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PKIDelirium
2009-05-12, 21:51
The time has come to upgrade my computer. My 2005-model iBook G4 is starting to have trouble keeping up and running current stuff.

The options are:

1. $599 Mac Mini with a new LCD monitor, probably additional 1GB RAM and probably a new keyboard and mouse, but my current keyboard and mouse still work fine so I may hold of on replacing those two.

2. $1,199 iMac. Eliminates the need to buy a monitor and also comes with a keyboard and mouse, I believe.

Money is an issue here, though, so I'm leaning for the Mini. Is there really much of a performance difference between them? GPU is the same, and the biggest difference seems to be a 2.0 instead of 2.66 Ghz Core 2 Duo.

turtle
2009-05-12, 21:53
Refurb iMac from Apple.com for $850. Best deal to be had that I've found.

pscates2.0
2009-05-12, 22:10
What turtle says. Go refurb, man. So much good bang for the buck...it's not even funny! :eek:

For a few hundred more than you were going to spend for the mini, you'll get quite a bit more Mac (and for ~$300 less than you'd have to spend going new). Nice 20" display, new keyboard and mouse*, 7200rpm hard drive, built-in iSight, etc. Really nothing left to buy or worry about if you can land a $850-950 refurb iMac in the 2.4GHz range.

There's no shame...I'd buy another refurb Mac tomorrow. And in 3-4 years, when it's time to replace this one, I'll be doing just that, I'm sure. I couldn't be more pleased with my refurb iMac. I saved $450 because money was an issue for me at the time, and it just made all kinds of sense!

:)

* Both new and refurb iMacs come with a keyboard and mouse.

PKIDelirium
2009-05-13, 02:06
Hmm, looks like the lowest refurb iMac is $999 for a 20" 2.66. Not too bad.

Thanks for that tip - I never even thought about the refurb store. I'm going to keep an eye on that page, and price out some 19-20" widescreen LCD monitors plus the Mini, to see where everything totals up financially.

I can't stand this iBook as my main computer for much longer. :lol: it's just gotten INFURIATINGLY slow lately. It still works perfectly fine in the sense that nothing's physically wrong with it, in fact it's been flawless since the day it arrived. It just can't keep up with modern tech anymore, particularly recent upgrades to Flash-dependent sites like YouTube and such, and my recent upgrade from Photoshop CS to CS3 has proven sluggish as well.

Luca
2009-05-13, 08:24
Also, keep in mind that the 20" iMac has a TN monitor, just like most cheap standalone LCDs. So if you want to find the Mac Mini "equivalent" to an iMac, you can still cheap out on the LCD:

http://tinyurl.com/pp49wh

Technically, that means you can go for a Mini for $600 and then get a monitor for as little as $120 or $130 - that's all it costs to get a 19-20" TN LCD these days. The cost would be lower. Assuming you're willing to pony up the $50 Apple charges to increase the RAM to 2 GB, you're looking at $650 + $120 = $770 for a new computer (not including keyboard and mouse, which you may already have). The hard drive may be a concern but you can add an external later if you want.

A refurb iMac would possibly be better, though. Faster processor, larger and faster hard drive, keyboard and mouse included, much easier to upgrade the RAM, and less need to buy upgrades right away (most iMacs, even refurbished older models, ship with 2 GB of RAM, and all have at least a decent sized 7200 RPM hard drive). Plus it's all one sleek, integrated package.

zippy
2009-05-13, 10:34
Also, keep in mind that the 20" iMac has a TN monitor, just like most cheap standalone LCDs. So if you want to find the Mac Mini "equivalent" to an iMac, you can still cheap out on the LCD:

http://tinyurl.com/pp49wh

Technically, that means you can go for a Mini for $600 and then get a monitor for as little as $120 or $130 - that's all it costs to get a 19-20" TN LCD these days. The cost would be lower. Assuming you're willing to pony up the $50 Apple charges to increase the RAM to 2 GB, you're looking at $650 + $120 = $770 for a new computer (not including keyboard and mouse, which you may already have). The hard drive may be a concern but you can add an external later if you want.

A refurb iMac would possibly be better, though. Faster processor, larger and faster hard drive, keyboard and mouse included, much easier to upgrade the RAM, and less need to buy upgrades right away (most iMacs, even refurbished older models, ship with 2 GB of RAM, and all have at least a decent sized 7200 RPM hard drive). Plus it's all one sleek, integrated package.

