The Mac Mini - Nearly the perfect machine (review)

Fredstar

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 3, 2004
595
0
Near London
FINALLY replaced the family Dell with a Mac, much to their approval and bought a Mac Mini with the specs on my sig. For £500 i got all that and a keyboard and mouse - very good value for money IMO. We already have a 15" Dell tft, which is good enough for the family and the pq is quite good - good enough.

First impressions:
The box. As usual, smart, clean and simple box not much bigger than my iPod 20gb Box and is so light - the Mac Mini with the box (and the custom bags they have come out with) is very portable. Everything is laid out spectacularly in the box, it screams quality. On the other hand I remember opening our Dell (i was excited - this was ages before i properly considered a Mac) from a plain and cheap brown box and again being confronted with cheap manuals/layout.

Out of the box - wow. It is tiny, you see them on the net and perhaps in the store but when you have it in your hand it is just silly and amazing how technology has moved on. It is also gorgeous, the smooth edges and the simple but again quality look that Apple has to all of its products. Then came the white brick lol, about half the size of the Mini but it is actually pleasant, we have white walls so it is hid underneath the desk - no problem.

Connecting up - I was prepared for only 2 usb ports and bought a cheap 4 way port hub...but i didn't need to. With the Apple keyboard you get an extra two usb ports so i easily connected up our usb speakers/Apple mouse/keyboard and printer. Although the hub comes in handy when connecting usb memory sticks e.t.c and of course my brother iPod Mini for charging (sigh). Anyways within minutes i was all connected up, quickly plugged in the dvi-vga and connected Dell (no issues at all btw).

Turning on - Heard the chime from the Mini inbuilt speakers, which are literally only good enough for system audio feedback - as they were designed to do. A bit dissapointing was that the Mini recognized my display fine but set it at 800 X 600 which needed going into the preferences, which is fine for me but i wonder how many no techies would just think the output was poor quality and too zoomed in. Anyways, set up at 1024 and i have a nice quality signal - it is a Dell but we may be getting an Apple one soon, if they ever release a 17" model which they SHOULD do a.s.a.p with an attractive pricing point to accompany the Mini. Setting up the printer again was a complete doddle...connect and then add printer. This is one of the many things i love about OSX with all the preinstalled drivers.

Performance - 512mb is a must, it is as simple as that. Start up time is quite long, about 10-20 seconds more than my iMac, this is obviously due to the 4200rpm hard drive. But i stress this - it is fine for it's target audience and it is still quicker than our Dell P4 2.5ghz in everyday tasks.

The hd aside the 1.42ghz Mini is a very competant performer, app start ups are hardly longer than my iMac and it rarely lags behind. It is used exclusively by the family for Word/Mail/iChat/Safari and a few other everyday apps - for this the Mini is absolutely perfect. On the 15" screen the 32mb Radeon does a fine job, displays the Cube effect and activates expose perfectly. For games..lets not go there because the Mini was NOT designed at gamers and in our house, as in many, it won't be used with games.

To conclude: the Mac Mini is the perfect computer for a situation like ours. People who have a Dell, with a screen and want to get a Mac. It does everything we need for it and what a majority of its buyers will need. It is also damn f-in gorgeous and saves a lot of space, you can fit about 15 in our old Dell. The biggest worry i had was mum (not very computer literate) clicking no to block a hacker or something or opening an email virus attachment. Also i knew mum would enjoy and find it a lot easier on the Macintosh, the layout is so intiuative which is perfect for her.

I am actually quite a recent switcher with my iMac G5 in November and have since pretty much got my whole family on a Mac, or will do soon. I was astounded with OSX when i bought a second hand G3 iBook last November at 700mhz, i bought it because i was intrigued about OSX and i have never looked back. Hope you enjoy the review, and if you are thinking of getting a Mac Mini feel confident about getting it.
Oh also i will get Tiger for £10, which isn't bad at all, despite ordering it last friday :).
 

iGary

Guest
May 26, 2004
19,583
1
Randy's House
Good deal!

