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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Why pick a Mac Mini over an iBook?

Why pick a Mac Mini over an iBook?
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monkeybutler
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Feb 20, 2005, 04:14 PM
 
Im a newbie so Im sorry if this thread is stupid.

Ive been wanting to buy a Mac for years but its always been out of my price range so ive ignored it. I dont plan it to be my "main" computer, so when the Mac Mini came out it seemed like something perfect for a newbie like me. But now that im pricing it out then I'm finding myself nearing iBook price (which is just fine).

MAC MINI
$500 - Mac Mini 1.2ghz/256/40GB/Combo
+100 - Airport
+ 75 - 512MB Ram (only one ram slot?)
$675 - Sub Total
+200 - (optional) 15-17" LCD
$875 - TOTAL

iBOOK
$850 - iBook G4 @ Ref Apple Store 1.2ghz/256/30GB/Combo/AIRPORT
+ 50 - 256MB Ram (theres 2 slots right?)
$900 - TOTAL

I know theres DVI on mini but until i get an HDTV i dont see any "cool" uses for it. And theres the extra 10GB HDD but that doesnt mean much since 30 and 40GB are BOTH too little so i'll go with an external solution until i buy an HDD upgrade. So is there something I'm missing that would shoot the Mini over the iBook?

I actually did order the iBook already but i want to know all i can before i open it so i dont suffer the 10% restocking fee if i do a return.

Thanks!


So
     
nbn22385
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Feb 20, 2005, 04:21 PM
 
It would be a heck of a lot easier to use the ibook outside of the house. If you just want a home computer, laptops may get annoying.
     
sminch
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Feb 20, 2005, 06:00 PM
 
i'd pick the ibook over the mini just for the portability - if you're going to get airport either way, why not have a laptop so you can surf the net at your desk, in bed, on the couch, in the bath...

i freely admit that i don't quite get what minis are all about but it looks like you'd be getting something pretty similarly specced for the same price, so unless the screen size is an issue, i'd say ibook all the way. a 17" desktop lcd would probably be damn nice compared to a 12" ibook but other than that? if your eyes are good you should be fine.

plus what's the point in having a sext computer if it just sits at home on your desk? get thyself to a cafe and get pimping with that ibook.

my 2c anyway.

sminch

ps - i accept no liability whatsoever should anyone try to use their computer (ibook or otherwise) in the bath.
     
ghporter
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Feb 20, 2005, 06:45 PM
 
Desktop use versus portable use. Have keyboard, mouse, and monitor already versus needing the whole shebang. There are a lot of reasons, since the two machines are very different. By the way, if you're getting the Mac Mini for a desktop computer, you may not need the AirPort card at all; it has an ethernet port, so you can wire it up.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Wiskedjak
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Feb 20, 2005, 07:09 PM
 
Stick with the iBook. Takes up less space (when you factor in the mouse, keyboard and monitor for the mMac), less wires, portable.

The downside of the iBook; if the computer dies, you lose the display, if the display dies you lose the computer.
     
historylme
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Feb 21, 2005, 02:37 AM
 
If the display dies than you have, on T-mode, a basic (or slightly crippled) mac mini.
     
Big Mac
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Feb 21, 2005, 11:04 AM
 
I would have to go with the iBook, unless the slight cost differential is a huge concern. Desktops usually have it over laptops as far as price : performance is concerned; the value of the laptop is most definitely portability. And since the mini and iBook are so similar in price and performance, the edge has to go to the iBook. For the slight additional cost of the iBook, you get portability, an LCD screen and a keyboard, all of which the mini lacks.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
monkeybutler  (op)
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Feb 21, 2005, 11:19 AM
 
Originally posted by ghporter:
There are a lot of reasons, since the two machines are very different.
Actually, thats my question. If the machines are very different then what are those differences? Im a newbie on this so im just going on spec and from waht i see then (other than the whole portability/built in screen thing) the mac mini looks more like a headless notebook than a miniature desktop. it uses notebook harddrive, its got a tiny motherboard and ts portable. So there has to be something im missing thats getting the mac mini so much attention. (is it just the "cool" factor?)
     
Hobeaux
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Feb 21, 2005, 12:26 PM
 
the machines are basically the same, so it boils down to:
1. do you already have the mouse, keyboard, display and don't want to store them somewhere
2. do you want the luxury of being able to move it around the house or take with you to a coffee shop, library, bookstore, and so on?

regardless of which machine you choose, you must upgrade the RAM. 256MB is pathetically small. The OS barely resides in that. If you want to run any application successfully, you'll need at a minimum 512MB, but more if you can get it.

So another deciding factor is the cost of RAM:

iBook RAM
PC-2700, DDR333 SO-DIMM

1GB Ramjet.com : $399
512MB Ramjet.com : $99

1GB Newegg.com: $308
512MB Newegg.com : $90


Mac mini RAM
PC-3200, DDR400 SDRAM DIMM

1GB Ramjet.com : $249
512MB Ramjet.com : $99

1GB Newegg.com : $200
512MB Newegg.com : $77.50
damn straight--or on the rocks, i'm not picky.
     
donniedarko
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Feb 21, 2005, 01:24 PM
 
I perfer my iBook to the macmini. But also I only use mac laptops for school work, and a custom pc for a desktop for the fact that I only use a desktop to play games and such.
     
