January 12, 2005 1:58 PM PST

Mac Mini a maxi deal? Depends what you want

(continued from previous page)

or stereo speakers. An upgraded version with an 80GB drive and a 1.42GHz processor sells for $599.

This puts the two Mac Minis' price tags at about $100 to $150 more than those of similar PCs. Right now, an HP Compaq Presario with an Intel Celeron or AMD Sempron--configured to match the Mini's 256MB of RAM, 40GB hard drive and combination CD-burner-DVD-ROM drive--sells for $399 or $389, after a $50 rebate, via the company's HPshopping Web site.

Gateway, meanwhile, offers a $499 (after rebate) desktop with a competitive configuration to the $599 Mac Mini, but it also comes with a 17-inch monitor, a keyboard and mouse.

When upgrading the Mini, its price gap with the PC widens.

The $499, 1.25GHz Mini, when given 512MB of RAM, an 80GB hard drive and a DVD-burning SuperDrive, as well as a keyboard and mouse, comes to $782. The $599 Mini, when receiving the same RAM, SuperDrive and peripheral upgrades (it already comes with an 80GB drive), lists for $832.

In one example of a similarly outfitted Windows PC, an HP Compaq Presario SR1000Z with an AMD Sempron 3000+, 512MB of RAM, an 80GB drive and a DVD burner comes to $519, before a $50 rebate, according to HPShopping.com. Upgrading the Presario to an Athlon XP 3200+ processor adds $30, bringing the price to $549 before the discount, while adding an Nvidia GeForce FX 5100 graphics card bumps it up another $70 to $619, before the rebate. Similar Intel processor systems from HP and other brand names such as Dell and Gateway were within about $50 of the Presario, before rebates.

When upgraded, the Mac Mini also begins to brush up against budget wireless notebooks.

Apple will likely argue that many Mini buyers already have keyboards and extra monitors on hand. But for those customers looking for a complete package, PCs from companies such as HP also have the advantage of being available in bundles with monitors.

Both Baker and Kay believe that leaving out the input devices could work in the company's favor, or at least not hurt it, because many buyers will be picking up the unit as a second, third or fourth PC. It also comes with Apple software, which often receives raves from people who use it. Apple software and machines have also been far less susceptible to viruses, noted Glaskowsky.

"A lot of PC users who are tired of giving tech support to friends and family members will simply have them go out and get an Apple Mini. At the same time, those who have never used OS X but are intrigued by it are finding that the barrier to entry--cost--has been lifted," wrote Anand Shimpi, editor-in-chief of AnandTech, an online review and benchmarking site.

Apple advocates will also probably argue that the Power processor at the heart of the unit is better than the chips from Intel and AMD. This is a tough argument. First, few benchmarks allow for comparing Power chips to x86 chips, said Kevin Krewell, editor-in-chief of the Microprocessor Report. Second, bargain consumers won't care.

"If I were to ballpark a comparison between the G4 1.25 and an x86 chip, I'd say that it would be slower than any of the midrange x86 CPUs used today (Athlon 64 3000+, Pentium 4 2.8GHz), but it would be competitive with the low-end Celerons," Shimpi wrote. "It's quite tough to draw a direct comparison between the G4 and the current generation x86 architectures. That being said, I'd say it would be competitive with anything found in similarly priced Dell systems."

In the end, the success or failure of the product may not be judged by actual sales. The Mac Mini's main appeal for Apple may turn out to be its use as bait to lure people into Apple stores. Sales reps will then try to upsell them to other models, speculated Kay.

"Overall, retail purchasers should respond to the Mac Mini, flaws and all," Tom King, a technology analyst, wrote in an e-mail. "This should allow fine-tuning of this new product line. It could also open the door to nice 'iPod Mini + Mac Mini' marketing and sales opportunities, especially with the large discounters like Target, Kmart, Wal-Mart and others."

At least one analyst said it may encourage switching.

"We believe the Mac Mini will increase the percentage of iPod-toting Windows users who purchase a Mac by almost threefold," said Charles Wolf, an analyst at Needham and Co.

