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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > Buy Mac Mini now, or wait for Intel Power Mac?

Buy Mac Mini now, or wait for Intel Power Mac?
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S_Young
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Apr 8, 2006, 08:02 AM
 
I've decided that the iMac isn't the right computer for me. I need a larger display with more even brightness, and I've decided on the Dell Ultrasharp 2405FPW. Dell are currently offering a 20% discount on this monitor, and the offer ends Monday 10th April. This leaves me with a dilemma: whether to buy now, or wait?

My decision will affect - and by affected by - what Mac I end up buying. I will be using it primarily for video editing (including HD material). Right now, I have only one option: Mac Mini Core Duo. I like its compact form, but I have some concerns about the built-in graphics processor:

1. Does it support the Dell 2405FPW?
2. Does it support dual displays?
3. Does it fully support CoreImage and CoreVideo?
4. Can it play 1080p QuickTime H.264 movies smoothly?
5. Can it cope with editing HD video in Final Cut Pro 5?

If the answer to most of these is negative, then perhaps I will be better off waiting for an Intel PowerMac further down the line. I may get the Dell 2405FPW anyway (because the discount is so good) and use it with my PowerBook G4 in the meantime.

What do you guys/gals think?
     
production_coordinator
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Apr 8, 2006, 11:16 AM
 
1) The 2405FPW will work just fine with the mini.
2) It does not support dual displays. There is only one DVI port... and no way to upgrade to two video outputs.
3) I believe it supports CoreImage, but not CoreVideo.
4) Yes, it is said to be able to play 1080p "like butter"
5) No, you can't use final cut pro.

To be honest, you should be looking for a higher end system (not the lowest end system) if you want to use the system primarily for video editing. The Mac mini is a consumer machine... and would run all of the iApps (including iMovie) VERY fast... but it doesn't currently have native support for Microsoft Office/Adobe/Quark... along with a number of other applications. IMHO, the system is for "early adopters" that are willing to put up with a few "gotchas" regarding native applications. That being said, if I was looking for a new system, the current mac mini looks like a home run!
     
harrisjamieh
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Apr 8, 2006, 02:34 PM
 
Whilst I agree that the mini is not the right system for video editing, especially HD content, the new mini WILL handle final cut pro, so long as it is the Core Duo version.

I know you said you have discarded the iMac, but it will be faster than the mini (faster hard drive, faster graphics, faster processor), has a built in screen, AND has the ability to add another DVI screen to it - sounds perfect to me
iMac Core Duo 1.83 Ghz | 1.25GB RAM | 160HD, MacBook Core Duo 1.83 Ghz | 13.3" | 60HD | 1.0GB RAM
     
zerock
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Apr 8, 2006, 02:42 PM
 
or get a cheap mini, when powermac comes out, buy that, and sell mini.
     
S_Young  (op)
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Apr 8, 2006, 03:11 PM
 
Thanks for the replies!

Perhaps I should explain why I'm not happy with the iMac. About a month ago I ordered the 2.0GHz Intel Core Duo iMac, with maxed-out RAM and video card. Coming from a 1GHz PowerBook G4, I found the iMac to be a dream come true. However, it was not without problems. The video-out socket didn't appear to function correctly. The screen brightness was distractingly uneven. The case was covered in scratches (although I've been told this is normal). Unhappy with my purchase, I sent it back to Apple for a replacement. Unfortunately, the new iMac's screen was just as bad, and set at a slight angle to boot! Apple agreed to refund my money, and I vowed never to buy an iMac again.

I'm sure that the majority of people are happy with their iMacs, and can tolerate such flaws. I, however, cannot. When even my mother - who is a total technophobe - remarks on the uneven screen brightness, I have to question the quality of the product. I need a screen without such distracting flaws, and I'm afraid that rules out the iMac. That leaves me with two options: get a Mac Mini, or wait for the Intel Power Mac (or whatever they call it).

Now, to address your points:

1. Great! But won't the built-in graphics processor struggle with such high resolutions?
2. I thought as much. If I need to connect it to my TV, could I just 'hot swap' the cables?
3. What does that mean for general use? It can't do real-time video effects?
4. Fantastic! I got really comfortable with watching 1080p QuickTime trailers on the iMac...
5. Why won't it run Final Cut Pro, if my PowerBook G4 can run it smoothly?
     
harrisjamieh
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Apr 8, 2006, 03:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by S_Young
5. Why won't it run Final Cut Pro, if my PowerBook G4 can run it smoothly?
It will
iMac Core Duo 1.83 Ghz | 1.25GB RAM | 160HD, MacBook Core Duo 1.83 Ghz | 13.3" | 60HD | 1.0GB RAM
     
S_Young  (op)
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Apr 8, 2006, 03:34 PM
 
Cool, thanks. I assumed it would, but was wondering whether it will be able to take advantage of all of Final Cut Pro's features, i.e. real-time video effects, real-time HDV editing.

