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Are you going to buy a Mac mini?

1/1: Are you going to buy a Mac mini?

No way! 376 (21.27%)
Not sure, still deciding 656 (37.10%)
Yes, the $599 model 341 (19.29%)
Yes, the $499 model 269 (15.21%)
I'm going to buy more than one! 126 (7.13%)
Other polls | 1,769 votes | 35 comments

Are you going to buy a Mac mini? | 35 comments | Create New Account
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Memory setup is a bit of a concern
Authored by: robg on Jan 12, '05 10:54:52AM

I picked the $599 model, and will more than likely do so -- I'll sell our aging G3/500 iBook which is currently a music server, and replace it with the mini.

I say "more than likely," though, as I'm somewhat torn about the one-slot memory configuration: 1gb is a nice amount, but the RAM is not user-installable (well, you could probably void your warranty and do it yourself). Apple wants $425 for a 1gb RAM upgrade, which is nearly the cost of the machine!

So if/when I do purchase, I won't do so through the Apple store. Instead, I'll visit a local dealer, who can offer much better RAM prices. That should lower the upgrade cost substantially.

The thing is just so dang small, it's amazing....

-rob.



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Memory setup is a bit of a concern
Authored by: lavar78 on Jan 12, '05 02:25:21PM

I think the best option is to order the $499 version, bump up the hard drive to 80GB for $50, and then upgrade to 512MB RAM for $75. It'll have a slower processor than the $599 one, but, if you don't care about that, it's basically a RAM upgrade for $25. 512MB isn't ideal, but it's usable.



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Memory setup is a bit of a concern
Authored by: pakkman781 on Jan 12, '05 04:13:55PM

If I hadn't already bought my eMac a few months ago, I would definately get the mini instead! But, I don't like the RAM problem though.

I'm going to try to get an iPod Shuffle(because I can't afford the real iPod!) and iWork.

---
(insert sig here)



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Memory setup is a bit of a concern
Authored by: RideMan on Jan 13, '05 11:20:51PM

Anybody know what kind of memory the mini takes? It would be really wonderful if I could use the 512Mb memory out of my 12" PowerBook in a Mini to make room for 1Gb in the PowerBook...

(I'm thinking about the PVR/media server idea that someone else mentioned!)



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Doubt it
Authored by: Thom on Jan 14, '05 09:47:53AM

Uhm, from the pictures it looked like a more full length DIMM is in the Mini. PowerBooks use a much smaller chip for form factor. (Sorry)



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Memory setup is a bit of a concern
Authored by: andrewv on Jan 18, '05 12:41:22AM
Hi Rob,

You've certainly been closer to a Mac mini than I have, so you might have more insight into it, but I don't see anything indicating that the RAM is not user-installable like on every other Apple computer. Various speculation and rumours are spreading around the internet...

Check this: http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=300572

Also, Apple's Mac mini design page shows the lid removed, and you can see the DIMM right there.

All indications say it's a no brainer. They wouldn't say "should be installed by an AASP" if they really meant "must."



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Memory setup is a bit of a concern
Authored by: newbish on Jan 23, '05 01:51:52PM
I've come across a number of references saying changing the memory on your own will not void your warranty on the MiniMac.

But opening a MiniMac is not as easy as regular desktop Macs, and if you damage the unit in the process, you do void the warranty! So unless you are confident in your ability to crack open various pieces of expensive hardware, it's probably best to avoid trying this yourself.

For those who are really curious about what it takes to open one, here's a link to a video where you can see for yourself.

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Better options needed
Authored by: Jwink3101 on Jan 12, '05 12:39:17PM

I was forced to pick the No Way choice but i think that sounds negative saying that you think it is stupid, etc. Well the fact is, i think it is great for apple and everybody but i already have a mac. I think you need to add the option of no, already have a mac. Just my $0.02



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A good idea (for someone else)
Authored by: mmulhern on Jan 14, '05 02:52:53PM

I agree. I currently have no need for the Mac mini, but have recommended it to several friends.



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Maybe ...
Authored by: jeremyrh on Jan 12, '05 01:48:19PM

Maybe ...

I'm more interested in buying
a) iPod Shuffle
b) iWork

and I'm NOT AT ALL interested in PAYING FOR ANOTHER UPGRADE TO iPhoto!!! In fact I already upgraded to iView Media Pro, which knocks spots off iPhoto.



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Nah...
Authored by: Nippithon on Jan 12, '05 02:44:06PM

But I might recommend it. The best Mac bargain is still the eMac, I think.



