[hopes for the future] Mac (mini) questions


OSNN Veteran Addict
I've heard quite a strong rumour today at work that we are gonna sell the Mac Mini's in the not so distant future (part of a deal Dixons NL had with Apple with the iPods. Dixons managed to get a good price for the iPods, in exchange for the selling of the Mac Mini's) and because I need a new computer quite soon anyway, I thought of getting one of these babies :) But I have a few questions:
1) I will be using it for surfing the web, creating websites (PHP and HTML, no fancy WYSIWYG HTML editors, just plain old text), maybe a game here and there (no fancy 3D game shooters, just Mayjongg or sump). Should I get the 1.25 GHz one or the 1.4 Ghz? 40 GB (that the 1.25 one has) is more than enough for me, 80 is waaay to much, so I won't look at that. Is the difference in CPU speed enough to spend the extra 100 euro more?

2) Memory: It comes preinstalled with 256 MB of memory, is that enough? I know that Windows XP needs a 256 MB minimum to work smoothly, is it the same for Mac OS-X 10.3? Is it worth to get the 512 MB upgrade? Again, no fancy computing for me, no games, no (well, maybe a little basic) video-editing, just basic use and web-developing. Is it really that difficult to upgrade the RAM?

3) Software: I think I will be installing OpenOffice.org on it for my documents etc. But do I 'need' anything else?

4) Do you know other pitfalls to look out for before migrating from Windows XP to Mac?

I hope you can answer my questions :)


OSNN Veteran Addict
Oh and the videocard is a Radeon 9200 with 32 MB, is this shared with the main memory? If so, is it possible to 'upgrade' the memory from 32 to like 64 MB in the BIOS?


I may actually be insane.
1. 1.25Ghz to 1.42Ghz really doesn't make that much of a difference. If you feel like splashing out, you're likely to be better off in the long run with the 1.42, however it's not worth it if you really don't feel like spending the extra cash.

2. Get the 256mb, it's fine. If you feel that after a while it's sluggish, you can get your own 1GB Dimm from a third party (for example crucial) and fit it yourself, this will work out a LOT cheaper than getting the memory with it, and you have a spare 256mb which you can use in another machine, or sell to make money towards the 1GB stick.
Also it's very easy to upgrade the memory.

3. Not sure what you mean by need anything else?

4. I did it and never looked back, I haven't touched XP outside of work in over a year now. I know X-Istence uses his Mac a lot and should be able to offer some input also, and Geffy has also started to use his Mac a lot more than his old desktop machine.

[edit] the video memory isn't shared. Also because Apple and ATI have more control over both the hardware and software environment that the card is used in, 32mb isn't the same as a 32mb card under Windows. That card will happily run UT2004, I know this as my Radeon in my iBook runs it at a nice speed.


Political User
1. Not worth it
2. I still use 256 MB ram in my iBook after 6 months.
3. Get Office X, Oo_O in Mac OS X under X11 does not look good, and does not have all the fonts available. Might want to just consider iWork though, cheaper, but it contains no Excel or Outlook. However Pages and that presentation app are totally worth the $79.
4. get a USB mouse, with three buttons, and you are set. Pitfalls? Ah, another ûûûûing virus, delete the ûûûûer :p. wait, that is not a pitfall.

/me loves his mac

In other words. No pitfalls, and i hardly even touch any of my other PC's anymore. Not that any of em have Windows on them, but no, Mac is it.


OSNN Veteran Addict
You should be fine, for writing sites on my iBook I either use SubEthaEdit which I do really really like or Zend Studio. You do have to keep in mind that there isnt quite the range of OpenSource free software for Macs as there is for windows. I mean I ended up buying a fair bit of software to get it the way I like it. The most useful of all of them being FruitMenu from unsanity but that said most of the pieces of software that I did get were not exceedingly expensive.
Office like, I have Office 2004:Mac Student edition.
Geffy said:
You should be fine, for writing sites on my iBook I either use SubEthaEdit which I do really really like
Someone should really write a cross-platform collaborative editor like SubEthaEdit. After all, Rendezvous is supported by other operating systems too. Would be great :)


OSNN Veteran Addict
mmm, its really cool. I have done some collaborative editing on some PHP with a friend of mine. Some downsides to it though is that we both had to be on the same wireless network ssid for it to work.

and some new things like PostgreSQL and MySQL 5.0 have Rendezvous built in as well which is quite cool


Political User
All i need to customize my PC is erm, a standard install of whatever OS. All i change is the background, and possibly the way certain actions are performed, but i don't have a range of things i want or need to get it to feel like i want an OS. I can happily live with an install of OS X and NEVER change the icons, or make it look different from the default.


