Mac Mini an amazing $499 -- until you add essentials


Nermal

Moderator
Staff member
Dec 7, 2002
18,678
1,183
New Zealand
It doesn't come with speakers? Well I suppose it's technically true, because there's only one of them. But it's not really a valid point to criticise.
 

nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,551
1,186
A computer isn't numbers, it's what you can DO with it

Take a base $499 Mini. Add a cheap no-name keyboard, mouse, and display, or ones you already have lying around. Do NOT add RAM, or additional software, or wireless options, or anything fancy. Bare bones.

But... what can you DO with it?

A whole lot! You can connect your DV camcorder and edit home movies. You can burn CDs. You can watch DVD movies. You can create music. You can make photo slideshows. You can do basic word processing, spreadsheets, databases, and home finance. You can play two really nice 3D games. You can use the web and email without fear of viruses and spyware. You can experience an elegant OS coupled with compact, quiet hardware. You can exchange data with Windows. You can even connect your DVI flat-panel TV.

Add extras if you want. More RAM. USB hub or wireless. More games. More musical instruments. Higher-end word processing. Pro video editing. It's all supported.

Now take a cheapo PC with higher Mhz, but no DVI, no Firewire, no CD burner, no DVD, no anti-virus software, no basic office suite, no bundled games, no 3D board, no VRAM (which means you have less main RAM left)... you have now saved $100 or so.

But... what can you DO with it?

None of the above.

So what are the "essentials"? A Ghz sticker with a bigger number, and a cheap non-optical mouse in the box?
 

bpd115

macrumors 6502a
Feb 4, 2003
808
42
Pennsylvania
I think he feels lonley and no one is emailing him.

This article will take care of that.

It's apparent this tool hasn't used OSX.
 

Yvan256

macrumors 603
Jul 5, 2004
5,032
886
Canada
TonyBriggs said:
Window-based PCs are still a lot cheaper and, let's face it, they already know how Windows works. Who wants to learn a new operating system?
That guy's right on the money, he just doesn't realize it.

People already know how Windows works. Insecure, full of security holes, trojans, viruses, worms. Simply viewing a web page with MSIE or receiving a message via MSN Messenger can compromise your system.

Indeed, who wants to learn a new operating system where you don't have the joys of fighting for the control of your own computer? :rolleyes:

Of course, that's not stuff that happens to me, but you should see the people around me...
 

tpatricks

macrumors member
Oct 19, 2004
78
0
Los Angeles, CA USA
Can't Buy A Clue At The Free Clue Store...

It's really sad, but this is just a case of a lazy guy who has a job writing for a newspaper. It's not a piece from a true journalist.

Based on what's stated in the article, this poor "writer" couldn't take his entire inheritance and buy a computer clue at The Free Computer Clue Store in the mall.

Come on. This is just shoddy, inept, sophomoric reporting at best, and an ill formed and poorly presented opinion piece at worst.

A comparison should compare something, don't you think? There's no comparison of the Mac mini with say, a Dell or HP in the same price range. There's no consideration of hardware features. Did I miss the comparison of software? Was that in there? I coulda missed it while my eyes were rolling back in my head.

This article is so obviously a fluff piece that any first rate journalist would not want to be described as belonging to the same class of human as that writer.

I'm very tempted to do an Open Letter To The Editor of the News Journal describing how poorly their publishing organization looks when printing such dribble.

"Yet another over-priced, over-hyped product from Apple..."

Over priced? Says who? Over hyped? Only by the mainstream press (the writer should try working for one, except he couldn't get hired).

"...everyone loves the new Mac Mini -- except me."

Hmmm. That says something. Even longtime Mac critics Paul Thurott and Rob Enderle have provided praise.

"Or even enough memory to run a lot of programs very well -- a paltry 256 megabytes is standard. Once you add all those essentials, the price tag gets closer to what you'd expect to pay for a Mac -- a lot."