A 1.66GHz Intel Core Duo Mac Mini, with 2GB RAM and a 120GB HDD will set me back around £780, after education discount. That's probably more than sufficient for my needs. If I can get the Dell 2405FPW for around under £700, I may do it. However, I am prepared to wait for the Intel Power Mac if it isn't too far around the corner.

Thoughts?
     
mduell
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Apr 8, 2006, 10:15 PM
 
20% off isn't a real stellar deal on the 2405FPW, and it's not like the promo won't be back for months when it ends Monday. Dell has a new deal on their monitors every or every other week.

The mini supports the 2405FPW, Tiger Core Graphics (which appears to mean Image and Video), most 1080p videos, and FCP5.

If you're editing HD video, you probably will want something with more uumph, espically in the disk department. I'd wait for the Intel-based pro desktop.
     
spiky_dog
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Apr 11, 2006, 01:49 AM
 
the mac mini intel won't run aperture... just something to keep in mind if you work in still media as well as video.

that said, i'm running a mac mini core duo with a dell 2405fpw, coming off of a bad experience with two 2.0 ghz macbook pros, and i'm pretty happy with the setup so far. 1 gb of ram is not enough with rosetta + photoshop, however.

a photo of my setup: http://toshiclark.com/images/daily/b...s/IMG_1797.jpg
     
Tuoder
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Apr 11, 2006, 05:39 AM
 
If you can afford an Intel Power Mac (Mac Pro?), and can wait, I'd get that. I'd bet that it will be a far superior machine.
     
S_Young  (op)
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Apr 11, 2006, 06:26 AM
 
I'm really in two minds about this!

On the one hand, I want the most powerful machine I can get. I should be able to afford a Mac Pro, and I'm sure it will be the best tool for the job. With the larger HDD I won't need to worry about additional external storage, and if I want to run Aperture or Motion, I'll be able to. Also, in the meantime Dell may release an upgrade to their 24" monitor, and prices may drop further.

On the other hand, I don't know if I can wait another six months to upgrade. My PowerBook feels slower than ever, and the fans are on almost constantly. I'm sure that, for the most part, the Mac Mini Core Duo would be adequate for my needs. Also, lack of space is an issue for me, so the Mini's compact footprint would be greatly appreciated.

Mini Pros & Cons:

+ Available now
+ Compact, quiet
- Relatively expensive
- No dual-monitor support
- Limited graphics capabilities

Mac Pro Pros & Cons:

+ Powerful
+ Dual-monitor support
+ More value for money
- Large, noisy
- Not available for six months (?)

Hmmmm...the Mac Pro has more positives than negatives. However, the noise issue might be an important one. My computer is set up in my bedroom, and I tend to leave it performing tasks overnight. If it sounds like a jet-engine, I won't be too happy...
     
sodamnregistered2
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Apr 11, 2006, 08:41 AM
 
The new PowerMacs will probably be based on dualcore Conroe chips, and will smoke the current mini, macbookpro and iMacs.

Also, I do some editing in FCP4.5 on my mini 1.42GHz. It's slow, but it works more or less ok.

Dunno about HD specifically, I only did SD stuff...
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volcano
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Apr 11, 2006, 01:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by S_Young
- Large, noisy
- Not available for six months (?)

Hmmmm...the Mac Pro has more positives than negatives. However, the noise issue might be an important one. My computer is set up in my bedroom, and I tend to leave it performing tasks overnight. If it sounds like a jet-engine, I won't be too happy...
If I were you, I wouldn't make-up assumptions like that. We have no way of knowing how loud/quiet the new machines will be until they are released and in the hands of consumers.

You'll just have to decide what's more important to you. Do you want serious, professional performance (with possible noise) or a whisper-quiet, small workstation with some less-than professional performance?

It's too bad the iMac didn't work out for you, because it seems like the perfect combination and a good middle-ground for you. I have a Rev. B iMac G5 (2GHz, 20" model) and it has been the best machine I've ever owned.

Good luck!
     
Tuoder
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Apr 12, 2006, 11:03 AM
 
You may consider mirroring/spanning with an iMac.
     
S_Young  (op)
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Apr 12, 2006, 12:39 PM
 
Unfortunately, I don't have the space for two displays.

It looks like I'll be waiting for the Mac Pro. The Mini just isn't powerful enough for my needs, and although I'm sorely tempted to order another iMac, all this talk of the new Intel desktop chips has got me salivating.

