I want to buy a Mac Mini....

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Pointer, Jun 19, 2007.

  1. Pointer macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    #1
    Hi guys,

    I am hankering after a mac, of course I would LOVE a 24" iMac but given that I already have a functioning PC and a beautiful Dell XPS laptop there is no way that I can convince the wife (and myself to be honest) that I NEED an iMac at all.

    So the line that I have spun my wife is that a mac mini would be perfect as a media centre (which it would!) to use with our HDTV so that she can watch all of her favourite shows on the big HDTV before they even screen over here on the UK. She initially said no way, then wanted more details and said no way, then said maybe, then said yes but in a few weeks and THEN we were in the apple store yesterday afternoon and said "Well you might as well just buy it now". It took all my willpower to resist buying it!

    So enough of my wife, the question I have is should I buy now or should I wait? We are all waiting of course for an upgrade to the imacs and it is rumoured that the mini will be upgraded OR scrapped. I am hesitant to buy right now for 2 reasons, firstly it might be upgraded in which case I miss out on some nice new specs and secondly Leopard is out in October and I would save money on having to buy Leopard as it would come with the machine I guess in October.

    Of course it might be scrapped, in which case I will need to get down to the apple store ASAP to grab one whilst stocks last and have to purchase Leopard seperately.

    I am going to be purchasing the 1.66ghz model with the standard 512mb RAM and buying 2gb of RAM from crucial.com for just £50, great prices on RAM at the minute, apple want to charge £170, crucial charge £50.

    Decisions, decisions, I kept thinking back to Macrumors buying guide yesterday and telling myself, "Don't buy it, DON'T BUY IT!" but I am eager to get my first ever mac experience, what are your thoughts guys?

    Pointer

    P.S. Great site and forums here, keep up the great work, the WWDC coverage was great, even if the keynote itself was pretty average to say the least.
     
  2. starlabs macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2006
    #2
    I'm in a similar situation. I would like to get a mini for the gf as a media center, but the mac mini hasn't been updated in ages.

    My plan is to wait until the iMac gets refreshed. When it does, if the mini does not get refreshed as well, then I'll probably bite the bullet then and get the aging mini.
     
  3. killerrobot macrumors 68020

    killerrobot

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    #3
    According to the mainmac rumors page the imac line is suppose to get updated within a few months. I say wait, because intel chip prices are also suppose to drop in july.

    As starlabs said, if the mini isn't updated then as well, then I would just go ahead and buy it at that moment -- you might get a price drop at least.
     
  4. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    #4
    Almost all of the time, the right thing to do is to buy it now.

    The only exception is if you have a really good reason to expect some upgrade very soon. For example, I wouldn't buy any Macintosh in the week before WWDC (World Wide Developer Conference), but that is just over.

    If you buy a MacMini now, you will probably use it for three years or for five years. We know for a fact that six months from now whatever you buy today won't be the latest and greatest. It may happen next week, or in six months, it doesn't really matter.
     
  5. killerrobot macrumors 68020

    killerrobot

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    #5
    The only other exception is when the buyers guide says not to buy. The whole idea of waiting a few months is to see 1st if it is upgraded, and 2nd if there is a price drop or 3rd if it is discontinued (like some rumors have it is going to be). Either way you'll get more for your money if you can wait 2 months.
     
  6. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

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    #6
    That is a risk. However, I think people have already pointed out elsewhere that Mini did appear in the 'Mac Family' background slides at the Keynote, suggesting that Apple haven't (officially) killed it yet.

    I'm hoping that the rumours aren't true and that Apple will wake up (or already have woken up) to the fact that the Mini is splendid little bridgehead into people's home. Ours has landed Apple sales for a Shuffle, iMac and MacBook that I would never have been able to sell my wife on before we got the Mini.

    I'd go for the higher spec one - apart from a bit of extra processor "oomph", the DVD writer provides a fairly high-volume archiving option to offset the relatively small HDD. Even with the BTO 120Gb HDD, those EyeTV recordings can fill it up a bit sharpish, especially if you have a music library and photos on there, too.

