Mac Mini Advice

Discussion in 'Apple' started by Michael Harris, May 7, 2007.

  1. Michael Harris

    Michael Harris Screenwriter

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    As a result of my local COMPUSA store closing, they have a few Mac Minis on sale. I'm looking at this one -
    • 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo 512MB 667 DDR2 SDRAM - 2x256 80GB Serial ATA drive SuperDrive 8x (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW) Mac OS X - U.S. English
    • Intel GMA 950 graphics
    • Accessory kit
    Normal price is $799.00. On sale for $649. Good deal?
     
  2. Jeffrey Johnson

    Jeffrey Johnson Stunt Coordinator

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    That looks like a good deal. Keep in mind, though, that you're going to want to add more RAM to it. 512MB is just not enough anymore. I have the same machine and bumped it to 2GB.

    The other thing to keep in mind is that Apple *may* be refreshing the Mac Mini lineup in the near future. This is complete speculation on my part, but it's been a while since they've done anything to the Mac Mini's in terms of upgrades, and they are the only Macs that are not running Core2Duo Processors.
     
  3. ErichH

    ErichH Screenwriter

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  4. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Michael,

    This gonna be your first Mac?
     
  5. Michael Harris

    Michael Harris Screenwriter

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    Ron:

    It would be my first new one/Intel based. I have a PowerMac G-4 that I picked up used to see if I would like using OS X (There is a thread about that purchase elsewhere). If I were to get it, it would be more of a plaything though it would be more powerful then any of my Windows based PCs of which the most powerful is only a 1.8 GhZ (none of the apps that I use, including my PVR dedicated PC need more horsepower than that).
     
  6. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    A 20 percent discount for new merchandise is good, although you will want more memory. I purchased that model at an Apple Store, which did have a stock version with 1G instead of 512Mb. This is my HTPC, substituting for an Apple TV, on my DLP set--connected and displaying at 1080p via DVI.

    - Steve
     
  7. Michael Harris

    Michael Harris Screenwriter

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    Steve, how are you operating your Mini as a HTPC? Do you use it as a PVR? How is it configured, etc, etc. If I buy it, that sounds like a wonderful use for it. The PC I'm using now for HTPC uses a DVI to HDMI connection. As for memory, I figured I would need more. Heck, none of my PCs are running on less then a gig.
     
  8. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    It's nothing really formal, but it has worked out that way:

    1) The mini comes with a remote control, and Front Row software, which handles streaming access to your iTunes (including video) and iPhoto albums (and there is no need for staging the files to the hard drive on the unit--true streaming access unlike Apple TV)

    2) I have one of the Miglia HDTV tuners with the EyeTV software. I don't record anything there yet, but I could. Instead, I've set up a link to the EyeTV library on a networked hard drive and stream HD recordings. It works well!

    3) I have a hard disk of DVD's that I own, but have put on local disk for easy access. They can be viewed using Matinee software, which is a front for Apple DVD Player. Matinee also serves for a front to Mac The Ripper.

    I have not tried the new Handbrake yet, but I understand it handles chapters and 5.1 sound now, so this adds potential to having an iTunes library of high-quality content available at the touch of a button or two.

    Your DVI-HDMI converter should work. The audio output on the mini is analog --and-- optical, so with the right cable you can plug directly into an A/V receiver that has Dolby Digital / DTS / etc.

    Output is 1080p. DVD's are upconverted.

    I use a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse.

    Hope this helps!

    - Steve
     
  9. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    I have the same machine (with 1GB), and I think that's a pretty decent deal. Even if Apple refreshes the minis soon, you'll still have to pay for Leopard when it comes out. I'd buy it.

    What's in the accessory kit, anything decent?

    CJ
     
  10. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    Yeah that is pretty cheap, 2 GB for $99? Unless they make a lot on shipping, I may upgrade. And I can sell my 2x512MB chips somewhere, as well.

    CJ
     
  11. Mark Paquette

    Mark Paquette Supporting Actor

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    That seems like a good deal to me. I've been keeping an eye on the refurb section of the Apple store looking for a deal like that, but they haven't had any mini's in a while. If I lived near that CompUSA store, I'd be buying one today.
     
  12. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Seems like a good deal. I can't believe those only come with 80GB HDs. I didn't know 80GB SATA drives were even made. You definitely should have at least 1GB of RAM, but unless you are dealing with large images or something like that 1GB should set you.
     
  13. Michael Harris

    Michael Harris Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the advice folks. I'm going to slide by my COMPUSA and see if they still have any. If they don't, oh well, there is still the Mac Pro I have my eyes on later this summer. At least I seeked some input, unlike my used G4 purchase.
     
  14. Phil Kim

    Phil Kim Stunt Coordinator

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    And I suspect Mac mini will get much needed revision after MacBook, MacBook Pro, and iMac receive Santa Rosa update. So if Mac minis are all gone, you can wait and see if the update will serve you need vs. wallet better.

    I think existing Mac minis are very nice machines, but I am hoping the revision would add HDMI, 802.11n, and Intel GMA X3100.
     
  15. William Laughner

    William Laughner Stunt Coordinator

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    I also recently purchased a Mac Mini. I got the standard 1.83Ghz model, but I upgraded the hard drive to a 100gb 7200rpm Hitachi Travelstar and got 2gb of ram from Crucial. The upgrade process is incredibly easy for anyone that has done some work on computers.

    I wasn't really thinking about using it as a HTPC, but now I might have to.
     

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