Mac Mini First Impressions

I’ve had a Mac Mini for the last week. I am ecstatic about getting it for a couple of reasons:

  • Mac OS X is the only operating system I don’t own.

  • Max OS X is based on Unix, and I’m a big Linux guy.

  • Finder’s new functionality in Tiger is supposed to be similar to Beagle.

  • PowerPC processor – again, only processor architecture I don’t own (Pentium 4, AMD, AMD64).

Ok, so I’m bragging a little bit, but I’ve wanted a Mac for a long time, and they’ve just been too darn expensive. Even the Mac Mini I customized on Apple.com when they came out for over a $1000 (this one was a gift, it’s the entry level one).

Initial thoughts: Mac OS X is as well done as everyone says. It’s polished, the bundle iLife applications are very good, and the OS is very intuitive. It has it’s quirks – I still haven’t found where to launch Dashboard and play with the desktop widgets. I’ve looked in the software folder, I’ve looked in the dock, and I’m stumped.

The form factor is awesome. This thing is about 20% smaller than I really expected it to be. It’s just so darn cute.

The bad: The entry level Mac Mini is way too damn slow. 256 megs in a modern day operating system just doesn’t cut it. It feels sluggish. And for a real kick in the teeth, the Apple store offered to upgrade it to 512 megs for $150 with free installation. $150 for 512 meg DDR 333 stick? I can go to the local Best Buy store and get a 512 stick for $30-$40 on ad and have the Geek Squad install it for $30. I didn’t even bother to ask Apple how much 1 gig is.

Overall, I’m pretty impressed. The tiny, tiny footprint of the machine combined with a well done operating system bodes well for Apple as they switch to Intel over the next two years. I still won’t switch from Linux though.

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