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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > Mac Mini - Buy or Wait for Mactel???

Mac Mini - Buy or Wait for Mactel???
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Richard Clark
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Jan 11, 2006, 11:22 PM
 
Ok, the old system is looooong in the tooth:

G4/450
768 MB RAM
40 GB & 80 GB HD
10.3.9

It's alright but slow. We don't have a lot of money right now but the Mrs. is open to getting a Mac Mini. I was really disappointed that the new Mactel Mac Minis didn't come out yesterday at Mac World. But I understand why Steve did what he did. The almighty buck controls the decisions - hight profits for high end products (i.e. MacBook Pro). If the Mactel Minis came out no one would buy the higher end down the road. Well, scratch that. Not as much of the high end would be sold.

With that said I don't know whether to hold off or buy a Mini now. If I do It's going to be the 1.42 with the Super Drive to burn DVD's. Probabbly will get more RAM to get it up to a GB.

Is it worth getting now since they will discontinue the PPC? Will I be able to keep the Mini for five years and be satisfied with it? Keep getting software for it? I'm not running any pro stuff. Just Office, toast, Quicken, Palm Desktop, iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, Mail and an old version of Photoshop (v. 5.5 in Classic) once in a while when needed.

It would definitely be a step up for us and be fairly inexpensive, around $700.00 (that's approximate, - Believe me I'm looking for deals, but if you find something decent please let me know).

So please let me know your thoughts on this. Thanks in advance!
"Tough Little Ship" - Riker
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mduell
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Jan 11, 2006, 11:53 PM
 
Since SJobs said all the Intel Macs will be out this year, I'd wait.
If you want a better deal, look at the refurbs.
     
Helmling
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Jan 12, 2006, 11:26 PM
 
Wait. There'll be a FrontRow version with remote on the market within a few months.
     
Rumor Addict
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Jan 13, 2006, 07:11 AM
 
100% wait.
MacBook 2.0 / Powerbook 1ghz 12inch 768mb / Original 5 gig iPod / 512mb iPod Shuffle
     
chefpastry
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Jan 13, 2006, 08:27 AM
 
Personally, I want a Mac Mini myself and I'm waiting...
     
iMacfan
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Jan 13, 2006, 06:56 PM
 
Seems like you really want the biggest bang for your money, so I'd definitely recommend that you wait.

However, to give an example of the other side of things, my Mum needs a computer to do some light word processing and internet duties - In this case, anything that runs OSX will do fine, and the simple and more reliable the better. So, I'm getting her one of the 1.25Ghz Mac minis, and that'll possibly be better than the intel ones for that, as there may be some early bugs with the new architecture.

Anyone else think that there may be some cases where waiting is not the best idea?

Thanks,

David.
     
jwoods
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Jan 14, 2006, 12:26 AM
 
I don't. My understanding is that Intel either designed the mobo, or had a big hand in it. Intel has designed some very nice boards in the past. I'd be surprised if we see many bugs related to the hardware. Software might be a different story. Again, my understanding is that Intel and Apple have been working on this for years, so I doubt we'll see many, if any, bugs on that aspect either. (I could be wrong).

I, for one, have no problem jumping on the intel platform. Should you wait? Your money - Your choice, but I believe your money will be better spent on the new ones, or waiting a few months for the mini's to be converted.
     
Rainy Day
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Jan 14, 2006, 05:20 AM
 
First, let’s not call it a “Mactel,” okay? It’s not a telephone.

The Macintel mini is likely to be available around March/April, if the single core processors are available in quantity by then.

What the performance difference will be over the G4 is hard to say. Everyone just assumes the Intel processors will out-perform the G4, but for some applications, the G4 may outperform. Especially anything using AltiVec. And if you’re using a lot of non-Apple app’s and don’t upgrade to Intel versions, that’ll slow you down a little too.

It

If you don’t mind waiting until spring, wait and see what is offered. If you like what you see with the Intel update, go with it. Otherwise, you’ll probably be able to get a sweet deal on the G4 version.
     
Rainy Day
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Jan 14, 2006, 05:27 AM
 
First, let’s not call it a “Mactel,” okay? It’s not a telephone.

The Macintel mini is likely to be available around March/April, if the single core processors are available in quantity by then.

What the performance difference will be over the G4 is hard to say. Everyone just assumes the Intel processors will out-perform the G4, but for some applications, the G4 may outperform. Especially anything using AltiVec. And if you’re using a lot of non-Apple app’s and don’t upgrade to Intel versions, that’ll slow you down a little too.

It won’t be like the MacBook Pro, with a 4x increase. The PowerBook should have a G5 in it (but doesn’t), which is why Apple is putting a dual core in the MacBook Pro. You can bet than when the MacBooks come out to replace the iBooks, they’ll be single core, as will the mini. It’s likely the refresh will claim a 2x increase in speed, but that’s only for average calculation speed. Disk access, etc. will be about the same. It’s sorta like comparing apples and oranges.

