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January 12, 2005

Never mind the pundits, here come the Mac minis

I'm pulling the trigger as we speak. I'll save $100 by taking the "low-end" processor. I'll save the $50 on the bigger internal drive, since I have a 200-gig FireWire drive currently looking for work. I'll save the $100 on Airport, but they got me on Bluetooth -- ding! Fifty bucks. I'll pay the $75 for the 512-meg DIMM, since they're about $80 at Crucial, so I'm looking at $624.

Christy is a true saint -- she mentioned we could almost pay for this from our "big box of change", and buying a new Mac for change is certainly appealing.

First blush suggests Apple has a hit on its hands: Yesterday, the minis were listed as shipping "for delivery by January 22nd", and tonight, they're listed as 3-4 weeks. Some things at Apple apparently never change.

The prize-winning screed on the Mac mini has got to be Bill Palmer (no surprise), who I'm guessing, well, won't be buying one. Other folks I'm putting down for a "no, thank you" include E. (for Enigmatic, perhaps?) Schwartz over at InfoWorld, and a couple of "industry analysts" quoted over at TheStreet.com, one of whom notes:

But it's still less robust -- though at a fraction of the price -- of Media Center PCs, which offer spruced-up applications to manage digital photos, play music and record television shows. Promisel said the Mac mini would need more ports, a TV tuner and stronger wireless support to offer the same experience as the Media Center PC.

Unless I'm reading wrong, the mini comes with iTunes and iPhoto, and has Airport Extreme available, with the same speed as anybody else's wireless solutions.

I just saw HP's Home Entertainment Center PC advertised on TV for $1300. Pair a Mac mini with the newly released EyeTV Wonder USB 2.0 (or their pricier EyeTV 200) and an external FW hard drive, and you're looking at maybe $800-$900, and you've got one kick-ass little home entertainment system.

Least I hope so, since that's what I just ordered.

Added a Mac mini category. I'll probably move some of the iServe stories over there, and chronicle my experiences with the new box there.

January 12, 2005 in Apple - Mac mini | Permalink

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Comments

I know this is kind of a silly question, but why are you buying another machine? Is it a "because it's there and cheap," or .. ? What are you looking to do with this machine?

Posted by: Paul Holbrook at Jan 13, 2005 1:10:34 PM

1) I don't want to subject my G5 to webhosting. Thought I would, but I've never moved my Apache stuff off the Linux box, because I want to have the option of having the G5 entirely to myself, either for games, DVD burning, etc. Since my Linux box is moving ever closer to the up in a poof of smoke phase, why not go OS X?

2) I've been bitching and moaning for 2-3 years that Apple needs to introduce a box almost just like this one. I want to a) encourage its continued existence, and b) experiment with what can be done with one. The only other machine I could subject to my evil experiments is a 5+ year-old PowerBook.

3) This box will also take over personal video recorder functionality, although that could just as easily happen on the G5, because I want to explore the media center possibilities of the mini.

4) Because it's there and cheap.

Posted by: Frank at Jan 13, 2005 3:22:02 PM

Heh.

Ok, I bought a Mac Mini just to have a PPC, OS X based computer laying around. It's hooked into my network running TightVNC Client in "integration" mode. My Windows PC is also there, but running TightVNC Server with no monitor, keyboard or mouse. My Mac Mini is eseentially a Mac/Windows/Linux hybrid (Before I got the Mac, I had a similar setup with my Windows PC in charge - Meanwhile, they're connected to a KVM in case I want to use the graphics power of any of them directly). My Mac Mini was a 1.25GHz with 256 RAM. I got aftermarket 1G ram for $80 (check pricewatch, and don't be scared - it's just DDRAM) and this morning overclocked it to 1.42GHz.

Why?

I like the flexibility given to having multiple platforms.

As for Mr. Palmer's objections to the Mac Mini... he's an idiot. You can get Dells and Gateways, etc. without keyboard, mouse and monitor. Furthermore, in the "PC World", as he put it, you can buy a computer without a harddrive, case, power supply, ram, etc ad inf.

As for Mr. Schwartz: Try doing any of that price magic in mini-itx form factor. You can't. They're not cheap enough yet. I tried pricing an equivalent computer in small-form-factor parts and came up with $783. Apple is (must be) selling Minis at a loss (a shocking thing for Mac to do, but it's likely to increase their market share and get people hooked on their sleek product). Even AmigaOne boards (Same processor, but slower than the Mac Mini) are more expensive than the whole magilla Apple's putting out. In fact, before Apple made this move, I was leaning towards hunting down an OS-X on Amiga patch and building my own compy.

But alas, I'm getting bored with OS-X and its illusion of a physical realm. I think I'm going to go download Debian PPC....

Posted by: Bryan at Feb 3, 2005 1:32:06 PM