Any reason I shouldn't get a Mac Mini to replace my old pc?

My old pc is kinda crapping out - it’s five years old, and starting to not be able to do what I need it to do (plus all the freezing and crashing, of course). I don’t have stringent needs for a computer - surfing, emails, downloading pictures from the digital camera, resumes and spreadsheets are about all I do with mine.

So, all you computer-head Dopers, can you think of any reason I should NOT get a mac mini to replace my old pc?

The only obstacle I can think of is if you have some expensive software that you would have to reacquire, and pay for again, on the Mac platform.

This one of the things that annoys me about Adobe: they don’t offer cost-free “sidegrades” for such things as Photoshop that they offer on both platforms. This has been a major barrier for me for switching from Windows to Mac.

If the Mac Mini has what you need out-of-the-box, or if you can get the functions you need in freeware for it (or, for that matter, if you can afford to reacquire expensive proprietary software), then go for it.

A couple more possible reasons:
[li]Windows machines are still cheaper. A Dell Dimension 3000 with 80GB HDD, 512MB RAM and 15" LCD display costs $550; a Mac Mini with the same HDD/RAM and no display costs $600. [/li][li]Presumably, you already know how to do everything you need to do in Windows. Learning to do it all on a new system will take some time.[/li][/ul]
IMHO, Macs do not provide enough advantages to offset the above disadvantages. But YMMV.

I took a mac course already, and my husband has used one for years - I’ll have some learning curve, but I’m not too worried about it.

If you are OK with spending more money, it might be a fun thing to do just to get something different. I personally like to use new interfaces occasionally, but I’m quite a nerd. If I could dual-boot Windows, Linux, and an Apple OS on the same box, I’d be one happy geek.

Be careful: excessive use of a Mac will spoil you against other operating systems. :wink:

      • Mac Minis are a great idea–if they cut the price only 50%, it would be competitive with a bottom-level PC. There are now boxed PC’s with included CRT monitors selling in the $300-$350 range.
  • I see the Mac Mini only has 40 and 80-Gb hard-disk capacities–does it use laptop drives? Ummm–5400-RPM drives? Because if it does, then it will run as slow as a laptop does… You know how slow laptops boot up? It’s because they use 5400-RPM drives. Yes well then.

  • If you want a dinky-cube PC, you can get something like a Shuttle or BioStar for about $500–it would have a celeron 1.8Ghz CPU, 512 megs of RAM and a 160-to-200Gb “desktop” 7200-RPM hard drive. I notice that most of the PC mini-ATX setups are much more bulkier than the Mac Mini–but then, the Mac has basically NO room for expansion of any kind. Most of the PC minicubes have room for a PCI card or two as well as a 3.5" drive (so you can put in a media reader or whatever), some even have a 8X-AGP slot even though they usually have onboard video as well.

If you want to try going Mac, and you’re not averse to looking at used machines, you might also look into G4 PowerMacs. They can be made pretty fast and run all the modern software for less than a mini, and the upgrade potential is a lot higher the mini. If you shop around you can probably find a used PowerMac for under $400 that would meet your needs very well and provide plenty of expandability if you want to add a second hdd or a DVD burner, for example, which is just not possible with the mini.

BTW, according to this review the mini comes with a 2.5" laptop 5400 rpm (1.25ghz model) or 4200rpm (1.42ghz model) HDD. Ouch.

And those PC’s are still more powerful and robust than the Mini. To find a comparable PC, you need to look at garage sales and little mom-and-pop computer stores that sell secondhand computers.

There are 7200 RPM laptop drives too, hitachi used to make a fine one, i guess they don’t anymore. I have one of these and it’s quick, quiet, and doesn’t eat into my battery too much. It was a big speed increase from 4200RPM, so if the Mac Mini has a 5400RPM/4200RPM it needs a 7200RPM.

From what I hear (from my mac-cult friend) that is exactly what Apple is going to do next. It will be a Mac box, but will support Windows as a second OS. I’m not sure about Linux, but I can’t see why not.

I essentially have a mac mini, but in laptop form. 1GHz, 60 Gig 4200 rpm drive, 768 MB RAM. It is very rare for me to think “crap, this thing is slow. I wish I had a faster one”.

FTR, I do programming, photo editing (and some video), mulltimedia creation, web and email, and a fair bit of server administration on it. I wouldn’t do 3D rendering on it, but anyone who tells you that it’s gonna be unuseably slow hasn’t got a clue.

That would be nice, but I’ve heard eaxctly the opposite, that Apple will make sure their Intel boxes can only run their OS. I likely heard that in the thread here about Apple going to Intel.

I sure hope your friend is right though! That would be very cool.

Why would you add a DVD burner when you can just get the Mini with the Superdrive to start with. I have an old G4 (running at 350mHz). I went into the local Mac dealer to look at upgrading the box and decided it was cheaper to get a Mini. I’m a professional graphic designer. I use my computer at home for freelance work, when I need to finish a project or have an idea I don’t want to forget. It handles having Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign open at the same time better than the IBM box I use at work.


Other way around. The Intel Macs will be able to boot Windows and PC versions of LInux, but you won’t be able to install the MacOS on a Dell or Compaq or Sony box. (Unless of course you use of one of the hacks that will no doubt be available about 2 weeks before the Intel Macs actually go on sale).

That’s cool. Not that I doubt you, but do you have a cite? I’d like to read more about it.

You can easily add second HDD or DVD burner to the mini, using Firewire drives. And the mini is upgradeable, it’s just not as simple as popping open a tower.

Regarding the price advantage, a mini is really as (if not more) economical as a PC, when you consider all the free software Apple gives you: photo editing and organization, movie editing, dvd creation, music creation, and so forth. Buying the PC equivalents of iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, and GarageBand would push the price of a cheap Dell through the roof.

I’ve had (still using, as a matter of fact) the cheap pc - no thanks. I’ll buy a second-hand mac next time before I’ll buy another cheap pc. My e-Machine has given me trouble from the day I brought it home - it wouldn’t run software that was bundled with the purchase.

I have a Mini. It’s a little slow when you push it, mainly because of the slow hard drive. But it works fine for surfing the web and playing music, and the interface is gorgeous. It’s much nicer looking on my desk too, and it’s silent: two factors that I’ve grown to really appreciate.

I have a mini. I love it. The software issue that a PP stated is myth and is not a problem.

(copied from

iLife ’05. Digital music, photography, movies and DVD creation.
o iTunes. Shop for music, burn CDs, sync iPod. For Mac+PC.
o iPhoto. Now you can do more with your photos.
o iMovie HD. Get ready for high-definition video.
o GarageBand. Turn your Mac into a recording studio.
o iDVD. Put your desktop movies and digital photos in motion.

Runs without problems, ever. Instead of iPhoto, I use Photoshop. Instead of iMovie, I use Final Cut Pro. The mini handle FCP just fine. (rendering video, however will take overnight for a two hour edited video). Garageband is something you probably wouldn’t use on a daily basis, but it handle’s it just fine.

put at least 512 megs of RAM ad your’re good to go for a good three years of use.

To put it simply, don’t let the PC people out there tell you that a PC at this price can do what the Mini can do. They can’t.

No PC can reliably perform like a Mac as long as it is running Winblows.

Before everyone jumps me, I am a PC builder. I build Gaming Rigs . I am a firm believer that AMD based PC’s are THE best choice for Gaming.

I build PC’s for under $400(not intended for gaming). None of which will outperform a Mac Mini. The Mini’s advantage is NOT the components it’s made of, It’s the OS, and nothing in the world is better than Tiger. (for personal computers, of course)

Thank you for listening and Good Luck.