Superdive or external DVD writer ?

Discussion in 'Apple Forum' started by mcdermott_c, May 27, 2008.

  1. mcdermott_c

    mcdermott_c
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    Hi

    Am trying to decide which mac mini to buy and cant decide between one with a combo drive or upgrading to the superdrive. I plan to use the mini to look after my photos and wee home movies so I would like to use iDVD to create coll dvds. The question is am i better off going for the internal superdrive or buy an external firewire drive ?

    Any suggestions of which may be more suitable/cost effective

    Also I plan to mini for:

    Watching ripped SD movies
    Viewing photos
    Watching podcasts
    Iphoto
    Imovie
    Iweb
    Don't play games or use anything like final cut pro, or dual boot with Windows etc...

    Would I need the extra ram or would 1Gb be more than enough for what I need.

    cheers

    chris
     
  2. Tenex

    Tenex
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    It'll do all you've listed above even with 1Gb but it'll be slowish with more than a couple of apps open. The Mini can be user RAM upgraded but I'd max it out at the outset whether by yourself or by Apple.

    I'm not completely confident in this but I assume that the Mini Superdrive is a 8x which may be one reason to consider using an external for 16x.

    I'm a long time complainer about the performance of the Superdrive - until the latest no-name (!) blank DVDs arrived I've never managed to get 8x writing out of even good quality branded DVDs which at best burned at 2x or less. If you find a cheap external firewire burner let me know I'll add that as well.
     
  3. gse1986

    gse1986
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    I've been looking at the same model(s) and am considerign the top model as not only do you get the faster processor but also higher L2 Cache (4MB vs 2MB) and the larger disk, as well as the ability to burn DVDs. Are these features worth the extra money if you discount the adition of the super drive?
     
  4. Tenex

    Tenex
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    Its marginal but on balance I'd say they are worth it. The cache will probably affect performance more than the CPU difference and having more GBs is never a bad thing.

    The issue with the higher model is as you spe cit up it gets very close to the cost of a base iMac. That's where I was at a few years ago and in the end I went with an iMac (better GPU) and used my existing LCD as an extended desktop.
     
  5. mcdermott_c

    mcdermott_c
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    hi

    will you go ahead and buy a mac mini now or do you think you will wait for the new model ? i wish apple would give a date as i dont want to be waiting for months for the new one to appear or buy one now and then bring out the new model next month - you see my dilema

    cheers

    chris
     
  6. mcdermott_c

    mcdermott_c
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    thanks for the advice. I think you are right with the external dvd being better option.

    I priced up 2 x 2gb memory chips and can get them for £34 so will probably stick with 1gb from apple and upgrade the memory myself especially since i can prob get £10 for the memory sticks on ebay bringing the cost of memory down to £24. I think the mini will take max 3 gb but to get that you are probably better putting 2 x 2gb in rather than 1 x 1gb 1 x 2gb - think this is the case anyhow

    i thin kwith 3gb of memory doing what i need the mac to do it should handle quite nicely

    cheers
     
  7. Ned Senior

    Ned Senior
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    It has crossed my mind to get a mini too and maybe a seperate burner (never write dvd's as it is)
    Looking at the www.crucial.com/uk website I see that the mini will be maxed out at 2GB ram which they sell for £29 and pennies delivered if you are in the u.k.
     
  8. Tenex

    Tenex
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    I know its unpopular but I'd advise you to keep the original memory. If for any reason you need to return the Mini for service you might want to put it back in.

    There isn't really much of a performance hit using assymmetric RAM so 1x2Gb+1Gb won't make a difference. I have read that the Mini can use up to 3Gb of RAM but I don't think you'll see much difference in the extra Gb.

    By way of example my iMac has 2Gb of RAM and I usually have Mail, Twhirl, Firefox (+Safari occasionally), iTunes, p2p, VLC, AddressBook and iCal open and I wouldn't hesitate to open iPhoto or FotoMagico or PulpMotion or iMovie or VisualHub (or any two of them) at the same time. The only time I'd shut apps down is if I was rendering in iDVD or PulpMotion.

    So you can see you can do a lot in 2Gb!

    HTH
     
  9. mcdermott_c

    mcdermott_c
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    Good advice thanks Tenex. Do the minis currently come with 2 x 512mb ram if so I would need to replace both of them anyway. can get 2 x 1gb for £20 so that would be even cheaper and from what you say 2gb should be plenty for what I need.

    I have a wireless keyboard and mouse already so hopefully could just use that although i may in time buy a wee keyboard with onbaord roller ball so its easier to use form the sofa.

    Think i'm just going to throw caution to the wind and buy one now rather than wait for an updated model (which may never arrive)

    cheers

    chris
     
  10. Tenex

    Tenex
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    The Mini 1Gb does ship 2x512Mb RAM or 2x1Gb if you choose that.

    Price up your external fw drive before making the final decision and be aware that there are issues with external DVD writers that do not use the Oxford 9xx family chipset. By that I mean its a bit hit and miss on whether a drive will work if you don't have a model with the Oxford chipset. I'd avoid one with a Prolific chipset, I have one and it simply won't operate properly. Also if you want to store ripped DVDs etc then you'll need some external storage sooner rather than later.

    Its impossible to know if the model will be revised or even dropped in the next round, but if it does what you want when you buy it then the chances are it will be providing the same level of satisfaction in a couple of years from now.
     
  11. mcdermott_c

    mcdermott_c
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    thanks again

    I have usb external storage already so am ok there for now.
    How do you make sure the external dvd uses the oxford chipset?
     
  12. Tenex

    Tenex
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    You can only query the specs/manufacturer or go by the experience of other Mac users. Most knowledgeable retailers will be able to tell you and manufacturers tend to specify the controller chipset on their website.
     
  13. mcdermott_c

    mcdermott_c
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    ok thanks for thew info tenex
     
  14. gse1986

    gse1986
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    I'm not sure, it's tricky. I cant buy for a couple of weeks as currently not in the country, but im hoping that they release new mini soon (im thinking if they releasing new iphone could be opportunity to release new mini....probably not but worth hoping. I want to, in any case, get it before the end of July (as that's when this printer offer is on till, iv currently got a crap dell printer for uni so the cheap epson all in one would be nice). Also im hopefully getting a bit of money in beginning July time, which could well have mac mini written on, hopefully new mac mini. It's almost a year since last release so it SHOULD, i hope be out soon. Also memory wise i was thinking maxing it out from crucial, as they seem good and cheap(er) than apple. Iv got an old laptop which uses same memory, so may well stick the gig in there to give it a boost and then still have it around incase needs be sent back to apple.
    Has anyone heard out else or any theories on new mac mini?
     
  15. Spoonhead

    Spoonhead
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  16. Tenex

    Tenex
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    The only new news is that Intel has put back the expected date of release of the new Centrino chips to July 14. These will replace the current iMac Penryn versions (which the Mini doesn't yet have so it may jump a generation if it gets the new ones).
     
  17. Tenex

    Tenex
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    OK its now official there's a delay.
     

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