This is obviously a statement from someone who doesn't own a Mac, hasn't used a Mac, hasn't tried out the Mac mini, doesn't know how to spell "iLife."

While I'd probably add more memory, MacsOnly did a nice review of the Mac mini with 256 megs RAM vs 512 megs RAM and there wasn't much difference-- for the average user.

"Even if you ignore the fact the Mac Mini is missing a lot of essential parts, it's really not that cheap. PCs that run the dreaded Windows operating system are quite a bit cheaper. Best Buy recently advertised a desktop computer, with keyboard, mouse, speakers, 17-inch monitor AND a printer for $170 less than the bare-bones Mac Mini. And Wal-Mart sells a stripped-down desktop PC that runs Linux for $200 less."

Hello. Let's compare again. Make sure those other computers have the same things as a Mac mini (32 megs video RAM, DVI, Firewire, ethernet), then add a keyboard, mouse, and monitor to the mini's price.

Da da! They're about the same, no?

"Window-based PCs are still a lot cheaper and, let's face it, they already know how Windows works. Who wants to learn a new operating system?"

What's a "lot" to you, Tony? A few million people have paid $499 or so for their iPods and accessories. Most of those were Windows users. What's that say?

Oh, who wants to learn a new operating system? People who are tired of constant security issues, warnings, bulletins. People who are tired of running multiple spyware programs. People who are tired of viruses, worms, trojan horses, and their accompanying monthly updates. People who are tired of the Blue Screen Of Death.

People who want it to "just work" are interested. Too bad your publisher wasn't interested in a reporter who could do the same.

----
How's that guys? Is that writing you'd expect from Mac360? ;)
-
 

jydesign

macrumors member
Oct 23, 2003
59
0
I have to admit, the memory complaints seem spot on. You really can't do much without the 512MB RAM imho. If Apple would just change that, then they would only have to contend with the noise about no montior, keyboard etc. but could stand firm behind the price being considered low. Macs just can't do all the demanding iLife mult-app stuff w. 256 (keep in mind that's 256 working in tandem with a G4), be honest with yourselves. Any of you out there who are Mac-headed enough to be reading this thread really have a primary machine that only has 256MB or RAM?
 

dejo

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 2, 2004
15,725
447
The Centennial State
So who should buy a Mac Mini? The target audience -- the 97 percent of the world that still uses Windows -- is a long shot. Most of them are probably pretty satisfied with what they have and therefore have no compelling reason to switch.
He thinks that most Windows users are probably pretty satisfied with an insecure OS that is ripe for malware? Each and every minute there are more and more Windows users who are being completely dissatisfied by having to deal with all the crap.
 

gerardrj

macrumors regular
May 2, 2002
208
0
Arizona
"Who who should buy a Mac Mini? The target audience ... is a long shot. Most of them are probably pretty satisfied with what they have and therefore have no compelling reason to switch ... they already know how Windows works. Who wants to learn a new operating system?"

Um, I do technical support for a living. I work in a call center and talk to between 30 and 50 people a day. Very few of these people really know how Windows works. They have no clue what the difference between left-click and right-click is, they double-click everything, they don't know where the control panels are or what they do. Hell, most of these people can't pronounce the word "Ethernet", about 10 times a day I listen to a caller say "eithernet", "intranet", or "enternet" when they refer to such a cable. Don't even get me started on how many people refer to their monitor as the computer and the actual computer as just "the tower".

Fact is that the "average" Windows user is mostly clueless about the thing outside the shiny icons that are placed on the desktop for them by the vendor or a helpful family member.

For these 60% of home users that use Microsoft Windows XP, switching to a Mac only means they don't have to worry about the second mouse button, and have to double-click a different shiny icon to get their email. The upshot, of course, is they don't have to worry about the viruses and spyware that proliferate so many of the systems I troubleshoot every day.

