Previous 1 2 Next 19 Replies Latest reply: Jun 26, 2009 1:00 PM by Michael Vejar
Michael Vejar Level 2 (155 points)
I currently have an early 2004 model PowerMac G5 (dual 1.8Ghz, 3.5Gb RAM, Radeon X800XT) that just died on me. Depending on repair costs, I'm considering getting a Mac Mini as a replacement. Since I have a monitor and everything anyway. The tech specs look like they're actually better than my G5, but what could I really expect from it? Does the mini have any hardware issues? Overheating, bad logic boards and the like? I do quite a bit of gaming and some video editing. Would the mini handle that for the next 3-4 years?

Thanks for any input.

Message was edited by: Michael Vejar

PowerMac G5 Dual 1.8Ghz, Mac OS X (10.5.7), 3.5 Gb RAM, Radeon X800XT
  • Boece Level 5 (6,245 points)
    The Minis seem pretty sturdy to me.

    Obviously the 1/3-height slot-loading super drive has its share of detractors, which anyone will see if they visit this forum regularly. But my superdrives still work, though I don't use them in a "production" environment.

    And the 2.5" notebook internal drive is not as fast as a 3.5" internal would be. This can be compensated for better with the latest 2009 model by attaching a large, fast 3.5" external via firewire 800.

    But the real issue might be the switch from the PPC Mac to Intel and Leopard. Software requiring the "Classic Environment" won't run at all -- and legacy PPC apps will run slower and use more RAM because they will invoke the Rosetta emulation layer.

    If you can afford to upgrade ALL your legacy PPC apps to Universal (Intel) versions, Rosetta won't be an issue.

    Be sure to max out the RAM to 4 Gig. And that is the limit, as far as anyone knows.
  • Johnathan Burger Level 6 (15,877 points)
    My new mini actually runs quieter and at lower fan speeds than my older mini.
    The bus and memory speed was increased from the older model-667mhz to 1066mhz.
    I have a ps3 for games, so I can't say how well it handles games, tho' the new Nvidia 9400 is suppose to be far superior to intel graphics in old model.

    Since the newest model was introduced not that long ago-it's hard to tell about hardware defects, but so far so good.
  • davi angel Level 1 (70 points)
    Yup graphics chip in new mini's definitely way faster than older Intel graphics.
    See the Xpress 200M only 4 levels from the bottom on the right side of the chart on this page:,2323-6.html
    Well the old Intel 950 graphics was about as fast as that graphics chip.
    That means it's the 4th slowest graphics card of all the cards tested!
    Well the 9400 the new mini uses is way higher in the chart at the 11th slowest chip tested so it's like 7 levels faster according to this chart and in actual gameplay it smokes the old mini!
    Let's just say that you can actually play some of the newer games out there like Left 4 Dead whereas the older mini would just crash
    The graphics chip still lags behind what's used in most gamer pc's these days which is either a 8800 nvidia card or a 4000 series ATI card which is like 9 or 10 levels higher on the same chart so no it probably won't be able to play pc games for several years in the future but it's good enough for most of the games out there now.
    And it'll smoke your old Mac when it comes to video editing for sure

    Message was edited by: davi angel
  • davi angel Level 1 (70 points)
    Here's another review to give you an idea of the kind of performance you'll get in games with the 9400:Gaming Performance

    As expected, NVIDIA can finally offer 780G-like performance with the GeForce 9300, and in some cases significantly outperform it. The G45 comparison doesn't even make sense to mention here; NVIDIA is beyond significantly faster in most cases. We finally have a reasonable integrated graphics solution for Intel processors.,2153-7.html
  • Michael Vejar Level 2 (155 points)
    I was thinking of using my old hard drive from the G5 in an external case and using it for most of my storage. Will my old monitor with a vga connector work with the mini?
  • Dah•veed Level 7 (33,645 points)
    The new mini has two video ports; a mini-DVI and a mini-DisplayPort. You will need a VGA adapter that Apple sells for either of those at US$19 and 29 respectively.

