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11-13-2014, 01:08 PM   #1
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Should I buy a 2014 Mac Mini?

I'm far from an Apple fanboy, but our household has become more and more Apple-centric.

I'm thinking of getting a Mac, but have no overwhelming need for it - I love the OS, like the Unix-like flavor of it, and am interested in using it also as an entertainment hub that's more capable of integration with the rest of our IOS devices (two iphones, two apple TVs, 1st-gen ipad and ipad Mini 2.)

I can't justify a huge purchase for the whim I describe above, and the Mac Mini seems like a great "toes in the water" step.

Thoughts? What do I need to consider? Talk me into it or out of it?

11-13-2014, 01:56 PM   #2
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My opinion about Apple is that everything they produce is amazing, but I would never buy anything from them because for the same money you can ALWAYS buy something better from other brands.

Obviously it is not cool as much as an iPhone or a Mac, but when I buy something, my last thought is to be cool.
This is the main reason for which I have bought a Pentax as my first Dslr, everyone was talking about Canon and Nikon as "cool", so I have gone further.
11-13-2014, 02:11 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by flaviopetrone Quote
My opinion about Apple is that everything they produce is amazing, but I would never buy anything from them because for the same money you can ALWAYS buy something better from other brands.

Obviously it is not cool as much as an iPhone or a Mac, but when I buy something, my last thought is to be cool.
This is the main reason for which I have bought a Pentax as my first Dslr, everyone was talking about Canon and Nikon as "cool", so I have gone further.
I honestly think Pentax is 'cooler' than Nikon or Canon (and I own both Nikon and Pentax.)

But I don't buy at this level of $$ for 'cool'. I think it might be more 'fun' to use OSX, I come form a Unix background and I'd like a native platform that supports cmd line better, scripting, etc... But also I just want clean integration with all our devices. Plus believe it or not my main recreational computer right now is a 1st-gen i3 laptop with no SSD (my 'real' workstation has been donated to a relative who was going to do video editing in school.)

So the 2014 Minis would be an upgrade from that, and come with OSX and better device integration to boot.

But is it worth it? What configuration should I consider minimal? Should I go with a 2012 model instead and upgrade myself (something you can't really do with the 2014 models...)
11-13-2014, 02:25 PM   #4
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From what I have read, the newest Mac Mini models have some reduced functionality from its predecessors. Macintouch is an authoritative Mac-centric sit that has coverage of these issues.

Mac Mini

M

11-13-2014, 02:29 PM   #5
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I understand your point.
I can't give you advices about the configuration since I am not very interested in Mac.

If I was in your shoes, I would assembly a computer (thing that I did 2 months ago for myself) with a dual boot sistem: Ubuntu + Windows 7. This way you could do everything you want with a Linux computer and a good integration with other systems you have, iTunes works fine on Windows.
Anyway, this is not the easiest way...
11-13-2014, 02:32 PM   #6
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Yes you should unless you are a camera tinkerer. If you like to fiddle with your computer then macs are not as good. If you want your computer to just work and do what you want pretty reliably then apples make very nice computers.
11-13-2014, 02:33 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by flaviopetrone Quote
I understand your point.
I can't give you advices about the configuration since I am not very interested in Mac.

If I was in your shoes, I would assembly a computer (thing that I did 2 months ago for myself) with a dual boot sistem: Ubuntu + Windows 7. This way you could do everything you want with a Linux computer and a good integration with other systems you have, iTunes works fine on Windows.
Anyway, this is not the easiest way...
I don't envy you...
I've been through that process some years ago, when Win 7 was pretty much a new OS, and it has been a pain getting it to dual-boot without one OS resenting the presence of the other and messing up its bootloader...
Maybe things are a bit better now...

I definitely agree on the bang per buck argument.
Not a Mac fanboy myself, but I must admit that Apple has been pretty succesful in creating an integrated ecosystem which is to great appeal to those who don't care enough to bother.
My experience is that one would buy an iphone because it's "cool", "the best" or "everybody has it", then buy everything Mac because they're so easy to interoperate.

Me, I'm an Android kinda guy...
11-13-2014, 05:57 PM   #8
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The last time I worked on a Mac was when I retired from the printing business. Hope I never have to use one again. I am a PC guy all the way.

11-13-2014, 06:02 PM   #9
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I have a Mac mini from 4 years ago - I use it hooked up to my Panasonic 42" plasma TV as my media center - have the Apple bluetooth trackpad and keyboard (I also have a MacBook Air that I use for pretty much all the normal computer stuff....) It's been great! Never a bit of trouble - eventually I filled up the hard drive with movies, music, photos, and bought a terabyte hard drive that I transferred the media to to free up space on the internal hard drive. With the new OS there is some great automatic integration across the other apple products. I would heartily recommend it. I work in IT and during the day everything is on Windows 7; at home I use Apple products.
11-13-2014, 09:02 PM   #10
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Will it be used as a desktop or hooked up to the Tv as your entertainment center? Will you need to buy a monitor?

