Go Back   MacRumors Forums > Apple Hardware > Buying Tips and Advice

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old Aug 20, 2013, 12:37 PM   #1
wowser21
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Mac Mini for the family?

Hi all,

I'm looking to purchase a new computer for the family and i'm hoping to get some advice on whether the mac mini would be a good choice for my needs. Currently at home we have a Windows7 PC that is more than 5 years old. We primarily use this computer to view/store family pictures and movies. Our son is also now using it to run some elementary school programs (web based).

We really don't use the PC for much more than this (some web browsing as well) since we do most of our browsing on either an Ipad or our Android phones.

However being able to backup data is very important for me as we lost all of our photos 6/7 years back and i do complete backups now onto two different external hard drives.

Mac mini should be able to meet our needs correct? I would like to be able to take the two external HD's that i have now and connect them to the Mac Mini (hopefully this is a simple process? Not sure about the disk formats between Windows/Mac, i think i have both formatted as NTSF currently.)

I'm just looking for something simple that could be used with little maintenance and be able to do backups easily.

Thanks for your help.
wowser21 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Aug 20, 2013, 01:46 PM   #2
jdblas69
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
The Mac Mini will easily meet the needs you described.
OSX can read NTFS format and copy from the external HD to the mac, but you cannot write files to NTFS format from the mac. So you would have to reformat one of the drives to use for regular backups if you planned on using one of the external drives you presently have.
jdblas69 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Aug 20, 2013, 02:35 PM   #3
phrehdd
macrumors 68000
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Mac Mini would be a nice choice for the needs you described.

Here are some things to research and a bit of starting with Mac advice -

1) Check with the school to make sure which software works well with the sites your child is logging into. Mac comes with Safari for web browsing but there are others including Chrome (Google) and also Firefox. Both of these third party browsers are free.

2) Consider getting the minimum RAM and buy 3rd party RAM to get to 8gigs (2- 4 gig RAM pieces). They are easily installed from the bottom. Apple charges way too much for RAM so there are 3rd party makers that work very well with the Mini.

3) There are software out there that can read and write NTFS files from a Mac. I believe Paragon makes one but you can check for yourself. This is only if you absolutely need to attach to drives etc. that are Windows formatted. I would try to avoid this if you are starting fresh on Mac unless you are pretty savvy with computers.

4) If you must have Windows 7 available for some type of applications, you can consider using Parallels or VMware Fusion for virtual windows. These products work very well and while they must be purchased, you can use your own Windows 7 disc to install. Just check out their websites to learn more. Both are easy enough to use but for first timers, perhaps Parallels may seem a bit friendlier. The advantage of this set up is that it can not only run Windows 7 and apps, but you can ready and write to external drives and it is all within Mac.

5) Monitors - you never did say what you had and how old it is. If your monitor is very old, you might also consider the iMac instead of the Mini. If cost is a factor, look at Apple's refurbs which are often great deals and have some warranties.

6) The bottom end drives in the Mini are relatively slow drives. Many people opt for the "Fusion" hybrid drive system to gain some speed. You may want to investigate if it has value for you and your family and of course, Apple charges more for this option. For web stuff, the original drive (5400 rpm) is fine but if you are using some sort of movie playback software, it might be wiser to invest up front in a bit more speed (less drive bottleneck).

7) Mac Mini can be hooked up to your TV easily if you TV has HDMI input. These cables/connectors are fairly common to most flatscreen TVs. It is a nice way to show your movies. Just read up on it and realize that the one challenge is making sure to get your Mac's resolution to match the TV. There is plenty of forum advice and articles on how to do this easily.


I use a Mac Mini at home that is maxed out for my work. It is a great little computer and doesn't really give me any issues. Hopefully the above helps you in some way and is not too confusing.
phrehdd is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Aug 20, 2013, 02:47 PM   #4
blanka
macrumors 68000
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
NTFS-3G is a plugin to enable NTFS write.

Check Synkron for backing up stuff. I like it a lot as it allows backup to 2 volumes at the same time, it syncs either one-way or bidirectional, and it results in full functional backup copies, that you can hook up to another machine, and it comes in Windows, Mac and Linux flavours for cross-system functionality. And its free!