Be sure to check out todays price changes on iMacs and minis. The 20" iMac now comes with 2 GB or RAM, and all the 24s come with 4 GB stock.

Luca
2009-05-13, 11:15
Be sure to check out todays price changes on iMacs and minis. The 20" iMac now comes with 2 GB or RAM, and all the 24s come with 4 GB stock.

Nothing has changed on the iMacs since March 3rd.

zippy
2009-05-13, 13:28
Nothing has changed on the iMacs since March 3rd.
So where have I been lately?
:o :o

FFL
2009-05-13, 14:51
So where have I been lately?
:o :o
pscates had an interesting theory on your thread that Brad locked...

Zippy's smoking dope and just making shit up on a Wednesday morning. :p

:cancer:

PKIDelirium
2009-05-25, 21:25
Okay, so I've pretty much decided to go with the Mini. Money's a major issues and I found a sweet looking 22" LCD on sale...

http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/products/Displays/productdetail.aspx?c=us&l=en&cs=19&sku=320-7438

Now, the only questions about that monitor are... Would the Mini be able to drive that at full native resolution? From the Tech Specs page it looks like it should, but I want to make sure. Also, anyone have any experience with those Dell screens? It looks pretty damn good, and can't beat that $144 price.

Robo
2009-05-25, 21:46
Okay, so I've pretty much decided to go with the Mini. Money's a major issues and I found a sweet looking 22" LCD on sale...

http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/products/Displays/productdetail.aspx?c=us&l=en&cs=19&sku=320-7438

Now, the only questions about that monitor are... Would the Mini be able to drive that at full native resolution? From the Tech Specs page it looks like it should, but I want to make sure. Also, anyone have any experience with those Dell screens? It looks pretty damn good, and can't beat that $144 price.

The Mac mini can drive the LED Cinema Display at full resolution (1920x1200) so I'm guessing that's a yes.

turtle
2009-05-25, 22:41
Okay, so I've pretty much decided to go with the Mini. Money's a major issues and I found a sweet looking 22" LCD on sale...

http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/products/Displays/productdetail.aspx?c=us&l=en&cs=19&sku=320-7438

Now, the only questions about that monitor are... Would the Mini be able to drive that at full native resolution? From the Tech Specs page it looks like it should, but I want to make sure. Also, anyone have any experience with those Dell screens? It looks pretty damn good, and can't beat that $144 price.

I have that exact screen and it's being driven by my Mini through a Belkin Flip KVM and it works great. Certainly worth the money you spent on it.

PKIDelirium
2009-05-26, 14:57
Sweet, thanks. I figured it would be fine but didn't want to accidentally get a monitor that was too big for it.

I think I'm going to get the $699 Mini, to get the 2GB RAM, more video memory and the bigger hard drive. It's $100 more, and I'd exceed that by the time I added another gig of ram myself and bought another external hard drive.

Edit: There is no $699 mini, it's $799. Yeah, looks like base model it is.

Turtle, what do you think of that monitor? I'm a little edgy about some of the reviews I'm seeing for it.

Yontsey
2009-05-26, 16:46
I just got a 1.83 C2D mini base with aluminum BT keyboard, BT mighty mouse, and Airport Express "n" off ebay for $480.

You should check for some good deals off there. I'll just upgrade the ram and hdd myself over time.

Just something to think about.

turtle
2009-05-26, 21:21
The monitor is fine for most uses. I don't even do really color critical stuff on this and it great. Brightness is good and I sit right next to a window with AM sun.

Maciej
2009-05-26, 21:44
Ohhh yeah. I have a S2409W, right now, that I'm using with my MBP. Its a fine monitor, pretty bright. I also use it with my PS3. It could use a color calibration though, FYI.

However, I must admit I don't think I really know what a "good" monitor/panel looks like.

Yontsey
2009-05-30, 09:45
Maybe I'm thinking of something else completely, but wasn't there a step-by-step guide that someone posted on here about upgrading a mac mini?

I just got mine yesterday and want to upgrade the ram and hdd.

I thought I saw one on here, though I have seen plenty on the internet. Speaking from experience, how tough is it to upgrade them?

pscates2.0
2009-05-30, 11:44
I can't speak to the new ones (aren't things moved around a bit on these latest models...the RAM sits somewhere different, etc. and I don't know if any new brackets or screws factor in).

But on the Mac mini my Mom got back in the winter, it wasn't as horrific as I'd imagined. The worst part is just that initial "prying" operation, where you try to loosen those white plastic clips from the inside of the aluminum casing.

