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Mac Mini - Should I buy?


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Mac Mini - Should I buy?
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LenrdZelig
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
 
2006-02-06, 15:13

Hello all,
I've been skulking about the last few days trying to get as much information as I can concerning the Mac Mini, and I thought I would post my question here for any advice.

Currently I am using a PC (Gasp) but I've wanted a Mac, more specifically a Mac Mini since they were unveiled about a year ago.

There is a local computer store that is having a special on the Mac Mini. If you purchase one, and purchase the bundle of a Printer/Scanner, LCD display, and MacAlley Keyboard and mouse, you can receive the money BACK for EVERYTHING except the Mac Mini (via mail in rebates and store instant rebates). Essentially you get all the perhiperals gratas, less tax.

My dilemma is the advent of the (assumed) up and coming Mac Mini - there's a lot of speculation and rumour about what it might and might not be and what it may and may not do and what it will and will not be compatible with.

So my question is this - should I buy this now or remain on the fence? I don't specifically NEED a Mac for anything, since theoretically I can get done what I need to get done via the PC I currently have. HOWEVER, I've long realised that the mac is a nice machine, and come with a host of built in software (the iLife program looks wicked cool), and provided my experience is what I'm hoping it to be, I may jump one platform for the other entirely. But my concern stems from the eventual obsolesence of the mini - while I realise that ALL machines eventually become obsolete, I have reservations about this particular model becoming outdated much faster because of the expected changes in the coming months.

So, if you were me, what would you do? I figure I can get the rebates on the printer LCD etc and then sell them online additionally, which would lower the ultimate cost of the mac.


Additionally, WHICH one would you reccommend for a first time Mac user (I used Apples WAAAY back in the 80's on the IIgs platform - anyone remember those)? The SuperDrive option on the surface seems logical, but it doesn't have a modem installed (which unfortunately at the moment I still need to connect to the Internet, no high speed for me for awhile anyway).

Thank you for your advice and suggestions. I look forward to hearing from (any of) you.
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psmith2.0
Mr. Vieira
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Tennessee
 
2006-02-06, 15:22

Quote:
Originally Posted by LenrdZelig
So my question is this - should I buy this now or remain on the fence? I don't specifically NEED a Mac for anything, since theoretically I can get done what I need to get done via the PC I currently have.
You just answered your own question.

I'd wait, if it were me. I'd be curious to see if the Intel-based minis are a nice upgrade to the product line.
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Franz Josef
Passing by
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: London, Europe
 
2006-02-06, 15:39

I would wait. Normally I would say buy now to someone who doesn't use a Mac currently but these are exciting times and the bump to an Intel mini will be a good one.

FJ

And BTW, welcome
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PB PM
Sneaky Punk
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Vancouver, BC
Send a message via Skype™ to PB PM 
2006-02-06, 16:41

I agree wait. I was thinking of the same thing to replace my aging, although upgraded G4 Tower, but thought better to wait till it switches. Waiting is good for me, that I can use my tax refund to get it.
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LenrdZelig
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
 
2006-02-07, 11:43

Thank you all for the advice on the matter. It's funny that PB PM mentioned tax refund, because that is EXACTLY what got this sparked for me. I was in a hurry up and wait mode for the refund to arrive, and was in the computer store with the intention of purchasing a laptop when I saw the deal on the Mac Minis.

Initially I figured I would buy the Mac, and the perhiperals, Send in for the rebates to get the perhiperals "free" THEN sell them on eBay, which would in turn lower my overall cost for the Mac. And if I liked the Mac, sell it on ebay once the "new" Mini came to pass.

That is one of the good things that I have noticed about Apples in general is that they hold their resale value well.

Out of curiosity, is there any visible difference in the box the "silently upgraded" Macs are in? I know the specs on the box are the old specs, but am not sure if the store would be willing to let me boot it up before I walked out with it.

