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Thread: Opinions on the best Mac Mini to use??

  1. #1
    Newbie MindzEyeWRX02's Avatar
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    Question Opinions on the best Mac Mini to use??

    Obviously the newest Mac mini would be best, but i don't have money to go all out on a carputer. Don't forget the other items required to make the Mac Mini into a carputer.

    My question is...

    At the least, what mac should i get?? I do want the ability to connect to the internet. Is airport all i need in it to receive internet in wi-fi spots? of course blue tooth is a must. other spects you can recommend? is 80 gigs enough for a carputer??

    Sorry for all the questions. I'm a noob at carputing. lol.

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    CarFrontEnd Creator iamgnat's Avatar
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    The big question is if you intend to use Windows (directly or emulated). If so, then an Intel based Mini is a must (VPC is a dog on a PPC). If not then any will do.

    I use a CoreSolo, but there are still a few G4 users too. All of them are more than capable of running what at least 80% of carputer users need.

    As far as drive size, that depends on how much media you plan to put on it. My 60GB is more than enough for me as I only have ~30GB of media. If you have more than 80GB (that you want the Mini to access), then you need more space (either an internal upgrade or additional external drives). If not, then 80 should be fine.

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    Bugbyte's Avatar
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    I use a 1.42 PPC 80 gb drive, wifi, bluetooth.

    It works okay. A little sluggish with Leopard but it runs both nav and front end without a problem.

    If you can afford it, though, I'd recommend you get an Intel based Mini because the best nav programs are Windows plus you can run the Windows Front Ends if you want to experiment.
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    Newbie Joarek's Avatar
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    Well, as far as i know new Mac Mini's come with both airport and bluetooth "in the box" however please correct me if im wrong.
    The airport is all you need to connect to wi-fi spots yes and as for the HD i guess you need to ask yourself what your overall use of a carputer will be. If you are planing to use it as a musicplayer and GPS mainly 80 GB will prolly be more than enough (depending on how big your music library is :P )

    However movies, games and whatnot tend to take up plenty of space also keep in mind that if you are going to run Windows with Bootcamp that also eats up discspace.

    So, imo the best option would be a new Mini with 120GB (or more) or mabye you can find a used one but keep in mind that older Mini's might not have Bluetooth and Airport stock.

    Im a newbie myself though, but ive used quite some time now planing ahead my instal, hope i made some sense

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    Newbie MindzEyeWRX02's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info guys. I still have a lot of researching to do and figure out what i can and cant do with it.


    Quote Originally Posted by iamgnat View Post
    The big question is if you intend to use Windows (directly or emulated). If so, then an Intel based Mini is a must (VPC is a dog on a PPC). If not then any will do.

    I use a CoreSolo, but there are still a few G4 users too. All of them are more than capable of running what at least 80% of carputer users need.

    As far as drive size, that depends on how much media you plan to put on it. My 60GB is more than enough for me as I only have ~30GB of media. If you have more than 80GB (that you want the Mini to access), then you need more space (either an internal upgrade or additional external drives). If not, then 80 should be fine.

    -dave
    I would like to use the OS platform and support the mac carputer community, but thats just me. Intel based mini is what i'm looking. but with VPC would i be able to go back and forth between windows and os?? and with the frontend going does it allow me to go back and forth between the front end and OS??



    Quote Originally Posted by Bugbyte View Post
    I use a 1.42 PPC 80 gb drive, wifi, bluetooth.

    It works okay. A little sluggish with Leopard but it runs both nav and front end without a problem.

    If you can afford it, though, I'd recommend you get an Intel based Mini because the best nav programs are Windows plus you can run the Windows Front Ends if you want to experiment.
    Okay so at least a 1.42ghz for the processor, and intel will make it much better.

    I want to run the OS plateform to stay true to the machine i'm using. But what are the real benefits of runing a windows plateform besides nav?? I'm fine with just loading up roadmap software and just know where to go rather then knowing exactly where i'm at, but it would be nice. recommendations for a good OS nav software?? I'm sure its been discussed, i just need to find time to do more research.





    Quote Originally Posted by Joarek View Post
    Well, as far as i know new Mac Mini's come with both airport and bluetooth "in the box" however please correct me if im wrong.
    The airport is all you need to connect to wi-fi spots yes and as for the HD i guess you need to ask yourself what your overall use of a carputer will be. If you are planing to use it as a musicplayer and GPS mainly 80 GB will prolly be more than enough (depending on how big your music library is :P )

    However movies, games and whatnot tend to take up plenty of space also keep in mind that if you are going to run Windows with Bootcamp that also eats up discspace.

    So, imo the best option would be a new Mini with 120GB (or more) or mabye you can find a used one but keep in mind that older Mini's might not have Bluetooth and Airport stock.

    Im a newbie myself though, but ive used quite some time now planing ahead my instal, hope i made some sense
    My intentions with it is primarily for music and navigation of course. i do want to have some movies and music videos for long trips, but all of that is secondary.

