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Thread: mini-ITX or mac mini advice needed

  1. #1
    Not *@!%in Postman Pat! Ruggerbugger's Avatar
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    mini-ITX or mac mini advice needed

    I'm considering replacing my ageing desktop (specs in My System) with something much smaller. I like the idea of something from mini-itx.com, particularly if it's small and fanless, but I'm attracted to the buying simplicity and OSX-ness of the mac mini. I've seen a mini in use before and liked it, just not sure if my usb keyboard and wireless Logitech mouse would work with it.

    Either system would also need to connect to my Freecom router/fileserver. I'd like to keep to budget of £500 approx, I can get the following system from Apple with education discount for £567.

    mac mini 1.66GHz
    1GB DDR 667
    120 GB SATA drive
    Iwork 06 - not sure what this includes

    nano-itx EPIA N mobo
    Travla C156 case
    1GB DDR 400
    Panasonic slot load CDRW (
    Seagate Momentus 120GB SATA drive
    £581

    For £595 I can get the 1.83GHz mac mini with the superdrive (is this DVD RW?) but with an 80GB drive - not likely to be a problem if I don't use it for games.

    On balance the mac mini seems like a good choice. I could even make something back by flogging the old PC bits. I'd still appreciate some input (please avoid the mac/pc debate though!).


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    Quote Originally Posted by Gonzo
    my a55 shoots great video in 1080i

  2. #2
    Not *@!%in Postman Pat! Ruggerbugger's Avatar
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    Given that the new macs use intel processors, would I be able to easily use my Office 2003 student edition on the mac?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Gonzo
    my a55 shoots great video in 1080i

  3. #3
    One Great Ordeal!
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    No you would need office 2003 for mac edition. Sadly although its intel processor based, you can't just install straight onto a mac pc applications However I believe you can run it in a virtulised enviroment a bit like wine for linux, but I'm not sure how it works on mac as my exposure to them has been quite small.

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    Senior Member joshwa's Avatar
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    You can install Windows XP on the new intel macs using macs "bootcamp" (http://www.apple.com/macosx/bootcamp/) so you could use both operating systems on the mac.

    I would say that a mini-itx would be 3 or 4 times slower than the Intel Mac system.

    (based on C3 1.2ghz being equivalent in performance to a p3-600mhz chip, and I know the C7 chips are "better" but they're still crap in comparison)

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    WEEEEEEEEEEEEE! MadduckUK's Avatar
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    there are core2 mini itx boards around. but there a lot
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  6. #6
    Not *@!%in Postman Pat! Ruggerbugger's Avatar
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    • Ruggerbugger's system
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    I suppose £99 isn't too disastrous, I notice that the Iwork package has a 30 day limit and costs £45 for the full version, so the extra for MS Office isn't much of a burden. Is Iwork 06 a decent alternative? I don't do a lot of heavy word processing or spreadsheet work - as long as it has .doc and .ppt support that's enough for me. Having said that, how about OpenOffice?

    Finally, should I decide to game on the mini, is its 3D performance really as poor as I suspect?

    As another afterthough, are there any downsides of the mac compared to the mini/nano-itx option?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Gonzo
    my a55 shoots great video in 1080i

  7. #7
    Senior Member joshwa's Avatar
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    Sorry I meant VIA Mini-itx systems

    The mini-itx systems should give you more expansion options (if you go for mini itx) as they all have PCI slots. BUT you would need to use it with a graphics card if you wanted to play anything better than Quake 3.

  8. #8
    Not *@!%in Postman Pat! Ruggerbugger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joshwa View Post
    You can install Windows XP on the new intel macs using macs "bootcamp" (http://www.apple.com/macosx/bootcamp/) so you could use both operating systems on the mac.

    I would say that a mini-itx would be 3 or 4 times slower than the Intel Mac system.
    Based on that I'd be better off going for a larger drive on the mac. I'm prepared to accept a less than cutting edge performance, but not 3-4 times slower. Would I be able to install XP using my upgrade edition DVD?

    edit: noticed the bootcamp instructions specify a full installation CD, bugger.

    Another thought, will I be able to migrate my iTunes library and account to the mini? I can shove all the music onto my Freecom network drive, will the mini be able to connect to that using the existing username and password?
    Last edited by Ruggerbugger; 24-03-2007 at 10:31 PM.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Gonzo
    my a55 shoots great video in 1080i

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    Gordy Gordy's Avatar
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    I would not get a nano-itx EPIA N mobo, its performance simply doesn't compare to the mac mini. It is as stated 3 to 4 times slower.

    If you want a decent mini-itx system you are looking for a far more expensive beast.

    I run two mac minis and a mini-itx rig as my main machine. Its based on a commell lv-677 motherboard which can take the same chips as the mac mini. Its much more expensive though.

    I would get a refurbished mac mini. It will be far better and cheaper than anything else.

  10. #10
    Senior Member joshwa's Avatar
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    Macs can connect to windows networks and domains so presumably the freecoms using the Windows protocol, in which case, the answers likely to be yes (sorry for the long winded ness)

  11. #11
    Not *@!%in Postman Pat! Ruggerbugger's Avatar
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    thanks for the info, looks like the mac mini is the no-brainer option in terms of performance (it's payday next week too ) Since I can't be bothered farting around with preserving playlists, it looks as though I can simply backup the iTunes library onto DVDs and transfer it (my library is only 9.23GB, so two discs should be enough),

    I'm getting excited now


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    Quote Originally Posted by Gonzo
    my a55 shoots great video in 1080i

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    Good Choice!

    check out http://www.parallels.com/en/products/desktop/ to run your windows applications.

  13. #13
    Not *@!%in Postman Pat! Ruggerbugger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by colincliff View Post
    Good Choice!

    check out http://www.parallels.com/en/products/desktop/ to run your windows applications.
    Yes, as much as I'd like to criticise this post for sounding like an advert, I think I'll go with the fact that that site is a US one as making it of little use to me, sorry.

    I've just come across the Hexus review of the mini http://lifestyle.hexus.net/content/i...em=5900&page=4

    The comment about the usb mice seems very odd. Does this mean I'd have trouble using my Logitech MX700 mouse? I can't be arsed buying a new keyboard just to use my mouse!
    Last edited by Ruggerbugger; 24-03-2007 at 11:38 PM.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Gonzo
    my a55 shoots great video in 1080i

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruggerbugger View Post
    Yes, as much as I'd like to criticise this post for sounding like an advert, I think I'll go with the fact that that site is a US one as making it of little use to me, sorry.
    Wasn't meant to sound like an advert
    Its just a good alternative to boot camp, allows you to run windows and windows applications well inside mac osx. But if you dont have an installation cd for windows then i guess you cant really do that.

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    Not *@!%in Postman Pat! Ruggerbugger's Avatar
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    • Ruggerbugger's system
      • Motherboard:
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      • CPU:
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      • Memory:
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      • VM 4Mb
    Thanks colin, maybe this is the time to switch to openoffice


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    Quote Originally Posted by Gonzo
    my a55 shoots great video in 1080i

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    • lost eden's system
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    iWork only contains 2 applications, Keynote & Pages. Keynote is presentation software, much like Powerpoint but looks far snazzier & you can use the remote control to advance the slides (not that you'll do a lot of presentations on a desktop to yourself) & Pages I've never opened before. *click* Looks like it's desktop publishing, much like Publisher, for making newsletters, posters, flyers, etc.

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