Switching from Windows: thinking about Mac Mini

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by RaggieSoft, Jun 19, 2011.

  1. RaggieSoft macrumors member

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    #1
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    I've been Remoting into my fiancée's old iBook running Leopard and I think I'm ready to make the plunge myself

    Just read the latest article on a possible Mac Mini refresh and, after looking at the current one on Apple's website, starting to think:

    Her & I will (hopefully) be moving into our own place by the end of the year and I was thinking for a living room TV (since I don't want cable)
    * Mac Mini authorized to play my iTunes Library
    * Largest available hard drive (how I wish solid states were bigger / not so expensive, guess it'll be regular HDD for now)
    * hooked into largest Cinema Display I can afford
    * use Safari to access my Netflix subscription

    No I do not have an Apple TV and I hear that Front Row is being discontinued

    No, I don't have a budget yet

    I'm moving over from Windows

    What do I need to know about the different Apple mice (Magic Mouse, regular mouse, etc)

    Is there a better solution for a living room entertainment system? (mo I'm not plugging consoles in - but do intend to have my Steam account accessible)
     
  2. francis21 macrumors member

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    Mississauga, ON, Canada
    #2
    Well, Apple offers the current ones: Magic Mouse, Magic Trackpad, and Mighty Mouse (but its rarely sold in stores these days).

    The Magic Mouse is a mouse with the features of a regular Apple Laptop trackpad. It gives you more freedom I guess. The magic trackpad has a trackpad surface in which you perform multi-touch gestures. But if you're trying to setup a living room entertainment system, the Magic Mouse is the way to go. :) Hope this helps.
     
  3. Duluth Baptist, Jun 19, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2011

    Duluth Baptist macrumors member

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    #3
    Congratulations on your upcoming marriage!

    Mouse
    If you have a working mouse, particularly a wireless mouse, you can continue to use that without noticeable problems. The mighty mouse/apple mouse is basically just a regular mouse with Apple-ized ergonomics. My old 2006 wireless model still works, though the trackball sensor is grimy and often doesn't cooperate. The Magic Mouse is a wireless mouse that allows you to use some touch gestures for scrolling in all four directions with one finger and using two-finger swipes to move forward and back. The trackpad is, obviously, a giant trackpad that has a clickable surface (you can set it to single-touch) and lots of space for gestures.

    I use a Magic Mouse and I love it. The scrolling is effortless (granted, sometimes a bit too effortless as I will encounter the occasional "phantom scroll" and navigation with it is a breeze. You should know that a number of Mac users aren't fans of it, but I'm a big believer. The mighty mouse/apple mouse is older and if you have a decent Windows mouse it adds nothing to the experience of owning a Mac. The trackpad is big and users really enjoy it. I've enjoyed using it in stores (try it out at Best Buy or the Apple store) myself.

    Despite being a Magic Mouse lover I think you should go for the trackpad. Here are the reasons:

    1. Snow Leopard utilizes a number of gestures for navigation that are only available on the trackpad, and Lion will add more gestures--navigating in MacOS is becoming very gesture-oriented. Ease of navigation is important on a media computer. The trackpad is going to make it very easy.

    2. The trackpad does not required a large flat surface to use--you can put it on your lap if you want. When you're on the couch watching a movie, this is a plus.

    3. You probably have a mouse you can use--the trackpad is unique on a non-laptop. It adds functionality.

    Display

    The Apple displays are very good, but they are also very expensive and very high-res. High-resolution screens are great for serious computing, but it sounds like you're looking for entertainment. If I were you I would spend the money on a larger, high-quality widescreen HDTV instead. The high-res nature of the Apple displays is best enjoyed up close, but from across a room it won't make much difference. No movies you watch will use the extra pixels. Netflix is lo-def only.

    If you really like that kind of display, it may be more economical to buy a 27" iMac with more horsepower and extras built in. But you're talking about a lot of money for a media center.

    In your position I'd buy a bigger TV and just use that. The 21.5" iMac uses the same resolution as a large HDTV, so your Mac desktop will look fine on one, but it will work much better for watching.

    Is This the Best Option?

    Macs are good media hubs. I use mine for much of my media. It depends on your consumption habits, though--my family has not yet purchased a Blu-Ray player, so we have no need to play those movies. If we want a high-def movie we rent it or buy it on iTunes. If you want to use Blu-Ray, though, Mac is not going to help you. There doesn't appear to be support for Blu-Ray forthcoming any time in the near future. If you have a Blu-Ray player already and want the Mac Mini for internet capabilities, the Mini is a fine option.

    Edit: I mentioned the front page article here at the end, then re-read your post and realized that's what prompted the question in the first place.
     
  4. Dizzler macrumors regular

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    #4
    I have a late-2009 Mini and it has an external power supply and it's white: 6.5" x 2.5" 2". It's on a long cable but not easy to hide. Not sure if the newer ones have the same config.
     
  5. itickings macrumors 6502a

    itickings

    Joined:
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    #5
    They don't. Just a power cord.
     
  6. RaggieSoft thread starter macrumors member

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    Thank you everyone
    I just recently finished college and just purchased movies and music on iTunes to save the effort of lugging DVDs and CDs - thus the need for high capacity hard drive (500 GB minimum)
    As we're just starting out: this would be instead of Cable or Satelite. I'll take the advice of using an HDTV instead of the Cinema Display

    Would need a basic mouse (if I can't find a spare) and a basic keyboard
    Won't be moving until end of year, so most likely Lion and new Minis should be out by then
    Any recommendations on copying over my iTunes Library (it's HUGE - just under 300 GB) from my current Windows 7 laptop?
    I am ready to make the plunge :)
     
  7. RaggieSoft thread starter macrumors member

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    Oops - double post (lousy AT&T signal where I live)
    Any admin: feel free to delete this one
     

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