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Nah...
Authored by: sjk on Jan 14, '05 03:59:53PM
And right now the eMac has a faster, nicer optical drive and better hard drive performance than the iMac G5. I own both and, overall, the iMac isn't that much faster than the eMac, even with the "Highest" processor performance setting.

I may eventually get a Mac mini and offload some server-type functionality from my iMac. First, I'd like to have a better idea how reliable it might be running 24x7.

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Seriously considering ... as a media device
Authored by: sinjin on Jan 12, '05 03:13:24PM

I've just picked up a used EyeTV. If it proves useful I'll probably pick up the base Mac mini model (yes, even with stock RAM!) to run with it just like a TiVo, permanently hooked up to the tele. It could probably act as a server and take over the radio time-shifting my iMac currently does as well, just move my external firewire drive over to it.

I suspect that with the selection of accessories one can get for Macs the Mac mini can be configured to be the home entertainment device some people have been clamoring for.

Pretty slick.



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Yes, but no...
Authored by: pakkman781 on Jan 12, '05 04:16:44PM

If I hadn't already bought my eMac a few months ago, I would definately get the mini instead! But, I don't like the RAM problem though.

I'm going to try to get an iPod Shuffle(because I can't afford the real iPod!) and iWork.

(sorry, I pressed the wrong button above!)

---
(insert sig here)



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No way, but....
Authored by: wolfy on Jan 12, '05 04:31:46PM

I answered "No way" not because I don't like the mini - I like what I see, and I like the price, and in fact I've already recommended one to my nephew who has serious Mac Envy, and to my employers - our helpdesk folks need a Mac. I'm "no way" only because I have no need for one what with a 2GHz DP G5 as my desktop.

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Wolfy



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An idea...
Authored by: moded on Jan 13, '05 03:50:04PM

Im thinking about buying a mini mac, but not to use it normally like everyone else. Heres the idea, Keep my current computer and use apple's xgrid to in-slave the mini mac to boost the speed of my old G4 450mhz. My question is, will it work? comments from people currently using xgrid are welcome. thanks.



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Yes, but most likely no
Authored by: sinjin on Jan 13, '05 04:16:26PM

Yes: if what you are doing is running Xgrid enabled apps like MatLab or Blast.

No: if what you are hoping to do is essentially make your computer run like it has 2 processors. That isn't what Xgrid does.



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Already ordered the Hi End for $900+
Authored by: haralds on Jan 13, '05 04:56:40PM
I placed an order for the $599 version adding 512MB, SuperDriver, BlueTooth and Airport Extreme to end up above $900.
This is the perfect box to fit under my Mitsubishi DLP Rear Projector. It is supposed to be very quiet, and will be the media server.
Suprised that this living room function has been underplayed so far.

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Living Room
Authored by: Thom on Jan 14, '05 09:45:58AM

Yeah, the one I want comes out to about $1,000 (probably because I'd get the BT kbd/mouse for another $99).

I have an EyeTV already, and it's great. I don't like the EyeHome because it can't timeshift things that the EyeTV is playing (and the interface kind of sucks.)

When you talk about the Living Room aspect and the fact that it isn't being hyped, I think of a few things:

* No component output that I've seen, only DVI / VGA, plus an add-on adapter for composite and S-Vid. (Can the DVI output be adapted to spit out component or not?)

* No surround output, that I'm aware of. This came as sort of a surprise to me, considering that the Airport Express has a mini optical out. On the accessory page, they list the M-Audio USB device for surround output. (Which would work fine, but I'm just saying.)

* There has been lots of talk about 'Is Apple going to try and negotiate a Movies on Demand service?' but I think the main thing hampering them is their namespace. After all, they're already using 'iMovie' and the name 'iFilm' is already taken. (grin) Seriously though - the iPod Photo doesn't play movies, but *could* it? The Mac Mini can certainly play back movies, for sure from a DVD but probably also from compressed files like MPEG4. Then again -- is that 9200 chip capable of full screen output? And if so, what about HD resolutions?

These are important questions to me because I'm thinking about buying a large LCD TV which has a DVI input...

These seem like unrelated points but what I'm getting at is, I don't think Apple would 'do' the Living Room angle unless they also had the Movies on Demand thing bundled with it, and possibly some kind of TiVo-killer (which would negate needing an EyeTV), etc.



