Mac mini on the cheap

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Jon's picture
Jon
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So, you want a Mac mini, but you see all the articles about how it costs so much to get it going, or how your PC keyboard and mouse won't work if they're PS/2? Yeah that's alot of crap. Buy a cheap XGA LCD w/ speakers and a $6-12 PS/2 -> USB adapter and the good used old keyboard and multibutton scroll-wheel mouse of your choice, and you can get a whole Mac mini w/ a combo drive and flat panel setup for under $700. Try getting a PC setup with an LCD for that much. It's about the same, even at WalMart the cheapo WinXP boxen with all that aren't much cheaper in price but are MUCH cheaper in quality and likely have near zero customer support. If you shop around a Mac mini can be a really great buy, and quite cheap to get started at if you want to go with a CRT. From some of the places where I shop, if I go used, I can get the monitor, kbd and mouse for a lump sum of $40 or under. That means I can get a Mac mini with a 17"-20" CRT for the low price of $539. A great deal! And all those people griping about PS/2 equipment on the Mac mini must be blind, stupid, or clueless. USB adapters are available from WalMart and BigLots! for cryin' out loud. I paid $5.99 for a GE brand one at BigLots! and it works with OS X. Get over it people, PS/2 isn't and issue, and Apple isn't going to point it out because it means they can try to sell their branded units for $58 and get a little more for the profit margin. The profits are really in the peripherals and upgrades when going lowend. Just look at bottom of the line PCs, in several examples you don't even get a CD burner. Most cheapos already don't include a floppy drive, and don't have a DVI port for that cheapo LCD at WallyWorld...

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eeun's picture
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Well said

You're right on the ball with that. And a 40GB drive is going to be big enough for Joe Average. Heck, my Athlon system only has a 20GB and it's just half-full.

I'm pondering selling off a whole pile of my geeky goodies to fund a Mac mini. So far I have ...$0 Laughing out loud

I looked into cheap RAM, and found you can get a 1GB stick of PC3200 for just over a hundred USD:
http://www.pricewatch.com/h/prc.aspx?f=11&i=33&a=5025
...compared to the $425 USD at the Apple store Tongue

The first entry from Gigi4me even comes with a RAM heatsink, tho I don't know if there'll be room for it in the mini...

Fact is, I don't need a new Mac, but gosh darn it, they're just so cool.

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PS/2?

But... All my old keyboards are ADB, not PS/2! Wink

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Griffin iMate! [url]http://w

Griffin iMate!
http://www.griffintechnology.com/products/imate/

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martakz's picture
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Re: Well said

eeun wrote:

The first entry from Gigi4me even comes with a RAM heatsink, tho I don't know if there'll be room for it in the mini...

Sheesh...$100 for 1Gb of ram!!! The cheapest here in the UK works out as $187.

Oh, RAM heatsinks are quite easy to lever off...personally I think they do sod all anyway.

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aladds's picture
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[url]www.ebuyer.co.uk[/url]

ebuyer.co.uk
From here, you can get 1GB "value RAM' that is the same sort as in the mac Mini (PC2700) for about £90!

(it's a UK firm)

applemac.tk

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And convert that to dollars..

And convert that to dollars...

Still good value though, considering I payed alot more a few years back for a 256mb stick..

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Jon's picture
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And also, to all those who ar

And also, to all those who are writing articles complaining about Apple not selling a suitable display for the mini: They offer the NEC MultiSync FE770 17" CRT Monitor (Black) for $159 w/ free shipping. No, it's not an Apple branded monitor, but it does come from Apple, and PC users aren't going to be Apple only bigots (yes, bigots) that many die-hard Apple fans are.

But, mini isn't targeted at those who want to be a Mac bigot, it's targeted at those who come from a world where finding a system that is all a single OEM probably means they're paying a price to a big name vendor for that.

Many of the mini nay-sayers need to rethink their positions: The mini s a value computer, targeted at value shoppers. Value shoppers don't care if the monitor is an NEC, Mitsu., Sony, KDS, whoever, as long as it's the cheapest. Value shoppers don't care if that is an Apple logo'd keyboard/mouse set with their mini, as long as it works and is cheap. Thinking about mini in terms of Mac user values doesn't make much sense, thinking about it in terms of PC users who need a second machine, or who want to switch, and mini make s a whole heck of a lot of sense. The only thing Apple has yet to tell everyone is the wide spread availability of PS/2 USB adapters.

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Well said, Jon. Also maybe

Well said, Jon.

Also maybe my few pS2 to usb adapters might come in handy after all.

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Re: And also, to all those who ar

Jon wrote:

And also, to all those who are writing articles complaining about Apple not selling a suitable display for the mini: They offer the NEC MultiSync FE770 17" CRT Monitor (Black) for $159 w/ free shipping.

Unfortunately Apple stopped shipping other manufacturer's displays in Europe once they updated the Studio Display line to all aluminium. The only way you can get them to ship you a CRT these days is to buy an eMac. Not that I'm suggesting that people should part with their hard earned money to buy a new monitor from Apple, that'd be daft. An old monitor would be fine, so also would an old £10 Sun monitor off eBay...

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Sun

My AU$40 (about 13 pounds or so) Sun 19" is working fine Smile However it was modified by the previous owner to do sync-on-green, so it doesn't need a special adapter, just the usual Mac to PC adapter (for older Macs like my Beige)

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Jon's picture
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[url=http://www.macworld.com/

Here's a MacWorld article pointing out a few other things about how many tech writers take misleading points of view when comparing the value of a mini to a WinTel box.

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Something I just thought of:

Something I just thought of: a few short years ago, we weren't afriad to spend 500 dollars for a processor upgrade for our powermac. I vaguely remember some of the sonnnet upgrades were like 499.

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Jon's picture
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I'm standing in the [url=http

I'm standing in the Apple Store on the Plaza using the 1.42GHz version of mini. It's not much bigger than a standard 5.25" drive. Really, it's about the right size, but too small to put a monitor on top of. For the price, ME WANT!

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It seems like a lot of people

It seems like a lot of people are going to buy these. It's going to be interesting when, in about 20 years, you start finding mac minis in thrift stores like you find compact macs now. To me, they have a lot in common, in how cool they are designed.

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CPU upgrades

This is going to shoot the hell out of the business model of a lot of the CPU upgrade sellers. At the very least, it should lead to a few price drops - OWC is quoting $300 for a 1.2 GHz (against $500 for a same-speed Mini) and $400 for a 1.4.

Sure, the Mac Mini isn't upgradeable itself. But - for musicians at least - it doesn't really matter. Here's why.

If buy a Mini today, and six months down the track I run out of grunt for my softsynths and VSTs, I can just go buy another one and run them remotely - piping the audio and MIDI data back and forth over Firewire or Ethernet. Cubase and Logic have this built in for Firewire, and there are third party hacks to do it over Ethernet. I could even keep my old machine for its PCI slots and just use the Mini as an external processor/portable gig machine.

I might end up with a short stack of the things beside my monitor Smile

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