Apple Mac Mini (Early 2009)
Is this modest upgrade enough to save the Mini?
Review Someone at Apple must have a soft spot for the Mac Mini. Despite its superb design, the Mini has always been a bit of an under-achiever, and rumours of its poor sales and imminent demise have been going around for a couple of years now. Yet, as the song says, “good times and bum times, I’ve seen them all, and I’m still here”.
Apple's Mac Mini: never out of the iMac's shadow?
The good times followed its original launch in 2005. The Mini’s ultra-compact design makes most so-called 'small form-factor' PCs look like the Incredible Hulk, and is ideal for home users who don’t have much room to spare, or business users that just want a cheap machine for wordprocessing and spreadsheet work.
And with that original model starting at just £339 – albeit minus monitor, mouse and keyboard - it was far and away the cheapest Mac that Apple had ever come up with. It seemed ideally suited to its role as a tempting piece of bait for PC ‘switchers’ who were thinking about buying a Mac for the first time.
It also makes a darn fine media centre system. In fact, we currently have the last-generation Mini hooked up to a Samsung HD TV at home where it does sterling service as an all-in-one music system, DVD player and video recorder - with a little help from Elgato’s EyeTV tuner.
Yet the Mac Mini had an evil arch-nemesis – and, lo, its name was ‘iMac’. Apple doesn’t do ‘cheap’ – never has, never will. It would far rather get you to buy an expensive iMac than ten low-cost Minis, so to prevent the Mac Mini from cannibalising iMac sales it has quite deliberately neglected the poor little thing over the course of its four-year lifespan.
Makes for a rather nice media centre
The bum times arrived the following year, when Apple abandoned IBM’s PowerPC processors and made its own ‘switch’ to Intel’s processors. To prevent the Mini from treading on the iMac’s toes, Apple saddled the little machine with the underpowered Core Solo CPU – and, at the same time, began to nudge the price upwards to the point where the all-in-one iMac actually seemed like better value for money.
I got one
OK, I admit I got one. My old digital audio G4 (with an upgraded CPU) just wasn't cutting it anymore. I needed a new home media server and this mini can both drive my 1080p HDTV and a monitor for productivity work. I was displeased that there had been no price cuts in the previous gen mini, and I was looking at Windows and Linux alternatives. However, when I looked at the costs of switching from a mac to something else (cost of new software for a windows system, time to properly configure a linux system), it seemed like the Mac mini was a better deal. I did spring for the upgrade to 2GB for the base system. Yeah, the memory is somewhat overpriced, but I figured it was worth it not to void the warranty. Is it the best possible system? No, but it is a versatile little computer that does a great job as a HDTV media server. In this function, I would not want a laptop. I ordered it the day the new models were announced and I've been using it for about 2 weeks and am very happy with it.
Cant help but think
they have this ass-backwards, and should be pushing Mac Mini as a glorified typewriter and email checker box, perhaps with a mini-pro variant with a blu-ray drive, improved storage and graphics for the mediabox darlings.
It wants to steal and convert PC users. the best way of doing this is to shunt hardware out that doesnt do everything a PC does, but do it damned cheap. a 300quid mini right now tempts the PC users in, and then they gradually tire of it not doing games, or complex high-graphics/ram jiggery-pokery, and upgrade to a 'real mac' because they love the interface; god only knows, apple doesnt compete with PC users on a hardware basis, so it prettymuch boils down to "love our tiny box and interface!!!", and the only way they are gonna do that is by selling people a Fkin mac to start with, and to do that, you're gonna need to go _cheap_.
Honestly think they shouldnt be trying to make it better, just splitting it into electronic-typewriter version and mediabox version would draw the crowds. can you image a blu-ray version of this? I'd buy the fucking thing, I cant find a single bluray player that actually looks _nice_ that isnt made by Crazy swedes for 10 grand.
mac mini old to new
I got my mac mini 1.66ghz cpu, 512mb ram, 60gb hard disk, cdrw/dvd, 802.11g, july 2007 in august they brought out upgraded models, i was a little p*****d, so i upgraded my mac mini from 1.66ghz core duo to a 2.19ghz core 2 duo, and memory from 512mb to 2gb, the hard disk was upgraded from 60gb to 160gb, the cdrw/dvd drive was changed to a superdrive, my wi-fi upgraded to 802.11n , also got external storage os 250gb hard disk and 500gb time port. she runs like a dream but the graphics card is a little under power, the only fault i have with it. I have thought of selling the lot and getting an imac or another mac mini more up to date.
I hoped the upgrade 2009 would be worth me buying an new mac, but i don't think so not at the price they are.
£100 too expensive
i've paitently waited two months for this hardware refresh after getting my old 1.6c2d mini stolen in the hope i would get a 2ghz unit for the same price as the 1.8ghz. what do they go and do? up the price of the base model by a ton, so effectively, theyve scrapped the base model, stuck new video chips in the top end one, and then charged a load more for an extra 1gb of ram and a bigger hard disk (which *has* to be no more than £40 difference.
so apple have lost a sale, theres no way i'm paying that much for a small pc that sits under my telly and only gets used for watching videos over ethernet and the odd bit of web browsing.
instead i'm gonna try out either the popcorn hour or the WD media player which are cheaper, and spend the spare cash on a new netbook so i can browse t'internet whilst sat on the sofa.
Yes, but why Apple?
I mean seriously what's the big selling point about Apple computers? It used to be the GUI, then the PowerPC then MacOSX, but now you can get usable Linux distributions which have virtually every kind of software availiable at a touch of a button. Additionally the build quality of Apple hardware had it's weak times with "Logic Board Failures" becomming a common phenomenon.