I wouldn't buy it on a whim...$499 seems like an okay entry price into the Apple products, but factor in the keyboard, mouse, and monitor, I'd rather buy an iMac. The Mac mini doesn't come with mouse and keyboard... If you don't need a monitor, then I'd consider it. The Apple trackpad is nice and the OS has cool gestures, but it's $70 new. If you look at the right time, you can get a "deal". I bought the $1099 base model iMac for $810 before taxes this summer.
11-14-2014, 05:34 AM   #11
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Oh yea, I don't know how much more integration there is on a Mac than a pc. I've heard other people say that before too, but I don't think it's true. The only thing I can think of is airplay and airdrop. You'd be able to mirror the computer to the Apple tv and transfer files without a cable. Personally, I'm not sure if this is worth $499++
11-14-2014, 05:58 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by quimming Quote
Oh yea, I don't know how much more integration there is on a Mac than a pc. I've heard other people say that before too, but I don't think it's true. The only thing I can think of is airplay and airdrop. You'd be able to mirror the computer to the Apple tv and transfer files without a cable. Personally, I'm not sure if this is worth $499++
I mentioned integration, but I wouldn't know anyway...
I'm allergic to all things cloud, and try to rely the less I can on proprietary software & methods...
For instance, I use an app who stores memos in *.txt file format on my cellphone and favor *.csv files for all things I can export (sms, call log, contacts etc.). Never use Kies.
Plus iTunes under Win is a resource hog...

So yeah I'd buy a pc, maybe choosing the components one by one.
11-14-2014, 06:14 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by LensBeginner Quote
I mentioned integration, but I wouldn't know anyway...
I'm allergic to all things cloud, and try to rely the less I can on proprietary software & methods...
For instance, I use an app who stores memos in *.txt file format on my cellphone and favor *.csv files for all things I can export (sms, call log, contacts etc.). Never use Kies.
Plus iTunes under Win is a resource hog...

So yeah I'd buy a pc, maybe choosing the components one by one.
This is my way to act too, but I understand even that with an Apple everything would be faster and painless. You know, nothing to search, install, check...
11-14-2014, 07:13 AM   #14
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I've been thinking of a Mac Mini myself but the reviews on the new models haven't been very good. Not the upgrade we were hoping for: The 2014 Mac Mini reviewed | Ars Technica

I'm very happy with my iPad and iPhone but will probably continue with my home built PC's. I still haven't ruled a Mac Mini out but I'm probably going to go another year with my current setup.
11-14-2014, 10:25 AM   #15
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a new shiny object?

QuoteOriginally posted by quimming Quote
Oh yea, I don't know how much more integration there is on a Mac than a pc. I've heard other people say that before too, but I don't think it's true. The only thing I can think of is airplay and airdrop. You'd be able to mirror the computer to the Apple tv and transfer files without a cable. Personally, I'm not sure if this is worth $499++
Airdrop and Airplay, yes, and 'handoff', and 'family sharing' and phone/SMS integration. Plus I think Apple has some new features in store for the next release.

I already have a 23'' IPS monitor with all the possible connections, USB/wireless keyboard/mouse, but will be interested in upgrading to a 27'' 4k or 1440 at some point (probably not apple-branded Retina, but that's not out of the question.)

About 10 years ago all my computers were dual-boot, Windows XP pro & Ubuntu, up to about Edgy Eft. It was fun... but not really useful beyond the fun-factor. It was a hobby. (I got more use out of having VMWare virtual machines running Ubuntu, less hassle than dual-boot.)

I just don't feel like I have time for that any more (my dual-boot 'playing' days came before I was a father ) Plus, that's very close to what I do for work - I just want something clean, attractive and well-integrated for home so I can enjoy my systems and digital content.

It doesn't need to be a benchmark-breaker - I've found that most applications I ever run rely heavily on a single-thread, and that past a certain threshold I don't even notice a speed up. I just need to get to that threshold. The GPU needs to be good but not bleeding-edge. I almost never do video editing, don't game on it, and my Lightroom work is really not even taxing my old i3 that much. So I don't need to try to maximize my dollar to the the utmost, fastest system, for me and my needs that's a waste.

I think I just like OS X. I like being able to write a python script that can go out and do things for me, quickly, easily, and I like the unix-ie taste to it under that clean, beautiful interface.

Plus that Mini is shiny. Nice and shiny and metallic.
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