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208 comments

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Add your comment
Can't use it with my PS2 KVM switch
And USB KVM products are rare. I was thinking of adding the system as a second computer, but with the lack of PS2 ports I would either need to replace my primary PC ($2,500 dell) or get another keyboard and mouse (eg new desk) for the imac mini. So even though I would love one, I am pretty much out of the game as a buyer :(
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Do you have 12 bucks?
Just get yourself a USB-to-PS2 adapter for less than $20, and
you're in business. For example Hawking makes one that
converts 2 PS/2 devices (Keyboard and Mouse) into USB
interface and it's only $11.95 on Amazon.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/******/tg/detail/-/" target="_newWindow">http://www.amazon.com/exec/******/tg/detail/-/</a>
B00008V9EF/104-3026786-7779939?v=glance
Posted by dejo (182 comments )
Link Flag
Message has been deleted.
Posted by (3 comments )
Link Flag
Same with new Dells - USB Only
Not a valid excuse. Even the business line of dells, which change very infrequently have finally gone USB only with the Optiplex GX280. Are you going to keep using your 5 1/4 floppy forever, too? :)
Posted by (8 comments )
Link Flag
USB KVMs
Belkin and IOGear make one off the top of my head. I am sure there are more. Maybe Cybex or others.
Posted by (8 comments )
Link Flag
Can't use it with my PS2 KVM switch
And USB KVM products are rare. I was thinking of adding the system as a second computer, but with the lack of PS2 ports I would either need to replace my primary PC ($2,500 dell) or get another keyboard and mouse (eg new desk) for the imac mini. So even though I would love one, I am pretty much out of the game as a buyer :(
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Do you have 12 bucks?
Just get yourself a USB-to-PS2 adapter for less than $20, and
you're in business. For example Hawking makes one that
converts 2 PS/2 devices (Keyboard and Mouse) into USB
interface and it's only $11.95 on Amazon.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/******/tg/detail/-/" target="_newWindow">http://www.amazon.com/exec/******/tg/detail/-/</a>
B00008V9EF/104-3026786-7779939?v=glance
Posted by dejo (182 comments )
Link Flag
Same with new Dells - USB Only
Not a valid excuse. Even the business line of dells, which change very infrequently have finally gone USB only with the Optiplex GX280. Are you going to keep using your 5 1/4 floppy forever, too? :)
Posted by (8 comments )
Link Flag
USB KVMs
Belkin and IOGear make one off the top of my head. I am sure there are more. Maybe Cybex or others.
Posted by (8 comments )
Link Flag
OS X plus iLife'05 can't be compared
When considering the value of the Mac Mini the software included should not be overlooked.

Dell, HP, and others may offer similar hardware configurations at a lower price but they cannot match the quality and value of Mac OS X and iLife'05.

The Mac user experience cannot be matched.

I hope if the Mac Mini is a success someone will finally realize that the Mac OS should be the model for Linux distributions not Windows. iLinux?
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Plus PCs need anti-X software
I don't think they factored in the cost of anti-virus, anti-
spyware, anti-adware, etc. software needed for the PCs. No such
need on the Mac.
Posted by dejo (182 comments )
Link Flag
Double that!
Apple software is simply more user friendly, more dependable
and much better designed than Microsoft's offerings. The
integration between multiple programs cannot be matched.
Create videos, compose music, share photos, surf the web and
more with ease.
Posted by edgedesign (290 comments )
Link Flag
Mini's a great deal
Some people call Macs expensive, the Mini adds a new twist.
Compared to the lowest priced Dells the Mini is a better value. A
lot of marketing sites are even giving em away for free for sign
ups. This is new to the mac following in the iPods footsteps.

So far this has been working for a lot of people so I'm trying it
too.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.FreeMiniMacs.com/?r=14091424" target="_newWindow">http://www.FreeMiniMacs.com/?r=14091424</a>

You have to sign up for a sponsor like blockbuster but then you
can cancel after you sign up.
Posted by smellcoffee (10 comments )
Link Flag
OS X plus iLife'05 can't be compared
When considering the value of the Mac Mini the software included should not be overlooked.

