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Old 10-03-2007, 01:47 PM   #1
ktinkel
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Default What about Mac Mini?

I was moaning about not liking the Mac options today and a friend suggested I look at the Mac Mini.

It never would have occurred to me, but it seems to have been evolving, has price on its side, and is flexible enough so long as you can live with external boxes.

There is one external in particular, the NewerTech miniStack, which has a bunch of extra ports and a 7200 rpm hard drive in sizes up to a terrabyte! This has gotten some favorable comments on Macintouch (although it may be tricky to use the drive as a boot drive — but I think using the Mac’s internal for booting is fine).

Anyway, it is not as cheap a solution as it looks. Even before adding a monitor or input devices you can hit a grand, but compared to the Mac Pro, that is cheap. And it is nice and compact, runs cool and quiet, unlike my G4s, and it can run OS 9 for legacy apps.

Anyone here actually know anything about this? Any advice?

   
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Old 10-03-2007, 02:36 PM   #2
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I can't believe they are so skimpy on harddrive space and RAM...what's the base price?

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Old 10-03-2007, 05:40 PM   #3
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I can't believe they are so skimpy on harddrive space and RAM...what's the base price?
The minimum is about $500.

It is meant as a minimal machine; the possibilities seem to be the main thing.

   
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Old 10-04-2007, 12:19 AM   #4
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I use a Mac Mini in the workshop for wide format printing and some Photoshop work. It's an early version of the mini and its main problem is its 1GB memory limit. The newer ones will take 2GB and I suspect that makes a lot of difference.

I use an Iomage drive that also provides USB and Firewire ports and, so far as I know, will act as a boot drive if connected via the Firewire ports.

   
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Old 10-04-2007, 05:57 AM   #5
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I use an Iomega drive that also provides USB and Firewire ports and, so far as I know, will act as a boot drive if connected via the Firewire ports.
I skimmed a discussion on Macintouch about trying to use the external as a boot drive. Maybe it did discuss Firewire there — but what I got was a sense that the external may not start fast enough to prevent the internal from booting.

I am thinking that it might make sense to get a fairly modest drive in the Mini and use it only as the boot/system drive (recognizing that that will include all the installations of apps and their junk). Then I would get a nice big drive in the external, and partition it for all other purposes. That is essentially what I do now with my G4, and it works very well.

   
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Old 10-04-2007, 11:32 AM   #6
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>>I skimmed a discussion on Macintouch about trying to use the external as a boot drive. Maybe it did discuss Firewire there — but what I got was a sense that the external may not start fast enough to prevent the internal from booting.

You can't hold down the Option key at boot up to force it to give you a choice?

   
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Old 10-04-2007, 01:21 PM   #7
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>>I skimmed a discussion on Macintouch about trying to use the external as a boot drive. Maybe it did discuss Firewire there — but what I got was a sense that the external may not start fast enough to prevent the internal from booting.

You can't hold down the Option key at boot up to force it to give you a choice?
Dunno. Either way, it probably wouldn’t be a deal-breaker for me. I should probably read more carefully about the details before jumping in though.

   
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Old 10-04-2007, 10:57 PM   #8
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I skimmed a discussion on Macintouch about trying to use the external as a boot drive. Maybe it did discuss Firewire there — but what I got was a sense that the external may not start fast enough to prevent the internal from booting.
I can boot my PowerBook from an external firewire drive -- haven't tried with the mini. Just need to select the drive in System Prefs/Sturtup Drive before restarting.

If I forget to change the setting back to the internal drive and disconnect the firewire drive before starting up the Mac spend a while looking for it, displays that old disk icon with a question mark, then finally gives up and boots from the internal drive.

   
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Old 10-06-2007, 05:58 AM   #9
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I can boot my PowerBook from an external firewire drive -- haven't tried with the mini. Just need to select the drive in System Prefs/Sturtup Drive before restarting.

If I forget to change the setting back to the internal drive and disconnect the firewire drive before starting up the Mac spend a while looking for it, displays that old disk icon with a question mark, then finally gives up and boots from the internal drive.
Thanks. Since I don’t have the thing at this point, I was just commenting on something I saw from a user.

In fact, it gets confusing because the Mini has changed a good deal but many of the comments relate to the older version. So I just make a note and keep thinking.

Do think I will get it. It seems to have fewer defects from my point of view than any of Apple’s other offerings right now. And my G4 is driving me nuts. Too slow!

   
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Old 10-04-2007, 06:06 AM   #10
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I use an Iomage drive that also provides USB and Firewire ports and, so far as I know, will act as a boot drive if connected via the Firewire ports.
Looked at that. It looks good, and I think it is cheaper than the NewerTech mini-thing I looked at (but I could get that with a terrabyte drive (!!) and have network backup capacity as well.

From comments here and other-where, the Mini does seem to be a sensible approach, better for my purposes than an iMac with a shiny screen or a Mac Pro (overkill at this moment).

   
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