    You might look at the miniStack v3 from Newer Technology as the case for your old HDD. Connecting your 7200 rpm HDD with FW800 is faster than the internal and could be used as your your boot drive, with the internal as storage. It will also give you a FW and a USB hub to expand your ports.
  • dwb Level 7 (22,595 points)
    I had the same G5 as you and at the same time had an original mini - a core solo actually that I maxed out the RAM on. Most Intel native programs (so called Universal software) on the mini ran at least as fast as they did on the G5. The only exception were those that were graphics intensive like games. But even Photoshop was mostly snappier on the mini. Then I swapped out the core solo processor for a core duo processor and at that point the mini was always faster than the G5 - except for 3D games - when it ran universal software. Running PPC programs under Rosetta emulation was a toss up - some programs ran faster on the G5 and others ran about as fast on the G5.

    That was then. Now the mini can have more memory, has a faster processor and bus, and a better graphics system. It still isn't a gaming system but with a sole exception you should find that the mini is faster than your G5 - PPC only software. If you don't have or upgrade to intel native software you'll be running in Rosetta emulation and that is still a toss-up.
  • Dah•veed Level 7 (33,645 points)
    And running PPC apps with Rosetta may be going the way of the PPC, unsupported. Currently folks are reporting that Rosetta is not default in the seeds of Snow Leo. It has to be installed as an after thought. Some speculate it may not be part of Snow Leo in SEP.

    BTW, I thought that Universal is fat binary; both Intel and PPC. Native code is only Intel. OCICBW!
  • dwb Level 7 (22,595 points)
    And running PPC apps with Rosetta may be going the way of the PPC, unsupported. Currently folks are reporting that Rosetta is not default in the seeds of Snow Leo. It has to be installed as an after thought. Some speculate it may not be part of Snow Leo in SEP.

    Anyone who actually knows anything about Snow Leopard isn't allowed to talk about it and Apple speculation tends to be as accurate as the mileage sticker on a new car.

    BTW, I thought that Universal is fat binary; both Intel and PPC. Native code is only Intel.

    Strictly speaking you'd be right, but a Universal program is intel native in the same way that it is PPC native - it isn't being emulated.
  • Michael Vejar Level 2 (155 points)
    I played Doom 3 and Prey on my G5 without any issues. Would the mini handle them as well as any current games like Tomb Raider Anniversary or Left 4 Dead?

    On paper, it looks like the 20" iMac isn't much different than the mini. Same video card, comparable memory, comparable processors. The 20" iMacs are double the price of the mini, with the 24" higher still. Aside from going to a Mac Pro (which is out of the question with my budget) is the iMac really any more powerful than the mini?

    As for PPC apps, as far as I know they've been updated to the universal. Other than my Appleworks, which is an antique anyway, the games have been patched.
  • Michael Vejar Level 2 (155 points)
    Also is the 2.26ghz version worth the extra $150?
  • tm311 Level 6 (10,350 points)
  • dwb Level 7 (22,595 points)
    The top two 24" iMac models have a much better graphics system than the 20" and mini and all the iMacs have a 7200 RPM hard drive which can make a difference. I don't play games on my macs and to be honest the Mac isn't a serious gamer's computer so I can't tell you if the games are going to play as well.
  • davi angel Level 1 (70 points)
    Actually, my uncle just got a 24" iMac with a 9400 in it. It's performance in games and overall isn't much different than my new mini to tell the truth. Essentially he paid all that extra money for the huge 24" TN LCD the iMac comes with which is definitely one of the best LCD's around!
    If you want to notice a speed increase especially in games you will have to pay a bit extra to make sure you get a GeForce GT 120/130 or a ATI Radeon HD 4850 in your iMac(will cost you more to boot) which runs about 10x faster than the 9400 my uncle got.
    The only other way to get a faster gaming Mac would be to get a new mac pro and put this EVGA card in it
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