[Another] Mac Mini Review


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Powerless

Hardware: Mac mini

Manufacturers Website: Apple (UK and Ireland)

Hardware Page: Mac mini

Platform: Mac

Cost: ?339 Onwards.

Whilst the original images have been reduced significantly in their file size and dimension, the Images shown in this review are still large in their file size and dimension for optimal viewing.>

In the End...>

On January 11, 2005 Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced a new member of the Mac family at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco. TheMac mini> as it is known is the cheapest ever Mac and comes in at ?339.00 for a base model rising to ?398.99 for a larger hard drive and faster processor.

had an exclusive on a sub-$500 Mac bomb at Expo detailing a Mac with no monitor, possible size and included software. This exclusive later landThink Secret/i> into trouble with Apple. Images of the so called new Mac started to be seen around the web, but were they the new Mac?

Take a look for yourself...

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If you look closely you will notice that Centre is the English spelling where as Center would be more the appropriate American spelling. Fake? It was looking likely...

The CD/DVD is of slot loading meaning no draw, the hard drive is of notebook size, onboard graphics and a single DIMM slot. If you want you can also have an Internal Bluetooth or AirPort Extreme Card for wireless connectivity.

macnews.de decided to take a look at the inside of their Mac mini.

40GB Ultra ATA hard drive *2

Combo drive *3

DVI or VGA video output

*1 Upgradeable to 1GB.

*2 Upgradeable to 80GB.

*3 Upgradeable to SuperDrive.

1.42GHz : 80GB[/b]

1.4GHz PowerPC G4

256MB DDR333 SDRAM *2

DVI or VGA video output

*1 Upgradeable to 1GB.

*2 Upgradeable to SuperDrive.Both models feature: Mac OS X Panther, iLife '05, AppleWorks 6, 10/100 BASE-T Ethernet, a 56K v.92 fax modem, audio/headphone jack, USB 2.0, FireWirUpgradeable options on both models Internal Bluetooth, an AirPort Extreme Card, or both. Wired/Wireless keyboard and mouse.

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Rounding up...[/b]

So there you have it, a brief run down on the Mac mini, what you get and what it look likes. But just who is the Mac mini aiming towards? Lock and load...

Well I guess I am the kind of person the Mac mini is aimed towards. I use a Windows based environment and whilst it would be great to own a Mac the price of them does not justify owning one. Now Apple has generously priced the Mac mini towards a person that can be tempted to buy one. So the person that that Mac mini is aimed at is someone who has wanted to use a Mac but cost or even space was an issue. Its low price means it is very affordable and because of the size you'll have no trouble finding room for it.

One of the reasons why the Mac mini is affordably priced is that it has no monitor; you can of course buy a monitor for it. But if you have a monitor that can accept two inputs then plug the Mac mini straight in. You may require a KVW switch if your monitor does not support two inputs. Also there is no keyboard and mouse meaning you supply your own. There is no PS/2 port so you'll need a USB or Bluetooth keyboard and mouse.

So as long as you have your own monitor, keyboard and mouse you're set to go...

I actually [one week before is was built] wanted to add the Bluetooth module but was told by Apple that my current order would have to be cancelled and a new order placed. I decided to leave it but think carefully what it is you want especially if it's an internal component.

TNT turned up with a box, well two actually as I ordered a couple of other items. It clearly started what exactly was in the box so there went the surprise...

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Which then reveals an even smaller box, with some polystyrene for protective comfort....

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Powerless

CDs, Books and stuff...

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Packaging...

It might not be clear from the images you have just seen but the packaging is exceptional. Everything is firmly seated and tightly held so as not to cause damage.

Opening the box to arriving at its bottom was a joy...and that's just the packaging. Apple just made it a joy to open...unveiling the contents of the box as you removed covers and protectors.

Connecting the Mac mini

Connecting the Mac mini is very easy as at first there are only two cables to play with. The first is the power cable. The connector to the Mac mini is more or less the same size of a USB connector. Connect the other end to the mains. The power adaptor has the same white glossy feel as the Mac mini top and it is a considerable size. Looking at the connector reveals an output of 85W, so the Mac mini is not as thirsty as the competition; the PC.

A monitor cable is not supplied but a DVI to DSUB converter is included. Whether you have a new or an old monitor you should not encounter any problems. I connected my TFT using the DSUB converter and later found no problems...

You will also have to connect a keyboard and mouse either using USB or Bluetooth. My keyboard and mouse were connected to one of the USB ports. There are no PS/2 connectors.

Power UP

The power button is located on the back of the Mac Mini. As long as everything is connected, then there is nothing holding you back from pushing the button...

First thing is you will hear is the startup noise, the internal speaker is adequate but not exactly the best. Luckily you can plug in some headphones or as I did connected it up to my 5.1 speaker system, although you won't get the 5.1 sound [if you can then I have not found out yet, how to do it] and the sound is greatly improved through some Creative speakers.

As with a Windows machine you'll have to answer a few questions, enter some details to set up the Mac Mini.