Dell, HP, and others may offer similar hardware configurations at a lower price but they cannot match the quality and value of Mac OS X and iLife'05.

The Mac user experience cannot be matched.

I hope if the Mac Mini is a success someone will finally realize that the Mac OS should be the model for Linux distributions not Windows. iLinux?
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Plus PCs need anti-X software
I don't think they factored in the cost of anti-virus, anti-
spyware, anti-adware, etc. software needed for the PCs. No such
need on the Mac.
Posted by dejo (182 comments )
Link Flag
Double that!
Apple software is simply more user friendly, more dependable
and much better designed than Microsoft's offerings. The
integration between multiple programs cannot be matched.
Create videos, compose music, share photos, surf the web and
more with ease.
Posted by edgedesign (290 comments )
Link Flag
Mini's a great deal
Some people call Macs expensive, the Mini adds a new twist.
Compared to the lowest priced Dells the Mini is a better value. A
lot of marketing sites are even giving em away for free for sign
ups. This is new to the mac following in the iPods footsteps.

So far this has been working for a lot of people so I'm trying it
too.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.FreeMiniMacs.com/?r=14091424" target="_newWindow">http://www.FreeMiniMacs.com/?r=14091424</a>

You have to sign up for a sponsor like blockbuster but then you
can cancel after you sign up.
Posted by smellcoffee (10 comments )
Link Flag
Shuttle's PC line
The line 'Small PC specialist Shuttle makes a unit that measures 7 inches by 8 inches by 1.4 inches and weighs 13 pounds' is incorrect. The Shuttle PCs are approximately 7.5 inches by 8 inches by 11.4 inches -- small for the PC crowd, but much, much larger than the new Mac Mini.
Posted by Not Bugged (195 comments )
Reply Link Flag
yep
I dropped a one on the 11 part.
Posted by michael kanellos (65 comments )
Link Flag
Shuttle's PC line
The line 'Small PC specialist Shuttle makes a unit that measures 7 inches by 8 inches by 1.4 inches and weighs 13 pounds' is incorrect. The Shuttle PCs are approximately 7.5 inches by 8 inches by 11.4 inches -- small for the PC crowd, but much, much larger than the new Mac Mini.
Posted by Not Bugged (195 comments )
Reply Link Flag
yep
I dropped a one on the 11 part.
Posted by michael kanellos (65 comments )
Link Flag
you started to....
talk about the real stuff at the end of the article. The beginning sounded more of a crusade on what went wrong, though.

I believe that this is a great step. Being a 100% x86 user, I would love the chance to add a mac to my network, without the worry of changing everything over, buying a suite of software, or even having to learn unix(os x). This would also let me play on the mac, give my wife a pretty GUI to use, and still have the x86 backbone I want and depend on (out of comfort, knowledge and practicality). I think this is a great way to bridge the gap, because, most (I believe) will indeed have a keyboard/mouse monitor or at least could pick up a USB set for under $30. If there were a monitor, then that would be a very competetive price indeed. My last "budget" dell cost $1000 after I finished tweaking it.

I think, also, that the cpu comparo was poorly reported in this article. As stated, it is difficult to compare, but to say that the cheap desktops that under-price this are just as strong is misleading. THe analyst says that this is not as powerful as "midrange" p4 2.8 or athlon 64 3000 processors. OF COURSE NOT! those also are NEVER available for $500. You are looking at a celeron for $500, and the G4 handily outpaces the low end x86. I am not a "mac guy" but with this box, Apple just got a new "trial" member of their club.
Posted by ben.vaterlaus (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Minor correction...
You said: "p4 2.8 or athlon 64 3000 processors. OF COURSE NOT! those also are NEVER available for $500. "

In fact we picked up an 'extra' PC from Dell a few months ago for $350 (delivered). It was a P4 2.8GHZ 533 bus... (*not* a celeron)... plus burner, 60 Gig HD... integrated graphics (yuck), keyboard, mouse, 128mb ram (which we bumped to 640 w/ a 512 stick for $80 (crucial)..

