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Old 09-11-09, 10:05 PM   #1
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Buy an older Mac Mini?

I'm a PC. I admit it.

But recently my brother embraced the "alternate lifestyle" of Apple and has been giving me a hard sell about the virtues of Macs.

So the problem is I am a cheap bastard.

In order to dip my toes into the Mac world, I was perusing ebay and saw this unit for sale for $165 including keyboard and mouse:

I know this is an older model, maybe even the ORIGINAL model and has been long since surpassed in computing horsepower, but I was wondering what it would do for me.

I am not a power user. Mainly web, financial software, Excel, Word and light picture editing / cataloging. My main reasons for interest in an Apple are that I love the new iphoto with the face recognitiion software and I am very intrigued by the claims that they don't slow down over time. My Windows PC's c.r.a.w.l along every few months and I have to format and reinstall everything. I am told that Apples do not do this. If that information is wrong, please correct me.

So will this unit run Windows? Will it run the latest iphoto? Will it work at all? I would never buy an old used PC because I know it would run like total crap, but what about a used Apple? Hoe does a low end Apple compare to a low end PC?

I am very open to suggestions and advice. If I like this unit, I could be convinced to move to a newer Mini or even an imac later and keep this unit for general family use on the web.

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Old 09-11-09, 11:57 PM   #2
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Re: Buy an older Mac Mini?

Putting it bluntly, this is not an older Mac Mini. Its an obsolete Mac Mini that has parts & software Apple doesn't support fully anymore.

Its a PowerPC so you will not be able to install Snow Leopard on it. The only way to run Windows is to find an old program called Virtual PC and it won't run like Windows normally does on an Intel Mac.

It also only has 256mbs of RAM which is sufficient to run OS 10.4 Tiger but you definitely want more RAM if you want to run Virtual PC.

The drive also does not burn DVDs so if you want to that, you'll have to buy a DVD burner compatible with Mac OS X. You can't just buy any DVD burner off the shelf, you need to read the box and make sure its compatible.

The system requirements for iLife '09 which has the new iPhoto '09 needs at least 512mbs of RAM; it could theoretically run on the 256mbs of stock RAM though. However, you do need OS 10.5 Leopard which Apple doesn't sell anymore thanks to OS 10.6 Snow Leopard.

Its usually around $75-$100 to upgrade to 10.5 Leopard (through other websites) plus another $79 for iLife '09 and then factor in a DVD burner which would be at least $90 for a Mac compatible burner.

To sum up this long winded post, you'd be better off:

A) Searching further on eBay for a more recent older model.
B) Checking's Store regularly to see if refurbished Minis pop uo.
C) Buying a new Mac Mini
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Old 09-12-09, 12:13 AM   #3
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Re: Buy an older Mac Mini?

This is the original Mac mini model with the G4 processor. It ill not support Windows. It wouldn't give you half of the good things that Apple is known for today. I'd skip it.

If you want the full Mac experience, get a new Mac mini for $599, or get a used but newer model with the Intel Core 2 Duo if you can find it and are willing to buy used.

Otherwise stick with a PC. I'm not sure what you are doing that would require a total reinstall every few months. Get a good antivirus program.
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Old 09-12-09, 08:13 AM   #4
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Re: Buy an older Mac Mini?

Thanks, guys. I appreciate the advice. I will skip this one.

And I guess I exaggerated a little ... I don't have to reformat every few months, but I have done it several times in the past few years. It always runs great for a month or two, then starts crawling along. I had been told that Apple does not suffer from this condition.
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