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Thread: Pondering between mac mini or upgrade?

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    Pondering between mac mini or upgrade?

    I going to university next year and am looking to get a new pc.

    I have the option of either getting a mac mini, the 1.66Ghz version or upgrading my current pc.

    I think that due to the size of the mini it will be good for university, and i like macs, alhtough i havent ever really used one. and the fact that it can now boot xp would be good aswell, however i do have some reservations on it performance wise.

    I want to do some 3d rendering, ive bin using a bit of 3ds and some solidworks and was wondering if the mini would be upto it. Im guessing it will be slower to that my current pc, (P4 2.4Ghz, Radeon 9800 Pro), or am I wrong (hoping it will really be faster. I'm going to upgrade the RAM anyway, but was just wondering if it will be painstakingly slow.

    I'm not that into 3d atm, but am getting into it, and also CAD aswell seeing as im going to be doing a mechanical engineering degree.

    Is 3d performance more graphics card based, or RAM, or processor, which ones more important?

    Sorry if some of the question have been asked before, and I wasnt really sure whether to put this in Apple section or not.

    Thanks for anyhelp.
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    Senior Member pr0p4g4nd4's Avatar
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    Well for 3d, 3ds max is only available for the PC. The mini core duo is quite nippy, however I'd probably get:

    Athlon 64 x2 3800+ £200ish
    AS-Rock Dual939-SATA2 mother board £50ish
    2x1gb dual channel kit of decent brand RAM £150ish
    Hiper Type-R 580w Modular PSU £50ish


    That's around £450, £70 less than the £530 mini as standard or a whopping £290 less than the mini with 2gb ram at £740!!.

    The PC will be more upgradeable and perform much better. Also with the extra dosh you can get some nice useful things like a DVD burner and a bigger HDD or an external HDD

    Hope that helps,

    `P

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    Thanks for the reply.

    I think I can get the Mini for around 400, thats without the RAM upgrade, but the RAM will be about the same price as upgrading my PCs ram anyway, cos itll be all new.

    I was thinking of using Boot Camp (running XP) on the Mini then running 3ds and SW from it. But really have no idea about the performance that it will have on there. As I say, I'm alright with the performance that I have on my current set up, so if the Mini matches it I might go that route rather than upgrading (altough that would be fun aswell), however I've been quite annoyed with XP recently as I've had to reformat twice in the last few months for no explicale reason.
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    Sorry dopuble post, net connections been a bit dodgy of late.
    Last edited by midzt; 18-06-2006 at 09:55 PM.
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    Senior Member pr0p4g4nd4's Avatar
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    Oh yeah, duh I forgot about bootcamp!

    I do think the upgrades I quoted would still be a fair bit better than the mini. I do however love my G4 mini and OS X but I still prefer the flexibility of Windows, running everything I need.

    You really will want at least a gig of RAM for the mini which will still be at least £50 even if you fit it yourself making it the same cost as a PC. Performance and upgradability I'd go for the PC. For sleek factor and having OS X I'd go for for the mini. It's really up to your preference but I'd still nudge you toward the PC side

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    What's the graphics card in a mini anyway? I'd imagine it's an onboard affair.

    3D rendering? Good luck mate.

    + I do a Games Computing course at University, and for things like 3D rendering it's great to have a powerful machine under your belt.
    Last edited by djhworld; 18-06-2006 at 10:58 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by djhworld
    What's the graphics card in a mini anyway? I'd imagine it's an onboard affair.

    3D rendering? Good luck mate.

    + I do a Games Computing course at University, and for things like 3D rendering it's great to have a powerful machine under your belt.
    Yup it's a POS Intel integrated affair

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    3d rendering for me is just a bit of fun and nothing serious. my main concern really is if i can run solidworks smoothly on the mini. if it can, my choice is pretty easy, if it can't ill prob upgrade, although i really do want a mac...and i like new stuff
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    http://www.eskimo.com/~pristine/3d.html#artofillusion

    A Google search using the terms 3d rendering mac will throw up a number of 3d rendering programs that are mac compatible - and don't forget that a lot of the 3D effcts in films such as Lord of the Rings was done on MAC/Unix boxes (not that I am suggesting that you will be able to produce anything lke that on a MAC mini!)