Point being, there are plenty of great PC deals out there under $500 that are *not* Celerons...

The Mac Mini really got my hopes up when I heard the rumors (just like the flash iPod), but after a closer look, I'm just as let down... no keyboard, no mouse (yes I see some retailers are throwing those in - but Apple should have done that for the retailers!!)... and only 128mb for $499??

If they drop in price (say another $100) and if they're easy (and cheap) to upgrade by the user (add memory), I may take another look...

but not yet..

p.s. - just took a quick look at Dell again... similar deal - only now with 512MB DDR 400 ram.. and 80gig drive.. $429 (rebate)
Posted by shibumi2k (6 comments )
Link Flag
you started to....
talk about the real stuff at the end of the article. The beginning sounded more of a crusade on what went wrong, though.

I believe that this is a great step. Being a 100% x86 user, I would love the chance to add a mac to my network, without the worry of changing everything over, buying a suite of software, or even having to learn unix(os x). This would also let me play on the mac, give my wife a pretty GUI to use, and still have the x86 backbone I want and depend on (out of comfort, knowledge and practicality). I think this is a great way to bridge the gap, because, most (I believe) will indeed have a keyboard/mouse monitor or at least could pick up a USB set for under $30. If there were a monitor, then that would be a very competetive price indeed. My last "budget" dell cost $1000 after I finished tweaking it.

I think, also, that the cpu comparo was poorly reported in this article. As stated, it is difficult to compare, but to say that the cheap desktops that under-price this are just as strong is misleading. THe analyst says that this is not as powerful as "midrange" p4 2.8 or athlon 64 3000 processors. OF COURSE NOT! those also are NEVER available for $500. You are looking at a celeron for $500, and the G4 handily outpaces the low end x86. I am not a "mac guy" but with this box, Apple just got a new "trial" member of their club.
Posted by ben.vaterlaus (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Minor correction...
You said: "p4 2.8 or athlon 64 3000 processors. OF COURSE NOT! those also are NEVER available for $500. "

In fact we picked up an 'extra' PC from Dell a few months ago for $350 (delivered). It was a P4 2.8GHZ 533 bus... (*not* a celeron)... plus burner, 60 Gig HD... integrated graphics (yuck), keyboard, mouse, 128mb ram (which we bumped to 640 w/ a 512 stick for $80 (crucial)..

Point being, there are plenty of great PC deals out there under $500 that are *not* Celerons...

The Mac Mini really got my hopes up when I heard the rumors (just like the flash iPod), but after a closer look, I'm just as let down... no keyboard, no mouse (yes I see some retailers are throwing those in - but Apple should have done that for the retailers!!)... and only 128mb for $499??

If they drop in price (say another $100) and if they're easy (and cheap) to upgrade by the user (add memory), I may take another look...

but not yet..

p.s. - just took a quick look at Dell again... similar deal - only now with 512MB DDR 400 ram.. and 80gig drive.. $429 (rebate)
Posted by shibumi2k (6 comments )
Link Flag
Keyboard and mouse free from MacMall
MacMall is bundling a free keyboard and mouse with the Mac
mini, if you buy from them.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.macmall.com/macmall/families/macmini/" target="_newWindow">http://www.macmall.com/macmall/families/macmini/</a>
Posted by dejo (182 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Keyboard and mouse free from MacMall
MacMall is bundling a free keyboard and mouse with the Mac
mini, if you buy from them.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.macmall.com/macmall/families/macmini/" target="_newWindow">http://www.macmall.com/macmall/families/macmini/</a>
Posted by dejo (182 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Regarding the Mac mini
Everyone quoted in your article on the Mac mini completely
missed the point that the Mac mini INCLUDES at no extra charge
the excellent, unmatched in the PC world, iLife suite of software.
The iLife suite does NOT run on a WinTel PC. You cannot
compare cheap PCs to the Mac mini without at least adding the
cost of so-called "comparable" suite of software. You guys are
clearly biased against Apple for leaving this out of your article.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Regarding the Mac mini
Everyone quoted in your article on the Mac mini completely
missed the point that the Mac mini INCLUDES at no extra charge
the excellent, unmatched in the PC world, iLife suite of software.
The iLife suite does NOT run on a WinTel PC. You cannot
compare cheap PCs to the Mac mini without at least adding the
cost of so-called "comparable" suite of software. You guys are
clearly biased against Apple for leaving this out of your article.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
many pcs & parts, Mac Mini would fit right in
I'm someone who has enough hardware to hit the ground running with a Mac Mini (two 17" flat panels, USB keyboards, mice, and many PC parts around, home network, etc.) Apple may not be going not only for the new computer user, but to the experienced user that wants a "low cost of entry" way to test run the Apple/OS X interface. I could buy the entry level box, no extras, and spend no more money to have it up and running. It's perfect for an experienced/seasoned x86 person that wants to be well rounded. Heck, I might even like it, and it might even warrant an upgrade or a more expensive MAC in a couple years.

