Considering a similar spec Laptop would probably cost a lot less but include Windows, a screen, keyboard and touch pad these still sound very pricey to me, don't even get a Blu-ray drive! Size & Apple premium heavily applied.
Apple has knocked 50 quid off the price of the Mac Mini. The diminutive desktop Mac - it's just 197 x 197 x 36mm - was, at launch, priced at £649. That bought you a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of 1067MHz DDR 3 memory, a 320GB 5400rpm Sata hard drive, 8x multi-format DVD writer and Nvidia GeForce 320M graphics integrated …
The Dell Zino now starts at £329, including VAT. Then the next model up is £429, which gets you an extra gigabyte of memory and a 20" monitor.
Without knowing Apple's motivation for the small price reduction, I don't think you could argue that it puts them within the realm of low cost computing.
If you go on the Dell website, you'll see that to approach the Mini, in spec, you'd be adding around £80, for the faster CPU, and the wireless. Still way cheaper than the Mini - but even tricked out, the Zino remains with a 1.5 GHz AMD, and cheaper, slower RAM.
That said, with the Zino you can choose whether you actually need 2.4Gig multi-core processor, 1K+ RAM (or, indeed, built in wireless) for your intended use. If that indented use doesn't put a tricked-up Zino into the 'obsolete' box in less than eighteen months from now, then it may be a good bet. The Mini is overpriced, but it's also over-speced for many people's immediate needs.
Either way, you're going to be spending quite a bit on the screen. You're not going to want any bargain basement Dell-quality screen on a HDMI jack - so ditch that option even if it is offered to you: there's no way a 20 inch screen from anyone (least of all Dell) is sporting even DVI-D-quality output - never mind HDMI. The Mini only comes with HDMI output (with an adaptor to take it *down* to DVI-D) anyway, so it's actually impossible to use the Mac with an old, or cheap screen.
Cheapest DVI-D screens I know of start at around 22-24inch and about £120, and you're not really going to want to plug some DVI-D screen in, if you intend using either machine for much more than 'World of Warcraft'. You're looking at another £2-300, for a screen, if you want it for the living room.
The mini is still way way overpriced.
For not much more you can get an iMac - all the fun of a mini plus rather a lot more.
All you need then is another OS to replace the half-baked-awful OS-X and the even more awful UI; a proper BSD or (at push) Linux will do the job nicely :-)
Well, to be fair, it's a matter of taste - although speaking as an OSX, BSD and Linux user I find the Apple interface generally very good indeed, and certainly beautifully put together IMO. The fact that the AC comments conflate BSD and good UI design does however strike me, from an historical perspective at least, as possibly
(c) great hilarity
(e) a combination of the above
That said, implying that most open source front ends are simply rip-offs of Microsoft and/or Apple also shows a spectacularly blinkered view of the endemic theft / inspiration / impersonation / what-have-you in the user interface world since the year dot.
Wow, 50 quid off! Now I can use my savings to buy a mac mini and invest in a condo in Bali - at the same time!
Seriously its a great machine but the price is about double the value. I was thinking of getting one as an HTPC, then realized for half that much I can get an SFF PC and run XBMC on it, with the same results. Essentially you're paying for the cool case... It's nice but very hard to justify, when a decent quad core PC goes for the same price.
WTF? because I don't understand why they bothered...
> Awful UI?
> What open source UI would you recommend then?
> Most at just a rip off of what Apple or Microsoft have done.
"most are just a rip off" pretty much describes all of them.
This goes for Apple OpenStep too.
Linux desktops were mocking NeXT long before Apple decided to get in on the action.
a) a pager that doesn't require you to interrupt your workflow
b) no stupid global menu
c) useful dock/panel/meu that can actually embed useful information.
d) global package management
e) useful context menus
>> "Linux desktops were mocking NeXT long before Apple decided to get in on the action."
> You do know that Apple bought NeXT?
You do know when work started on the open source implementations of the core ObjC libraries and GUI, when Sun and NeXT specified OpenStep, when projects like GNUstep were started, when Apple purchased NeXT and when anything visible (e.g. OSX) became available out of that purchase ?
Granted the idea that *Linux* (as opposed to UNIXen) desktops were using a NeXTSTEP a-like desktop 'long before' is stretching the definition of 'long' a tad - but it's not a million miles off.
"b) no stupid global menu"
One of the best things about the OS design. The menu bar is a much easier target when it's at the screen edge. Means less real estate is used by other app windows and just shoving your mouse quickly to top of screen means you're over the menu bar. Or alternatively use the provided OS-level keyboard shortcuts to perform tasks or access the menu bar.
Say what you want about the various other aspects of the UI, such as the dock, folder window sidebars etc etc and there probably is a better alternative, but the menu at the top of the screen is perhaps the greatest UI element of them all, and no matter what app you're in you know where it is instinctively.
When the Mac Mini was introduced in 2005 the base model was £299. It seems that technology has let us down when the price has rocketed to £649 five years later.
I bought mine for £399 for the 1.66 Core Duo model and it was a fantastic little machine. When I sold it a year later for a tasty 24" iMac it was a little bit disappointing, mainly because the Mini was running Tiger and was rock solid, while the iMac came with Leopard and was a bit troublesome ( It's now running Snow Leopard though and all is good again).
The premium feel and aluminium cases are are very well but it doesn't fit everyone's requirements. In a living room it's important, in a film room I wouldn't care that much what the equipment looks like as the lights will be off most of the time.
I see nowhere in my comment mentioning that it would fit in a box that size, but I'd rather get a bigger media centre box and fill it with proper kit, than pay stupidly high amounts of cash on a junker that fits in a matchbox. I guess you are already smacked out on a scoop of timebomb.
Well, Wikipedia thinks that anyway. Which would make a refresh unlikely, and in any case Apple seem to be sticking with basically these specs for their physically tiny machines across the board. The choice of CPU is all to do with space, heat and Intel's bundling of CPUs and GPUs if you believe Ars, but I don't suspect that's much consolation.
1. Suggesting Linux wins on the UI front, traditionally one of the Gimpiest parts of OSS
2. Not understanding the term 'value'. On that basis, that cost is all that matters, we'd all by driving Korean cars, paying peanuts to Indian monkeys to write code, and buying our groceries at Lidl. Oh, wait...
... waiting to pounce 'next summer'.
What I wonder is the upgrade path for the MacMini Server version when that happens?
I suspect it will be a tad higher than the Lion client upgrade price. Enough to keep me from purchasing the server version until that becomes clear.
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