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  1. #1

    J-L's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 20, 2011
    Posts
    14
    New Mac Mini Dilemma
    So I have been thinking about getting myself a Mac for a while now, my current PC is almost dead now and given the release of Lion plus new Macs today I am very seriously thinking about picking one up at the end of the month.

    I would really like to get hold of a Mac Mini, however given that there are now three models with various pros and cons I am stuck as to which to get. I really want the AMD Radeon HD 6630M but I would also like the quad core and having two hard drives so I know I am not wasting space inside machine that can be fairly difficult to upgrade.

    I know most of this will probably depend on what I want to do with the mini and I think my personal uses (beyond the basics) usually include some web development, creating graphics, a bit of gaming (specifically starcraft 2) and I might have a go at writing some apps (for mac/ios). I would also really like to try the server version of lion so which ever one I decided to go with I will probably upgrade it anyway.

    If any one can offer any advice or let me know of anything I may have overlooked I would greatly appreciate. I have never touched a Mac in my life but I have seen it used a few times and am quite excited to give it a go (now if only I could choose which one I want).

    Cheers

  2. #2


    Member Since
    Mar 13, 2011
    Posts
    224
    Specs:
    2011 MacBook Air, i5 27" IMac, 2010 21.5" IMac, 2010 Mini, 2011 13" MBP, IPhone 4, Airport Extreme
    2 options as I see it. Buy the server, an external drive and install lion (non-server version), on it and boot with external when you want to use it. Otherwise, buy the non-server mini, use external drive to install server and boot with that when you want to play with server.
    Personally, I think the best option is buy the personal Mini and hook up a SSD drive and boot from this as it will give you all the spped you want for gaming

  3. #3

    J-L's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 20, 2011
    Posts
    14
    Thank you. Can’t say that I thought of that. Correct me if I am wrong, but you can do everything that Lion can do on a Lion server right?

    If I go for the server version whilst I will lose out on the dedicated graphics and whilst 6630M may not be that good a graphics card it is will probably be much better for gaming than the HD 3000.

    The other side is that if I go for the server I will have the quad core processor and the faster hard drive speed (plus the extra storage space).

    The way I see I would have really liked it apple had released the mini server with the extra graphics, but I can understand that normally you wouldn’t want it for a server however I do believe it is warranted as most people purchasing the mini server are probably also using it to work on and not as a headless machine.

    On the other hand if anyone thinks that maybe the mini is not the way for me to go with my first Mac, tell me what you think I should get?

  4. #4

    RavingMac's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 07, 2008
    Location
    In Denial
    Posts
    7,883
    Specs:
    4GB Mac Mini 2012, 13" MBA, 15" MacBook Pro OSX 10.7, 32 GB iPhone 3GS, iPad2 64gb 3G
    Quote Originally Posted by J-L View Post
    Thank you. Can’t say that I thought of that. Correct me if I am wrong, but you can do everything that Lion can do on a Lion server right?

    If I go for the server version whilst I will lose out on the dedicated graphics and whilst 6630M may not be that good a graphics card it is will probably be much better for gaming than the HD 3000.

    The other side is that if I go for the server I will have the quad core processor and the faster hard drive speed (plus the extra storage space).

    The way I see I would have really liked it apple had released the mini server with the extra graphics, but I can understand that normally you wouldn’t want it for a server however I do believe it is warranted as most people purchasing the mini server are probably also using it to work on and not as a headless machine.

    On the other hand if anyone thinks that maybe the mini is not the way for me to go with my first Mac, tell me what you think I should get?
    Hard to go wrong with the Mini if you want a desktop machine and don't need or can't afford the power and expandability of the Mac Pro.

    My own tendency would be to start with a refurb 13 or 15 inch MBP.
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

  5. #5

    J-L's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 20, 2011
    Posts
    14
    I admit I have quite fallen for the design of the mini and it would be wonderful to reclaim the desk space I have lost to my windows box.

    I think the Mac Pro is a bit overkill for my needs (plus I do believe they are probably even bigger in size given they can accommodate up to two processors in there).

    iMacs are also nice however I am not sure I really want another monitor on my desk as I also keep my PS3 on there, as far as I am aware and please do correct me on this if I am wrong the iMac does not any display inputs for the monitor so I could run my PS3 on it.

    The MBPs do look really nice, but for the time being my laptop is doing alright and I really do not use it as much as my desktop machine.

  6. #6


    Member Since
    Jun 06, 2011
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    223
    Specs:
    2011 27in iMac i5 3.1GHz, AMD 6970, iPhone 4, Wi-Fi iPad 2
    Quote Originally Posted by J-L View Post
    I admit I have quite fallen for the design of the mini and it would be wonderful to reclaim the desk space I have lost to my windows box.

    I think the Mac Pro is a bit overkill for my needs (plus I do believe they are probably even bigger in size given they can accommodate up to two processors in there).

    iMacs are also nice however I am not sure I really want another monitor on my desk as I also keep my PS3 on there, as far as I am aware and please do correct me on this if I am wrong the iMac does not any display inputs for the monitor so I could run my PS3 on it.

    The MBPs do look really nice, but for the time being my laptop is doing alright and I really do not use it as much as my desktop machine.
    To answer your question- the last gen iMac 27 could be used for the PS3, etc through the use of an attachment (Kanex XD). However, these are no longer compatible, and are being updated.
    For your use, I would say get the mini with the graphics card, it will be better off in the long run, and the Core i5 runs hyperthreading, so it accomplishes what an old quad core could, the i7 can process 8 threads simultaneously.

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