Hi I'm Ben
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Feb 21, 2005, 01:26 PM
 
the macmini wasn't made for people like you. It wasn't made as the choice between an iBook and a mini.
People that buy iBooks... SHOULD need portability.
People that buy a mini should be either A. Wanting a desktop or B. Replacing a PC with parts they already own.

The two shouldn't really be compared as "Which should I get" Because yes, they should come out to be around the same price when you match them up spec to spec. They're basically the same machine shaped two different ways.
     
monkeybutler  (op)
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Feb 21, 2005, 03:02 PM
 
Originally posted by Hi I'm Ben:
the macmini wasn't made for people like you. It wasn't made as the choice between an iBook and a mini.
People that buy iBooks... SHOULD need portability.
People that buy a mini should be either A. Wanting a desktop or B. Replacing a PC with parts they already own.


or C. PC owners wanting to taste OS X without investing alot of money in a powermac. And thats the catagory im in.

You are right though. Maybe the mini wasnt made for me. But to be honest, if it werent for the introduction of the Mini then i wouldnt have even considered buying a mac. If the purpose of the mini is to tempt pc users then its doing a fantastic job because i know so many people who could care less about mac, but are considering a mini just because of its price and looks. The only problem here (which is where i am) is that when you start building up your $500 machine then you start inching near ibook price and if they do the same thing with only a $200 price difference then why get a desktop mac when you can get a very similar ibook.

The two shouldn't really be compared as "Which should I get" Because yes, they should come out to be around the same price when you match them up spec to spec. They're basically the same machine shaped two different ways.
And thats the answer i was looking for. I just was unsure if i was missing something. They do look like basically the same machine so for people considering a mini then they may also want to consider an ibook since its all that a mini is but you can also use it in the kitchen, the library, starbucks, the bathroom, in bed etc.

Anyway, thanks for the responses everyone. I really think with either one you cant go wrong, but for me then i book is the best for me to learn mac off of since i'll probably love it so much ill ditch my PC laptop.
     
Salsa
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Feb 22, 2005, 12:25 AM
 
Hello monkeybutler, welcome to the world of Apple. I hope you enjoy it and this iBook is the first of many Macs for you.

     
jamil5454
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Feb 22, 2005, 10:20 AM
 
I love my iBook but the 12" display sometimes gets in the way. And then you you try to hook it to an external monitor (with display hack) and no matter what, you still have 16mb allocated to internal LCD. 32mb of video memory is slow enough already - 16mb sure as hell can't drive any decent monitors. With the mini, however, all 32mb is allocated to a (single) display.

In case anyone was wondering, OS X does feel much slower on 16mb @ 1280x1024 resolution. I was making a project in iMovie using my external monitor (I needed the extra screen space) and iMovie was terribly slow.

Almost makes me want an iMac or even PowerMac.
     
donniedarko
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Feb 22, 2005, 11:47 AM
 
Originally posted by jamil5454:
I love my iBook but the 12" display sometimes gets in the way. And then you you try to hook it to an external monitor (with display hack) and no matter what, you still have 16mb allocated to internal LCD. 32mb of video memory is slow enough already - 16mb sure as hell can't drive any decent monitors. With the mini, however, all 32mb is allocated to a (single) display.

In case anyone was wondering, OS X does feel much slower on 16mb @ 1280x1024 resolution. I was making a project in iMovie using my external monitor (I needed the extra screen space) and iMovie was terribly slow.

Almost makes me want an iMac or even PowerMac.
You have to remember that it is a consumer laptop. It is not meant to drive an external monitor while editting movies. Most people who want that kind of power will usually invest in a powermac or powerbook. Even the macmini is not going to be much faster with video editting.
     
iREZ
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Feb 22, 2005, 01:38 PM
 
Just use the clamshell option and keep your iBook open to give it some air, and poof....all 32MB dedicated to your external.
NOW YOU SEE ME! 2.4 MBP and 2.0 MBP (running ubuntu)
     
jmagic
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Feb 24, 2005, 09:18 PM
 
i think that if you want portability, you should go for the ibook, if you want a home pc, i think you should skip the macmini, and go for the base imac!!!!
ibook 900 12.1" combo 640mb =)
powerbook 1.33 15" 768mb =P
     
Nerozwei
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Feb 25, 2005, 09:55 AM
 
Originally posted by sminch:
i'd pick the ibook over the mini just for the portability - if you're going to get airport either way, why not have a laptop so you can surf the net at your desk, in bed, on the couch, in the bath...
I draw the line at the bath!

And on the matter... I'd pick an iBook any day. I was thinking of swapping it for an iMac a while back, but realized mostly do use it for couch (...bath ) surfing, etc.
     