    Also: just checking, but you are aware that fitting anything internally to a Mini, including RAM, requires a putty knife, a certain amount of brute force, and no kind of faint heart?

    Cheers!

    Jim
     
  7. ob81 macrumors 65816

    ob81

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    Virginia Beach
    #7
    I would never consider the mini. Its a waste of money. You wanna watch TV shows on your tv? Hook it up to your laptop or something. ANYTHING is better than wasting your money on a mini. There are so many ways to get video from a cpu to a TV nowadays. Consider something else.
     
  8. MacDonaldsd macrumors 65816

    MacDonaldsd

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    #8
    I don't think they will get upgraded that significantly when they do. Core 2 Duo and 1GB standard maybe ?

    I say this but im one of the people that would wait for an update :D
     
  9. MacSA macrumors 68000

    MacSA

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    UK
    #9
    There haven't been any rumours of upgrades coming to the Mini - only those suggesting that it's being discontinued - and for a good reason in my opinion, as the current Mac Mini is by far the worst value home computer you can buy from ANY manufacturer right now. You'd be wasting your money getting one.

    Apple need to upgrade it right now or get rid of it right now.
     
  10. Pointer thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    #10
    Thanks for the reply Jim. From what I have read there is really not much difference between the 1.66 processor and the 1.83 processor. Whilst the DVD burning would be nice I really can't see myself using it all that much and could always transfer files to my laptop to burn onto DVD if I really wanted to. I am planning on buying an external hard drive at some point to add to the tiny storage space that is provided, I am planning on watching as much high-def video on the mac mini as I can so I will certainly need the space!

    I am aware that adding RAM to the mac mini myself I will need a putty knife and it will be a little tricky, I have built my own PCs so I am fairly confident that I will be able to do it although it does look rather fiddly. I just can't bring myself (or afford to) pay £170 for something that I could get for £50!
     
  11. brad.c macrumors 68020

    brad.c

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    #11
    Sounds to me like you are looking for road signs, while driving down Justification Highway ;). I bought the same mini you are considering, for mostly the same reasons (as a media centre, tho my TV is a 15 year old CRT). The winning argument for my wife was that she now has access to our complete (ripped) CD collection, without the jewel case clutter. I'm happy with the purchase, as the mini fits into our existing Mac home network quite well. Front Row is "okay", but I'd like to try Centre Stage, or Media Central for a more robust living room experience.

    If you are "hankering for a Mac", however, I wonder how much use as a functioning Mac computer you will get, even with bluetooth k/m devices on the coffee table, if it's gonna live in the stereo cabinet. There's no reason why it won't work, but it's not the same as using an iMac as a proper workstation.

    But let me repeat the "No more CDs in the Stereo Cabinet" thing again. :D
     
  12. SkyBell macrumors 604

    SkyBell

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Location:
    Texas, unfortunately.
    #12
    My 1.83 GHz mini w/stock 512 MB of RAM is my main everyday machine. It works great for internet, email, music, photo's, light video editing, light gaming...

    In fact, the only thing I think I haven't done with my mini is use it as a media center. :D
     
  13. crazycat macrumors 65816

    crazycat

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    #13
    I would say buy now, if you decide to wait then you will be waiting forever because no matter when you buy there will always be something coming in 6 months. If you do decide to go with the mini remember to invest into an external HD something with extra usb's if you will be working with lots of movies.
     
  14. randallisation macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 24, 2007
    #14
    I bought a 1.83 mini w/ 1GB RAM the day after WWDC (I didn't want to crack open the mini myself so I let Apple rip me off on the RAM, I saved using HE discount though so I didn't mind overall).

    I've got mine as a desktop machine for uni, listening to music, watching DVDs, writing essays, e-mail and the Internet, all great. I even am currently ripping all my DVDs with it. It's been great. I only have it hooked up to a 19" screen but I've got no problems with the playback of DVDs.

