Mac Mini purchase opinions

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Duffinator, Feb 9, 2008.

  1. Duffinator macrumors 6502

    Duffinator

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    Location:
    130 miles NE of Cupertino
    #1
    I'll be making the LEAP from PC to Mac in the next week or two. I'll be buying a Mini and use my existing Samsung monitor and wireless MS keyboard and mouse to start with. I have a wired network with DSL, another PC, Laptop, ATV, and printer connected. I had my house wired when it was built several years ago so I'm not concerned about going wireless yet. My computer is used mainly for internet, email, audio, photo, and video. In addition I use it to log onto my email from work using a Citrix network connection.

    My plan is to buy a 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with the super drive and 2 GB of RAM and the 120 GB hdd from Apple direct. I'm also going to buy two NewerTech mini stacks at 500 GB each and store all my personal files including audio, video, and photo on it and use the internal Mini hdd for applications only. I will keep them synced and rotate them out monthly and store one at work for safe keeping. Does this sound like a good plan and are the NewerTech drives a good choice? Any other hardware suggestions?

    On the software side besides the Apple iLife software what else do I need for photo editing, creating movies from home video, CD ripping/burning and DVD ripping/burning. I've read a bit about Handbrake and Mac the ripper and they seem like they will do what I need. I currently use Adobe Photoshop, Nero, and iTunes, Quicken, Firefox, DVD Shrink, along with MS Office Standard.

    OK here comes the typical PC question and one of the reasons why I'm making the switch........I really don't need any anti-virus software? What about SPAM and such?

    Any other suggestions please pass them along. Thanks in advance. :apple:
     
  2. ktbubster macrumors 6502a

    ktbubster

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Location:
    US
    #2
    That sounds like a very solid plan and very well thought out. I can't really give you much advice as far as the stacks and such go, but just a note... you mentioned you use photoshop. I assume you have a window's version right now? I am not sure if you already were planning this, but if you call adobe I believe they will gladly swap out your windows os version for an OSX version, which would elliminate the need for bootcamp or dual booting an OS. Not sure about MS Word.

    Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, and if you already know that, then sorry to repeat :)
     
  3. Duffinator thread starter macrumors 6502

    Duffinator

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    Location:
    130 miles NE of Cupertino
    #3
    I'm not planning on running Windows on the Mac. Those were just examples of current software I'm using. I may start using Google Apps for Office type software or buy Office for Mac if I need it later. I'm hoping the iLife software will cover most of my photo and video needs. There will still be two other PC's in the house.
     
  4. ktbubster macrumors 6502a

    ktbubster

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Location:
    US
    #4
    Oh yeah... plenty of good programs to use instead of MS word. The ilife suite is really good for basic photo editing needs, but if you are used to using photoshop, just figured I'd give you a suggestion on how to grab a copy for OSX so you can use it with your lovely new mac too :) Personally I love photoshop and don't like using anything else, but if you aren't picky the ilife suite will do just great for you :)

    Enjoy your new setup. Sounds like a good bet, and despite what some people say, the mini is an awesome little computer. You will enjoy it.

    P.S. mail.app for osx has a good spam/junk mail filter, i've never had problems. You won't need virus software UNLESS oyu are worried about transfering a virus that you may get in mail or something to your PC through the network with your mac... then I think you may want something? While your mac won't be affected a PC might, bu really if you are careful about emails etc, I assume you won't have a problem anyway.
     
  5. dcanman macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    #5
    new to mac

    I will be buying my first mac system soon. I am thinking about the mac mini as well. (I am not sure what stacks are. Are they extra hard drives?) I will be using it for photoshop CS3 and other home stuff. My question is will the mini be a good fit for photoshop. And is there a good apple LCD monitor that is recommened for photo editing. I was seriouly thinking about the 24" imac, but I have been told the LCD screen isn't that good for photo work. I want to buy the right system the first time and try to keep it a simple as possible.
     
  6. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #6
    Yes, Mini Stack v2 from NewerTech (sold through Other World computing). I have two of them myself, with 400 and 500 gb drives in each. They have both Firewire 400 and USB2 hubs in them. Very nice, but fans can be noisy (3.5" drives generate a lot more heat than 2.5" drives).

    Other than a couple of filters in CS3 that (supposedly) tap the gpu, you should be fine since it relies primarily on the cpu.

    23" ACD will work, but there are others out there. Check for a display with either S-IPS, S-PVA or S-MVA panels in them. 24" (1920 x 1200) displays with DVI connectors start around $500 or so. Avoid TN panels if you do critical photo work.

