Introducing the Mac mini

Before we get to the mini itself, let's have a quick rundown of the specs of the Mac mini:

   Apple Mac mini 1.25GHz  Apple Mac mini 1.42GHz
CPU: PowerPC G4 1.25GHz PowerPC G4 1.42GHz
Memory: 256MB DDR333
Graphics: ATI Radeon 9200
Hard Drive: 40GB 2.5" HDD 80GB 2.5" HDD
Optical Drive: Slot-loading Combo Drive (DVD-ROM/CD-RW)
Ports: One FireWire 400; two USB 2.0; DVI (VGA adapter included); 1/8" headphones/line-out; 10/100 Ethernet; 56K modem
Monitor: None
Keyboard/Mouse: None
Software: Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther), iLife '05
Price: $499 $599

First Encounter with the Mac mini

The box is small:

If you need a carrying case for your Mac mini, just save the box and it will serve perfectly.  Remember that the mini measures 6.5" on each side and is only 2" high, so the box is pretty small. The box is slighty longer and wider than the mini itself, but about twice as deep. 

A Mac mini box compared to a regular sized ATI Radeon 9800 Mac Edition video card. 

What's interesting about the box is that on the back face of it, you have instructions on how to set up the computer.  As you can expect, it's not too difficult, but helpful for the first-time computer user.

The Mac mini box itself is representative of Apple's simple design philosophy, but what truly sums up Apple's intentions with the Mac mini is the side of the box:

The side of the box simply states that iLife is included, and below that, it says that you can organize photos, compose music, create playlists, make movies and watch DVDs.  This isn't the side of a computer box. This is the side of a consumer electronics device box; it's the side of a multifunction iPod's box.  And this is where it hit me - what I was holding in the mini's box didn't feel like a computer. In fact, it didn't feel like I was unpacking a computer either.  Apple has effectively made their computer into something that doesn't seem like one at all, perfect for those who are intimidated by computers, but definitely leaves those of us who aren't feeling somewhat strange - not in a bad way, and not in a good way, but just in a different way.  If every other computer manufacturer in the world made their computers and boxes look like the mini's, then I'm sure that the feeling wouldn't be so strange; but the fact of the matter is, they don't, and the Mac mini is different - and you know that before you even hit the power button.

Inside the Mac mini box, there are already indications that Apple was working as quickly as possible to get these things out and shipped.  The best example of this is that the Mac mini comes with iLife '04 installed (meaning that the master image for the mini's hard drive was made before iLife '05 was ready to be put on it), and stuck to the top of the inside of the box is an iLife '05 DVD.

You have your handful of users guides, warranty information and the usual paperwork that comes with any computer, but with the mini, it all seems a lot "cooler" for some reason.  Everything is well made, well put together, and well, mini.  Once again, I wasn't reminded of a computer; I was reminded of buying something from Bose or Mercedes.

Index First Encounter with the mini


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  • linuxOwnzIfUrLeet - Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - link

    better in the long run when you consider the big picture of computing"

    Buying and running a crap is better for computing?

    Can you pass the pipe? That must be good $hite.

    What has crapple given back to computing since they raped freebsd to magically come up with
    os suX?

    the mac cult act like they did something grand...

    aPple and really any Evil corporation ( iBM, miCro$oft, sUn, etc ) are trying to bring a spoonfeed computing to you. Do as I say you will my slave. Do you want to hear music? Just buy
    my black box and don't touch the music you already
    paid for. It's not yours you're justing renting
    it from me.

    This new imini is probably apple's attempt to bring back a divx format.

    TCP/IP is what you're running and that's open. We have the internet because TCP/IP is open.
    What do we have with appletalk?

    If you want to do what's best in the long run,
    you need to buy open market x86 hardware and run open oses like freebsd or linux.

    crap-ple : think stupid
  • Jorchi - Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - link

    You says that photoshop is a lot, have you try graphic converter? Is a very nice application that can fit yours neededs

  • bluebeetle - Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - link

    $903 is Way too high, why the Airport card?-$79
    sure $200 will buy you a good monitor, and i understand why the Apple needs 512 Ram.
    But hey the PC only comes with 256 Ram no wait- less 32mb for it's videocard so you could argue the PC would be sluggish with only 256 too!!! especially as it's shared.
    If we're gonna be fair
    $499 mac mini
    $180 15" monitor (BenQ)
    $30 keyboard & mouse from Apple
    Thats $709
    maybe $750 tops if you don't want the mac mouse and factor delivery in.
    Also remember the PC included $50 rebates, no CD-R, only 30 days warranty and FAR less software, no Firewire port etc
  • mino - Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - link

    You are too good on DELL. You should have added components of DELL level(DELL has NO WiFi!):

    Mini $499
    512M RAM Upgrade $75
    USB Keyboard + Mouse combo from WalMart or so $20
    DELL class 15" LCD $170

    that makes $765 for a complete DELL-like system

    To put performance into perspective G4 1.25 will put Athlon 1.25 into dust (maybe even A64 1.25). G4 IS more powerfull designg than any X86 (probably except A64) CPU could offer. I will put also G5 into shame at the same clockspeed. The only but very big issue with G4 is that it doesn't scale high enough since Motorola gave up on its development long ago.

    Thus 1.5 G4 should be approx. like P4 2.4C (except heavily optimized encoding apps).
  • mino - Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - link

    #105 " Viruses have never been an issue for me, I haven't had an AV program installed since maybe Windows 95..."

    I'd bet my daily income, that if you would install a good AV SW, many ,even tens of, viruses would be found. And don't say no, because just 10 minutes ago my AV warned about virus that was inside javascript on the site of one PC chassis manufacturer - not a small one (I was looking for server case).
    Sleep still;)
  • mino - Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - link

    #96 Just to make things clear:
    1.) AVG is just a piece of crap(I have my reasons)
    2.) AVG is NOT free. It costs around $50 per 2 years

    from free avir F-Prot is OK, but from paid ones NOD32 has no competition (as far as avir part goes)
  • msva124 - Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - link

    I forgot shipping for the mouse, keyboard and monitor. If you can find them all at the same place (I refuse to order lcd's from newegg because of their dead pixel policy) it would bring the total up by about $20, to $923. Reply
  • msva124 - Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - link

    Mac Mini $499
    512 MB Ram upgrade $75
    Airport Extreme upgrade $79
    Keyboard that has apple keys and usb ports $30??
    Logitech Wired USB Mouse $20
    Decent 15" LCD Monitor $200

    Total $903

    With all of the above add-ons (which I would consider bare minimum to make this thing usable) it is still well below the $1000 mark.
  • bluebeetle - Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - link

    "Well, let's the time you add for the keyboard, mouse, 15" lcd monitor and the 256-mbs of extra ram Anand states is needed to make the mini something useful, all of which is built in to the compared Wintel box...gosh, I guess we're talking at least $1,000"

    What are you smoking walt?
    A keyboard 15" LCD and KB&M for $500
    try here:
    they have LCDs for $175 keybord and mouse $20
    mmm where did you get $1k from?
    did you add the price of both together and chuck the Dell CPU?

    Also factor in the software (ilfe & Applworks worth$150) and the fact the Dell only has a CD rom (how do you get your files off)? and only 90 day warranty
    Still the mini is aimed at those PC users who already have monitors (KVM anyone)
    No wonder Walt feels so threatened, the mini is the fastest selling PC ever!
  • epiv - Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - link


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