I have the bells and whisles on my pc-- photo printer, printer, mp3 player, external HD, bluetooth etc. etc. I wouldnt' want these on the Mini just to learn the Apple/OS X interface.

In that, Apple may have more luck converting curious PC users than finding "newbies" who have never owned a computer.

It's the "Japanese auto maker in the US approach" of the 80's -- enter in the budget market, build first time buyer trust, loyalty, and a positive experience, then hope that customer loyalty prevails at the time of the next upgrade. Voila. PC user turned MAC. Or PC user turned "both".

I'm excited to try one.
Posted by thatchman1 (44 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You describe me exactly.
But the USB only keyboard is a show stopper for me. I don't have room for a seperate keyboard and mouse for it, and there is no chance of getting the thing up and running on my (any?) KVM switch.

If anyone knows of a working product solution for my mini KVM problem email me at jpriest at gmail.

I will check this thread if the post is still here also.

thx
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
Link Flag
Same here
I am eager to try OS X from the first time I saw it when the 2-nd generation iMac came out, but the price tag always kept me from it.
This might be just enough to pull me over.

Two things however:
- I'd wait for Tiger to arrive to get one...
- Why does a Mac Mini costs 142 Euros more (187$) in Europe than one in the US? Even without taking in account the exchange ratio it costs more. (519 Eur and 499$)
Posted by Steven N (487 comments )
Link Flag
many pcs & parts, Mac Mini would fit right in
I'm someone who has enough hardware to hit the ground running with a Mac Mini (two 17" flat panels, USB keyboards, mice, and many PC parts around, home network, etc.) Apple may not be going not only for the new computer user, but to the experienced user that wants a "low cost of entry" way to test run the Apple/OS X interface. I could buy the entry level box, no extras, and spend no more money to have it up and running. It's perfect for an experienced/seasoned x86 person that wants to be well rounded. Heck, I might even like it, and it might even warrant an upgrade or a more expensive MAC in a couple years.

I have the bells and whisles on my pc-- photo printer, printer, mp3 player, external HD, bluetooth etc. etc. I wouldnt' want these on the Mini just to learn the Apple/OS X interface.

In that, Apple may have more luck converting curious PC users than finding "newbies" who have never owned a computer.

It's the "Japanese auto maker in the US approach" of the 80's -- enter in the budget market, build first time buyer trust, loyalty, and a positive experience, then hope that customer loyalty prevails at the time of the next upgrade. Voila. PC user turned MAC. Or PC user turned "both".

I'm excited to try one.
Posted by thatchman1 (44 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You describe me exactly.
But the USB only keyboard is a show stopper for me. I don't have room for a seperate keyboard and mouse for it, and there is no chance of getting the thing up and running on my (any?) KVM switch.

If anyone knows of a working product solution for my mini KVM problem email me at jpriest at gmail.

I will check this thread if the post is still here also.

thx
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
Link Flag
Same here
I am eager to try OS X from the first time I saw it when the 2-nd generation iMac came out, but the price tag always kept me from it.
This might be just enough to pull me over.