    The LCD in the 24" is an S-IPS - a true 8-bit panel. It is an excellent display, if you can tolerate glossy screens. Personally, I wouldn't take one for that reason alone. Whichever route you go, make sure you pick up a calibrator, such as the Spyder2Express ($80). Use it with a printer and paper/profile combination and you'll get spot-on prints nearly every time.
     
  7. Duffinator thread starter macrumors 6502

    Duffinator

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    Location:
    130 miles NE of Cupertino
    #7
    Noisy? Hmmm maybe I should look at other options then.

    Any other suggestions on my new Mini purchase?
     
  8. aross99 macrumors 68000

    aross99

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2006
    Location:
    East Lansing, MI
    #8
    I have one of the Newertech Mini Stack's as well, and i have been very happy with it. I haven't used any other 3.5" external drives, but the fan isn't that loud. Seems about the same as the Mac Mini...
     
  9. pulsewidth947 macrumors 65816

    pulsewidth947

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Location:
    squarefrog.co.uk
    #9
    I think a Mini is a good choice if you already have a display/keyboard/mouse. In fact when I switched back in Jan 2005 I bought a Mini. The new Intel ones are very fast and will do most of the tasks you've mentioned easily.

    I own 2x LaCie Mini drives (250GB and 500GB) as storage for my Mini. They are designed to go with the Mini perfectly, and they do. The fans rarely come on - I think I've heard them twice in a year.

    I've used Photoshop CS3 on an Intel Mini and it's fine. To be honest it would work on a G4, just slower.

    As for Office, you can use one of the free alternatives, like OpenOffice, or go for Apples iWork package, which is compatible with Office files. Note - the keynote presentations look much better than powerpoint in my opinion.
     
  10. gotzero macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    Location:
    Mid-Atlantic, US
    #10
    Try out the NeoOffice version of OO, much easier to use on a Mac right now. The word processor dominates Word, and as far as Excel (which I think is an excellent program) the Mac version no longer has VBA, so I would get a PC copy anyway.

    Spam is addressed usually by your e-mail provider, and as long as you lock things down well you do not need third party anti-virus software at this time.

    The mini is a great computer for everyday tasks. However, if you are bumping specs from Apple, it might not hurt to take a look at the base macbook, upgrade the RAM and HDD yourself (super easy and does not violate warranty in any way), and have a slightly more powerful computer that is also portable... Or a refurb SR MB 2.0 for $949 (same price as the mini + RAM)!

    I thought my mini was a killer deal, but I got a 1.83C2D refurb for $500, and put in 2GB RAM and a 120GB HDD from my stock MBP parts. I am not sure I would feel as hot about essentially the same setup for twice the cost...
     
  11. Duffinator thread starter macrumors 6502

    Duffinator

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    Location:
    130 miles NE of Cupertino
    #11
    Pulse and Zero, thanks for the tip on openoffice. So on the NO I'd want to Download for Mac Intel machine? Does that include a program to use PowerPoint? I'm not worried about VBA at this point.

    I've been using Firefox for several years. Any reason to use Safari over Firefox?
     
  12. gotzero macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    Location:
    Mid-Atlantic, US
    #12
    There is a "Presentation" program, but I have not used it.

    In MS Office I think Excel, Access, and Visio are amazing.

    I think Outlook, Powerpoint, and Word exist to make me tear my hair out.

    For NeoOffice you would want the Mac Intel version, the latest release build.
     
  13. pulsewidth947 macrumors 65816

    pulsewidth947

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Location:
    squarefrog.co.uk
    #13
    It's a bit quicker. I never use it though - Firefox does everything I want, plus has my extensions! FF might be slower on the mac than on a PC. I don't know because I never use PCs anymore!
     
  14. iSee macrumors 68040

    iSee

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    #14
    LOL, you really *won't* need virus or hijack software (cross your fingers and knock on wood).

    For me, Mail.app's spam filter did not work well at all. It would let everything through. If I trained it to be a little more strict, it would let less through, but start blocking stuff I wanted to get.

    I still us Mail.app because it is a nice email program, but I rely on Google apps mail for spam filtering. It is almost perfect.

    I recommend either using a regular gmail account (somename@gmail.com) or, if you have your own domain name and can configure CNAME records, use Google apps mail (somename@yourdomain.com). Both are hosted by Google and benefit from their great spam filtering. Google also has a good web mail interface and supports IMAP and POP3 mail clients (such as Mail.app).
     

Share This Page