Mojo
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Feb 25, 2005, 04:44 PM
 
iREZ, would you kindly explain the "clamshell option?"
     
iREZ
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Feb 25, 2005, 07:24 PM
 
when you download the hack it gives you an option from the first time you install it. You could either screen span...or you could clamshell. Screen span is using two monitors to span across on both screens (ie. having ichat in one screen and itunes in the other). Clamshell disables your ibook screen so that your external provides the only visual. The give or take is that when you span you split your vram in half 32mb essentially becomes 16mb per screen, whereas if you clamshell you get all 32mb dedicated to the external screen much like it is on your ibook. You dont wanna play games in spanning mode, and you dont wanna show how cool expose is while spanning either (gets sorta choppy), but other than that you should see no problems. I clamshell on my PB all the time though but thats so I could salvage my display and put the stress on my external, but either option is cool. If I had a newer PB with 64MB of vram, then I would span most of the time seeing how you only really need 32mb of vram when doing photoshop or illustrator work (which is what I do most of the time).
NOW YOU SEE ME! 2.4 MBP and 2.0 MBP (running ubuntu)
     
Mojo
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Feb 25, 2005, 07:44 PM
 
Thank you for the very clear explanation. I have never tried the hack so I was not aware of the clamshell option.

I think this is the appropriate place to ask something that I have been wondering about: How large a display can I successfully use with a G4 iBook? I'm leaving the question as general as possible because I don't know which variables to consider.
     
iREZ
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Feb 25, 2005, 08:29 PM
 
My PB could drive a 23" LCD without a hitch and there's the same ammount of vram in my 'book as there is in yours. Only thing to consider is that the iBook can only use VGA plugs which basically puts the Apple displays out of the question...unless you want to purchase a pricey adapter. I would think a 20" CRT or 20" LCD would be just fine....check out the widescreen Dell's. They're just as good as the Apple displays but have VGA DVI and more inputs, and they're also half the costs of Apple's displays. 20" Dell for $550 or 20" Apple for $1000....your call.
NOW YOU SEE ME! 2.4 MBP and 2.0 MBP (running ubuntu)
     
Mojo
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Feb 25, 2005, 11:19 PM
 
The Dell does sound like an excellent deal. So what is the maximum resolution possible with the 32MB of VRAM in an iBook? And what is the difference between a Dell 2005FP and a 2005 FPW?
( Last edited by Mojo; Feb 25, 2005 at 11:24 PM. )
     
far200
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Feb 26, 2005, 03:52 PM
 
If you want a portable computer than get the ibook but if you just want something for you house than I would look at the mac mini...
     
MARINEOSX
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Feb 26, 2005, 10:28 PM
 
First of all dells display is not as good as apple's. Apples is wide screen and has a better resolution. 1680 x 1050 compared to 1280 x 1024. Also it is wide screen not square. Looks a million times better as well. Also expands USB 2.0 and fire wire 400, 2 of each. and dell is only 4 USB ports. You have one cable going to the back of the mini and then you plug everything into the monitor unless you have bluetooth. The Mac Mini is made to replace the cheap dells and other Cysco systems that suck. I have to deal with there electronics on a daily basis and they always have problems. The Mini has on slot and so does the iBook at least that you can upgrade. The mini is going to be a better value if you are going to be using it at home. If you are wanting to get the portability then you want an iBook. Be careful where you post your questions too. This is an iBook Forum. I love mine but the desktop is made to compete with all the other cheap stuff out there and beat it that is all. It will out perform an iBook on a display though. because it is designed for DVI monitors. Also if you attend college you can get the 20" for 899. it may be double the price but you get double the performance.
Bless those that sacrifice for us all.
     
iREZ
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Feb 27, 2005, 12:09 AM
 
uhhhh .... there is a dell 20" widescreen as well, and contrary to popular beliefs the Dell widescreen looks just as good if not better than the ACD. Four USB 2.0 vs 2FW 2USB is justifiable considering a FW hub is alot less than the $500 difference. Just to clarify, the Dell standard aspect is not 1280x1024 but 1600x1200...why don't you go read some specs before posting nonesense......besides you get way more inputs with the Dell and you wouldn't need to get a pricey adapter to get your iBook to work with your Apple display seing that the Dell not only has DVI but VGA (iBook only supports VGA) where as the Apple is DVI only. Yeah sure the Apple gives double the performance (as I chuckle to myself).

There's a great debate on this subject in the peripherals forum. Go see for yourself what most people prefer. I'm not saying the Apple display sucks, just saying you get more for your money with the Dell.

In a couple of days Dell is going to release a 24" widescreen display as well selling for just $1100 which would probably be $950 with the all to common coupons that Dell releases everyday, let's see you justify that price difference.

Saying that the Apple displays is superior to Dell's offering is like saying the Apple one button mice are superior to what logitech has to offer. I just can't be a fan boy on this subject.
NOW YOU SEE ME! 2.4 MBP and 2.0 MBP (running ubuntu)
     
   
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