    I'd be happy to put it into a media centre if I had one. However, I say if you buy now, you'd be happy using it as a media centre, you could wait for the next upgrade if you really wanted / if you can hold off so long, but you could always be waiting for "the next mini".
     
  15. mwsh2000 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2006
    #15
    I'm in the same boat as you...

    I'm going to wait until Leopard comes out. It's only a few months away, and chances are that the Mini (if it's not discontinued) will be updated by then. No sense in spending the extra money to upgrade to Leopard if it will be included after the October release. I plan on updating my whole home media center (HDTV, a new receiver, and a Mini), but one of the TV's I'm considering (Pioneer PDP-5010FD) isn't even coming out until September, so I'm not in any hurry.
     
  16. Carrot007 macrumors regular

    Carrot007

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    Sep 18, 2006
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    #16
    Value is not intrinsically what you think it is.

    Many people value size.

    Show me a computer of the same form factor that is better value than the mini. Even now at it's overdue an update stage. no I didn;t think you could.
     
  17. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

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    #17
    Excellent points. I'd particularly like to second the positive words in this thread about putting all your CDs into this one tiny box. Until you do it, it's impossible to appreciate.

    We also hooked ours up to the broadband and do all the shopping online from the sofa as well. Again, until you do it, it's hard to appreciate the difference it makes to your day-to-day life.

    Also, in counter-argument to the nay-sayers upthread: yes, you can get more powerful kit for the same money, but this kit will do everything the OP wants, and there is no other solution from any manufacturer that will be as small and as quiet. Or, frankly, as nice looking.

    If this thing is going to sit in your living room, these things are important, too.

    Cheers!

    Jim
     
  18. ckgeorge macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    #18
    Mac Mini better than iMac all the way....

    Depending on what you want to do. For a media server it is ideal, and way better than an iMac with a big screen built in (phsyically and to the cost).
    I want the screen for a Mac Mini to be my HDTV.
    The biggest upgrade Apple can do for that is to add HDMI as the output instead of DVI, but you can hook up now with DVI-to-HDMI for the video, and separate cables for the audio.

    Performance on the Mini is fine for typical web surfing, email, and all the media stuff. You need more storage for sure, but several vendors have Mac Mini footprint add on hard drives and for a reasonable price, you can get lots of storage (2 x 500GB, for example).

    The Mac mini is quiet. Those clamouring for a mid-size tower would lose out on both aesthetics and probably noise.

    Given then the trend in home media is wireless, and the new Airport Extremes support 802.11n, the natural other key upgrade for both Apple TV and the Mini is to have native 802.11n in the box. 802.11g is ok though, especially if your media center Mac will be driving only one set of video and audio outs.

    For my part, I'd be very interested in an upgraded line, rather than a discontinued one. A tower is no good at all in the media center space, and an iMac is totally unacceptable for this use case.
    I have an Apple TV, a Macbook Pro Core-Duo 17", an 8Gb ipod nano, and will have an iPhone on June 29th at 6pm, one way or another. :)
    The mini would still fill an important gap for me, primarily to be the in-house iTunes server to stage content for the Apple TV and to both the iPod and to stream music to my slim devices transporter for stereo.

    So, I'd say, if we thought a new upgrade to the models would come out with HDMI and 802.11n, I'd wait a bit (and maybe you get leopard that way too).
    Otherwise, i think they are good deals and very well built for a purpose.
    they are under-marketed by Apple - to me, the mini may not have the most margin in their product line, but as others have noted, the mini is the perfect vehicle to drive integration with a bunch of other things that they want to sell you - including the Apple TV, a .mac account to back up your iTunes and to synch with a laptop, etc.

    ckg
     
  19. ob81 macrumors 65816

    ob81

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    Virginia Beach
    #19
    Anyone who still is searching for a way to stop using CD's in mid 2007 will not be helped by a Mac-Mini.

    Come on man.
    The mini is not your answer. If you have Windows Media Center you can do the same thing. For cheaper. And you don't have to worry about it being compatible with Apple or not. Get an iMac if you want to buy something.
     
  20. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

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    #20
    Eh? Who stuck a bug up your @rse?

