It's fairly clear that Apple was trying to kill of the Mini when they gutted its features last autumn. If they're going this far then why not make it the size of an Apple TV? At least do something better than same old box but slower. Ridiculous. I was thinking about picking one up whenever we get gigabit fiber to run server software on, but a little Linux box makes much more sense now. If you're considering a Mac Mini and are somewhat knowledgable about computers, just build a hackintosh. There are lots of instructional videos online. I feel like OS X has degraded in quality to the point where I'm fiddling with it enough already, so a hackintosh shouldn't be much different.
Count yourself lucky that you don't yet know the true joys
of maintaining a hackintosh. Want to upgrade from Mavericks to Yosemite? Perhaps you wanted to months ago, but you still haven't because a simple upgrade becomes a major project. Say you have 3 Macs or MacBooks and one hackintosh. Guess which one you'll be spending the most time tinkering with and maintaining (more time than all the others combined)? There will nearly always be something
that doesn't work right. And if it's only one
thing you should probably be happy.
A hackintosh has value as a hobbyist's project, and in this role I think it actually benefits Apple more than it hurts them - eventually growing their customer base. This is probably why they haven't cracked down on them in a significant way.
I suppose it's conceivable that an IT staff could come out ahead if they had many identical hackintosh machines they maintained. But most companies wouldn't want to do this. In the end almost everybody's better off just spending the money for a Mac Pro (or whichever model is appropriate for the task) - especially
if that machine makes money for them! If time costs anything, the hackintosh is usually more expensive.
BTW, I'm hoping that Apple handicapped the Mac Mini because Intel delayed the release of the processors they were going to use in them. If Apple is wise, I believe they should make the next Mac Pro start at 6-cores, and bring 4-cores back to the Mac Mini as an option. This should be technically feasible with Intel's recent/upcoming processor releases.