Should I get a Cube or Mini?

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hallogallo
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Sat Aug 18, 2007 9:44 am Post

Ok, I'm on a budget and I need/want a new Mac. It's uses would be these:

Writing in Scrivener, maybe some work Pages and some Numbers and in the dreaded MS Office.

AFP-Server for exchanging files with my co-writer.

And maybe watch some movies, play some old games.

I do not need a speed monster, and I need something small. So the obvious target is the Mac Mini. But they are overpriced on the second hand market in Sweden, going for as much as 90% of the price of a new one. So I've been looking for a Cube G4. But I haven't had much experience at all with PPC macs, I only got my MacBook a year ago. So I have some questions:

Will a G4 Cube with maxed RAM (1.5gb) run Tiger at a speed where it is useable for what I need? How much speed differences would I experience compared to a PPC Mini?

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Gordon
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Sat Aug 18, 2007 5:53 pm Post

A good friend of mine has a Cube running Tiger. I have a Mini running Tiger. There is a big speed difference; I don't know how he can stand to work all day on the Cube. He says he's used to it, but it would drive me crazy. The larger hard disk on a Mini is a plus, too.

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peterdcox
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Sat Aug 18, 2007 6:03 pm Post

hallogallo wrote:So I've been looking for a Cube G4. But I haven't had much experience at all with PPC macs, I only got my MacBook a year ago. So I have some questions:

Will a G4 Cube with maxed RAM (1.5gb) run Tiger at a speed where it is useable for what I need? How much speed differences would I experience compared to a PPC Mini?


We have a Cube (bought originally) and have upgraded its processor and hard disk. We still love it - but have to accept its limitations - eg it won't be much fun running films or editing them. The video is also limited - you'd probably want to change the vid card too!!

It would, of course, run Scrivener fine ... but...

And what's wrong with the MacBook - why not a spare keyboard - even an extra monitor - that would be a good Scr set up.
Peter D Cox
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Studio717
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Sat Aug 18, 2007 7:49 pm Post

I hear the new Minis have a very nice speed bump. I have the just-older one and have enjoyed it immensely. Never did get a Cube, though I loved the look of the thing.

If it were me, I'd go for the Intel version (Mini) because the PPC is slowly being left behind. (Especially since the cost difference isn't that great.)

Whatever you decide, my biggest recommendation is to add LOTS of RAM. As much as it can hold. I don't know the specs on the new Mini, but mine is maxed out at 2GBs. I know it seems expensive at first, but imo, it's well worth it in a performance boost you can actually experience.
Last edited by Studio717 on Sat Aug 18, 2007 8:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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alexwein
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Sat Aug 18, 2007 8:11 pm Post

My husband has a mini and loves it. I would not recommend a G4, which is what I have (an iBook) at this point. Especially if you want to run games on it, even older ones. Also running videos can be a pain these days. The only thing with the mini is system memory--get it maxxed out as Studio717 suggests as soon as you can. My husband has to reboot the mini every so often when it starts accessing virtual memory and it can get very slow at that point.

What about the suggestion of using the MacBook and an external monitor/keyboard? It's what I do. I long ago gave up having two computers and use the iBook as both portable and desktop. But that's the subject of another thread--one that has already been discussed, so you might want to explore the forum a bit of you are interested.

Best of luck!

Alexandria
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hallogallo
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Sat Aug 18, 2007 11:09 pm Post

The Intel Mini are both out of my price range for the moment and feels a bit overkill for what I intend to use it for. So it will either be a Mini PPC or a Cube, whatever I can get cheapest during the month to come.

Adding a monitor/keyboard to the Mac Book is not an option at the moment, the main reason getting a Mini or Cube is to set it up as a fileserver with AFP-shares for all the collaborations I work on, my Mac Book gets turned off, moved around and follows me to work and is because of this not connected to the net all the time.

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peterdcox
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Sun Aug 19, 2007 12:25 pm Post

hallogallo wrote:the main reason getting a Mini or Cube is to set it up as a fileserver with AFP-shares for all the collaborations I work on, my Mac Book gets turned off, moved around and follows me to work and is because of this not connected to the net all the time.


Then buy the cheapest box you can that's maxed with h/d and memory and install linux (Ubuntu and Linspire are favourites)! Sometimes a Mac is too beautiful just to sit there and grunt :shock:
Peter D Cox
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peterdcox
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Sun Aug 19, 2007 12:25 pm Post

hallogallo wrote:the main reason getting a Mini or Cube is to set it up as a fileserver with AFP-shares for all the collaborations I work on, my Mac Book gets turned off, moved around and follows me to work and is because of this not connected to the net all the time.


Then buy the cheapest box you can that's maxed with h/d and memory and install linux (Ubuntu and Linspire are favourites)! Sometimes a Mac is too beautiful just to sit there and grunt :shock:
Peter D Cox
Management and development consultant, Mac advocate, Welsh learner, and long-time but intermittent blogger. Broadcaster and author of stuff http://www.pdconair.com

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hallogallo
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Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:45 am Post

Well, I got an old PIII running ubuntu server at the moment, but one of the benefits from buying a Cube or a Mini would be to be able to use it as a desktop computer as well and by doing so get rid of the hideous Athlon 2600 that now inhibits our desk.

So in speed terms, I would guess I need something as fast - or at least almost as fast - as an Athlon 2600 running XP, not in terms of mips but in the experienced speed when using the operating system. Hard to compare, but I have great faith in this forum.
:D