Another Should I Get a Mac Mini Thread?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by dbirchum, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. dbirchum macrumors newbie

    Aug 1, 2011
    Hey all -

    Before I get into my question, I have read many of the previous threads in the forums concerning this topic. I have used the 'search' function, found several threads, and got some good information. However, I am still looking for some advice and guidance about this topic, so I decided to post my own thread (hope I don't offend anyone).

    Currently, I am using an older PC desktop computer (4 years old-ish). It is starting to give me some troubles and it becoming fairly slow (currently has 4GBs of RAM). However, 2 years ago, I got a great deal on a Samsung 22" monitor, keyboard and new mouse, so I am pleased with those.

    Anyway, I have owned several iPods over the years and love them and I used a Mac about 15+ years ago when I was in university (so I have some expereince with Mac). I have always wanted a Mac, but the price point was just out of my range (thus forcing me to get PC clones). Anyway, I am in the market for a new PC clone to replace my old box, but I am seriously thinking about going for a Mac. I just can't justify spending $1200 + tax on an iMac (which I would LOVE to have) as times are tough right now and I am on a budget and I already have a perfectly good monitor, keyboard, mouse. Instead of spending $300 on a new PC box, I am seriously thinking about the Mac Mini option.

    I have been doing my research, checking the forums, etc, but the more I read about it, the more nervous I get. I hear things about its issues running Lion and its speed with the 2GB of RAM causing a lot of users problems. With my case, I don't use my computer for a lot of big things (I have never done any video editing, I don't have Photoshop, etc), but I do use GIMP on occasion to mess around with some of my pictures. I mainly use my computer for my own personal use - I use Word, Excel, and internet functions. I tend to have a couple of programs open at the same time, so I am hoping that's not a problem (which I hear it could be).

    I am doing a lot of converting my entire DVD collection using handbrake so I can watch it on my iPods and I do like to back up everything to DVDs. I know the new Mac Mini doesn't have an optical drive, which is an issue for me, so I am guessing I would need to purchase an external one. I do have an external 1TB hard drive that I store a lot of stuff on, so thats good. But this will be my only computer at home, so "sharing" resources from a different computer is not an option.

    Anyway, based on my usage, do you think a Mac Mini would suit my needs? Or, by the time I buy a Mini and external hard drive, I might push my budget over the limit and its just as well stay with a cheap PC clone?

  2. mdgm macrumors 6502a

    Nov 2, 2010
    Get the Mini, buy a MacBook Air SuperDrive and upgrade the RAM yourself to at least 4GB (preferably 8GB i.e. 2*4GB)

    Edit: if you like try with 2GB RAM and if it's not enough (I don't think it will be) then upgrade the RAM
  3. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    you can buy the mini for about 570 on amazon

    8gb ram is about 50 on amazon a dvd player is about 50 more total 670.

    a 2tb external is about 100 grand total 770 .

    it will do all that you want. pretty good with handbrake.
  4. accessoriesguy macrumors 6502a

    Jul 8, 2011
    The base mini would be perfect for you. Whats great is you can upgrade the RAM later. So when you really need to, you can give it its 4 or 8 GB RAM upgrade. :D
  5. dbirchum thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 1, 2011
    Hi all,

    Thanks so much for the informative replies. Now I am encouraged to get the Mini whereas prior to posting, I was thinking that I would have to go back to a PC.

    I think the Mac Mini with the Superdrive would be a good alternative. I live in Canada, so the Superdrive is around $79 (Canadian). Unfortunately, doesn't ship these items to Canada, so I will have to find an alternative supplier for the other items (RAM, etc).

    Plus, I guess I don't have to go with the Superdrive (even though I like having a matching Apple product). But I noticed some of the reviews about its small cord isn't that favourable.

    I also have a Lacie 500GB External Hard Drive that I have been using this past couple of years with my PC. I like it and its still great so I am assuming I can continue to use it with the Mac?
  6. rayyu882 macrumors member

    Jan 18, 2010
    From your original post, you mentioned uses of MS Office, if you still need to do that you can have a version of Windows install in the Mini (Bootcamp or VitualBox). I went with openoffice for my Office Applicatoin needs since it's free.

