Should I buy a Mac Mini?

It looks like Daisy (my main Windows PC) is on her way out. I’ve recently had intermittent problems with her recognising all her memory (both sticks are fine though) and now she’s starting to reboot on me randomly. Wouldn’t you know it that just as I was wanting to get on with some work this morning she’s rebooted on me three times on a row? Once I got a blue screen of death, the other two times the power seemingly vanished, leaving her to reboot. Ho hum. I’ve now got her running through checkdisk to see if there’s anything that can be done there.

In the mean time though, I’m having to think about replacing her. It’s money I can’t really afford right now (although we are in a slightly better position financially than we have been in a while), but I’m thinking I’m going to have to replace Daisy with a Mac Mini.

I’ve had buying a Mac Mini on the back burner for a while now, and I was expecting to buy one much later in the year to replace Daisy anyway but right now I’m really not sure what configuration to go for. With the move over to the Intel Core I’m still going to be able to run Windows XP using Boot Camp, which is fantastic - It means I’ll still be able to test websites effectively in Internet Explorer and run the various Windows only apps that I make use of. This is all good.

The price, however, isn’t. The £449 basic Intel Core Solo model is affordable but I’d really want to bump up the RAM to 1Gb which would add another £70 to the bill. But would I need to do that? The model I’d really want to get though would be the £599 Core Duo model, since I feel that it would end up lasting me longer and frankly be the better machine. Of course, I’d need to add another £70 onto that as well to bump up the RAM. And £670 isn’t a tiny amount to go and spend off the cuff.

Then there’s the fact that I do already have my iBook. Do I actually need to buy a new computer if Daisy fails on me? I could plug a keyboard, mouse and screen into him and call it a day, but then I wouldn’t have a Windows box for testing on, and I wouldn’t have access to the Windows apps which I currently use. It would also mean I’d be running at 1024x768 instead of the 1280x1024 that I’m used to.

So, what do you think? To buy or not to buy? Add more RAM or not? Oh, and does the Mac Mini wake up from being suspended as quickly and wonderfully as the iBook does?

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comments (11) | write a comment | permalink | View blog reactions


  1. by Del on April 9, 2006 10:51 AM

    We have a Mac Mini. It’s proved to be very reliable and well-behaved and certainly a decent investment. OTOH, you do already have an iBook…

  2. by Itchy on April 9, 2006 11:06 AM

    Mac Minis sound very good. As for whether you need another machine, how old is your iBook (or how good is the spec?)? Mr Itchy has had his for nearly four years now and says it feels very slow - what kind of processes are you going to need to run on your main machine?

    Sorry - this is all questions, not answers! ;)

  3. by Neil Crosby [TypeKey Profile Page] on April 9, 2006 11:18 AM

    It’s coming up for two years old now. 1.07GHz G4 processor, 512Mb RAM. It’s perfectly decent enough for the day to day things that I do.

    Right now I’ve got it plugged into my monitor though, and the picture isn’t good (it’s 17” TFT that likes to do 1280x1024 - the iBook will only do 1024x768 which leaves the picture looking a bit blurry). It’s not something I could happily look at for long periods of time.

    I do get a fair bit of beachballing going on from time to time too.

  4. by Philip Withnall on April 9, 2006 12:12 PM

    Sounds to me like the PSU in Daisy is going; you might want to take a look at it before spending money on a Mac. On the other hand, Macs do seem quite appealing these days…I wish I had the money to try one out. :-(

  5. by Phil C on April 9, 2006 03:24 PM

    I would be tempted to say yes. If it seems as if your existing hardware is on its way out and you’ve had this in the back of your mind for some time, what with Boot Camp now out the timing certainly looks right from where I’m standing. And I’m certainly of the view that extra RAM is A Good Thing at all times and in all circumstances. Just make sure the state of the existing set-up isn’t irretrievable first, to be prudent.

  6. by Neil Crosby [TypeKey Profile Page] on April 9, 2006 03:26 PM

    Well, I’ve just got back from the cinema and checkdisk seems to have done its stuff and completed successfully. I’m now back on Daisy for the time being (she’s been up for about 10 minutes now without failing on me).

    I don’t think it’s the PSU though, and even if there is a problem with that there are also (possibly via that, possibly not) problems with not all the RAM being recognised sometimes and with the hard drive apparently starting to fail. The young lady is on her way out…

    Really, I don’t want to end up spending more money on her just to then find out it was something else (as well) that was causing the problems when I could “just” buy something that “just works”. I’d be buying the Mac Mini on my credit card if I do buy it, ending up with me paying it off over a good few months (and probably ending up paying for a good chunk of it out of Adsense money from this site).

    Oh, and if the current hardware is salvagable (of which I know a good chunk would be) then Becca will be inheriting it once I do have a Mac Mini anyway.

    UPDATE: Arse. It’s gone and crashed on me again.

  7. by Hayles on April 9, 2006 05:40 PM

    Hmm, I can see why you would want a Mac Mini (cause then you could use your current monitors, etc) but what about an iMac? I was in the Apple Store in the Trafford Centre, and…well, I had to be physically dragged out of the shop!

  8. by Neil Crosby [TypeKey Profile Page] on April 9, 2006 06:42 PM

    Well, for a start the iMac is way too much money. Also, I now have in my hand a Mac Mini :D

  9. by natalief on April 11, 2006 12:04 AM

    Buy the Mac. You know you want to.

    We are Borg - we will assimilate!

    Oops - did I say that aloud?

  10. by Nic on April 12, 2006 12:15 PM

    Yes buy one!

    I would if I had the money :)

  11. by liam james booth on September 18, 2006 08:55 PM

    have you ever thought about switching to linux? i dont know much about macs and would love to buy one but i dont have enough money! also arent there alot of software restrictions on mac? and in apple in general? i mean look at itunes for instance! you could buy a decent pc much cheaper than a mac and install ‘open suse’ or ‘ubuntu’ linux or one of the many other distros and still have windows on the hard drive (dual boot). just a thought!

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