Two things however:
- I'd wait for Tiger to arrive to get one...
- Why does a Mac Mini costs 142 Euros more (187$) in Europe than one in the US? Even without taking in account the exchange ratio it costs more. (519 Eur and 499$)
Posted by Steven N (487 comments )
Link Flag
Crazy comparisons
Comparing the mini to cut price PC's is like comparing an ipod to other MP3 Players, it ignores the fact that apart from a bunch of spec obsessed tech nerds, most people include a sense of style in their purchasing decisions too. Add to this the trend in 2nd PC sales and Apple are on to a winner.
Posted by james2m (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Crazy comparisons
Comparing the mini to cut price PC's is like comparing an ipod to other MP3 Players, it ignores the fact that apart from a bunch of spec obsessed tech nerds, most people include a sense of style in their purchasing decisions too. Add to this the trend in 2nd PC sales and Apple are on to a winner.
Posted by james2m (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
video card? CD burner and DVD playback?
Any comparison with a bare-bones PC should take into account
the Mac mini's Radeon video card (vs. integrated video in most
cheap PCs), and the Mac mini's combo drive (CD burner + DVD
player).
Posted by TechStuff (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
wrong
The mac mini's video card IS an onboard card(or as you called it, integrated). Also, right in the article it said "combination CD-burner-DVD-ROM drive" in the description of the PC.
Posted by Bobman (114 comments )
Link Flag
video card? CD burner and DVD playback?
Any comparison with a bare-bones PC should take into account
the Mac mini's Radeon video card (vs. integrated video in most
cheap PCs), and the Mac mini's combo drive (CD burner + DVD
player).
Posted by TechStuff (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
wrong
The mac mini's video card IS an onboard card(or as you called it, integrated). Also, right in the article it said "combination CD-burner-DVD-ROM drive" in the description of the PC.
Posted by Bobman (114 comments )
Link Flag
What about the OS and iLife?? All things NOT equal.
This article makes a classic mistake: No discussion of the
competing OSes! Or the unique iLife
suite!! How about Apple's soon to be released OS upgrade Tiger,
with metadata Search integrated in it. WHEN will SHORTHORN be
released - without WINFS!??

Kanellos even admits his lack of first hand experience "Apple
software, which often receives raves from people who use it."

I don't want you to "advertise" Apple Mike, I want you to actually
use one for a while.
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What about the OS and iLife?? All things NOT equal.
This article makes a classic mistake: No discussion of the
competing OSes! Or the unique iLife
suite!! How about Apple's soon to be released OS upgrade Tiger,
with metadata Search integrated in it. WHEN will SHORTHORN be
released - without WINFS!??

Kanellos even admits his lack of first hand experience "Apple
software, which often receives raves from people who use it."

I don't want you to "advertise" Apple Mike, I want you to actually
use one for a while.
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
Reply Link Flag
People wanted a Headless iMac...
...and that's what Apple delivered, plain and simple.
Posted by JuggerNaut (860 comments )
Reply Link Flag
People wanted a Headless iMac...
...and that's what Apple delivered, plain and simple.
Posted by JuggerNaut (860 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You forgot about the software
The Mac Mini comes with lots of software, too. iLife = iPhoto +
GarageBand + iMovie + iDVD. iWork = Pages + Keynote.

Plus, you don't have to buy Anti-Virus software, which should
save you a few bucks a year.

And you get all that desk space back, since you don't have one
of those ridiculously large PC boxes hanging around, making
noise.
Posted by usario clave (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You forgot about the software
The Mac Mini comes with lots of software, too. iLife = iPhoto +
GarageBand + iMovie + iDVD. iWork = Pages + Keynote.

Plus, you don't have to buy Anti-Virus software, which should
save you a few bucks a year.

And you get all that desk space back, since you don't have one
of those ridiculously large PC boxes hanging around, making
noise.
Posted by usario clave (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Even at $300!
all of you ignorant PC bigots would still complain that you could
get a PC cheaper! Fine buy your POS eMachines box and leave us
alone to our quality machines.
Posted by mtroute (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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