Help an un-savvy shopper decide whether to buy a Mac Mini now or later

I’m thinking about the MC239LL/A Mac Mini. How do Mac prices typically fluctuate between now & Christmas and after?

Is there a better time to buy?

Mac prices don’t fluctuate. Maybe once a year, when Apple does a general hardware upgrade or something, they might re-settle their prices, like they did this past August? September?

But Mac’s don’t really go on sale.

ETA: If you like it, and it will do what you want, and you have the money, go ahead and get it. I spent a shitload of money on my Mac, and I’d actually give a guitar or 2 away before I’d let this machine leave me. Mind you, they’d be the shitty guitars, but still…

If you’re not going to do any customizations (processor upgrade, bigger hard drive), you can check around for prices and deals from resellers. For example, Amazon is currently selling it for $765, $35 less than Apple.

If you’re eligible for education pricing (college student or teacher, administrator, or staff at any grade level), you can save a bit more through Apple’s Education Store; their price for the stock model is $750.

There’s a buyer’s guide here:

Apple tends not to change prices. When they first put out a product it will be a decent deal, but then a year later it will be the same and cost the same, while technology has advanced and it should be either better or cheaper. Apple has just updated the Mini and iMac, so now is a decent time to buy.

They rarely have sales. You can save money with the student discount, by buying refurbished, or buying used.

Do you have a monitor already? If not, you might want to think about getting a base iMac. With the previous generation, the 20-inch had a cheap screen and the 24 had a fantastic screen. Now the site says the 21.5 has an IPS panel, which is generally considered the best type, and it’s LED-backlit. It should be a good screen. $400 for a high-quality screen, keyboard & mouse, plus a faster computer seems like a decent deal.

BTW, if you get an Imac don’t buy RAM from Apple. They overcharge and it’s easy to install yourself. If you get a Mini, I’m not sure whether you’d be able to install it yourself, or whether you can upgrade anyway.

I second this. Apple charges 3-5x the actual retail price of RAM for some reason.

Would this be true also for the Mini? If I remember correctly, I had to have somebody at an apple repair place upgrade memory in my Mini for me because the body requires some kind of special tool to get open.

You do need a special tool, although you may have it already or Home Depot sells them. Its called a “putty knife” :stuck_out_tongue: Seriously, the Mini can be upgraded by the user and Apple gouges on ram. It can be tough to get the cover off, but it really does only require a flat edged tool. There are some how-to’s out there. See:

Ok, now I’m confused.

You already have a Mac Mini? So this would be a 2nd computer? Or will you be replacing a Mini you already own?

I’m not very familiar with the Mini. I’ve seen it in stores, marveled at the fact that it was the size of a portable CD player, and that’s about it.

I have a Mac Pro (desktop), and I can tell you that installing RAM in it is a cinch. Takes less than 1 minute to open it, take out the RAM riser, put the RAM in, put the riser back in the computer, lid back on: voila!

Yes, don’t buy the RAM from Apple. I’ve gotten good deals in the past from The Chip Merchant ( ). When I’ve bought RAM from them (e.g. for my PowerMac laptop) they also sent the necessary tools to open the case.

I have the oh-so-slow G4 non-Intel Mini, about 5 years old. Looking to replace it.

Ah, ok.

I recommend you spend as much money as your budget will allow, then. If you can afford the iMac, great. If not, the Mini is an awesome machine (I read up on them this afternoon and was really impressed).

Well, I already have the monitor/keyboard/mouse- all in great shape, so that keeps me from seriously considering the iMac. I also have never been super into the all-the-guts-inside-the-monitor style of it(have always felt like if one part breaks, then the whole system is screwed). And the shiny, super-reflective screen bugs me big-time, from a graphic design standpoint. So I feel like the Mini is the price/size/power that would do for me all I need. (God, sorry for puking all over the iMac- I’m sure it’s a fantastic machine) : )