    The base Mini can do everything you need and like many have suggested, a RAM upgrade is highly recommended. :)
  7. Rapscallion macrumors regular

    Sep 28, 2010
  8. FrankHahn macrumors 6502a

    May 17, 2011
    Yes, the RAM for the 2010 models also works on the 2011 models. Amazon also has cheap RAM. You may check it out at Amazon.
  9. suckatcomputers macrumors regular

    Feb 23, 2011
    Want to share a situation that might be helpful to you:

    My girlfriend was in a similar situation as yours except that she did even less work involving heavy CPU usage and necessity for speed. After a year or two she wanted a camera for Skype, got addicted to a couple TV shows that she had to stream to watch, realized she did want to use/back up her files on her desktop...

    She regretted not buying the 13" MBPro because she ended up spending over $300 to purchase everything she wanted and the convenience of having those services in one compact machine would have been well worth it.

    My point is that you may not NEED features but may REALLY REALLY WANT them down the line.

    It seems you've thought it out pretty well but wanted to share this, just in case...
  10. qtx43 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 4, 2007
    OSX only has read support for your MS Windows formattrd hard drive. There is an open source thing that sort of works, maybe, I haven't used it recently. You'll want to check that out.

    If the optical drive is important, and you're on a budget, you might look at refurbished. New warranty straight from Apple. OTOH, the i5 really is a nice upgrade, but 2GB RAM is marginal.
  11. dbirchum thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 1, 2011

    After reading some more of the replies, I realized that I do watch streaming video fairly often on my machine and I would like to continue to do that on the mac mini. Overall, how does it perform?

    Based on suckatcomputers's post, I am skeptical.
  12. steve knight macrumors 68020

    steve knight

    Jan 28, 2009
    a mini will work for you. but you need at least 4 gigs of memory. I just bought the new mini and with 2 gigs of memory it is on the slow side. just got my memory from amazon and it is a large difference. Myself I would nto get a superdrive they are not that fast. I have a plextor external drive and it blows the superdrive away.
  13. dbirchum thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 1, 2011
    ok, so it appears that the new Mini will suit my needs. However, the consensus is I will need to get more RAM immediately. I know the Mini comes with 2GB of RAM and it is recommended that I get 8GB. I will search for some sellers of RAM that are hopefully located in Canada. After reading a little bit more on the Apple website, the Mini comes with 2 slots for RAM, correct. And if I buy 8GB of RAM (2, 4GB) and install them, what do I do with the original 2GB? Sorry for a basic question, but I really don't know. And is installing the RAM fairly simple?

    And I will certainly need an external drive to burn my music and back up files on a DVD, and several people have noted that its not critical to get the Apple Superdrive. I will look for other and cheaper alternatives.

    As noted previously, I have a Lacie 500GB External Hard Drive where I keep all my music, photos, work files (Word and Excel) and my backups of my info. If I get the new Mini, will I be able to access all of this information from my hard drive? Or will it not recognize it? Thanks in advance!
  14. steve knight macrumors 68020

    steve knight

    Jan 28, 2009
    the ram change is easy the bottom screws off with two fingers and you flip a couple of tabs to take the memory out. it even has instructions inside for it. I plan on selling mine on ebay.
  15. MJL macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2011
    Perhaps it is possible to find a refurbished mid 2010 Mac Mini, personally I prefer it over the new models.

    If running Lion yes then you like to get 8 Gb, if just installing Windows 7 and use it as a windows machine then 4 Gb is sufficient. I am not fond of the integrated video on the new Mac Mini budget model or on the server model.

    I think the new i5 with dedicated graphics card is a nice machine but looses its allure for me because of the omission of the internal ODD.

    Just like yourself: I recently switched back (after 20+ years) and am very, very happy about it in spite of sorting some backup / recovery issues out. (Others may not be so worried but I need to be able to restore in < 15 minutes max so cannot do a reinstall)

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