Mac Mini + PC Laptop = Bliss?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by jodr, Feb 1, 2010.

  1. jodr macrumors member

    Jan 18, 2010
    As an alternative to the MacBook Pro, I've considered a similarly-priced 2-computer solution:

    The Mac Mini + a PC netbook (or low-end laptop)

    This could work for me, except it comes with the baggage of having not just two separate systems, but two entirely different platforms. I was curious if anybody has had any experience managing a mobile PC and a desktop Mac, and if they would recommend against it. I've been away from Windows for a while now, and not sure how well they play with eachother these days (outside of the leaps in virtualization).
  2. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    I think it depends on the kind of software you need to keep around, and how up-to-date you want to be. To me, I'm relatively familiar with both OS X and Windows, and I don't feel the need to constantly upgrade most of my paid software (e.g., I'm using Office 2003 and 2004, and that's fine by me). At that point, it's not that much work to use Windows and OS X. At the file level (documents, media, etc), things cross over just fine.
  3. ViViDboarder macrumors 68040


    Jun 25, 2008
    I manage 2 laptops and 2 desktops. 1 iMac, 1 MacBook Pro, 1 Linux desktop and 1 Linux netbook.

    As far as making them play well together... I'd go with Linux. As the underdog it tends to be compatible with both Windows and Mac nicely. While Windows tends to not care about it's support of Mac or Linux.

    Some good features would be to turn on screen sharing on your Mac and install VNC software on your netbook (you can do this in windows as well) and then you can control the iMac from anywhere. Another tip would be to install Dropbox on both computers to keep up to 2gb of files synced between them. I use this on all my computers and it works REALLY well. If you go with Linux (I use Ubuntu) try to install netatalk. Should find it in Add/Remove Programs and it will let you seemlessly share with any Mac computer.

    I use Ubuntu a lot and they are very good about updates. They come really often and you just click update and they run and 90% of the time you don't even need to reboot.

    So long story short... Managing 2 computers isn't so bad and I totally dig the MacMini + Netbook solution. :D

    If you want more advice on specifics of Linux netbooks let me know and I'd be happy to help.
  4. js81 macrumors 65816


    Dec 31, 2008
    My primary desktop is an iMac, my work computer is an iMac, and I have an Acer Windows 7 laptop. Both Macs run Office 2008 and my Acer runs Office 2007. I've had absolutely ZERO problems transferring anything between them.

    My only advice (personal opinion here) is DO NOT get a netbook. Here's the quick version of my story:
    1) Bought a netbook. Used it 7 months. Hated it (too slow, couldn't stream flash) - sold it on eBay.
    2) Bought a used PowerBook. Used it 4 months. Loved it, but still too slow, couldn't stream flash. Sold it on eBay.
    3) Bought a new Acer 5534 (full-sized laptop). Love it - wish I could've gotten a Macbook, sure, but for $360 this thing is awesome.

    Moral of the story - if you think you want a netbook, make sure you can put up with it...
  5. jodr thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 18, 2010
    Thanks for the feedback. I think the only thing that is holding me back is the Mac Mini side of the equation. I'm interested in editing video on this thing, and the 5400 rpm hard drive is not too appealing for that. I was surprised to see how upgrade un-friendly these systems are, I thought they might be as accessible as the Power Macs, albeit with smaller parts.

    In all honesty, I'm sort of considering making Ubuntu the solid, Unix-based OS in the my stable and ditching OS X altogether, as I've been underwhelmed by Apple's current hardware offerings.
  6. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    The Mini is indeed mini. It won't have any trouble editing (iMovie I assume) but rendering will take longer than, for instance, an iMac.

    If you want faster hard drives, your best bet is with an external connected via firewire 800. Any internal drive will be limited to 2.5'" notebook models.

    That said, it might be better to buy only a 13" MacBook Pro, which won't be faster than the mini, but would give portability. Add a large monitor and a keyboard+display. That way you would never worry about syncing two computers nor have the confusion of two disparate systems.
  7. tollickd macrumors member

    Jan 10, 2010
    I have:

    1 Acer 17" laptop with Vista 2gb Ram, 250GB HDDD
    1 Acer 15.6" laptop with Windows 7 Home Premium 4gb Ram, 320GB HDD
    1 Mac Mini 2.53GHz, 4gb Ram, 320GB HDD. this also has a 24" screen and Apple magic mouse/wireless keyboard.

    I am happy with my setup, the 17" is use mostly for my TV
  8. Gordy macrumors 6502a

    May 22, 2005
    Bristol, UK
    I'm in the process of going to this setup.

    I currently use the following
    Apple Macbook Unibody Aluminium
    20in Apple ACD
    Apple Wireless Keyboard
    Magic Mouse

    To the following
    Apple Mac Mini
    Apple 24in LED display
    Apple Wireless Keyboard
    Magic Mouse

    HP 5101 10.2" Netbook with a High Res 1366x768 display and Broadcom HD Crystal card.

    I've tried a lot of netbooks in the past, but the screen/hd abilities have always put me off the above is the best one I've found.

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