Futurebox: Mac mini

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be mentioning computers a lot. I’m in the market for a new machine, and since writing about any given topic helps me better understand said topic, why not post my thoughts here? I thought you’d like the idea. Here’s the kicker: I’ll be taking your advice, too. Whenever you see a post with the title “Futurebox: ______”, read the post, mull it over, and offer your thoughts in the comments. Simple, eh? I thought so.

The Mac mini

I’ll say it: the Mac mini is an odd box.

I was on Apple’s website doing some “window shopping” when I spotted the mini (all lowercase letters, because apparently Apple can use this device, as well as the iPod and others, to alter basic ideas of capitalization). At first, I wasn’t sure what to think of it—after all, it’s a very small box (6.5″ x 6.5″ x 2″), and the box is all you get. No mouse, no keyboard, no display (unless ordered separately). That explains the cheap cost; the mini starts at $599. Of course, that’s barebones, and you know this guy wants to upgrade. For the machine I customized,  complete with the Apple keyboard/mouse combo, the cost would be $924—and I’d still have a monitor left to buy, which leads me to another point.

From what I’ve read on forums, the mini has issues with some monitors; some consumers have reported getting a distorted image, while others say their display had a greenish tint to it. That isn’t to say that all non-Apple monitors are incompatible—apparently, most DVI monitors work rather well with the machine. That would still put me at around$1200, which doesn’t seem like much of a bargain, considering I could get a bigger, speedier machine for the same price, without having to order the keyboard/mouse/display separately.

So, a list:


  • Small box = less space taken up, easily portable
  • Comes with iLife, a software bundle that is hard to beat
  • Built-in wireless
  • Ships with Leopard


  • Doesn’t come with keyboard/mouse/display
  • Apparent display compatibility issues
  • Upgrades I want bump me into a price range that doesn’t seem fair
  • Maximum HD space is 160 GB.

Overall, I don’t think I’m going with the mini. The negatives outweight the positives, in my view. That’s not to say I wouldn’t consider any other Mac desktop—the iMacs all look great, and I’d bet you’ll see a Futurebox post on them sometime in the near future. For me , the novelty of the mini isn’t backed up by solid features. Still, I’d like to hear your thoughts on the issue, so leave a comment with any questions/comments/suggestions you may have.


4 responses to “Futurebox: Mac mini

  1. I think the cons outweigh the pros…

  2. I would agree, the cons definitly outway the pros for this machine. Small size is nice but I find that, most of the time, small machines are not worth the money they cost. Deal with the size and get a better machine, probably cheaper, especially if you buy w/out keyboard, mouse, monitor. Also 160GB sucks!!! Laptops have more HD space. Here is a mini pc (13.8″x11.2″x9″ ) that will rock your socks off: http://cgi.ebay.com/Intel-Core-2-Quad-Q6600-Desktop-MiNi-PC-Computer-System_W0QQitemZ270313697178QQcmdZViewItemQQptZDesktop_PCs?hash=item270313697178&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72%3A1234%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C39%3A1%7C240%3A1308%7C301%3A1%7C293%3A1%7C294%3A50

    Quad core man, need I say more. With monitor, keyboard, mouse, and 500GB $350 less then mac mini, and thats with buying all monitor, keyboard, and mouse from the ebay store, I’m sure you could do better. Anyway thats my $1.28, good luck with the search.

  3. So, Futurebox aye? Lingo stealer! :-p
    Hi, I’m Shaba, I was promised an email. Major Fail Mr. Lydian. MAJOR FAIL.

  4. You are missing the point of the mac mini…. The computer is not for everyone but it does have a very tech savy and interesting market which has large growth potential. Imagine a mac mini, bluetooth wireless mouse/keys, incorperated with EyeTV and a 1TB time capsule. You now have a FULL entertainment center. I run this system and it ROCKS. Great HD over the air, numerous TV shows via internet and no need to pay for Cable TV. I rip all my DVDs to the time capsule so my living room is clean with NO reciever, NO DVDs, NO CDs. I surf the net, watch TV, and can push TV to every computer in my house via Wifi.

    So, you are right, the MAC mini is not a ‘cost savings’ computer and shouldn’t be marketed as such. But, with PCs touting Media Center PC which is no where near as capable and twice the cost / size, mac mini should be in every living room. One year of cable TV bills covers the cost!


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