. Perhaps this will take the form of a breakout box or perhaps something integrated. Either way, it's the software that will really shine.

PVR software makes a lot of sense to me--if only because iTunes does not feel like an appropriate application for buying, storing, playing, ripping video. Even its namesake, i-TUNES, suggests that it's just the wrong app to use for video and that a dedicated video app would be better. PVR software would basically be iFlicks--iTunes for video.

The hardware, meanwhile, can be quite small, as evidenced by Elgato's eyetv EZ, which is basically a D/A converter for analog video relying on the CPU to do all the compression. Apple could even partner with Elgato (although that is not Apple's style).
     
opti  (op)
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May 18, 2006, 11:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by Sparkletron
My theory is that the Mini will get an update that will rebadge it as an HTPC/PVR right out of the box. Perhaps this will take the form of a breakout box or perhaps something integrated. Either way, it's the software that will really shine.

PVR software makes a lot of sense to me--if only because iTunes does not feel like an appropriate application for buying, storing, playing, ripping video. Even its namesake, i-TUNES, suggests that it's just the wrong app to use for video and that a dedicated video app would be better. PVR software would basically be iFlicks--iTunes for video.

The hardware, meanwhile, can be quite small, as evidenced by Elgato's eyetv EZ, which is basically a D/A converter for analog video relying on the CPU to do all the compression. Apple could even partner with Elgato (although that is not Apple's style).
I don't think so, Sparkletron. I think Apple wants to keep this as a general-purpose cheap PC; the HTPC applications are largely incidental. Trying to gear it (in design or marketing) primarily toward HTPC applications would strip away most of its market.

Also, Steve Jobs has said before that he is not interested in TV, and especially now with all the TV shows on the iTunes store -- Apple would rather have you go that route.
     
Gordio
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May 24, 2006, 03:14 AM
 
Originally Posted by miniMoe
Just curious... are you still running just 512MB of memory? I don't see any lag when rotating Front Row. Don't "see" any dropped frames in the 1080p trailers with fullscreen QT either. I DO see that wired + active > 512MB immediately after a reboot and pulling up the dashboard.
i have 1.25gig ram. HD trailers move fine and i love em. the logos of frontrow (idvd, iphoto, itunes, etc) moving in the circle as you cycle them. its frame rate is not as fast as i'd hope (buttery 60fps smooth) but i'm picky. its definitely not choppy and good enough, but u can tell from its less than perfect smooth frame rate that on a faster computer it'd be better

like i said, i'm being incredibly picky. most ppl won't care, i kinda don't either, but i just want a tad bit more.

sometimes speed does matter, particularl rosetta. i know rosetta is a short term tool, but faster processor would have meant that excel and word run less obvious that it's running on an emulator. the menus lag. copy and pasting lags.

also the main reason i wish it was faster is that even tho it's an entry level machine, some ppl want more (but less than a powermac). but then again, the civic is an entyr level car, and ppl tune it. the mini should be fairly tunable (CPU) but i guess we're going to be stuck w/ that crap video card forever. but hey, at least it's capable of rendering doom3 ; could hae been worse
( Last edited by Gordio; May 24, 2006 at 03:21 AM. )
     
cornwallstone
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May 24, 2006, 01:11 PM
 
If you want your Mini to be all it can be...

Mobile Intel 945 Express Chipset Family Datasheet

http://download.intel.com/design/mob...s/30921902.pdf

Page 353

The entire IGD [Integrated Graphics Controller] is fed with data from its memory controller. The GMCH's graphics performance is directly related to the amount of bandwidth available. If the engines are not receiving data fast enough from the memory controller (e.g., single-channel DDR2 553), the rest of the IGD will also be affected.

Page 331

Dual-channel Symmetric Mode

This mode provides maximum performance on real applications. Addresses are between the channels, and the switch happens after each cache line (64-byte boundary). The channel selection address bit is controlled by DCC[10:9]. If a second request sits behind the first, and that request is to an address on the second channel, that request can be sent before data from the first request has returned. Due to this feature, some progress is made even during page conflict scenarios. If two consecutive cache lines are requested, both may be retrieved simultaneously, since they are guaranteed to be on opposite channels. The drawback of Symmetric mode is that the system designer must populate both channels of memory so that they have equal capacity, but the technology and device width may vary from one channel to the other.

Dual-channel Asymmetric

This mode trades performance for system design flexibility. Unlike the previous mode, addresses start in channel A and stay there until the end of the highest rank in channel A, then addresses continue from the bottom of channel B to the top. Real world applications are unlikely to make requests that alternate between addresses that sit on opposite channels with this memory organization, so in most cases, bandwidth will be limited to that of a single channel. The system designer is free to populate or not to populate any rank on either channel, including either degenerate single-channel case.


Intel Extreme Graphics DVMT 2.0 brochure

http://www.intel.com/design/graphics...2_brochure.pdf


• Dual Channel Memory

— Larger addressability of tiled memory

— Greater bandwidth allows increased performance in the hardware for all graphics surfaces such as Textures, Frame Buffer, Z Buffer, Video Surfaces, etc.
     
   
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