So the compelling reasons are simple:
1. Takes up less space so you have more desktop area for your "real life" tasks
2. No malware, you don't have to update your virus scanner, or suffer an OS re-install every two months.
3. Software. Out of the box this thing does what they want: personal photo and video management, music, surfing, email, chat (text, audio or video)
 

dejo

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 2, 2004
15,725
447
The Centennial State
jydesign said:
I have to admit, the memory complaints seem spot on. You really can't do much without the 512MB RAM imho. If Apple would just change that, then they would only have to contend with the noise about no montior, keyboard etc. but could stand firm behind the price being considered low. Macs just can't do all the demanding iLife mult-app stuff w. 256 (keep in mind that's 256 working in tandem with a G4), be honest with yourselves. Any of you out there who are Mac-headed enough to be reading this thread really have a primary machine that only has 256MB or RAM?
How much RAM does the Best Buy Special or Walmart PC come with? Is 256 MB enough to run Windows XP?

Yes, a Mac can do all the demanding iLife stuff w/ 256, just not as quickly. I'm sure the same can be said of Windows running similar apps with similar RAM. It's not like the Mac mini is going to spontaneously explode or shut down for good if it doesn't have at least 512.

The Mac mini is not targeted to be a primary machine, hence the BYODKM.
 

tpatricks

macrumors member
Oct 19, 2004
78
0
Los Angeles, CA USA
I just couldn't help myself...

There's more of this kind of "journalism" out there than we may know about. At least Mac users are vocal about their purchases, preferences, and how they spend their time. I spent too much time on that piece.

As I said, I couldn't help myself...

Rebuttal...
 

applebum

macrumors 6502
Jul 10, 2003
307
0
SC
Why do these guys fail to mention essentials left off of the cheap PC's? Just went to Dell's sight, and this is what I see as essentials:
1 Year warranty - $19
CDRW - $40 (I am not even updating to a combo drive here)
Speakers - $20 (yes they are extra for Dell)
AntiVirus - $69 (gets you 15 months)

This doesn't even get the Dell up to the same specks as the Mini, and the cheapest Dell is now $547 after rebate. Now, some of these things may not be essential to actually using the computer, but I do think the Anti-virus is essential for a PC. With the CDRW, not essential, but everyone is going to want one, as you need it for a lot of the things you want to do with a computer these days.

This doesn't even include software that gets the Dell somewhat compatible to the Mini. It would cost $68 extra just to get much of the basic software that comes with the Mini.

And again, the Mini is designed for those that have the "essentials" already.
 

nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,551
1,186
jydesign said:
I have to admit, the memory complaints seem spot on. You really can't do much without the 512MB RAM imho.
RAM is the first thing I'd recommend any Mac owner adding if they have budget to spare.

But you can DO a whole lot with less RAM. Some things will be slower, that's all.

I know people who added RAM to their 256 Macs, and although I notice the difference, they don't. So more RAM is nice for most people, but not vital for everyone.

It would be great if Apple offered 512 standard, but it's not a deal-breaker.
 

mvc

macrumors 6502a
Jul 11, 2003
760
0
Outer-Roa
So basically we can paraphrase that article as "MACMinizSUX!@!! and save everyone else some bandwidth and time reading it
 

shadowfax

macrumors 603
Sep 6, 2002
5,849
0
Houston, TX
Hmm. I can't seem to really find the computers he was talking about.

Best buy?

Wal*Mart?

Right. the former is actually $160 more till you take the $330 rebate off, which, realistically, are a scam. The Celeron is not a high performance chip.... at all. at 2.6 GHz, You're not going to see anything faster than a 1.25 GHz G4, I don't think. the video card is an intel non-GPU with shared memory. There's no Firewire or DVD. adding a real video card, FW, and a DVD player are pretty stinking expensive.

