Mac and Me

by mcastellon on February 13, 2005

My Mac Mini arrived 2 weeks ago and I couldn’t be more impressed with it. My original Mini configuration was 1.25ghz processor, 40 gig HD, and 256 MB of Ram. But even before my Mini arrived I went to Crucial and purchased a 512 MB Ram module, and did the upgrade myself. There’s been some discussion about how easy it is to open the Mini, and I can attest that it’s rather simple. I used a butterknife (more on opening a Mini). First things first. If you get a Mini, I highly recommend upgrading to the 512 module. You can customize your Ram at the time of purchase, or do it yourself, and the price will be about the same. In order to run a lot of the software the Mini comes loaded with, you’ll need as much Ram as possible, and 512 should be the minimum. I can comfortably run Garageband, Word, Firefox, and iTunes at the same time with no problems at all.

I’m a switcher, meaning that I’m a PC guy who has been curious about Macs for a long time, but a little put off by PC to Mac compatibility and high prices. I became curious about Macs after having such a good Ipod experience. The Mini comes headless, meaning no monitor, keyboard or mouse is included. I had a spare 19″ CRT monitor, speakers, and wireless USB keyboard and mouse setup, so I was ready to go. I was surprised to see that my two-button scrolling optical mouse worked so well in OSX. I’ve never been fond of single-button Apple mice, and was pleased to see that I can still right-click.

Overall, I think the real value in the Mini comes in the software package. Garageband, Appleworks, iLife ’05, Mail, Safari, and iChat are all incredible pieces of software, and come stock on Minis. But I think most PC switchers will be thrilled to not have to do diligent defragging, virus scanning, and updates downloading. A user can run OSX without having to worry about all the flaws and holes in Windows XP that make it so glitchy and susceptible to hacker attacks. Biggest gripes about the Mini? Low Ram on the stock model, and an overall lack of software titles available on the PC. Entry-level Mac buyers and potential switchers who don’t won’t to commit to a high priced Mac desktop will feel right at home with the Mini.

My Ipod Shuffle should arrive mid-week, and I plan to write a review of it after I have some time to tinker with it.

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