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Inside (and outside) the Mac Mini

I had my hands on a Mac Mini on Friday at the UK launch. My first impressions?

Bloody hell, it's heavy... heavier than my 15" Powerbook. But it is small - that's an SPV C500 for scale (roughly the same size as a T610).

And inside... Well, it's a much neater circuit board than any I ever designed...

In short? Well, it's a sawn-off G4 Cube, and more expensive than an iMac G5 when you factor in screens and keyboards and mice, but it's still teh cut3n3ss.

Damn that RDF...

And yes - the screen picture on my phone is Bagpuss...


( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 16th, 2005 02:11 pm (UTC)
and more expensive than an iMac G5 when you factor in screens and keyboards and mice,

You can get a 17" LCD, keyboard and mouse for less than £560!

It is marketed as an upgrade for windows users that already have a monitor.......
Jan. 16th, 2005 02:12 pm (UTC)
I was using Apple kit prices!
Jan. 16th, 2005 02:17 pm (UTC)
The studio monitors are higher spec than the screen on the iMac aren't they though? Not *really* a fair comparison......

It is *so* about time that Apple did something like this - I don't think the majority of people want a computer with a built it monitor *or* someting as high spec as a powermac.....

I suspect that Apple are going to make a fortune with this.
Jan. 16th, 2005 02:23 pm (UTC)
But what's it _for_ ?

It's too expensive to sell to Mom & Pop, even at US prices not the UK rip-off rates.

It doesn't have the spec to do the pixel-chomping work that's the mainstay of commercial Mac use.

It hasn't got the "everything in a box" cachet (why ever you'd want that) that an iMac has.

Just how many hipster coffee tables are there ?
Jan. 16th, 2005 02:24 pm (UTC)
The UK price is only about £20 more than the US price, at current exchange rates -- not a serious rip-off.

Don't forget to discount the 17.5% VAT -- the US price excludes sales tax.
Jan. 16th, 2005 02:37 pm (UTC)
But what's it _for_ ?

Windows users who are fed up with worms, viruses, spyware and everything else that has made your average computer user experience generally horrible. You aren't going to get a Intel/AMD based package for cheaper than will be as good (even by the time you add in the LCD screen, keyboard and mouse that you will get in your average £499 PC package). For general day-to-day computer use the MacMini is perfect.
Jan. 17th, 2005 12:45 am (UTC)
"But what's it _for_ ?

Windows users who are fed up with worms, viruses, spyware and everything else that has made your average computer user experience generally horrible. "

That decribes me pretty acurately, and I'm definitely interested. And the starting price in Australia is only $799 (about £320).
Jan. 16th, 2005 03:21 pm (UTC)
But what's it _for_ ?

It's for me! It's shiny!

More seriously, I'm considering getting one because it's small, easy to transport when I move room/house which I do quite a lot, very quiet, and lets me get a Mac fairly cheaply which I can use with my existing monitor.

Jan. 16th, 2005 05:12 pm (UTC)
Couldn't you use a bog standard Windows-style USB keyboard / mouse, or is there something I'm missing? And you can get a 17" LCD monitor for well under 200 these days, see e.g. Dabs. My main problem with it would be the amount of PC software I'd need to replace - that and I suspect that expansion would be MUCH more expensive than any PC.
Jan. 16th, 2005 06:16 pm (UTC)
Yes. I hope they provide a little Apple key sticker to stick on the Windows key...
Jan. 17th, 2005 04:10 am (UTC)
It is. That's where I am now.

Boy, it is.
Jan. 17th, 2005 12:34 pm (UTC)
Real users hardly ever add stuff to their machine. Hard-core geeks hardly ever do either, at least not on their desktops. In fact, as far as I can tell the only people who do to any great extent are gamers and Linux weenies, neither of whom are going to buy *any* Apple machine.
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 16th, 2005 02:25 pm (UTC)
Re: yes, another *want* message ....
Yes there is a fan (albeit very quiet). And the ventilation path is such that you won't be stacking them...
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 16th, 2005 02:36 pm (UTC)
Re: yes, another *want* message ....
Won't be there until the 29th...

(UK release date)
Jan. 17th, 2005 05:29 am (UTC)
Re: yes, another *want* message ....
40Gb isn't enough to record serious TV even with Sky's hefty compression, let alone once you get it to MPEG. This won't be a serious machine until there's an external storage solution that doesn't compromise the neat design. Although I think the huge power brick compromises the neat design anyway.

Oh and you'd have to have an external TV adapter because there's no expansion space, so you're hanging a USB gizmo off the side. I used to joke that all the extras for the Acorn Electron should fit together into a desk to use it on...
Jan. 17th, 2005 05:33 am (UTC)
Re: yes, another *want* message ....
oh, and there's no audio in connector, if you wanted to add an external source
Jan. 16th, 2005 02:25 pm (UTC)
There seems to be a gap in the motherboard where the modem should be, most odd.

One RAM slot may be a bit of a limitation, means you either pay Apple's inflated memory prices or throw away what it comes with and shop at Crucial.

If only I could justify one right now :)

- Neil.
Jan. 17th, 2005 05:30 am (UTC)
it's not an on-board motherboard - it just sits on top of the board and fits into the hole in the case.
Jan. 16th, 2005 03:31 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the photo tour, Simon. I have been meaning to crack on open to see if if might serve as a headless datalogger, though for the purpose it needs to draw no more than 25 watts.

What's for? I don not think it is a switcher tool. If it were you'd see PS/2 ports and VGA 15-D connectors. No, this computer looks like a decent existing market churn product -- it is an upgrade for existing Mac users (especially the OS 9 hold outs) who want or need to replace the processing core having all the peripherals in place. It has some drawbacks, especially with the laptop format hard drive. Those are not nearly as fast as the cheaper and faster 3.5" format drives. Given the tight enclosure, I would worry about a replacement laptop 7200 RPM drive pushing the thermal budget to the edge.

My guess is they will sell 500K - 1M of these and then see a rapid falloff in sales. Still, if they maintain control of their margins, it could well give Apple a decent bottom line for three quarters.

Though I don't use Macs much anymore, now a happy Windows XP user, I'll buy one to accompany my collection of interesting computers such as the 20th Anniversary Mac, the Cube, the DUO, and the titanium.
Jan. 16th, 2005 05:13 pm (UTC)
I think that a VGA adaptor comes with it.
Jan. 16th, 2005 11:23 pm (UTC)
It does indeed (and comes with all monitorless Macs and powerbooks these days).
Jan. 17th, 2005 05:32 am (UTC)
I've been parsing it as a half-size Cube - with all the problems that had. I dunno how cute 'n' neat it will look once you start hanging external peripherals off it to make it usable
Jan. 17th, 2005 03:20 am (UTC)
"Apple finally made an Amiga 1200." (To quote from here.

Complete with brick, right Simon?

It's a great way for current PC users to sample a Mac. Won't cost you too much to start with and its resale price should hold up better than a PC, so an excellent move by Apple. I was already thinking my next computer should be a Mac, albeit a laptop.
Jan. 17th, 2005 05:32 am (UTC)
yes - the power brick is rectangular and longer than the case of the unit.
Jan. 17th, 2005 12:02 pm (UTC)

What is the power spec for the brick, hopefully 45W or less?
Jan. 19th, 2005 11:19 am (UTC)
Any idea if it is dual-voltage? Those of us with impending transatlantic moves are interested...
Jan. 19th, 2005 11:46 am (UTC)
Re: dual
Apparently so. Unlike the iMac G5s...
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )