Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

My new Mac Mini

During the host move I mentioned that I had purchased a new Mac Mini. I currently own an original PowerPC Mac Mini, which as well as not being able to run Snow Leopard is also feeling very lacklustre performance-wise, and a MacBook, which is starting to die a slow death due to overuse and abuse (it really wasn’t designed for long World of Warcraft sessions).
I settled for the Mac Mini as it provided the best compromise between power and price. As much as I’d love a Mac Pro, I’m not at a stage where I can spare over a grand for a computer. The iMacs are nice but I already have a relatively new 23″ screen (the LG Flatron I wrote about in September), and don’t have the desk space for a second monitor.
The model I picked was the 2.53Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo model, with 4 GB of RAM and a 320 GB hard drive. Like all Mac Minis it packs a nVidia GeForce 9400M graphics chip, which isn’t amazing but is significantly better than the Intel GMA 950 chip in my MacBook. All in all, it made a £600 dent on my credit card.
Thanks to Time Machine, setting the machine was so easy it almost felt disappointing – it took all the fun out of playing with new settings as everything was copied over from my MacBook. But it did mean I could use it as I’d used my MacBook straightaway, with only a few programs needing re-installing for 64-bit compatibility. World of Warcraft is a much nicer experience – rather than struggling with every performance setting to minimum, I can set it to ‘Fair’ and have a smooth 30fps almost everywhere in the game. It’s nice to be able to see further into the distance and have spells at a higher level of detail.
Compared to the older Mac Mini model, this is an improvement – 5 USB ports rather than 2, thus negating the need for a USB hub, and the use of mini-DVI (with an included DVI adaptor) means there’s also room for a Mini DisplayPort as well, which presumably means dual monitors is a possibility when I get more money and a bigger desk.
I’ll keep the old Mac Mini for, um, something, but the MacBook will be finding itself a new home once I’ve bought a netbook to replace it. Or an iPad, I haven’t decided yet.

One Comment

  1. Sounds like you made the right choice. I had a similar decision when I moved up from my old 17″ PowerPC iMac. I gave the 17″ away and so had room for my new 21.5″ iMac (Intel, 3 GHz).
    How is the Mini holding up driving the 23″ screen? You mention it’s doing fine with WoW.