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Mac mini newbie - some questions

 
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clockenddan
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 12:25 pm    Post subject: Mac mini newbie - some questions Reply with quote

Hi everyone

I am considering making the move from PC to Mac and am liking the idea of a Mac Mini, but I have a few questions:

- Can you add an additional sound card or audio interface - I use my current PC for audio streaming (Internet radio) and as a digital audio workstation for music production. I'm not sure if the onboard audio will be up to the task?

- Can you run 2 displays VGA or DVI (currently used for a PC) and if so what adapters are required for each?

- Can you self-upgrade the memory and if so what are the better 3rd party options?

- Can you use a second hard drive, and how would this be connected?

Based on the above, should I go for a larger CPU and more RAM?

Thanks for reading Smile
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Smithcraft
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello there!

You can't add components to the motherboard, but you can use a USB DAC if you need to. So I'm not sure how much more you need as I believe the minis still have optical in and out.

Yes, you can add your own memory. Good memory for a peecee is good memory for a mini. Junk memory is junk memory.

Yes, you can add another HDD.

I don't know about how the newer systems drive multiple displays but I'm sure some others here will know.

Since you can't upgrade the CPU, I'd go for CPU and then upgrade the memory.

SC
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[Desktop] Intel mini - 2.16Ghz 2GB 60GB HDD - Newer miniStack v2 500GB - 10.5.8

[Media System] Intel i5 mini - 2.33Ghz 8GB 500GB HDD - 4 x Hitachi 2TB HDD in a qBOX-SF - 10.7.5 (Thanks Phil!)

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billb
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Mac mini newbie - some questions Reply with quote

clockenddan wrote:

- Can you add an additional sound card or audio interface - I use my current PC for audio streaming (Internet radio) and as a digital audio workstation for music production. I'm not sure if the onboard audio will be up to the task?

An external USB Sound Card, something like THIS Roland UA-1EX
will work fine without need of any drivers. Most external USB
and firewire Sound Cards will work that way.

clockenddan wrote:
- Can you run 2 displays VGA or DVI (currently used for a PC) and if so what adapters are required for each?

If you'll be using a relatively new mini then yes, it can drive two displays.
Apple and MonoPrice both sell the adapters you'll need.
One adapter will be an HDMI to VGA (or DVI).
The second adapter will be MDP (Mini Display Port) to HDMI (or DVI, VGA).

Clockenddan wrote:
- Can you self-upgrade the memory and if so what are the better 3rd party options?

Yes, any major brand should work.
clockenddan wrote:

- Can you use a second hard drive, and how would this be connected?

Sure, add a second 2.5" internally or USB/Firewire/Thunderbolt
via external HD enclosure.
Clockenddan wrote:

Based on the above, should I go for a larger CPU and more RAM?
Thanks for reading Smile

Get the FASTEST Processor you can afford but
cheap out on the RAM and do that upgrade yourself.

To save money I would suggest a Referbed Mac.
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macmanmacman
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 6:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

here is the issues listed here.

1. a refurbished mac does still have the warranty yes you can even get the applecare extended warranty which i do recommend highly in case anything goes wrong it can be expensive to replace and the warranty will replace it at no charge.

2. don't cheap out on the ram bad idea if you can max the ram do it the reason is within a few months here mountain lion is due out and requires 1 gig of physical ram to run so if you only have 2 gig's of ram have fun running applications on 1 gig of ram because several macintosh applications including there audio and video suite final cut and even aperture for photos need a gig or better just to run
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DrakkenWar
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 1:10 am    Post subject: Dual monitors are not a problem Reply with quote

Thought I would chime in here. Dual monitors (at least on my 2011 i7) are not a problem at all. I have a 23" Hanspree hooked up via direct HDMI and a 22" Samsung via mini/VGA with no issues what so ever.
Buying the fastest processor you can while scrimping on the ram is right in the money. I bought my i7 base line and threw in 2gigs of ram I had laying around with the option to upgrade when I need to.
With that said, I hammer my mini running on any given day: iPhoto, MacTubes, Safari (with 20-24 tabs), Mail, Pages, Numbers, Adium, Camino (with 6-18 tabs), notes, Evernote, Skype and a few others I can't recall at the moment. (On my roadwarrior PB 1.5).
Upgrading the hard drive on the other hand should come first, as I still have the stock drive in mine and I will get the beach ball from time to time. When money permits I will upgrade to a pair of SSD's before I put any more ram into this mac.

Congrads on your mac! These mini's are awesome lil machines
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" Live Free Or Die" -New Hampshire
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(2011 i7Mini/i7/4GB/10.7.4)
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