    Again don't forget that in the early days all the serious graphi9cs stuff was done on Macs - windows just couldn't hack it, and although Windows applications have caught up, many of the serious graphics applications run better on the Mac, and is still the platform of choice for many designers/graphics studios.
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterb
    http://www.eskimo.com/~pristine/3d.html#artofillusion

    A Google search using the terms 3d rendering mac will throw up a number of 3d rendering programs that are mac compatible - and don't forget that a lot of the 3D effcts in films such as Lord of the Rings was done on MAC/Unix boxes (not that I am suggesting that you will be able to produce anything lke that on a MAC mini!)

    Again don't forget that in the early days all the serious graphi9cs stuff was done on Macs - windows just couldn't hack it, and although Windows applications have caught up, many of the serious graphics applications run better on the Mac, and is still the platform of choice for many designers/graphics studios.
    That only really applies to 2D and video editing. 3ds max is the worlds most popular 3d application and it only runs on PCs, what does that say? I agree that OS X is a better OS but for using the same apps it's pretty much the same thing.

    I use Photoshop, Maya, Cinema 4D, Flash, Illustrator, InDesign and ImageReady both on PCs and Macs and apart from the GUI theme it's exactly the same. I've had no crashes while doing my work day in day out on either the PC or mac.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pr0p4g4nd4
    3ds max is the worlds most popular 3d application and it only runs on PCs, what does that say? .
    That Microsoft owns the company??
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    Quote Originally Posted by djhworld
    What's the graphics card in a mini anyway? I'd imagine it's an onboard affair.

    3D rendering? Good luck mate.
    I think this is your answer, and it'll be true for any graphics application, as they all use the power of the graphics card to produce the graphics (of course...)

    How about investigating a SFF PC (e.g. a Shuttle). You could transfer most of your current PC into it and most of them will accept double-slot, high power graphics cards without issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by schmunk
    I think this is your answer, and it'll be true for any graphics application, as they all use the power of the graphics card to produce the graphics (of course...)

    How about investigating a SFF PC (e.g. a Shuttle). You could transfer most of your current PC into it and most of them will accept double-slot, high power graphics cards without issue.
    Actually it's mainly CPU focused and the graphic cards that are best like the Matrox cards specifically for CAD that cost over £400.

    Quote Originally Posted by peterb
    That Microsoft owns the company??
    Since when have MS owned Autodesk?
    Last edited by pr0p4g4nd4; 19-06-2006 at 01:27 PM.

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    To be honest, before starting university I went through the whole 'should I get a mini?' saga and decided against it for three reasons

    - I do a Games course, what use is a Mac for that?
    - They're horrifically overpriced. I know various Apple-fans will contest this arguement, suggesting it's value for money etc, but for a student/the hardware you get, it's a lot of money when you come to think of what you can get in terms of a PC at the same price.
    - Upgradability is limited to basic options, i.e. RAM/Hard Drive.

    When you're on a student budget, spending £500 on a machine which you'll be wanting to upgrade in a few years anyway is a bit steep. I'm not putting down Mac's, it's just, in my opinion, they're computers you invest in when you have a decent job and proffesional life.

    By all means, get one if you really want one, but don't let impulses take over. Think about what you'll be using it for, can you see yourself using it in two years time?

    I think the only barrier standing between PC's and Macs is games, people may contest there are things like WoW on Mac, but compared to the vast PC library available, it just doesn't compare.

    When I finish Uni and get some money behind me, I'll be most likely getting a Mac to compliment my PC, I can't see myself exchanging one for the other.

    Mac's are an investment which you have to look deep into before shelling out the cash, they maybe sleek, shiny and modern, but are they really what you need (right now)?

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    Quote Originally Posted by pr0p4g4nd4
    Actually it's mainly CPU focused and the graphic cards that are best like the Matrox cards specifically for CAD that cost over £400.



    Since when have MS owned Autodesk?
    Couldn't find a smiley to represent "tongue in cheek"... I thought ?? made it obvious!
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterb
    Couldn't find a smiley to represent "tongue in cheek"... I thought ?? made it obvious!
    I know I was just provoking a reply

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