the mac mini so far

mac-mini-1So, now that I’m a parent and I spend most of my time either outside, with my family, at work, or blogging and have no time at all to play video games, I ditched the big custom-built, power-hungry, noisy PC that I put together a couple years ago and replaced it with a Mac Mini.  Unlike the very audible gaming machine, the Mini sits unobtrusively and silently on our little desk in our little apartment and uses hardly any power at all.

This is a very good thing.  We watch all our movies and shows on the computer as we have no television, and so a quiet computer was pretty essential.  We also are extremely space-conscious.  We have a two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment shared between three people, one of whom is a two-year-old with lots and lots of toys.  Suffice to say, there is very little room.  A lot of our decision making in the past year or so has been how to rid ourselves of unneeded possessions, how to fill a small space efficiently, and how to reduce clutter and maintain some sense of aesthetic goodness.

The smaller machine has helped.  It is easily accessible.  It is easy to use.  In fact, I have to say – I really, really like that I can just plug in my camera and pull pictures off of it without having to install any drivers.  I really like that level of simplicity even though I’m a very tech-savvy person.  Mac OS X is definitely a better operating system than Windows.  It’s not that much better, but I certainly like it better (then again, I’m just not a huge fan of Vista).  It’s not quite as much fun as a good Linux install (mainly because Compiz Fusion is so much fun) but it’s again far simpler and more user friendly.  Wifi on a Mac is wicked simple.  On Linux – not so much.  Even on a PC wireless can be a pain.

So, for my limited uses – movies, music, photos and videos, some music recording (okay, I haven’t tried the recording out yet – I still need to hook up my equipment and try that out) and internet stuff the Mini is great.  Perfect, really.  This new model even has a pretty good graphics card so if I ever do get the gaming bug again I can install XP and play some Team Fortress II or Half Life and it should look pretty good.  Then again, I will probably never have time ever again to play computer games, so it’s not really a consideration.

In the end, there is not really one or the other that is “better” in this ongoing Apple vs. PC bruhaha.  It depends on what you’re using it for that matters.  Mac, for someone like me who is generally short on time and wants things set up simply and attractively, Mac is a better choice.  For someone who wants to tinker, upgrade, and blow up zombies in DX10 splendor on their brand new Nvidia GPU while overclocking their Intel Octocore 10000 to 8.666 Ghz maybe PC is the better option – though with that in mind, I really think it’s about time Microsoft came out with a Windows Gamer edition that cut out all the other crap and focused solely on performance.  I’d like to see an OS that just ditches all that extra memory and CPU usage and focuses solely on the games.  Then maybe Microsoft could come up with some clever, snarky commercial wherein they have the Apple guy trying to keep up with the PC guy on some Halo or something….

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5 thoughts on “the mac mini so far

  1. As I’m quick to say, there’s lots of great reasons to buy Macs.

    I would be remiss if I didn’t point out, though– I can build a fanless (100% quiet), small, media center PC with full HD-output and a Blu-Ray drive for the same $600 your cheaper Mac Minis cost. Though if you wanted to run OSX on it, I’d have to get that internal USB-header dongle thing.

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  2. Right – or you could get a Dell mini pc with all of those features, etc. But again, the operating system component requires extra work to hack or build in, etc. It’s that extra work part that gets me. I like less work at this point in my life and am willing to pay for it….

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