The walmart thing doesn't even have windows. That's a good thing, right? well, you hope, i guess. 128 MB of ram. what was that about adding essentials? No monitor either. damn! There's not even a CD writer, not to mention a DVD player. Shared video mem/no GPU again.

looks like another case of not looking at the stuff you write about. nice one.
 

sworthy

macrumors regular
Nov 8, 2002
104
0
I also tried to configure a dell, and after adding a cd-rw, modem, and one year warranty, the dell was the same price, though it does come with a 1-year warranty. The problem many 'writers' have is that they think Apple claimed to come out with the most inexpensive computer. However, I think it says a lot when I can get a mac mini for +/- 100 (if you count rebates) of the CHEAPEST Dell with comparable specs (though still has integrated video).
 

dlfitch

macrumors member
Sep 23, 2004
30
0
That article really didn't deserve to get a link here, except maybe with the title 'Worst. Article. Ever.' I mean come on, he took the same silly argument that all the other PC heads have been spitting out and turned it into what looks like a 500- page assignment for High School debate class. Zero substance, zero originality, zero insight into anything...

The funniest part is his paper's tagline: 'THE INDEPENDENT VOICE OF VOLUSIA & FLAGLER COUNTIES'. To to the good people of Volusia county: I'm sorry that your local paper is such an embarrassment to our species.
 

dlfitch

macrumors member
Sep 23, 2004
30
0
http://www.news-journalonline.com/NewsJournalOnline/Opinion/Columnists/DrDOS/03BusinessTALK091204.htm for more quality journalism (pretty much the same article with 'iMac' substituted for 'Mac Mini').

And here's some examples of what 'using a computer' means to good old Tony Briggs:

http://www.news-journalonline.com/NewsJournalOnline/Opinion/Columnists/DrDOS/03BusinessTALK102404.htm
http://www.news-journalonline.com/NewsJournalOnline/Opinion/Columnists/DrDOS/03BusinessTALK110704.htm

But this is the best part of all: His picture.



Look at those teeth!! I guess the paper is printed in B&W so they couldn't justify 5 minutes in photoshop to remove the yellow slime...
 

Blue Velvet

Moderator emeritus
Jul 4, 2004
21,652
123
dlfitch said:
http://www.news-journalonline.com/NewsJournalOnline/Opinion/Columnists/DrDOS/03BusinessTALK091204.htm for more quality journalism (pretty much the same article with 'iMac' substituted for 'Mac Mini').

And here's some examples of what 'using a computer' means to good old Tony Briggs:

http://www.news-journalonline.com/NewsJournalOnline/Opinion/Columnists/DrDOS/03BusinessTALK102404.htm
http://www.news-journalonline.com/NewsJournalOnline/Opinion/Columnists/DrDOS/03BusinessTALK110704.htm

But this is the best part of all: His picture.



Look at those teeth!! I guess the paper is printed in B&W so they couldn't justify 5 minutes in photoshop to remove the yellow slime...

LOL! :D

Loved that sign-off...

"There. I'll bet you feel smarter already."
 

takao

macrumors 68040
Dec 25, 2003
3,825
432
Dornbirn (Austria)
dejo said:
How much RAM does the Best Buy Special or Walmart PC come with? Is 256 MB enough to run Windows XP?

Yes, a Mac can do all the demanding iLife stuff w/ 256, just not as quickly. I'm sure the same can be said of Windows running similar apps with similar RAM. It's not like the Mac mini is going to spontaneously explode or shut down for good if it doesn't have at least 512.
256 is enough for xp home... at least the PC of my small brother works good enough
1,5 months ago i got an athlon 1,2 ghz for free with only 128 installed, put in another 128 (lying around),and a mx440 (for free as well) and he's playing some 3d strategy games and battlefield 1942 (he plays it on 800x600 or 1024x786)

not as snappy as with better processor and additional 256 mb but the difference isn't very noticable besides startup time and heavy multitasking

from my expierences all flavours of linux etc. have been more RAM hungry than windows xp...

but more is always better ;)
 

looklost

macrumors regular
Apr 12, 2002
100
0
Chicago Suburbs
Already know windows... LOL

The comment about people already knowing windows is a laugh. Most people I know who have only used windows OS know hardly anything about a computer except for double clicking an icon to use a program.