I was pricing out a 1.42 mini for my partner this morning, and by the time I bought a Dell LCD, I might as well but an iMac. :eek:

Definitely a value if you already have the other gear, though. :)
 

MacSA

macrumors 68000
Jun 4, 2003
1,803
5
UK
Fredstar said:
FINALLY replaced the family Dell with a Mac, much to their approval and bought a Mac Mini with the specs on my sig. For £500 i got all that and a keyboard and mouse - very good value for money IMO.
Where did you get all that for £500?
 

quik

macrumors regular
Apr 8, 2005
140
0
Montreal (Canada)
Great to see you got a nice Mini ;)

I do have a Mac Mini too. I got the 1.25Ghz model with 512MB of RAM and a LG LCD. Damn it's beautiful...it works great.

I'm so happy! :)
 

ravenvii

macrumors 604
Mar 17, 2004
7,584
489
Melenkurion Skyweir
iGary said:
Good deal!

I was pricing out a 1.42 mini for my partner this morning, and by the time I bought a Dell LCD, I might as well but an iMac. :eek:

Definitely a value if you already have the other gear, though. :)
Or if you still want an separate LCD to use for other computers. I'm not a big fan of all-in-ones, but I can see their appeal.

The Mac mini would be absolutely perfect if it has a CoreImage-capable card. But it doesn't, so it's near-perfect :)
 

Eastend

macrumors 6502
Aug 1, 2004
376
7
Nara, Japan
Great little review, I too have a Mini with everything on it. I also have a G5 dual 2.5 and for everyday work I cannot tell the difference. Never use Audio or Video programs on the mini just the G5, but for everyday work there is little difference between the two machines. The start up time is a little different, G5 starts up in 45 seconds mini starts up in 55 seconds, both running 10.3.9. It is a pure delight to work on the G5 as well as the mini.

Brian
 

homerjward

macrumors 68030
May 11, 2004
2,745
0
fig tree
omg! i was at best buy :)() today buying some headphones and went over to look at the mac mini and to my surprise when i asked the guy if they had any he knew where they were and it was prominently displayed among the notebooks. it was hooked up to a 21" samsung lcd running at full res but even though the kb and m (both apple btw) were hooked up and the mouse cursor would move the keyboard wouldnt work and i couldnt click the mouse (wtf?) and i also heard someone asking where the nearest apple store was because she wanted to look at other macs. sorry about the long setup, but i was amazed at how tiny it was and my dad actually asked "what is that" and he was amazed when i told him it was a computer! anyway just wanted to share that in a thread about mac minis. sorry for being ot :eek:
 

jamdr

macrumors 6502a
Jul 20, 2003
659
0
Bay Area
I'm getting more and more tempted to replace my eMac with a Mac mini. It would be nice to have a separate monitor so I can just upgrade the computer when I needed to, and not have to keep replacing a perfectly good display. Does anyone have any recommendations for an LCD that's cheaper than Apple's but still matches the Mac better than a Dell?

I've been looking around, and I can't believe what a rip-off the Cinema Displays are. There are a number of brand-name 19" LCDs out there for $400, and Apple charges $1000 for a 20"? They really should offer a 17" or 19" for around $500. For now, though, I'm still looking for an LCD that is reasonably priced and actually looks good, too (i.e. not Dell)
 

Mechcozmo

macrumors 603
Jul 17, 2004
5,215
2
jamdr said:
For now, though, I'm still looking for an LCD that is reasonably priced and actually looks good, too (i.e. not Dell)
A spray-painted Dell monitor?
 

rmhop81

macrumors 68020
Apr 4, 2005
2,243
90
Dallas, TX
my parents have an NEC 17inch flat panel that would go well with a mini, it's all silver except the base that it sits on. trying to trade them my black dell so i can order a mini too even though i don't need one haha