Thinking about getting Mac mini

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Thinking about getting Mac mini

Postposted on Sun Dec 21, 2008 11:56 am

So my wife's/kids PC mainboard is toast.. been cranky a while, but finally not even post.. So I got to thinking of buying an ITX board (Intel G45) for her E6600, and a neat wee case (Apex M100), well when I start adding up the price, I am defininately in the range of a used Mac Mini. I also thought that all the photo album stuff she loves, will be cool with iPhoto.

My question:

Is there a big difference in performance between Core Duo and Core 2 Duo models?

Is 1gb RAM enough, or spring for 2gb?

I will install bootcamp, as she has a few work apps that may not work on Mac OS.

thanks in advance for any advice
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elmopuddy
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Re: Thinking about getting Mac mini

Postposted on Sun Dec 21, 2008 12:39 pm

For your wife's usage habits, there likely wouldn't be a huge difference between CD and C2D. My suggestion is to go with 2GB of RAM (Mac OS X has great memory management and will use whatever you throw at it quite well) and use VMWare Fusion for any Windows apps. It saves rebooting time, is extremely convenient, and the extra RAM will make it completely seemless.
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Re: Thinking about getting Mac mini

Postposted on Sun Dec 21, 2008 12:44 pm

Wait uh, can it wait until after January? Apple might be announcing a new Mini, after all.
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Re: Thinking about getting Mac mini

Postposted on Sun Dec 21, 2008 1:05 pm

ssidbroadcast wrote:Wait uh, can it wait until after January? Apple might be announcing a new Mini, after all.


Not buying new one, spending about 300cdn on an older one off eBay or such
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Re: Thinking about getting Mac mini

Postposted on Sun Dec 21, 2008 2:23 pm

If you're buying used, I'd probably go with the older 1.66GHz Core Duo version with 2 GB. Do NOT buy the 1.5Ghz Core Solo - performance on single-CPU macs in OS X is pretty rough, especially leopard with its metadata indexing service going every time you save a file. Besides, the price savings is sooooOOOOOOOooooOOO not worth it.

I second pretty much everything ssidbroadcast said - VMWare Fusion with 1GB given to WinXP makes things very seamless, and performance for Windows-only apps is pretty good.
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Re: Thinking about getting Mac mini

Postposted on Mon Dec 22, 2008 1:33 pm

Okay now you should really wait until January.
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Re: Thinking about getting Mac mini

Postposted on Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:03 pm

Unless they debut in his price range, I kind of disagree. This might help push down used Mac prices a little, but not all that much, I don't think. Used Macs tend to retain their value.
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Re: Thinking about getting Mac mini

Postposted on Mon Dec 22, 2008 3:36 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:If you're buying used, I'd probably go with the older 1.66GHz Core Duo version with 2 GB. Do NOT buy the 1.5Ghz Core Solo - performance on single-CPU macs in OS X is pretty rough, especially leopard with its metadata indexing service going every time you save a file. Besides, the price savings is sooooOOOOOOOooooOOO not worth it.

I second pretty much everything ssidbroadcast said - VMWare Fusion with 1GB given to WinXP makes things very seamless, and performance for Windows-only apps is pretty good.


I actually agree with derFunk here (a historical moment, indeed). Do NOT get the Core Solo, I had it and it sucked with a passion even with 2GB of RAM. Core Duos are ok, I recently used some older Macbooks with those and with 2GB of RAM they were fairly smooth. Sadly Mini is pretty difficult to service because it's hard to pop open. You might want to look at the Aopen MiniPC as an alternative, I have one and it's a nice system, very easy to pop open and do whatever you need to do. Same size as Mini.
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Re: Thinking about getting Mac mini

Postposted on Mon Dec 22, 2008 4:05 pm

the mini is a harrowing experience the first time, but it's by no means hard to pop open. It just involves a putty knife. :lol:

The putty knife goes in bottom of the machine along hte seam at the front, bend it slightly to unhook the latches, and separate. Some walk-throughs I found (even in video form) have you jamming that thing into the sides as well. It's completely unnecessary to do so.

Then it's just four tiny screws, unplugging the fan controller cable, and disconnecting the ATA cable from the optical drive.

Is it enjoyable? Certainly not. But we need to keep in mind the needs of elmopuddy's wife. OS X is lighter on RAM usage than Vista - even Leopard. 1GB is good for light work, 2GB is better. 4GB is unnecessary for her workload. The stock 60-80GB drive is also usually plenty, depending on what you're doing. So if you can find a Mini with 2GB, you don't have a need to open it.
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Re: Thinking about getting Mac mini

Postposted on Mon Dec 22, 2008 4:52 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:The putty knife goes in bottom of the machine along hte seam at the front, bend it slightly to unhook the latches, and separate. Some walk-throughs I found (even in video form) have you jamming that thing into the sides as well. It's completely unnecessary to do so.

Then it's just four tiny screws, unplugging the fan controller cable, and disconnecting the ATA cable from the optical drive.


Hmm, let's see... with the mini PC, you open the plastic top with fingers, undo 4 screws and remove the optical/hard disk assembly with hands and you are in. No tools other than a Phillips screwdriver required. Takes 2 minutes tops. And it's definitely fun to assemble your own system out of parts as these are available as barebone kits. And it runs Windows XP quite well which is plenty for most people so no need for Vista. But it is a tad less stylish, although to me a real eject button and hard disk LED more than make up for that.
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Re: Thinking about getting Mac mini

Postposted on Mon Dec 22, 2008 7:58 pm

If you get a machine with 2GB of memory, you shouldn't need to open either.

Also, the price? A little high for his budget. If I'd realized it was a barebone system from the outset, I would have brought it up in my previous post. $400 with no RAM, hard drive, CPU, or OS (assuming his wife doesn't want to run Linux) makes for like an $800 computer. He wants to spend less than half that. Provantage consistently has awesome prices on alot of merch and I highly recommend them if you can't find something at Newegg (such as the Aopen MiniPC)
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