Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

The new Mac Mini

So every man and his dog now knows that Apple launched their Intel Mac Mini yesterday. As an owner of a G4 Mac Mini bought a mere 7 months ago I’ve decided to give the world my 2 cents on the issue.

Reasons why I’m jealous of the new Intel Mac Mini

  • It’s supposedly up to 4 times faster than the G4. I have a feeling that refers to the Core Duo and not the Core Solo, which I’m using for the basis of my comparison since it costs the same as the 1.42Ghz model I bought.
  • It has Front Row and the Apple Remote. The latter would be quite useful as Hari and I somewhat use the Mac to watch DVDs in bed, but MediaCentral essentially mimics the functions of Front Row so it’s not a must have.
  • More USB ports, Gigabit Ethernet and line-in. I had to buy a Griffin iMic to be able to input sound, which uses up one of the 2 USB ports – now the Mini comes with 4 USB2.0 ports and has a built-in line-in port. That said the onboard sound output was not up to a lot on the G4 (the iMic providing much better sound quality) so it may still be worth the purchase for audiophiles. Gigabit ethernet is nice though to be honest probably not necessary for me as none of my other networking equipment supports it yet.
  • iLife 06 and Comic Life are included as standard. Comic Life looks cool though I’m still mulling over the iLife update – I don’t use any of the iLife apps much but that may change if I upgrade since iPhoto 06 is supposed to be a big improvement.

…and why I’m not jealous

  • Intel Macs are very new, and a lot of software won’t run natively in it. Rosetta works with most applications but not with some like NeoOffice which I use regularly. OpenOffice.org has only just released a version that runs on Intel Macs and I’m not sure how stable it is. So at least for the time being a lot of software will be slower and some may not even work at all.
  • Intel integrated graphics. Hari uses my Mac Mini a lot to play World of Warcraft and I don’t think having up to 128MB of system RAM allocated to graphics will do anything for performance. An upgrade to 1 GB is not cheap either.
  • It’s less value for money. The mid-range G4 Mac Mini was the same price as the entry-level Intel Mac Mini, and while it has a faster processor, it has a smaller HD (60 GB instead of 80 GB), worse graphics and less RAM as a result.

So the new Mac Mini is better than the original in some ways, but not in others. Though Apple are no longer selling the G4s direct you may be able to pick them up cheaply from resellers, and I’m sure some people will see them as being more attractive than the Intel models.

5 Comments

  1. I heard photoshop and office are horriable slow, and will be until Adobe and Microsoft release updated versions.

  2. Well if you had a G4 the new dual-core will run the adobe suite much quicker… how do i know? because i’ve got both.
    Office runs very speedy under rosetta

  3. at the end of the day your just pissed off that your G4 Mac Mini is shit – and a piss poor substitute for the new intel mac. you cant justify it!!
    hahah!!!
    your G4 mac mini is shit!!
    hahaahha!!!!!

  4. Don’t feel bad Neil,
    My new Intel Mac Mini is total shit as well and it’s the second gen dual core. In fact, I found your post after typing “My Mac Mini is shit” after waiting like thirty seconds for safari to switch tabs!

  5. I own the G4 1.5 GHz Mac Mini released just prior to the switch to Intel. I’ve endured mediocre performance during the last year, mostly due to the paltry 512 MB RAM that it shipped with. I’ve seen the performance improved dramatically after upgrading the RAM to 1 GB. My explanation is that the Mini also comes with a relatively slow hard-drive, so relying on disk-based virtual memory only aggravates a performance problem brought on by a shortage of memory.
    So, I now believe that the G4 Mac Mini is a good machine so long as you’re running with 1 GB of RAM.