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Living Room
Authored by: RideMan on Jan 14, '05 05:38:32PM

The specs on the Mac Mini page indicate DVI output up to 1920x1200 pixels (what are the extra 120 lines for?), and VGA output up to 1920x1080, which is the highest HDTV standard resolution. As long as it's got the processing power to handle QuickTime files with MPEG-4 and H.264 codecs, it's just what you need for the back-end to an entertainment system.

The hard drive is a bit on the small side, even for the 80Gb version, for that purpose, so that would need a bit of hacking. Hmmm...Do you suppose we'll see Apple respond in their next product cycle (when is that, NAB in April?) with a Media Server version of the Mini, with a big hard drive built in?



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Living Room
Authored by: thelamecamel on Jan 21, '05 02:25:31AM

S-Video basically is component video (right audio, left audio, yellow video), at least in Australian PAL-land. S-Video is all 2*3=6 wires in one cable, rather than three. Because of this, it's supposedly slightly better quality.



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Living Room
Authored by: Thom on Jan 24, '05 12:11:50PM
I'm sorry, but I have a hard time following this line of logic.

Analog monitors are basically RGB, right? Well, if I want to carry a video signal a long way from a computer to a monitor (we have to do this in a few places at work) I'll use a distribution amplifier to boost the signal, then I'll adapt the VGA cable (all signal wires in one cable) to a five-wire, or RGBHV, cable. This separates the R, G, B signals, and carries two separate sync signals (horizontal and vertical), each in a separate cable. It is much thicker, insulated, and carries the signal a lot better over a distance.

What would lead you to believe that you'd get a higher level of quality by putting the signals together???

For example, see this thread.

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Living Room
Authored by: florp on Jan 26, '05 08:48:50AM
S-Video basically is component video (right audio, left audio, yellow video), at least in Australian PAL-land. S-Video is all 2*3=6 wires in one cable, rather than three. Because of this, it's supposedly slightly better quality.

Unfortunately, every single fact here is false (except maybe that Australia uses PAL).

  • S-Video is a composite signal that has b/w (luminance, sync, blanking) on one pair and the color carrier on another pair (core).
  • This makes it better than traditional composite, in that there is no aliasing between the color carrier and the b/w signal. This allows better color bandwidth and less interference between color and fine structures in the b/w (which, in turn, allows better b/w bandwidth).
  • It is significantly worse than RGB or component (YPbPr), as the color information is still being crammed into the color carrier.
  • There is no audio involved. This is on a separate cable (set of cables).
  • Hence, S-Video is 2-core (two coax lines, one for b/w and one for the color carrier).
  • If you combine the two signals (by shorting them together, in a severe pinch, or preferable capacitor-coupling the color carrier), you get back the traditional composite signal ("yellow video", which is *not* component video).


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Didn't they already release the Cube? Now it's back with a new name?
Authored by: digiglyphics on Jan 14, '05 10:58:28PM

Sorry gang, but I say no! I love apple but they got me with the cube. I swore that would be the last time I bought an all-in-one box. It's what's kept me away from imacs as well. I think there great and all but if you plan to expand these things are just not for you. My $.02!

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http://www.digiglyphics.com



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Didn't they already release the Cube? Now it's back with a new name?
Authored by: Thom on Jan 24, '05 12:24:27PM
That's funny, because I distinctly remember installing a new PowerLogix clear case on a Cube and moving the power conversion board, so I could upgrade the video card. There are three RAM slots for upgrading memory, and there are whole motherboard replacements for processor upgrades, superdrives that fit (and are Apple software compatible), etc. See Cubeowner.com for more details about all the possible upgrades - these are but a few.

My guess is, the Mini was not engineered to be like the Cube was at all. So, yes, you're very right in understanding that the Mac Mini probably won't have much of an upgrade path. You can get low cost, and/or high quality features, and/or upgradeability: pick two out of three. If you want a more expandable machine, get a PowerMac G5, that's what the larger case is for. Just don't talk smack about the Cube, because they're still around and people still love them to death.

Here is an interesting comparison:
GlennLog Cube vs. Mini Feature Comparison. He doesn't talk about installed VRAM (I think it doubled in the Mini) but otherwise it's pretty on the mark.

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Almost Perfect
Authored by: MindWeapon on Jan 16, '05 12:04:19AM
I LOOOOOOVE the new Mac Mini. It is the "VolkComputer". The people's computer! It brings the computer "for the rest of us" TO the rest of us. Now, finally, my less fortunate or differently prioritized friends have a much lower entry barrier to the digital life style.

