Wednesday, 31 March 2010 02:00
Aah, the evergreen Apple - one of the world`s most-loved technology companies. From the iMac to the iPod, it has capitalised on, and started, trends that have led us into the 21st century.
Everybody always assumes that getting into the Apple brand is an expensive exercise. Not so, with the Mac Mini. It`s the smallest mass-produced desktop computer in the world and aimed directly at people who already have a PC, but want to switch.Most folks with a desktop computer will already have a USB keyboard and mouse, along with an LCD display and other accessories. Getting a new computer can be expensive if you have to include the price of those goodies.
The Mac Mini comes as just the computer, letting users plug their existing peripherals into the smallest Mac of all.
And it really is tiny. Stack about five CD cases and that`s roughly the size of the Mini. Despite its tiny footprint, it packs a decent punch: hidden in that diminutive chassis is a slot-loading DVD-writer, Intel Core 2 Duo processor, built-in wireless, five USB ports, Firewire 800, mini DVI port, DisplayPort connector, sound outputs and an Ethernet port.
In its cheapest form, at R6 999, the Mac Mini comes with all of the above and a 2.26GHz processor, 2GB of RAM and a 160GB hard drive. Opt to spend R2 500 more, and the higher-end model with 320GB hard drive, 4GB RAM and 2.53GHz processor can be yours.
Either model is more than capable of doing duty as a daily desktop, with the added bonuses of being near silent and pint-sized. More desk space for things that matter! If storage is a problem, there are a few companies that have produced external hard drives that are the same size as the Mini, allowing the units to be stacked. Of course, like all current Intel-based Macs, it will also run Windows without a hassle, making the switch even easier.
One alternative use sees the Mini being linked to an HDTV and home theatre system. Using Front Row, the home cinema media player software built into OS X, a Mac Mini can serve as a media centre PC, playing all digital content, from music to movies. It can even stream movie trailers from the internet, if you have a beefy broadband connection.
It may not be as cheap as a bare-bones Windows PC, but there`s that Apple peace of mind and the fact that OS X ships with a lot of useful software at no extra cost. Perhaps it`s not the best beginner`s PC, but it`s the computer for Mac beginners.
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