In The Market For A Mac Mini

My current PC is in it’s autumn. It’s long-term memory has started clicking and it sometimes dozes off when it should be awake. I built the damn thing myself. Or rather, bribed my cousin to do it for me. Limbs were ordered seperately and surgically put together in a fashion similar to that of Frankensteins monster. It’s been a good run. It’s been fast enough for what I do.

It’s just not that quiet. It’s not that small either. The Mac Mini is. I hear they run Windows now?

I’ve told my good american friend about these flirtations with the dark side, these forbidden thoughts about shiny white plastic and brushed chrome finish. Already part of this club, I’m sure he was thrilled to see me prepare my fall from grace.

The hardware was never the problem, it’s been the operating system and it’s lack of the very odd and obscure Windows applications I use, it’s lack of some very specific game titles, and it’s annoying application metaphor which I’ve discussed at length in the past. I’m told, however, that I can’t use these arguments anymore; as mentioned two paragraphs ago: they now run Windows.

Not being a convertee just yet, I keep telling myself there are roadblocks to this most dangerous shopping endeavour. Are there alternatives such as a vendor-built, small, good-looking, cheap, quiet PC box that does the same? Could the Mini double as a network accessible server for wireless music and files? Is it really, really quiet? Is it fast enough to open 60×45 cm 300 DPI PSD files? Is the RAM upgradable, cheaply? Will there be a new one in January? Does it require that you use iTunes? These are all things I need to answer before venturing into the lair of the unknown.

19 thoughts on “In The Market For A Mac Mini”

  1. Hehe, it’s funny, but it seems that I try things just before you decide to go for it yourself. Speaking from experience right now. is the mac mini quiet? HELL YES. i’ll only hear it when I load something like photoshop, but that’s just in the beginning. It all goes down after those initial couple of seconds.

    Is the RAM upgradable cheaply? Wouldn’t know, since i tend to buy the machine and leave it as I originally got it. I sat on my 512 pc for 3 years always thinking that I really should get some more ram, never actually going through with it. So in the end I just bought the mini with 2GB from the get go. Loads things faster than you can imagine.

    I know, you don’t like itunes, but on osx, it’s fast loading (even with my 12gb of music and constantly increasing). Safari obviously loads pretty much instantly. FF2 is slow as donkey dung, but testing FF3 has been a very welcome surprise.

    Haven’t tried bootcamp to be honest with you so i can’t really comment on virtualisation stuff. Will a new one come in Jan? Probably not, as I’m thinking they’ll probably discontinue it soon. Last upgrade happened in August so it’s relatively there or there abouts. It really does depend on what you want it to do really….

  2. The Mac mini is perfect for you, regardless of whether you want to soil it with Windows or not 🙂

    Everything else is details.

  3. bv says:

    you’ll love it! peace. bv.

  4. Send me the PDF, and I’ll try it out to be sure. Don’t know if there’ll be a new one in January (I suggest waiting, even though I know it sucks). The RAM is easily upgraded, I’ve done it, though the price depends on where you buy it. Pay careful attention to the RAM type though, it’s tricky.

    And no, it doesn’t require iTunes; it is after all simply an app. That said, iTunes is the best music library/player I’ve ever used, and I’ve got about 170GB of music, so…

    But since you’re running Windows, that doesn’t matter.

    And please, don’t compare iTunes on Windows with iTunes on OS X. It’s a different experience altogether.

  5. Joen says:

    Send me the PDF, and I

  6. The RAM is just Kingston something something. Apple sells their own, which is probably also Kingston, only more expensive. But it should be easy-peasy to upgrade it. You just need a spatula to break the thing open. It’s hairy, but dooable.

  7. Jonas Rabbe says:

    …and it’s annoying application metaphor which I’ve discussed at length in the past.

    It’s just because you are used to the totally fucked up window metaphor used by windows.

    On a more serious note, however, I just wanted to second Michael. I think a mini would be a perfect computer for you. It’s small, silent, nice looking, and runs windows better than “regular” PCs according to Steven Frank of Panic software. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the entry on his blog anymore.

  8. Rob Mientjes says:

    I’m backing Jonas and Michael up here. It’s superquiet (I remember first turning it on when I had for the last time turned off my PC; nothing — it was awkward compared to that beast under the table), you can hide it anywhere and yeah, it’ll run Windows. But you might want to give OS X a shot every now and then and see why the Windows interpretation of an application model is the weird one here 😉

  9. Joen says:

    But it should be easy-peasy to upgrade it. You just need a spatula to break the thing open. It

  10. Tom says:

    One thing I see that hasn’t been addressed from your post are games. The mac mini has an:

    Intel GMA 950 graphics processor with 64MB of DDR2 SDRAM shared with main memory

    Which will run some games but isn’t suited to run recent titles.

  11. Joen says:

    Which will run some games but isn

  12. Joen, that’s so funny – I just got a macbook the other month. I really like it, it’s quite a bit better than windows. Especially vista!

    What I would say, is make sure you get a mini with a 120gig drive at the least. I got one with 80, and it’s just a little too full for comfort (or Bootcamp).

    What I did do was put 4 gigs of Ram in it myself…makes photoshop fun again 🙂

  13. Joen says:

    What I would say, is make sure you get a mini with a 120gig drive at the least. I got one with 80, and it

  14. How much did you get the mini with? And how much extra did you put in yourself? What config? 2

  15. *And because it won’t let me edit (Times up/Not mine? Hmmm):

    It was a macbook and it came with 2×512meg and I replaced it with 2×2gig of Kingston Value. I didn’t go for Kingston Super-Apple-Says-It’s-OK Ram as it’s a lot more expensive and knowledgeable people on the internet said it doesn’t matter much.

    check for edit: It seems to work but then disapears when you edit it again

  16. Joen says:

    I saw that the upgrade to 120gigs of HD makes the mini cost the same as the beefier mini, so that

  17. Yeah, you should be able to change the HDD easily; it’s simply a laptop drive AFAIK.

  18. Tom says:

    The key google search is: Mac Mini Take Apart Guide.

    I had a friend who’s hard drive was faulty. I disassembled and reassembled an iBook three times. It was – tedious.

Comments are closed.