Luckily Mac OS X 10.3 [Panther] is pre-installed so it took me about 15 minutes to come to a Mac desktop.

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Powerless

The Mac desktop and applications

The desktop took a bit of fiddling to get right, moving things to my liking and actually understanding all these Mac applications and new terms.

I'm still seeing what the Mac mini has to offer and learning all the new terms.

Safari is the Internet Explorer in the Mac world with tabbed browsing and It was easy to use. However I did actually install Firefox as I’m more familiar with it. MSN Messenger for the Mac was also installed.

Included is iLife 05 which has some nice applications which I don't think I will use especially Garage Band as I don't have any Instruments.

iPhoto I have used and it is remarkably easy to use.

iTunes is the Music Player and again very easy to use, it recognized an iPod with no trouble [as if it wouldn't].

I'm still exploring iDVD and iMovie.

*I know I have not gone into detail about the applications above.

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To Do List...

I've not yet managed to do the following, but plan to...

  1. Connect to the Windows Network.
  2. Share the Network Printer.
  3. Eat Cake and Drink Whilst Upside Down.

...and that's it as everything else, just works, right out of the box!!

What the Mac Mini cannot do...

32MB of onboard graphics is going to push the little thing off a cliff with very demanding games. So if games are a must then forget it. The Mac mini, whilst it can play games you're not going to get the detail and frame rates that the demanding titles callout for.

Video editing and photo manipulation are probably not the best task to throw at the Mac mini as whilst it could do these it may take forever when compared to the bigger and faster G5 powered Macs.

Verdict

Worth every penny

OK, so you don't get a monitor, keyboard and mouse? But who cares as you at least get a Mac at an affordable price. If you're a devoted Windows user and are thinking of a Mac then look no further than a Mac Mini. It'll do anything you throw it [well nearly everything] and it will work flawlessly.

Connecting and setting up the Mac mini is just too easy and the added animation of the setup screens is just cheeky.

The only downside to owning a Mac is that upgrades usually have to be performed by an authorized dealer. So try and get everything you want when you first place your order.

My Mac mini came with 1GB of RAM so I do not have experience will the standard 256MB but I have noticed around the web that Macs love their RAM so if anything try and go for 512MB or the maximum 1GB.

The included software iLife '05 is great and will take a bit of time to get accustomed to, so spend a few hours exploring every inch of your Mac mini.

Rating: 5/5

Speechless!

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Review: Apple - Mac mini

Reviewer: Powerless

More Reading: iLife ‘05 | Mac OS X | Over 2,000 Cake Recipes!

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S.MULLA

excellent review.. one of the best here. :yes:

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Hypoxiaicon

Awesome in depth review!

Very good indeed.

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Shadrack
The only downside to owning a Mac is that upgrades usually have to be performed by an authorized dealer. So try and get everything you want when you first place your order.

I heard otherwise. I upgraded mine to 512MB of ram. It was really easy, and I didn't notice any tape or any dead giveaways that you opened your Mac Mini. I would think (hope) that it is ok. Their price for 1GB of ram is ridiculous!

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Mokano

Great review (Y)(Y)

5 stars!!!

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planetik

wow... nice detailed review!

thumbs_up.gif

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yinyang_34

nicely done review.....best one here.... (Y) (Y)

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jasondefaoite

Actually two things are holding me back from buying one.

1. HDD capacity and speed

2. The cheapo graphics chip.

1 seems solved already Clicky (3.5" external storage for the Mac Mini, with additional USB / Firewire ports to boot! Looks really nice)

I guess I meed a Mac Mini refresh for the graphics chip to be Core Image ready.

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Shadrack

jasondefaoite: will you be using the DVI connection or VGA? Many people are having problems with the DVI connection, including me. VGA works fine, however.

I agree that the included video chip is laughable. At least they should have loaded it with the 128MB of video ram that the Radeon 9200 AGP comes with :s. The machine still performs GREAT for what I wanted it for.

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mikeboy

nice review, but in the first pics you have, the pc is bigger than the one in apple, what is the size then?

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NeoXY

nice review dude...I like...:yes:

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ph3412t3h13

dude

thats the best review ive ever read

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YBG

Good review.

But, I must laugh at the fact that you have S Club 7...:D

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sn00pie

Lovely review, totally convincing to buy a Mac Mini. :happy:

Great job!

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Drone

Great review. One of the best I've seen in the section. Easily a five-star review. :yes:

Edited by Drone
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ZZOOzzoo
But, I must laugh at the fact that you have S Club 7...:D

585854278[/snapback]

LOL, I knew TheDarrelMan would say that when I saw that picture. :ninja:

What a great review, thank you for all those pictures!

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Powerless
nice review, but in the first pics you have, the pc is bigger than the one in apple, what is the size then?

585852362[/snapback]

Umm?

Good review.

But, I must laugh at the fact that you have S Club 7...:D

585854278[/snapback]

Rachel :blush:

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