Electronica Addict
Political User
I've read a couple reviews where they have stated that 512 MB should be the minimum for a Mac Mini. Something to do with how OS X handles memory, and therefore 256 MB is too little for it. I think it was AnandTech.
Grandmaster said:
I've read a couple reviews where they have stated that 512 MB should be the minimum for a Mac Mini. Something to do with how OS X handles memory, and therefore 256 MB is too little for it. I think it was AnandTech.
That's what I've usually heard from most OS X users too.


OSNN Veteran Addict
512MB would be nice, however more than likely a 256MB system will suffice. As both X and Dave say, they both used 256 for a while and X still does. It cant be that bad, but it all comes down to user preferance.
It would most probably be cheaper to get the 512MB DIMM from elsewhere anyway. But then you'd need to find some use for the 256MB module (or be sure you'll be able to sell it at a reasonably good price).


Political User
Grandmaster said:
I've read a couple reviews where they have stated that 512 MB should be the minimum for a Mac Mini. Something to do with how OS X handles memory, and therefore 256 MB is too little for it. I think it was AnandTech.
Lies all lies. I'd like to hear their reasoning though, as it would mean that it would apply to FreeBSD as well, which is where they got their VM code from. Which BTW is the best/most stable VM code in the world.

I still use 256 MB, and i have no problems whatsoever, only time i wish for more is when i have almost all the apps under the world open, and some DVD running in the background, but that is not often.
Well, I wouldn't call it "lies." It's just a matter of what you're used to, I guess. There are people who have never used more recent machines who are perfectly satisfied with 3 year old systems with 128MB of RAM (yes, I know a few such people). Anand, on the other hand, has been used to testing extremely high-spec machines (he used a dual 2.5GHz G5 with 6GB of RAM at one point...it's true), so it's natural that he expects better performance from his machines.

Here is a quote I picked from his article:
Even if you're doing light multitasking, you'll find yourself bogged down by the CPU with only 256MB of memory. When I was testing for the first article, I found myself enamored with how quickly and how well OS X would use up whatever memory I threw at it, so I had no problem going from 512MB up to 6GB in the G5 for my original article. Since then, I've played around quite a bit with memory sizes and found that the sweet spot for OS X really is around 512MB; 1GB, if you are a heavier multitasker.
I don't own a Mac, and I use a 2.4GHz P4 notebook with 512MB of RAM on a daily basis. However, I've briefly worked with a couple of Powerbooks and iBooks, and I personally found it less comfortable working on an iBook with 256MB of RAM as compared to the 512MB one sitting next to it, or to my own computer, for that matter. If I were to buy an iBook today (don't get excited, Dave...it's just a hypothetical situation), I'd go with 512, but that's just me.

My advise to you, Glaanie, would be to see if you can find two Macs with identical specs, one with 256MB installed and the other with 512MB. That would give you a good idea of the performance difference, and then you can decide what you want to do.


OSNN Veteran Addict
if you are working on some text based project and listening to iTunes at the same time then I would recommend at least 512MB of RAM. I personally have 1.256GB of ram in my iBook

Nick M

OSNN Veteran Addict
You'll find the 256MB isn't enough memory at times and you'll absolutely kick yourself for it. I used OS X, running Photoshop with a few 3000x2000 files open, iTunes, and Safari with a bundle of tabs...eh, 256 is lacking and I'd be happier with twice what's given.

Candy. Think; would you rather have what your mom gave you or that AND what you stole from the store :p

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