This morning Apple announced a collection of upgrades, including the Mac Mini. Like the new MacBook Air notebooks the Mac Mini got a big bump in power and s looks like a good choice for my next computer.
As my colleague Kevin pointed out, the Mac Mini may not be a good choice for everyone, thanks to the extras you may need to purchase. While he raises good points, for many users like myself this affordable mini computer is the perfect companion to a MacBook Pro, iPad or other portable device.
While I could plug in my MacBook Air to a monitor, and I am using my iPad instead of a number of devices, I have been looking for powerful office computer that can power two 1080P displays without trouble. The Mac Mini fits the bill, and is as cheap as building a hackintosh version.
As Kevin points out you do need a monitor, keyboard and mouse. While you can go all out, and I already have, you can find a decent desktop mouse and keyboard set for as low as $50. A good 20″ monitor can be found on Newegg for as low as $100. This bumps your cost up to $750, which is close to a the new MacBook Air 11.6″, but many users purchasing this tiny computer for home use may spring for a monitor anyway. By allowing you to bring your own monitor, keyboard and mouse Apple actually lets you save or splurge and pick what fits your work habits best.
If you need the upgrades, which I think I will, there’s no reason to pay Apple’s ridiculous upgrade prices. Especially not with the new Mac Mini’s easy access bottom panel.
I plan to pick up 4GB or 8GB of RAM to install myself for $33 or $64 respectively. The slower 5400RPM hard drive may present some issues, but like most Mac Mini buyers I am just thankful for the extra space.
Yes, there are some extra costs associated with the Mac Mini, but for basic users and DIY upgraders like myself the Mac Mini is worth it, even if the final price after accessories and upgrades approaches $800. If cost is a major issue, check out the refurbished MacBook Air 11.6″ notebook which starts at $750.
While I could purchase a Windows system for less, and I switch between Windows and OS X every day, I have yet to find a video editing solution like iMovie that gets out of the way and lets me quickly create reviews on the Windows side.