Apple's Mac mini - Tempting PC Users Everywhereby Anand Lal Shimpi on January 25, 2005 7:39 AM EST
- Posted in
Three points for mini purchasers:
As I've sternly recommended before, do not purchase the Mac mini with 256MB of memory - 512MB is not only the sweet spot, but it's absolutely necessary.
Second, save yourself the headache and either purchase Apple's keyboard or a keyboard with Mac OS specific key labels on it. If you're a keyboard junky, you will appreciate it. Apple's keyboard has two low-powered USB ports on the keyboard, which do come in handy, and it's actually pretty decent to type on. It does get dirty quickly, so if you eat around your computer, you may want to be a bit more careful. You also get the benefit of the Eject button on Apple's keyboard.
Third and final, don't purchase Apple's mouse. Bluetooth or not, just don't do it. Get a good two-button mouse and be done with it. My personal preference is the Logitech MX1000 not only because it tracks extremely well on high resolution displays, but the additional buttons on the mouse work under OS X.
The three points above are obviously assuming that you're looking to buy the mini, which brings us to the next point - what is a PC user to think of the mini?
As a means to play around with Mac OS X, you can't beat the Mac mini in terms of affordability. Armed with 512MB of memory, the mini is an excellent platform to gain experience with and get exposed to Mac OS X. With OS X Tiger due out by the middle of this year, the platform will become even more attractive, introducing features like a fully GPU rendered GUI as well as fully indexed system-wide search. My recommendation still stands that if you are a notebook user, you are better suited to get your exposure to Mac OS X through a PowerBook; but if you aren't in the market for a notebook, then the Mac mini is the next best thing.
The performance of the Mac mini with 512MB of memory (or more) is more than enough for OS X and the majority of tasks involving the iLife suite. Once you get into more serious video editing, however, you'll quickly outgrow the power of the G4.
As a machine to recommend to the computer illiterate, you'll find that many will appreciate the styling of the mini and thus, will be more willing to give it a try. The OS itself can be just as intimidating as Windows (while looking prettier), but it is less prone to the issues that often corrupt beginner systems - mainly becoming infected with spyware, malware, etc., which in turn reduces the burden on you to provide tech support.
Apple did a very good job with the mini. They effectively completed the transition of the entry-level computer into a commodity. To the average joe, the Mac mini isn't a computer - it's another iPod or DVD player, just a lot better and a lot more feature-filled. It's a DVD player that can edit and create DVDs, and it's an iPod that can make and play music, and it's a box that you can retrieve your email.
To the rest of us, it's a small, quiet, stylish looking box that finally breaks down the price barrier to Mac OS X. As a second system for any PC user, the Mac mini can't be beat.