    Being able to browse the web would be cool. I saw a video of someones mac mini carputer in a subaru. he had a touch screen and i believe his front end allowed him to bring up a browser and an on screen keyboard to type in stuff. not sure what front end he had. Do you know if there is a mac based front end that would allow an on screen keyboard to use with a touch screen? I don't want to carry around a keyboard if at all possible. or maybe one of those small portable ones like this.


    I am looking for a used mac, so i'll probably have to upgrade it to 120mb since i do have a very large library.

  6. #6
    Constant Bitrate golfguy's Avatar
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    I would suggest the least expensive Intel Mini you can find on eBay. All Intel minis have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, which cuts out one thing you have to look out for, since many PPC minis did not have those items. I bought a 1.66 GHz Core Duo on eBay for just over $400, which worked out pretty good for me. Intel minis can run Boot Camp or Parallels if you want to run Windows and should be able to handle future versions of OS X if you want to upgrade someday, as well. Mine came with a 60 GB drive that by the time I upgraded to Leopard and added my iTunes library of music and movies (in excess of 40 GB) I had only a couple of gig left, even after I took off a bunch of applications like iMovie, iDVD, and GarageBand samples and stuff. I bought a 120 GB drive for about $60 and a USB case for the 60 GB drive for about $15 and solved my space problem. I had a couple of 1 GB RAM sticks laying around from when I upgraded my Intel iMac so I put those in as well. So for about $500 I have a pretty capable machine that can still handle at least another OS upgrade cycle.
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    Newbie MindzEyeWRX02's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by golfguy View Post
    I would suggest the least expensive Intel Mini you can find on eBay. All Intel minis have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, which cuts out one thing you have to look out for, since many PPC minis did not have those items. I bought a 1.66 GHz Core Duo on eBay for just over $400, which worked out pretty good for me. Intel minis can run Boot Camp or Parallels if you want to run Windows and should be able to handle future versions of OS X if you want to upgrade someday, as well. Mine came with a 60 GB drive that by the time I upgraded to Leopard and added my iTunes library of music and movies (in excess of 40 GB) I had only a couple of gig left, even after I took off a bunch of applications like iMovie, iDVD, and GarageBand samples and stuff. I bought a 120 GB drive for about $60 and a USB case for the 60 GB drive for about $15 and solved my space problem. I had a couple of 1 GB RAM sticks laying around from when I upgraded my Intel iMac so I put those in as well. So for about $500 I have a pretty capable machine that can still handle at least another OS upgrade cycle.
    Just my $0.02
    Thanks. I didn't know that all intel based minis came with airport/wifi and bluetooth. good to know.

  8. #8
    CarFrontEnd Creator iamgnat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MindzEyeWRX02 View Post
    would like to use the OS platform and support the mac carputer community, but thats just me. Intel based mini is what i'm looking. but with VPC would i be able to go back and forth between windows and os??
    Virtual PC (VPC) is Microsoft's emulator for PPC based Macs, if you get an Intel it doesn't work. Really that is OK though as even on the high end G5s, it made you want to rip your hair out due to how slow it was.

    For Intel based Macs you have 3 options for using Windows, and they are all good. First you have Bootcamp (comes with 10.5) which allows you to boot directly into Windows (and x86 OS actually). Second you have Parallels and VMware which are virtualizers.

    Bootcamp gives you the most performance, but Parallels/VMware give you the most flexibility (you run a virtualized instance of the target OS from within OSX). Unlike VPC which had to emulate Intel hardware, the virtualizers are fast as they give the target OS direct access to the real hardware.

    Which option is best for you depends on what you want. Personally I live a Mac only existence, so I can't help there

    and with the frontend going does it allow me to go back and forth between the front end and OS?
    That depends on the FE, but I believe all the current Mac ones offer some method to get back to the Finder without exiting the program first.

    -dave
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    Newbie MindzEyeWRX02's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iamgnat View Post
    Virtual PC (VPC) is Microsoft's emulator for PPC based Macs, if you get an Intel it doesn't work. Really that is OK though as even on the high end G5s, it made you want to rip your hair out due to how slow it was.

    For Intel based Macs you have 3 options for using Windows, and they are all good. First you have Bootcamp (comes with 10.5) which allows you to boot directly into Windows (and x86 OS actually). Second you have Parallels and VMware which are virtualizers.

    Bootcamp gives you the most performance, but Parallels/VMware give you the most flexibility (you run a virtualized instance of the target OS from within OSX). Unlike VPC which had to emulate Intel hardware, the virtualizers are fast as they give the target OS direct access to the real hardware.

    Which option is best for you depends on what you want. Personally I live a Mac only existence, so I can't help there


    That depends on the FE, but I believe all the current Mac ones offer some method to get back to the Finder without exiting the program first.

    -dave
    Thanks. I want to run OS as my platform, i was just wondering in case i wanted to datalog. I also think all the opensource tuning software for my car is PC, not to sure.

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    I suspect that flexi-keyboard you showed will get dirty within a few days. It's rubbery, so it'll attract a huge amount of dust, hairs and such...

    The Apple Wireless Keyboard isn't excactly big, and would fit in a door pocket or the glove compartment. And it looks delicious


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