Not only that! It really is a great machine. Processor speeds have become less and less relevant for most tasks. a 1.2x G4 is more than sufficient. In fact, if it had more video RAM it would replace my old work horse The G4 500MHz DP. Please Mr. Jobs. Can I have some more video RAM? :-)

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Almost Perfect
Authored by: MindWeapon on Jan 16, '05 12:05:50AM

oops. "volkscomputer" :-P



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possibly... with your help
Authored by: alternapop on Jan 17, '05 07:56:21PM
Help me get a free Mac Mini. I'm planning on using it as an inexpensive home media server. combining it with my EyeTV, then connecting to my modded Xbox.

Go here and complete one offer. They have some that won't cost you a thing. I signed up for a no cost credit card and will just cancel it soon after receiving it.... or may just keep it for the cool credit card keychain.

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possibly... with your help
Authored by: merp on Jan 19, '05 09:52:05AM

uh, no. Sorry, but you've been had by a pyramid scheme. If you're lucky, your personal info won't be auctioned to the highest bidder and used to purchase yak liver from bulgaria at three grand a pop...



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Sorry, Apple...
Authored by: Ratula on Jan 19, '05 06:30:39PM

I think Apple really blew it with the chintzy 256mb of RAM - OSX runs comfortably at 512, better at 1gb - at the very least, they should have made RAM a user installable part. I am impressed at the list of potential features, but I would much rather have had a bigger 3.5" drive (up to 160mb), 2+ RAM slots and a tray-loading optical drive and had the enclosure a little bigger.

Given that the mini is headless, it would also be nice if Apple had a display offering for under $1000 - the mini looked pretty impressive at MacWorld running a Cinema display, but I would imagine most folks getting the mini won't want to pay that much. The net result is you have mismatched components, and suddenly the beautiful industrial design of the mini goes down the tubes when you sit it next to a crappy $100 CRT. Maybe Apple should make a display sized from the LCD in the 17" iMac?

Don't get me wrong, there is a lot to like about the machine, but none of it works for me - I have to wonder how much it will work for anybody. I'm a die-hard Mac guy, but I think Apple hit a double zero with the iPod shuffle :( and the Mac Mini. I hope I'm wrong.

---
Coffee is a geek's best friend.



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No Digital Sound :^(
Authored by: zane on Jan 21, '05 02:39:24AM

Whilst a MMMC (MiniMacMediaCentre) was my first thought when seeing this thing, as I know it was for many others (it sure would look nice hooked into the spare monitor port on my 42" plasma), it's missing one crucial thing, IMO, in order to achieve this task: digital sound output (for 5.1 encoded DVD movie soundtracks, Audio DVD/CD's etc.).

A sleek, MacOS-driven, TiVo-alternative it would be indeed, but lacking digital sound output, it sadly still can't replace a regular DVD player for the serious Home Theatre, MediaCentre-building enthusiast.

Yet, I'll still probably get one...



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Don't need one . . .
Authored by: bedouin on Jan 21, '05 04:49:44PM

I would rather just spend $399 and upgrade the CPU in my Quicksilver. My graphics card, hard drives, and nearly everything else are superior. Also, I use dual displays.

Now, as a nice server, I'm thinking of it. I wonder if Yellowdog runs on the mini?



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Mac mini server
Authored by: kalisphoenix on Jan 23, '05 03:07:03PM

I'm probably gonna get one sooner or later. They're cheaper than buying an older mac on eBay (even much older macs) and still have decent horsepower. The RAM is a problem but, well, if I can save up $600 for one I'll save up more and buy more RAM.

Right now I have a 1GHz iBook that I bought because it was portable -- and it's hardly portable, now that I've augmented the 60GB internal drive with two external HDs for music and movies. I don't watch TV, so I figure I'll just hook these external drives to it, not install any third party software, and just let it run all day. That way, I can get my iBook back to doing what it does best -- fulfilling its role as a notebook.

(not that anyone cares)



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"NO way" for me.
Authored by: euskir on Jan 25, '05 02:31:33PM

"NO way" for me. Three Macs in the house are enough (even and old Quadra 605, in great shape besides the years). In the future, as some kind of Firewire device, we'll see...



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No, but I'll strongly recommend it...
Authored by: lpangelrob on Jan 25, '05 03:59:48PM

A PowerBook and a lamp-generation iMac are enough for this household for right now. I will strongly, strongly, strongly suggest to my parents replacing a 1.33 MHz Sony Vaio that's spyware and virus riddled (my brother didn't take care of the PC quite like I did)... hopefully so I can use it as a server or something. :-)

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-Robert Guico



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