Hi, before I've always had Mac laptops, but times are a-changing. I now have an Ipad mini that I use when I travel, and my laptop never moves anymore. In fact, a few years ago, I hooked up my Macbook Pro to my tv, got wireless keyboard and trackpad, and haven't touched the laptop itself for years. It just sits there and acts as a desktop computer; I never use its screen or keyboard. So now that I'm cross-grading (wouldn't call it an upgrade or downgrade), I've decided to go with a Mac mini to get better performance for cheaper. It only makes sense. But I have some questions I hope you guys can help me with. I'm not a techie so some of these questions might be pretty simple. - 1 - The big $200 decision is between the 2.5Ghz Dual-Core i5/500GB hard drive and the 2.3Ghz Quad-Core i7/1TB hard drive. The hard drive size doesn't matter to me since my laptop now only has less than 200GB, so even 500 sounds amazing to me, so it's really between processors. How big a difference is there in performance between the two? I've never had a quad-core. I mainly use my computer for normal stuff, internet, word processing and stuff, but sometimes I do need to have a lot of applications running at once, jumping back and forth between them, and I could do with it being a little faster. But also, sometimes I game, and I particularly like Civilization V, and it doesn't work that well on my current laptop at 2.26Ghz Core 2 Duo, so I'm thinking maybe it's worth it to spend the $200 for the quad-core for increased performance? What do you guys think? - 2 - If I do get the quad-core, I also have the $90 option of upgrading 2.6Ghz instead of 2.3Ghz. Is it worth it? I'm leaning towards the upgrade, so from the dual-core mini, I'm looking at a total of $290 for the better processor. Again, I'm thinking 2.6Ghz would make the computer faster all around and games like Civ V work better. So how big is the difference between the 2.3Ghz and the 2.6Ghz? - 3 - RAM. It comes with 4GB but I want at least 8GB (16GB would be amazing too). Here's the thing, I don't want to spend the extra $90 for 8GB RAM if I don't have to. But I'm not techie and have never added RAM on my own before. I *think* I might could do it myself looking around online. Any suggestions/links? Should I just pay Apple to do it or am I better off trying to do it myself? I know doing it myself "voids" the Apple warranty or something, but if something happened later on, before bringing it in, couldn't I just open it back up and make the RAM like it originally was and they wouldn't know the difference? I also have no idea on where the best or cheapest RAM is to buy, so any help would be great. - 4 - Connecting to my tv. I see that the mini has an hdmi plug area. So, just to make sure, I'm going to be able to simply plug my hdmi into the mini and my tv, and then I'll be able to see the computer screen on my tv and hear any sound on the tv that I'm playing through the mini? If so, then I can't wait! Last time, I unfortunately got the last Macbook Pro that wouldn't connect sound to a tv. So I have to first use that little connector that connects to hdmi for the picture, then using my earphone plug on the laptop, I connect to external speakers which is where the sound comes out when I'm watching movies or playing iTunes or whatever. Ugh, a simple hdmi cord from mini to tv will be sooo much better. - 5 - The "main screen" (home screen?) of the mini. Is it just the same as main screens of laptops? When I turn it on, will what I see on screen be the same kind of thing I'm used to seeing? Or will the screen somehow look all different? Like I'm talking about the screen where everything is, from desktop images, the dock, etc. - 6 - Transferring everything from laptop to mini. I think I have two options. I can just transfer using a USB cord, right? I'm not 100% sure if that's possible. Or my other option is getting an external hard drive, transferring my laptop stuff to it, then from the external hard drive to mini. The main thing is, I want to "clean up" all the stuff on my laptop as I add it to the mini and de-clutter and delete some stuff, so I don't really want one massive transfer of everything to the mini. But I need to sell my laptop asap after I get the mini so I can't just keep the laptop around forever with the stuff on it. So would an external hard drive with all the stuff on it be the best solution? - 7 - Stuff like Pages and Numbers. I use those all the time. Can I not get them with my mini to save money, then instead just transfer them from my laptop to my mini? I'm not really sure how all that works. - 8 - Overheating fan. Sometimes this turns on on my laptop, especially when I'm playing Civ V. Sometimes it will stay on the entire time I'm playing, which can be hours. This scares me and makes me worried it will overheat anyway and just stop working. I guess the mini also has a fan for overheating? Can I expect the better performance on the mini to make the fan not turn on when I'm playing Civ V? I'm hoping it will work well enough that the fan doesn't come on, because every time I play on my laptop, the fan on always agitates me and makes me think I'm tearing up the computer. - 9 - Wireless. Does the mini also have wireless connections? I love the wireless or bluetooth connections between my iPad mini and laptop and my phone and laptop. I actually have my laptop plugged into ethernet for faster speed, so I don't need wireless for the internet connection (assuming the mini has an ethernet plug area) but I would like it for cross-device connections. Thanks for helping!