Top positive review
13 people found this helpful
Fantastic Computer, Classic Apple Over-Pricing
on 21 January 2010
The Mac Mini is the cheapest way to experience computing the Apple way. As a convert to Apple these last two years (I run both Windows and OS X machines) I find the Mini to be the best file server and media player machine, even at Apple's price.
The machine itself is very small and very quiet. If you're looking for a machine to run all day this is something you can tuck out of the way in a cupboard somewhere with no worries about over heating or annoying background noise. It does have an external power supply, but the two together take up less room than an adult size shoe box.
Aside of using the Mini as a standard computer it has two further more specialised uses. First off, you can use it as an always-on household file server. When idling, it uses less than 25W of power - compared to a Windows desktop that will run at anywhere from 100W-150W. Power is likely to be the most expensive aspect of running a home file server, so the Mini easily pays for itself here - less than 1kw a day compared to 2.5-3.5kw - although you can get smaller form factor Windows machines. The way Apple achieves this is by using laptop components, but you won't notice this in day-to-day use. The second use is as a home media player - you can connect your Mini to your TV and use it for DVDs, online content and loads of other stuff - I recommend Boxee for this.
The Mini has a good range of ports - USB (5), FireWire (1), Gigabit Ethernet and two video ports, will take up to 4Gb of memory and comes with Bluetooth and Wifi. A standard Mini comes with a single 2.5" laptop drive of up to 500Gb, a DVD recorder and a copy of Snow Leopard. However Apple have now released a server version - two drives running as RAID, no internal DVD drive, and a copy of Snow Leopard Server.
With Apple, quality is usually flawless. However, Apple products do carry a price premium which is only partially offset by free support from the Genius Bar at the Apple stores, and the quality of hardware which means you should get a longer lifespan out of your Apple product than you would an equivalent generic PC or laptop. Highly recommended.