There's really no sense of "I'm doing this exactly right!", and, instead, you're just going by feel and eyeball. But it gets easier, as you work your way around.

There are some tough screws to access (housed inside tall shafts), so make sure you do what I failed to do: have a small, but long/slender magnetized phillips head screwdriver. Once I got the aluminum case off and had access to the "guts", the worst part was just getting those four damn screws out (one in particular), and then getting them replaced. Because I didn't have a magnetized screwdriver, I worked upside-down, where I could put the screw on the screwdriver, hold the Mac mini in the air, inverted, and go up into that shaft during the reassembly process.

It's doable. Even for a non-techie dork like me. But it's not something I'd want to do on a weekly basis. Once you're in there, do everything you want at one shot...then weld that sumbitch shut so you're not tempted to go back in there again.

:D

Apple could certainly make that a much easier, safer and hassle-free option (a couple of screws, trap doors, the aluminum casing held to the chassis by some concealed bottom screws vs. all those stiff, white plastic "gripping fingers", etc.).

Just go slow, and be gentle. If you start manhandling things, a ribbon or small wire could be jerked out of place.

Be sure you get online instructions that pertain to these latest models because I think some things have changed, so the disassembly/reassembly steps might be a bit different than the one I did.

Luca
2009-05-30, 13:56
The other thing - if you're going to bother opening the thing up, you may as well upgrade the RAM to 4 GB and do the hard drive too.

turtle
2009-05-30, 23:34
I've opened many a Mini up. Painless really. Use the iFixIt guide or the video on macsales.com for an easy tutorial.

Yontsey
2009-05-31, 11:43
Thanks for that advice scates!

The other thing - if you're going to bother opening the thing up, you may as well upgrade the RAM to 4 GB and do the hard drive too.

I think the one I have (C2D 2008) only goes to 3gb. Should I buy a 3gb kit or should I get two matching 2gb pairs?

I've opened many a Mini up. Painless really. Use the iFixIt guide or the video on macsales.com for an easy tutorial.

Thanks! I'll definitely use those.

PB PM
2009-05-31, 11:46
Thanks for that advice scates!



I think the one I have (C2D 2008) only goes to 3gb. Should I buy a 3gb kit or should I get two matching 2gb pairs?

I think a matching pair is a good idea, I believe it keeps the RAM in Dual Channel mode, which helps somewhat, even if it cannot use all the memory.

Luca
2009-05-31, 12:17
I think a matching pair is a good idea, I believe it keeps the RAM in Dual Channel mode, which helps somewhat, even if it cannot use all the memory.

That and it costs very little extra.

Yontsey
2009-06-04, 15:38
Upgraded my mini today. It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. The hardest part, I thought, was trying to reconnect that little wire in the front. It was such a pain in the ass because it was so small.

I was also pleasantly surprised to see that my mini recognized 4gb of ram instead of 3, which I had been hearing for the 1.83 c2d mini.

All and all, if you're thinking about upgrading your mini on your own, definitely do it. It's rather easy.

PB PM
2009-06-04, 16:16
The Mac Mini version you have will still see all 4GB, it just wont be able to use it all.

turtle
2009-06-04, 23:33
Yeah the front connector is a pain. If you don't connect the it the fan runs full speed.

pscates2.0
2009-06-05, 07:54
That's what happened to me. I put the extra RAM in my Mom's mini, forgot to connect that small front wire, put it all back together, booted up and I thought I plane was about to take off, from the noise.

I had a slight freak-out, thinking "oh crap...what did I do?!? I broke something!"

:)

Someone here - and I believe it was 709 - pointed out what what was probably going on. Sure enough, that was it. Wire back in, Mac mini was silent again.

Yeah, that's a really tough thing to get back into place. Man, I wish they'd make those machines a little more accessible and easier to work with. Those stiff white "finger" clips, the four hard-to-reach screws, that little wire, etc. It's just one obstacle after another.

Yontsey
2009-06-05, 09:02
Yeah, that's a really tough thing to get back into place. Man, I wish they'd make those machines a little more accessible and easier to work with. Those stiff white "finger" clips, the four hard-to-reach screws, that little wire, etc. It's just one obstacle after another.

Not to mention removing the AE antenna. That thing feels like it'll snap right off.

I agree though, it's pretty ridiculous how much you have to go through for that. You'd think they would have made it user accessible by now like the macbooks.