I do appreciate everyone's advice on the matter, and thank you for welcoming me. I'm still debating the issue..... and I may still join the ranks yet by weeks end, since it seems you guys are having too much fun
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psmith2.0
Mr. Vieira
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Tennessee
 
2006-02-07, 11:57

Quote:
Originally Posted by LenrdZelig
Out of curiosity, is there any visible difference in the box the "silently upgraded" Macs are in? I know the specs on the box are the old specs, but am not sure if the store would be willing to let me boot it up before I walked out with it.
I'm not sure...I've wondered that. And I really do hate the "dice roll" aspect of all this. It's one thing to buy a product you know is a certain spec and get "surprised" with a silently bumped model instead (like finding a diamond in your backyard).



But for those of us who follow this stuff and know there are upgraded models out there, and you buy one and find out you have the older, lesser model...doesn't take a spec whore type to find themselves a bit miffed.

Buying a computer shouldn't be like shooting craps in Reno.

"Come on...Daddy needs a 5400rpm hard drive and 64MB graphics!"



Why Apple has never officially announced this - or altered their packaging to reflect this - is a mystery to me.

I'm not sure, LenrdZelig. I'm wondering if the new, silent upgraded models have a different product code/parts number? If so, maybe that's a new sticker on the box that could be checked? I'm not really sure...
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syd1138
New Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Cardiff, Wales
 
2006-02-08, 04:20

as far as the "upgraded" mac mini goes, i recieved mine 3 days ago and am more than happy with it, but mine was a build to order (1gb RAM) from Apple UK.

from what i've gathered from various posts (i was doing a fair bit of research myself) you can get an upgraded model from a retailer, but it would have to be a retailer with a fair amount of stock turnover, it can't be a mini that's been in the stockroom since last april (or whenever)

does the retailler have a net connection you could use? if so, you can enter the serial number (on the box) into the support section of the Apple site and it may tell you you have a Mac Mini late 2005 edition, if it does, it's the upgraded one!

best of luck!
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LenrdZelig
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
 
2006-02-09, 04:00

Quote:
Originally Posted by syd1138

does the retailler have a net connection you could use? if so, you can enter the serial number (on the box) into the support section of the Apple site and it may tell you you have a Mac Mini late 2005 edition, if it does, it's the upgraded one!
!
That is actually a brilliant idea. Yes the store in question does have internet access, albeit somewhat restricted. They salespeople work on comission, so they may be willing to let me fuss with it a bit in order to "make the sale" - I was there earlier this evening as a matter of fact, and was speaking with the customer rep who had just returned from Cupertino for some sort of training............ when I asked about the silently upgraded Macs, however, he hadn't a clue as to what I was talking about, merely referring back to the specs that are listed on the demo model and stated that they "All were as that one is" which we know here is a bit of rubbish.....(the one on display IS one of the 1.42 gig ones, I played around with it, as well as the other ones that happened to be there)

So this is the support site directly on the apple.com site to which you are referring? If so, if I choose to jump the broom and purchase this, I can just look up this website directly at the store, then direct myself to the apple site from this site. Having the information at close hand such as that would be useful, and if entering the serial number could in fact tell me that, I'd not have to even ask to open the box beforehand......

And I am assuming that you have one of the 1.5 gig mac mini's correct? And that when you enter your serial number on the website it refers to your particular model as the late 2005 edition?


Thanks very much and I hope to hear from you soon

Len.

Last edited by LenrdZelig : 2006-02-09 at 04:08.
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syd1138
New Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Cardiff, Wales
 
2006-02-09, 08:42

Quote:
Originally Posted by LenrdZelig
That is actually a brilliant idea.
thank you, but i can't take the credit, it's not my idea just something i found in the forums when i was researching it, and yes i do have the 1.5ghz version (but as someone told me, it's not so much the processer speed, but the upgraded graphics that are the biggest bonus)

i'll admit to not trying it myself yet, but will do so tonight with my serial number and let you know...

