Mac Mini Competitors

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by rosemary1, Sep 30, 2011.

  1. rosemary1 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    #1
    I'm working on setting up an interactive exhibit at a local museum and we need four machines to connect to monitors that will be hung on the wall. We've done some roundabouts on brainstorming of how best to approach this, including considering iPads and laptops. Since the monitors are going to be on the wall, it dawned on me that the Mac Mini would be a pretty good solution for us. However, now the museum director is leaning toward netbooks.

    The overall concern is price, since we're a small non-profit museum and have very little budget. I still think the Mac Mini is the best solution for us, but it's going to be hard to convince the director, who is the first to admit she's not all that tech-savvy, that we should get four $600 machines over four $250 machines. My concern with the netbooks is that they won't be powerful enough to run the website we'll be displaying all day, which is graphic-intensive.

    I know there have been PCs similar to the Mac Mini, but everything I've found seems to have been discontinued. Is there anything similar that anyone would recommend looking at? I'd like to compile a list of options that I could present to the director.

    Although it sounds like someone might be giving us a netbook or two, so we might be stuck going that route (for now, at least - ugh).
     
  2. aziatiklover macrumors 68030

    aziatiklover

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    Location:
    8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4
    #2
    Not really competitors, but asus and acer make net top!
     
  3. Outrigger macrumors 68000

    Outrigger

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2008
    #3
    If budget is a primary concern, I would get a nettop with the ION2 graphics which will be more than sufficient in terms of displaying graphics. Most budget machines will be adequate displays since you're not editing them which is a big difference. Although the minis would be nice, it would be overkill for what the intended purpose is.
     
  4. gizms12 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    #4
    Maybe a used older model Mini will suffice?
    Just an idea.
     
  5. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    Location:
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    #5
  6. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
    Location:
    On the fence
    #6
    This is all just NAS stuff, not what OP is looking for.

    OP, I suggest the nettop route.
     
  7. reebzor macrumors 6502a

    reebzor

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    #7
    A nettop with ION2 would be best.

    I can appreciate wanting to use macs because that is what you're familiar with, but a Mini will not only be overkill, but your boss thinks its too expensive. Honestly, for a kiosk machine thats not going to do anything but display a webpage, I think $600 is way too much.
     
  8. aarond12 macrumors 65816

    aarond12

    Joined:
    May 20, 2002
    Location:
    Dallas, TX USA
    #8
    If the computer is just running a website (sans Flash) day in and day out, a netbook wouldn't be a bad option. I'm not sure why you're pushing for the Mac Mini. Both the low-end Mini and a netbook use Intel Integrated Graphics (albeit a later version on the Mini), so neither will give you stellar graphics capabilities.

    Some thought as to the long-term serviceability of the device should be taken into account. Hard drives fail over time. Configure your setup to minimize hard drive usage or set up a network boot with NO internal hard drives (both netbooks and Macs can do this), running from a central server. This will also facilitate faster updates.

    Finally, come up with a setup that is not easily violated by kids who want to screw up your displays. If you use Windows, you have to go through and make a very stringent policy removing the functionality of almost everything. For Mac, the removal of most applications and hacks to remove menu bars and the dock will usually work. For Linux, there are many ways of configuring a kiosk mode installation.
     
  9. rosemary1 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    #9
    Thanks for everyone's input!

    The site we'll be running is based in Flash and renders 3D graphics in real time, so it is kinda a lot to run for the entire day.

    And setting up kiosk mode is definitely another big consideration.

    One of the museum board members really likes the Mac Mini idea, so I think we're going to be able to go with that - although maybe 3 stations instead of 4.
     

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