Until then, I've got my trusty PowerBook.
     
Tuoder
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Apr 12, 2006, 02:54 PM
 
You could mirror the display from the imac, and treat it like a system unit, putting it under you desk.
     
torifile
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Apr 12, 2006, 04:27 PM
 
The mini is so inexpensive that'll you'll lose very little by using it for a few months and then moving on. The question is: will the mini outperform your current rig? If yes, and you can afford to lose $100 or so when you sell, then you should just do it.
     
iREZ
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Apr 12, 2006, 05:09 PM
 
i take offense to an earlier statement by S_Young stating that..."I'm sure that the majority of people are happy with their iMacs, and can tolerate such flaws. I, however, cannot."

my imac has no flaws and i dont feel i have to tolerate anything but a great machine, point being...dont make assumptions based only on personal experiences.

also realize that there are news sources stating that the socketed chip on the mini and imac can be upgraded to the upcoming merom chip...if this ends up true, itll be a great way to expand my imac if i ever feel it get too slow, but as of now...its plenty fast for my needs.
NOW YOU SEE ME! 2.4 MBP and 2.0 MBP (running ubuntu)
     
Maflynn
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Apr 13, 2006, 07:13 AM
 
Originally Posted by S_Young
I'm sure that the majority of people are happy with their iMacs, and can tolerate such flaws. I, however, cannot?
I would have re-worded this so you didn't sound so arrogant and disrespect the majorit of mac owners by that one statement.

As for your question, I'll my $.02 inspite of your insensitivity


I have the Dell 2405, I picked it up last month with Dell was offering the 20 (or was it 25% I forget0 sale on the display.

My new intel mini runs it just fine. I have two Macs running off of it. This monitor as a lot of ports, DVI, VGA, s-video, pc-card, usb. A wonderful display. At the moment I'm using the vga input from the mini to the display because my PM is hooked up to the monitor via dvi

If your looking to run aperture off of the mini your SOL. From all indications, aperture will not run off of the minis (once 1.1 is released) While the graphics are powerful enough, i.e., core image they will lock it out.

The mini is an awesome computer, does everything I want it to do, but the purpose of the mini is not to manage my photos. That's why I have a G5 Powermac. Overall i'm extremely happy with the mini.

Mike
~Mike
     
S_Young  (op)
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Apr 13, 2006, 07:36 AM
 
I'm sorry for coming off as offensive, arrogant, disrespectful and insensitive. I based my comments solely on iREZ's observations from another thread:

Originally Posted by iREZ
i have seen the uneven brightness problem on every 20" imac (g5 or intel) i have ever come in contact with. i also notice the uneven brighteness on my new dell 2001FP alongside an older 2001FP that i recently sold. some have less, some have more, but i have never seen a 20" screen with none. some say the 20" acd doesn't suffer with this issue, i cant comment on that statement though.
Judging by this, and the fact that both of my iMacs exhibited the same "problem", I naturally assumed that all 20" iMacs were affected. Therefore, I could only conclude that the majority of 20" iMac owners were either oblivious to the problem, or quietly tolerated it. If I'm wrong, then I apologise.
     
Duracell
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Apr 22, 2006, 05:15 AM
 
Originally Posted by S_Young
I'm sorry for coming off as offensive, arrogant, disrespectful and insensitive. I based my comments solely on iREZ's observations from another thread:


Judging by this, and the fact that both of my iMacs exhibited the same "problem", I naturally assumed that all 20" iMacs were affected. Therefore, I could only conclude that the majority of 20" iMac owners were either oblivious to the problem, or quietly tolerated it. If I'm wrong, then I apologise.
I think it's more people getting used to it - My current iMac has some pretty serious brightness issues that are plainly visible on a solid colour background but I've got used to it and only see it when I've showed someone, it's really nothing to get in a huff about.
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MacMiniMan
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Apr 24, 2006, 12:45 PM
 
ive heard numorous ppl sayin that the new intell minis will not even run FCP http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=303470 or am i wrong?
     
MacMiniMan
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Apr 24, 2006, 12:49 PM
 
oops wrong link that one is talkin about pre intells i think runnin the new universal software but i have read on other boards that the mini wont run the new universal FCP for the intell due to the limited graphics chip
     
mduell
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Apr 24, 2006, 03:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by MacMiniMan
oops wrong link that one is talkin about pre intells i think runnin the new universal software but i have read on other boards that the mini wont run the new universal FCP for the intell due to the limited graphics chip
The FCS system requirements page says "AGP Quartz Extreme or PCI Express graphics card", which the Intel mini has, but the page is out of date (only mentions PPC chips).
     
   
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