I’ve been waiting months for a Mac Mini update. I know that trying to predict when Apple will do anything is pointless, but there are always good reasons tempting you to do it.
For someone who is into all things new and shiny, using a three year old mac is a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, it never ceased to amaze me how much the old machine can do and still perform respectably. On the other, very few apps these days are optimised for use on 512mb of ram which makes using the machine absolutely unbearable more often than not 😦
I’ve nearly snapped a few times; all the way back in March was when it started, only this little rumor (and this one) made me think twice. After that, I remembered wanting 4gb of ram in my next desktop machine and the mac mini is too much of a pain to upgrade. Eventually my only reason was the price; the longer I waited the more this little box became stupidly overpriced with outdated specs. So I continued holding out a small sliver of hope that it would see a boost during one of the Apple events this year.
All this lasted about six months. Once October hit I decided that enough was enough and the laptop upgrade event was my tipping point. I had hit an unresolvable problem with the 30gb drive in the old mac – it’s impossible to fit your life into something that small these days! With 20gb of music + pictures I was constantly juggling the free space and running out almost daily.
I stuck to my word; despite a lack of upgrades at said event the next morning I ordered the faster model with 2gb ram. Interestingly they quoted a 3-5 day shipping time but I had it in my hands by the third business day (probably helps that I ordered on a Thursday). The way I figure it, even if it is updated sometime soon (although it could just as easily be discontinued) this box will be an awesome (and silent) front end for the big noisy MythTV machine currently sitting in the lounge room.
I’ve had it for a couple of weeks now, and I have to say it’s nice to have a fast primary machine again. Particularly the part about not needing to boot up the windows box just to watch a flash video 😉
The poor thing only has two USB ports, but I have 6 or 7 USB devices plus the FireWire drive and VGA cable (hence the name frankenlaptop). The monitor is one USB hub, it hosts the iPhone and spare ports for the USB drive I carry around. The other hub sits below the monitor within easy reach and has the keyboard / mouse / soundcard plugged in. For that hub there’s an extra hub-to-pc cable so I can swap it between the mac and my windows box. Combined with a multi-input monitor this makes for a very effective cheap KVM, in fact it’s better than a KVM because it swaps the sound card too (I bought the USB soundcard for that exact purpose).
Also notable are the shameless plug of a squishy toy and copious amounts of dust, particularly on the laptop (yay for the iBook clamshell mode hack!)
I would post a photo of the new setup, but I’m sure everyone knows what a Mac Mini looks like (also my desk is currently covered in stuff 😉 ). Picture the above only with less clutter; the mini has a much smaller footprint and I’ve moved the big FireWire drive off the desk (it’s pretty noisy and the setup looks better with it hidden).