    I have a Mini. It replaced our VCR, DVD and stereo. It reduces clutter, it's stable, silent and tiny. It does everything I want it to and - from the original post - it will do everything the OP wants was well.

    It also looks a metric shedload* better than any media centre box I've seen from the Windows side.

    Have I paid a premium for the Apple design and OS? Yes. Was it worth it? For me, yes it was. IMHO. YMMV. Whatever.

    Cheers

    Jim

    *There are approximately 2.7 of the old Imperial shedloads to 1 metric shedload.
     
  21. ob81 macrumors 65816

    ob81

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    #21
    When did you purchase your mini.
    Are you denying that anyone still having a bulk CD "issue" in 2007 will have their problems solved with a mini? In fact, the user could save a lot more mney by purchasing Apple TV than buying a mini for something as simple as evaporating a physical CD collection.
    Just because you did it, and overpaid for something that you could have done better with an 80gb iPod, doesn't mean that its the best way to get something done. I think we do agree on that one I hope.
     
  22. killerrobot macrumors 68020

    killerrobot

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    #22
    Since when was the 80gb ipod able to run OSX and hold 750 gigs, and surf the web etc....:confused:

    If they want a mini, they can buy a mini. Just because you and everyone else that's negative towards it -- did it break up with you all recently or something -- doesn't mean there aren't people out there who want it or that it isn't useful. I personally am probably never going to buy one, but it sure looks cool to me and this discussion started me thinking..hmm, what if I had a mini??

    The whole point of any buying any computer or electronic device or anything for that matter, is that it fits your needs (and your wants too every once in a while).

    And back to the original question -- i still think waiting a few months would be prudent. (Yes I know I already answered, just trying to get it back to what the thread was about so Pointer can get more feedback about HIS question.)
     
  23. ob81 macrumors 65816

    ob81

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    #23
    I recommended that the initial poster get an iMac. Maybe thats why you are confused in your first line. :)
    The mini is not a good buy, especially at a time where it may be getting updated/shutdown.
     
  24. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

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    #24
    Christmas. BTO with a 120Gb HDD, hooked up direct to an LG 27" LCD and a pair of Harmon Kardon soundsticks. Bluetooth keyboard and mouse.

    I don't understand your point, or what I'm supposed to be denying. I had a bunch of CDs, my wife had a bunch of CDs. Now they're all on the Mini and we've dispensed with the stereo.

    Would other people find other solutions more acceptable? Quite possibly, but this one worked for me.

    What earthly purpose would an AppleTV serve? It's designed to stream your media library into your living room from elsewhere in the house. We don't have a media library on another computer, so what would the point be?

    And how would an 80Gb iPod enable us to do our weekly shopping via Tesco online? How would an Apple TV play back our DVDs (without first ripping them)? How would either of these supposed alternatives accommodate a TV tuner and offer us time-shifting, scheduled recording, advert removal, etc?

    I'm not saying that any of these features are unique to the Mini, but we did not have a computer that allowed us to do any of these things.

    The Mini, therefore, met all of our needs, is practically silent, and looks fantastic. Again, as I said, I am not suggesting that it is the only solution, but it is the only solution to offer all the above and look fantastic, and be silent, and run OSX, with all of the ease-of-use implications that come with it.

    Again, as I said, YMMV. For me, the total package was worth the extra cost, particularly because this set-up has to sit in our living room and be useable by the missus.

    Functionality is not the be-all and end-all in these matters. Will a Ford Mondeo get you up to the speed limit and let you drive all the way from London to Glasgow? Yes. Would you rather make the same journey in Porsche or a Beemer? Again, YMMV.

    Cheers

    Jim
     
  25. killerrobot macrumors 68020

    killerrobot

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    #25
    No. I'm confused because you said an 80 gb iPod could do a better job than the mini.:)

    Not a good buy right now, I totally agree. Hence the wait a few months to see what happens with it;) And the initial poster didn't ask about getting and iMac he asked if he should wait or not to buy the mini.:)
     

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