[Edited... couple of hours later]
http://www.apple.com/support/

go here and look for 'About your support coverage', enter the serial number and see what it says... mine says 'Mac mini (Late 2005)'

Last edited by syd1138 : 2006-02-09 at 14:32.
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rnb2
New Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: West Hartford, CT, USA
 
2006-02-09, 18:10

For what it's worth, I was in exactly the same position a couple weeks ago, and took the plunge on a Mini. I consider this my "getting my feet wet" Mac, something to learn on and get used to, and to tide me over until late this year, when the complete Intel line should be available. It's a fantastic general use machine, and I'm using it for just about everything except processing RAW photos, since my existing PC is much, much faster for that.

The reason I don't feel like I jumped the gun on the purchase is that most of my important software (PS CS2, etc) isn't Universal, and won't be for quite a while, so dropping more than $1k on an Intel iMac didn't seem the best idea right now, since I already have all the peripherals that I need, including a 20" flat panel monitor. I really want a laptop, but buying a PowerBook right now just doesn't seem like a good investment, given that I'd like to get a machine that I can process my photos with if I spend $1k+.

So, the Mini is my "stop gap measure", something I can pass on to my fiancee when I buy something faster late this year, but something that is completely functional right now. I haven't regretted it at all.

Regarding the "silent upgrade", the staff at the local Apple store seemed ignorant of it as well. You should be able to tell pretty easily, just by looking at the serial number, whether it's a "late 2005" machine. The serial number starts with 2 letters, then a string of numbers. The first number is, I think, the last digit of the year of manufacture (so should be a 5), followed by 2 digits that are the week of manufacture. If you get something later than XX538xxxx, you should be set - mine is actually XX552, and is upgraded.

Rick
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LenrdZelig
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
 
2006-02-10, 14:11

Quote:
Originally Posted by rnb2
Regarding the "silent upgrade", the staff at the local Apple store seemed ignorant of it as well. You should be able to tell pretty easily, just by looking at the serial number, whether it's a "late 2005" machine. The serial number starts with 2 letters, then a string of numbers. The first number is, I think, the last digit of the year of manufacture (so should be a 5), followed by 2 digits that are the week of manufacture. If you get something later than XX538xxxx, you should be set - mine is actually XX552, and is upgraded.

Rick

Well, I went and took the plunge today before I came into work. They were out of the one printer for free rebate one, so they "upgraded" me to the next best printer in the Epson line, with rebates (apparrently) still intact. Monitor, keyboard, mouse is the one listed in the promo.

The sales staff were incredibly helpful, and allowed me to check the serial numbers online. Or attempt I should say - we entered them and it stated that no such computer existed, but then I thought (and I think correctly) that since the computer isn't registered it is not going to show up yet on the apple.com systems, since that site in question is to see how long your warrantly is active, and presumably won't go into effect until I tell them I bought it. The sales staff did tell me that it literally just came direct from the "factory" this morning in shipment, and it is even still in the brown box that it was shipped in - and has that "new computer" smell in the box (isn't that a great smell?)

However, if you are correct about the serial numbers relating to the year and week in which they were made, the one I have in the box at my feet was made in the third week of 2006. Since I am at work I haven't had a chance to mess about with it any, but as soon as I do, I will confirm if it is indeed the late model or not for those of you who may still be paying attention to this thread.


EDIT - Well, here I am on my Macintosh. Neat computer right out of the box - it is going to take some getting used to - and as far as the specs go, it IS one of the updated models with 1.5gig and the higher video card etc etc...... so the serial number thing has some merit.


Does anyone want to reccommend some places I go to look since I'm more or less brand new to this (one thing I had forgotten was the Beach ball thing - they had those on the IIgs - funny the things you remember)

Once again I want to thank everyone for their advice and opinions. I look forward to getting my feet wet with this machine and will welcome any and all advice both on the forums or via emails. Looks like I"m a member of the club now, in a matter of speaking....

Side note - anyone want to buy a brand new montor, Keyboard, Mouse, and Printer/Scanner combo? Just kidding of course........

Thanks again

Last edited by LenrdZelig : 2006-02-10 at 19:30. Reason: a
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