January 12, 2005 1:58 PM PST

Mac Mini a maxi deal? Depends what you want

When it comes to Apple Computer's new Mac Mini, beauty is in the eye of the person holding the wallet.

The Mac Mini, unfurled Tuesday during Apple CEO Steve Jobs' keynote at Macworld Expo in San Francisco, costs about $100 more than similarly configured PCs from Gateway, Hewlett-Packard and others, according to analysts and price checks. The price delta increases as one factors in the typical standard equipment on PCs--neither mouse, monitor nor keyboard comes with Apple's Spartan box.

Adding features such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth widens the spread even more. As an experiment, IDC analysts added "the stuff you'd want," and the final price came to $1,300, said IDC's Roger Kay, who nonetheless applauded Apple for putting out something that lets the company play in the bargain market.

Price considerations aside, the Mac Mini is unlike other PCs on the market. At 6.5 inches wide by 6.5 inches deep by 2 inches high, the unit, which weighs just less than 3 pounds, is far smaller and more stylish than "small" PCs. Dell's small desktop PC takes up about four times the volume. Small PC specialist Shuttle makes a unit that measures 7 inches by 8 inches by 11.4 inches and weighs 13 pounds.

"Intel and some of its industrial-design partners have done a lot of 'concept PCs', but mostly they've been trying to reverse-engineer Apple's sense of style--and without much success so far," said Peter Glaskowsky, a technology commentator and Newton user.

Sony and others now make handheld PCs complete with screens that beat the Mac Mini in size, but these cost $1,600 or more.

The question now is whether consumers will flock to the new box or watch their budget.


News.Commentary
iPod Shuffle rocks,
Mac Mini balks

Analysts ponder future
of new Apple gadgets.

"A lot of whether (the Mini) is a good value or not depends on who it's targeted at and who is really going to buy it," said Steve Baker, an analyst with The NPD Group. "Is it a good value compared to the entry-level PC that you can find at Best Buy or Wal-Mart? The answer, I think, is clearly no."

Then again, "it fits the phenomenon of people adding PCs to their home--a PC in the kids' room or in the kitchen--and in those terms it stacks up pretty well, because when you've finished adding some of the basics to it, it still comes in at the sweet spot (in retail PC pricing)--the $700 to $1,100 range--and that's a good place to be," Baker added.

On Tuesday, Jobs told the Macworld crowd that "this is the most affordable Mac ever. People who are thinking of switching will have no more excuses."

So far, initial reactions from the public are strongly positive, but a number of people say the price and lack of a keyboard could hamper sales.

"Steve Jobs is the Albert Einstein of the computer industry--business smarts; consumer tastes, tendencies, and trends; and marketing," Russell Rothwell wrote in a post on CNET News.com.

Wrote CNET News.com reader Stan Johnson: "Very cool design. I agree that it is not much of a bargain when you add all the needed gear. I think it is great for Mac lovers. However, one could purchase a more capable PC for the same amount of cash."

Under the hood
For $499, the pint-sized computer comes with a 1.25GHz G4 processor, 256MB of RAM, a 40GB hard drive and a combination CD-burner, DVD-ROM drive. It uses ATI's Radeon 9200 graphics chip, with its own 32MB of graphics memory, and also includes connections such as a FireWire port, two universal serial bus ports, an Ethernet port, a modem and digital and analog ports for connecting a monitor. Apple adds a one-year warranty.

It does not include a keyboard, mouse, display

CONTINUED:
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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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