Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

All I want from Macworld is a new Mac Mini

As those of you who have read my blog for some time will know, in summer 2005 I bought a Mac Mini. This was my first ever Mac and my experience with it has ensured that, for the foreseeable future, any new computers I buy will also be Macs. Indeed, when my Toshiba laptop finally died a year later in 2006, it was a MacBook that replaced it.
Though I still have the Mac Mini, it’s now rarely used; it quickly became too underpowered compared with my MacBook. This was despite a RAM upgrade to 1 GB and an upgrade to Leopard. Right now it is set up to be used as a media centre, but I don’t really have a use for one and I’m also missing a remote control for it.
All this being said, there are rumours on the internets that at next week’s MacWorld convention, Apple will announce a new Mac Mini, potentially with a smaller form factor, faster processor and nVidia graphics. If they do, this new model could well be my next Mac purchase.
This is mainly because I am a World of Warcraft player, and right now I am playing World of Warcraft on a first-generation MacBook. Though it has a 1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo processor, and 2 GB of RAM, its graphics are provided by a 64 MB Intel chip. Though the machine does provide better graphics performance than my Mac Mini, with its 128 MB ATi chip, there are times when the framerates are painfully low. This is particularly the case in the new areas in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion and especially in Dalaran, the new capital city, which unfortunately is where I end up spending quite a bit of time. Trying to move around with 4 fps is not my idea of fun. And this is with all of the graphics settings turned down to minimum.
If Apple delivers a small, reasonably priced Mac Mini with reasonably good graphics performance, then it’s quite likely that I’ll buy one this year, once I have the money for it. As much I’d love to buy a Mac Pro, at its current price it is way out of the realm of affordability for me at around £1700 for the cheapest model. The iMac isn’t bad but it too is rather pricey and I already have my own screen, keyboard and mouse. The current Mac Mini is only £400 – provided I get a reasonable job, I should have no problem affording that by the summer.
We won’t know for sure what Apple have up their sleeves until the keynote on Tuesday. But the Mac Mini is long-overdue for an update and Apple would be wise to position it as an affordable entry-level Mac with some premium features. If they do, I’d definitely buy it… when I can afford it.

2 Comments

  1. The iMac is a great deal … use your old monitor in a dual configuration. I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple releases an iMac with a beefy graphics card.

  2. The PowerPC Mac mini never came with 128 megs of video memory – they had a Radeon 9200 with 64 megs of video memory.
    Also, the MacBook and Intel Mac mini machines don’t have 64 meg of video memory. They use system memory for video, and can use up to 220 or so megabytes of memory for video stuff.
    Games like Unreal made extensive use of the graphics chip, so Unreal on my own 1.5 GHz PowerPC Mac mini is far faster than on a 2 GHz Core 2 Duo Intel Mac mini. World Of Warcraft, I guess, is more dependent on processor performance.
    Just FYI.