[X4U] FireWire and low end Macs

Wayne Clodfelter wayneclodfelter at mindspring.com
Thu Feb 5 15:41:24 PST 2009

Joe Sporleder wrote:
> How big of a deal is FireWire to the folks on this list? We are a small 
> publishing company that utilizes Mac minis for a lot of our stuff, 
> mainly light color photo processing in Photoshop, and using Creator to 
> design and paginate our printed products. For most of our stuff, Mac 
> minis, a couple of MacBooks and MacBook Pros for the sales staff, is the 
> total of our computing power. When we buy a new machine for the office 
> to replace an older computer, and FireWire target disk mode and the 
> Migration app come in handy to move workstations around. We do have one 
> G4 tower still in use, and a couple of  PowerMac G5's - one is an OS X 
> Server and the other a work station. I would like to retire the 
> PowerMacs from production (but keep the G5's as servers), and move to 
> all Intel Macs so that we can take full advantage of Snow Leopard when 
> it comes out. Mac Pros are way overkill for our basic needs.
> I'm wondering if/when the Mac mini is updated, if it'll lose the 
> FireWire port, like the MacBook Aluminum - to differentiate it from the 
> Pro models. I'm also looking to move my minimum standard workstation 
> from the current 2GB to 4GB. That's one of the drawbacks of the mini. We 
> had used iMacs in our past, back during the CRT days. My boss has always 
> been uncomfortable with all in ones, because if the computer dies, you 
> are also stuck with a monitor that can't be used on anything else.
> My idea of a dream mini workstation is an updated Mac mini that can 
> support up to 4GB of RAM and be able to support 2 screens, and also has 
> a firewire port plus a few USB ports. Basically, give me a Mac mini 
> (even if it needs to be a little larger), with similar specs to the 
> current iMacs, but let me chose my own monitor. I realize that might not 
> happen, and I suppose I need to reconsider iMacs in my computing 
> arsenal, as it appears Apple thinks this would be the best matchup for 
> my situation.
> Joe

I am contemplating the eventual move to intel machines and have 
researched the current Apple offerings. I find them wanting.

I don't like the idea of all-in-ones such as the iMac. I don't need (and 
can't afford) the Mac Pros.

I don't want a laptop because I think they are the most trouble prone 
and shortest lived computers, and I don't intend to carry a computer 
around with me.

So that leaves me, currently, with Mac Minis to consider.

My main concern is the memory shared between the processor and the video 
card. I want a more robust, stand alone, video card. Second to that, I 
want access to external hard drives, and I want a choice between 
firewire 800 (not 400) and eSATA.

Having said that, I deem firewire OR eSATA essential, and preferably 
BOTH firewire and eSATA, and preferably firewire 800.

But what I'd really like to see is a tower configuration priced 
comparably to the iMacs that affords options for internal and/or 
external hard drives, video card upgrades and PCI(X) card upgrades.

Apple came up with the low cost Mini. Surely they can come up with a 
budget tower and let us build it out like we want to.


Wayne Clodfelter
<wayneclodfelter at mindspring.com>

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