Another thing to consider: hook a NTFS drive to a network router. That removes the problem of out-of-the-box-no-ntfs-write on OSX as it becomes a network volume instead of a regular external disc.

You could also add a third drive, format it EXFAT, copy everything to it, then reformat one of your current 2 drives, then copy it again on that drive etc. This way you keep 2 copies all the time, and in the end you have a third to drop at you work or parents. For the backup: make sure you include a 2nd location for at least one drive.


The Mini is perfectly suited for your work, and the internal drive is absolutely no bottleneck on the things you do, nor on movie playback (that is maximum 40-50 mbit/s, way below the +1 gigabit your 5400rpm drive can handle)
blanka is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Aug 20, 2013, 03:16 PM   #5
wowser21
Thread Starter
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Thanks all for the replies. This is very helpful. So do i understand correctly that i can read from the NTFS drive but not write to it?

If so, then once i get the mac mini, i could hook up the NTFS drive, copy over the data to the mini internal drive, reformat from NTFS to the Mac format, and then use that external drive for backups?

Thanks again.
wowser21 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Aug 20, 2013, 04:34 PM   #6
jdblas69
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by wowser21 View Post
Thanks all for the replies. This is very helpful. So do i understand correctly that i can read from the NTFS drive but not write to it?

If so, then once i get the mac mini, i could hook up the NTFS drive, copy over the data to the mini internal drive, reformat from NTFS to the Mac format, and then use that external drive for backups?

Thanks again.
This is exactly the way I would do it
jdblas69 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Aug 20, 2013, 04:50 PM   #7
wowser21
Thread Starter
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdblas69 View Post
This is exactly the way I would do it
Awesome. Thank you.
wowser21 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Aug 20, 2013, 08:27 PM   #8
manyunju
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
good idea,For the backup: make sure you include a 2nd location for at least one drive.thanks
manyunju is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Aug 21, 2013, 03:14 AM   #9
blanka
macrumors 68000
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Or install NTFS-3G to enable NTFS write.
blanka is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Aug 23, 2013, 11:00 PM   #10
narutoninjakid
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: New Jersey
Yes that should be completely fine for your needs. Good luck
narutoninjakid is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Aug 23, 2013, 11:07 PM   #11
Klae17
macrumors 6502a
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
I prefer the iMac for my family. The screen is nice and includes the magic mouse and wireless keyboard. Other wise you are looking to spend another $140 for those and also the monitor.

If you still want the macmini, I would wait. There should be an update really soon with haswell chips. This will make a huge difference for the Mac Mini.
__________________
15" rMBP, 13" MBA iPhone 6+, iPod Nano, Shuffle, iPad Air 2, Apple TV 3s, Mac Pro.
Klae17 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Aug 29, 2013, 02:19 PM   #12
wowser21
Thread Starter
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Hi Klae,

I already have a wireless mouse/keyboard and a 24inch display that i plan on using with the mac mini. Regarding waiting for the new models, that's exactly what i'm doing .

I'm hoping they announce the new models soon.
Thanks for your feedback.
wowser21 is offline   0 Reply With Quote

Reply
MacRumors Forums > Apple Hardware > Buying Tips and Advice

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Similar Threads
thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Mac Setup for Family that keeps killing PCs Emet Mac Basics and Help 2 Dec 23, 2013 07:17 AM
Buying Advice: New Mac Mini (2012) vs. Mac Mini with AMD Radeon HD 6630M shazammy Mac mini 17 Apr 16, 2013 08:42 AM
iPad Mini: Part of the Mini Family! Eddie Bombay iPad 11 Jan 1, 2013 10:04 PM
Notice some differences while upgrading 2012 Mac Mini vs 2011 Mac Mini albert1028 Mac mini 2 Nov 9, 2012 06:01 PM
buy a used mac mini 2011 model or wait for 2012 mac mini? Che Castro Buying Tips and Advice 2 Sep 7, 2012 11:06 PM

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:52 PM.

Mac Rumors | Mac | iPhone | iPhone Game Reviews | iPhone Apps

Mobile Version | Fixed | Fluid | Fluid HD
Copyright 2002-2013, MacRumors.com, LLC