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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

Should I Buy a Mac Mini?


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frodomac
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Can any of you with Mac Mini's help me?

I am seriously thinking about getting a Mac Mini, but I'm not sure if I should make the switch from Windows.

My question is basically this: "If I buy a 1.42ghz Mac Mini with 1gb of ram, wireless bluetooth and an external 300gb 7200rpm hard drive, will the Mac Mini enable me to do the following?":

1. Drive a 21" IBM CRT at 1600x1200 or a 24" Dell 2405FPW LCD
2. Surf the web with a DSL modem
3. Run basic MS Office applications at a pleasurable speed
4. Handle an occasional 4mb Excel file
5. Watch an occasional DVD on either of the two monitors above with no appreciable degredation in quality
6. Do basic voice recordings using Garageband

I know performance is sometimes a very subjective thing, and I don't want to be unrealistic in my expectations of what a Mac Mini can do, but I don't want to spend $800 or more on a Mac Mini and regret that I didn't spend that same money building an Athlon or Intel PC.

Can anyone help me out and share your thoughts on whether a Mac Mini can handle the computing needs above, or is there something it will choke on so badly I will regret my purchase.

Thanks in advance.

Frodomac
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bassplayrr

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frodomac
Can any of you with Mac Mini's help me?

I am seriously thinking about getting a Mac Mini, but I'm not sure if I should make the switch from Windows.

My question is basically this: "If I buy a 1.42ghz Mac Mini with 1gb of ram, wireless bluetooth and an external 300gb 7200rpm hard drive, will the Mac Mini enable me to do the following?":

1. Drive a 21" IBM CRT at 1600x1200 or a 24" Dell 2405FPW LCD
2. Surf the web with a DSL modem
3. Run basic MS Office applications at a pleasurable speed
4. Handle an occasional 4mb Excel file
5. Watch an occasional DVD on either of the two monitors above with no appreciable degredation in quality
6. Do basic voice recordings using Garageband

I know performance is sometimes a very subjective thing, and I don't want to be unrealistic in my expectations of what a Mac Mini can do, but I don't want to spend $800 or more on a Mac Mini and regret that I didn't spend that same money building an Athlon or Intel PC.

Can anyone help me out and share your thoughts on whether a Mac Mini can handle the computing needs above, or is there something it will choke on so badly I will regret my purchase.

Thanks in advance.

Frodomac
With a gig of ram you will have no problems with any of those tasks. Just please, don't buy the RAM from Apple, pick it up at newegg or something and install it yourself.

-Chris
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mynameis

 
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To record voice you'll need an extra adapter, the mini doesn't have audio in.

One of the places that reviewed the mac mini said it didn't do very well running at the native resolution of the 23in Apple cinema display which is the same resolution as the Dell 2405FPW. I think it was Anandtech, might want to do a quick search there.
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EvoMac
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Ok I'll try to help you out on this one as much as possible since I was in your boat in Feb. I just sold my mini tonight actually, its a great machine but I needed mobility and bought a iBook but anyway... here are my thoughts keeping in mind that I had a 1.42 w. 1gb of ram.

1. Drive a 21" IBM CRT at 1600x1200 or a 24" Dell 2405FPW LCD
- I have a Dell 2005fpw in which I ran its native resolution of 1680x1050 flawlessly
2. Surf the web with a DSL modem
- Yes... I use cable but there are options for DSL if you have PPPoE or other types of authentication
3. Run basic MS Office applications at a pleasurable speed
- Had Office 2004 installed and ran perfectly. I used Entourage to manage 3 email accounts. Did its job just as well as my pc that had a p4 2.53 and 1gb of ram.
4. Handle an occasional 4mb Excel file
- Don't have any excel files that well, but I've opened up 300 meg video files to edit with no problem so I think you should be fine there.
5. Watch an occasional DVD on either of the two monitors above with no appreciable degredation in quality
- You will always see a slight quality degredation with dvd movies at that high of a resolution, not because of processor or video card but simply because you are going way above the native format of dvd's and the stretch will become more noticeable the higher up you go. However playing DVD's is no problem for the mini.
6. Do basic voice recordings using Garageband
Never used Garageband, but again I've worked with large video files so you will be fine there as well.

The mini is a great machine. The 1gb upgrade made a HUGE difference over the 256, that is a upgrade I would highly recomend.
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frodomac
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Thanks to everyone who responded to my post.

Chris, thanks for the tip on the ram. I will definitely not get the Apple ram, but will go to newegg for a 1gb stick since I have used Newegg before and they're pretty good.

Mynemesis, thanks for the feedback on potential problems with displays of 23" or larger. I'll check into that more closely.

EvoMac, thanks for the info on Microsoft Office 2004. I'll probably try a Mac-specific office suite, but it's great to know I can fall back on Office 2004 if I need to do so. Also I appreciate what you said about dvd playback on larger screens. That never occurred to me, but it certainly makes sense. I have played DVDs on my 21" IBM CRT using an old Athlon 650mghz PC with a 32mb ATI Rage Fury video card and the DVDs play quite nicely. If I get a comparable quality of playback on the Mac Mini, I will be happy.

Again, thanks to everyone. Once I make my purchase and I've had a chance to set it up, I will try to post some of my thoughts on it.

Frodomac
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