I'm getting a Mac

Carl Johnson

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After spending a while debating whether the operating system on my new computer should be XP or Vista I've decided to go way out in left field and get a Mac mini. The last time I used an Apple computer was playing Oregon Trail in jr high so my information is a bit out of date. My top priority is having a stable machine that I can use to surf the net, stream audio, play basic games like online poker and balance my checkbook. A CD burner is essential and a DVD burner would be nice. Any suggestions on what model and features I should be looking for?

thx
 

Kimmo Jaskari

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1 gig of ram, a superdrive (burns anything burnable in the way of formats) and while you're at it a hard drive size upgrade since you won't be adding drives to a mac mini and you should have something quite usable. You're looking at upwards to a grand for one of those. You'll still need a screen and keyboard/mouse.

Even if you have the screen already, I'd get the Mac keyboard+mouse (either wired or wireless)... looks pretty, has the proper Mac keys and all that stuff.
 

Michael_K_Sr

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There are only two Mac Mini models, Carl. The top of the line model ($799 retail) comes with the SuperDrive which will burn CD's and DVD's. The lower priced model cannot burn DVD's. Whichever model you get, I'd suggest at least doubling the installed RAM to 1GB since they both have an integrated graphics card. Keep in mind that you'll be providing your own mouse, keyboard and display.
 

Carl Johnson

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Hmmmmmmmmm. A large part of my motivation for buying a Mac is because I was under the impression that they are more stable than PCs, not less. Does that guy have valid concerns or is he just making fun?
 

Todd H

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My iMac has never crashed. Never. It's still as rock solid as the day I bought it.
 

Kimmo Jaskari

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It's wildly over the top, of course, since he wanted to provoke and amuse, I'd say.

I mean, every computer made will sometimes have problems. You will have to accustom yourself to the pitfalls of moving to a Mac from a PC environment because some things do work differently, but there is no reason at all to expect a modern Mac to give you any major troubles. Take the movie for what it is, hyperbole and slapstick comedy.
 

Michael_K_Sr

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What's the old adage...Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I think the Apple commercials pointing out the shortcomings of the Windows platform hit a little too close to home for this guy. Carl, if you want an objective analysis of the Apple hardware and operating system, why not look to places like CNET, Consumer Reports, the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times? These publications pay their people to test computers and give their own unbiased reports. Probably better to put your stock in what they say rather than some buffoon with an ax to grind on YouTube.
 

Carl Johnson

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Don't worry Mike, some buffoon on myspace won't be the determining factor in what I buy


Actually I trust the opinions of those here at HTF as much as any 'objective' review posted in the Wall Street Journal. For all I know the Wall Street Journal author has stock in Microsoft......
 

Michael_K_Sr

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I don't know if Walt Mossberg owns stock in Microsoft, but his reviews of Macs and the OS X operating system have always been sparkling.
 

David Williams

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I've had my eMac for over a year now and never had a crash. In fact, the longest up time for my computer is just over 31 days, and the only reason it was restarted at that point was because of a software update.
 

HienN

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Isn't Max OS X Leopard coming out early next year? So while you can avoid the XP/Vista debate, you're going to have to deal with the Tiger/Leopard question.

I'd still get a Mac though
 

Ken Chan

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You can always add an external one through FireWire or USB 2. There are even a few made specifically to stack under the mini. Of course, external drives do have disadvantages (and advantages) so consider that too.
 

Carlo Medina

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If I were you, I'd wait for Leopard. Not because it will be revolutionary (it won't, but it will be evolutionary), but because it will come out in Q1 2007. Apple has a knack of releasing new speed bumps of their products in about the same time. So if you wait for Leopard, the iMac, Macbooks, and Mac Pro will all probably have processor speed increases around the same time, for the same price as is currently being charged (or slightly less).

That video is over 2 years old. I sent it to some Mac friends at the time who always criticized Windows (and I was a Windows user at home/work and built my own PCs). About 6 months ago I've bought a Macbook Pro (re-sold and then bought the new Core 2 Duo MBP because...well because someone gave me an offer on Craigslist that basically let me upgrade to the new Core 2 Duo for about $150 net). Anyway, it's been a rock solid machine that runs like a champ, and I feel like I should apologize to those whom I sent the video to because it's wildly inaccurate now (though I don't know if the OSX build 2 years ago was buggy like the guy indicates in the video). I can definitely say for Tiger that it's miles better than XP. I'm sure Leopard will renew the debate vs. Vista.
 

Aaron Reynolds

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He's an idiot who doesn't know how to use his computer. He has his preferences set wrong and is upset that the computer is behaving as he has set it to behave. He's also unaware of how to properly use the power button. Seriously! Tapping it like he describes puts your machine to sleep -- no wonder it makes the situation worse.

"Hey, I have a program hanging. Instead of waiting for it to recover, I'm going to sleep the computer and then complain that it locked up!"

Anyways, all of his "complaints" are related to either OS 8 or OS 9 -- look at the computer he's carrying around -- and are not related in any way, shape or form to the Unix-based OS X. To give any creedence to what he is saying would be akin to listening to my complaints about how when I press the power button on a Windows 95 machine to put the computer to sleep, instead the whole computer shuts off.
 

DaveF

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That video is hyperbolic. But it sounds like you're coming from Windows 98. Windows XP is far more stable than 98; Mac OSX is stable, but I've not heard that it's dramatically more stable than XP. (I've seen OSX weirdness on my wife's G5 system with OSX 10.3)

If you are considering the $799 Mac mini, then look at the $999 17" iMac. It's a better system for $200 more, which includes a (built-in) 17" LCD monitor.
 

Scott L

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Get what you pay for, period. A Mac Pro at $2500 will be rock solid. Put that same $2500 towards a custom PC and it will be rock solid as well. Many people make the mistake of comparing a $1500+ Mac to a $400 Dell.

As for OS's, if you have issues with WinXP SP2 at this point it will most likely be user error. If you have many user errors then get a Mac.
Everything is much more streamlined and controlled, which some users prefer because they have less chance to break something.

That's not to say Macs don't come with their share of problems. We have 3 people in the office that exclusively use Macs and if I had a nickel every time I heard them complain about their computer...
 

Carlo Medina

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Don't tell that to Ron, whose custom $4K Windows machine has been back at the custom builder's shop for months, hence precipitating his Mac Pro purchase.
 

Carlo Medina

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Well since the guys who built the thing have had it for weeks and can't figure it out, I'm not sure it's completely all Ron's fault.

And while user error does account for a lot of computing problems, coming from a department where I have 40 Windows users between the ages of 24-64, the fact that the vast majority of them have had errors, user-fault or not, means that XP is not doing the job of protecting the user from the underlying technology.

That's the whole point of graphical OSes right? To protect users from their lack of true computer knowledge and to give them a relatively pain-free experience? To allow them to do their work without having to be a power user or programmer. To my mind, Mac OSX does a better job of that than XP SP2. We'll see with Vista.
 

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