If you don’t mind waiting until spring, wait and see what is offered. If you like what you see with the Intel update, go with it. Otherwise, you’ll probably be able to get a sweet deal on the G4 version.
     
echosphere
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Jan 14, 2006, 11:20 AM
 
Originally Posted by Rainy Day
First, let’s not call it a “Mactel,” okay? It’s not a telephone.

The Macintel mini is likely to be available around March/April, if the single core processors are available in quantity by then.

What the performance difference will be over the G4 is hard to say. Everyone just assumes the Intel processors will out-perform the G4, but for some applications, the G4 may outperform. Especially anything using AltiVec. And if you’re using a lot of non-Apple app’s and don’t upgrade to Intel versions, that’ll slow you down a little too.

It won’t be like the MacBook Pro, with a 4x increase. The PowerBook should have a G5 in it (but doesn’t), which is why Apple is putting a dual core in the MacBook Pro. You can bet than when the MacBooks come out to replace the iBooks, they’ll be single core, as will the mini. It’s likely the refresh will claim a 2x increase in speed, but that’s only for average calculation speed. Disk access, etc. will be about the same. It’s sorta like comparing apples and oranges.

If you don’t mind waiting until spring, wait and see what is offered. If you like what you see with the Intel update, go with it. Otherwise, you’ll probably be able to get a sweet deal on the G4 version.
Damn you Rainy Day! (makes alot of sense)
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elvis2000
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Jan 14, 2006, 12:48 PM
 
I'd hold out... I doubt you'd be satisfied with it for a full 5 years. The mini itself is "long in the tooth". Maybe as a holdover machine for a year, tops....
     
mduell
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Jan 14, 2006, 04:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by Rainy Day
What the performance difference will be over the G4 is hard to say. Everyone just assumes the Intel processors will out-perform the G4, but for some applications, the G4 may outperform. Especially anything using AltiVec. And if you’re using a lot of non-Apple app’s and don’t upgrade to Intel versions, that’ll slow you down a little too.
Any app that can take advantage of Altivec can probably also take advantage of SSE (1/2/3). Look at the Cinebench (which I believe uses Altivec) scores: the older Pentium M beat the G4 clock for clock (and of course clocks higher).
     
iMacfan
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Jan 15, 2006, 08:49 AM
 
Anyhow, dropped the money on the 1.25 Mini for my Mum, and got a free upgrade to 1.33 to boot! I know that she'll love it if she can get the hang of OSX.

Also, I just have to say that I hadn't realised how impressive a design it was, and when they are updated to intel, I might just get one if they can make a slightly bigger one with a full desktop HD.

David
     
harrisjamieh
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Jan 15, 2006, 11:21 AM
 
Good for you, imacfan. People should realise, that yes, although it would be nice to have the latest and greatest, technology moves so fast nowadays, that you can be forever waiting for the 'next rev'. I mean, OK, it may be slightly different in this case, as the change to Intel doesnt happen every day, but my point is, need it now? Get it. Im sure you'll be happy with the mini, and its nice to hear you got one of the upgraded minis. I hadn't heard of anyone who had got a 1.33 one, only people who bought a 1.42 and got a 1.5
iMac Core Duo 1.83 Ghz | 1.25GB RAM | 160HD, MacBook Core Duo 1.83 Ghz | 13.3" | 60HD | 1.0GB RAM
     
cambro
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Jan 15, 2006, 11:23 AM
 
I really would like to get a mini....

I don't particularly care if it has a PowerPC or Intel chipset (Intel would be nice...)

But it has to have DIGITAL AUDIO OUT!
     
iMacfan
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Jan 15, 2006, 12:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by cambro
But it has to have DIGITAL AUDIO OUT!
Surely that can be added via a small FW or USB converter? Or no?

David.
     
cambro
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Jan 15, 2006, 12:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by iMacfan
Surely that can be added via a small FW or USB converter? Or no?
Yes, I suppose you could add a third-party, external, flopping around USB dongle to get digital audio out for about 20% of the cost of the Mini (around $85).

Of course, there's no guarnatee that the converted USB digital audio signal will, say, be in sync with video output, and adding an external dongle would take up your ONLY Firewire port or one of your USB ports.

I guess what I meant was that for what I see the mini being used for most commonly (digital hub...note DIGITAL part!), building in digital audio out would probably be a bigger immediate improvement in the value of the mini for most people than swapping processors.
     
mduell
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Jan 15, 2006, 06:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by cambro
Yes, I suppose you could add a third-party, external, flopping around USB dongle to get digital audio out for about 20% of the cost of the Mini (around $85).

Of course, there's no guarnatee that the converted USB digital audio signal will, say, be in sync with video output, and adding an external dongle would take up your ONLY Firewire port or one of your USB ports.
It should be, if the company you buy it from is sensible enough to use the isochronous transfer modes for USB or FW.
     
JHromadka
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Jan 15, 2006, 08:00 PM
 
I'd wait.
     
far200
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Jan 16, 2006, 01:58 AM
 
If you can wait and see what apple brings out...... It shouldn't be much longer maybe a couple more months..... the wait might be worth it...... but if you really need something now then go and get one you'll find it will work for years to come.
     
   
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