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147 of 149 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, Great Little Box That's Been Replaced
[Update June 15, 2010: this version of the Mac Mini has been superceded by an even slicker looking, smaller, more powerful model. Unless you can get this model at a great closeout price, I would get the newer Mini. It looks great.]

First of all my credentials, I have been writing Mac software since 1992. I've had on my various desks a Mac Plus, Performa 605,...
Published on November 5, 2009 by Glenn R. Howes

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars While I love Mac products...
The Mac mini is a real disappointment. (Please note, I'm a Mac kind of girl through and through, and could not run my business without my Iphone, so saying the mini has been disappointing is hard for me, because I run my little corner of the world exclusively with Mac products.)

I bought this Mac mini when the economy wasn't doing so well (consequently,...
Published on January 3, 2012 by msotherden


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147 of 149 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, Great Little Box That's Been Replaced, November 5, 2009
This review is from: Apple Mac mini MC239LL/A Desktop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
[Update June 15, 2010: this version of the Mac Mini has been superceded by an even slicker looking, smaller, more powerful model. Unless you can get this model at a great closeout price, I would get the newer Mini. It looks great.]

First of all my credentials, I have been writing Mac software since 1992. I've had on my various desks a Mac Plus, Performa 605, PowerBook 100, several iBooks, PowerBook G4s, MacBook, PowerMacs 7600, 8100, G3, G4 and G5, a couple recent generation iMacs and a previous generation Mac Mini. I have seen Macs come and go, and I just love this little desktop. It is exactly what I need for compiling a large desktop application using Apple's development tools. What I need is a reasonably fast processor, Firewire, 4GB of RAM and multiple monitor support. I do not need a huge box filled with disks. I do not need some super fast GPU. I do not need PCI cards. If I did, then yeah, a Mac Pro would be sitting under my desk sucking up the Watts.

My company has also provided me with a monstrous, fully loaded, Dell whose case could hold upwards of 30 Mac Mini's. In the one processor intensive task I do--doing a full rebuild of a large C++ application--the Xenon processor and desktop hard drives in the Dell can complete the task in 6 minutes while the Core 2 Duo processor and laptop drives in the Mini can do the task in 13 minutes. If I were doing that task many times a day (as opposed to several times a week) then I would need to move up to a high end iMac or Mac Pro; but I don't and I can live with the more typical single change, compile, link time of 14 seconds on the Mini versus a very erratic 6 seconds on the Dell (for whatever reason Visual Studio on the PC will sometimes take over a minute to do this).

Why is this Mac Mini a better value than the MC238LL/A at the lower price? Because it adds more RAM, a larger hard drive, and a slightly faster CPU, and I don't have to pop it open to max it out. All three things together make it worth the extra dough. If you are just going to use it for a home theatre PC, as many people do, then added expense is probably not worth it and you should go with the lesser model.

Why would you choose this over a current generation iMac? The iMacs are great machines, and can be ordered as quite the powerhouses with i5 or i7 processors, and with desktop level graphics engines, but they might be overkill and in the long run it may not make sense to be ordering machines where you can't reuse the previous machine's monitor. If you have a monitor already, the Mini will be several hundred dollars cheaper. Also, if the monitor has multiple inputs, the Mini bought today can be retired as a home server in a couple years with the Mini of the future stacked upon it sharing the same monitor. While the newest iMacs can be used as an external Display Port monitor, its still a bit inflexible tying the computer to the display. Having said this, I like the iMac too, and if you need a monitor and have the room, it may be the way to go.

Why is this Mac Mini much better than previous Mac Minis? The Mini has had several value adding changes over the last couple years: going from PowerPC to Intel, adding multiple monitor support, adding FireWire 800 support, and getting a decent GPU in the NVidia 9400M. This is a real computer. Not some dinky Ion laptop. It can do computationally intensive things, like in my case compiling hundreds of thousands of lines of C++ code. And yet it is tiny, and quiet.

So, yeah, I like this box.

What about the nearly as compact Dell Inspiron Zino HD? Well presumably you would buy the Mini because it is a Mac. The Zino is certainly cheaper, and is a valid competitor if you were setting up a home theatre PC, and could use the slightly better video card and Blueray option. If I were buying a Mini just to run Windows Media Center, I'd certainly be open to getting a Zino. I don't see an overlap between the uses of this non-home theatre Mini and the more multimedia centric Zino. I think you will find the Mini better made and faster at processor intensive operations: and it's definitely smaller.

Anyway, installation could hardly be simpler. Pop it out of the box, plug in a keyboard and mouse. It comes with a mini-DVI to DVI adaptor which will connect to any modern monitor, and you can get a mini-Display Port adaptor separately to add multiple monitor support. Power it up and you will soon be computing. It's nice, fast and quiet. Plenty of USB ports (5). Add up whatever peripherals you need: speakers, external hard drives (look at getting drives with Firewire 800, they are much faster and reliable than USB 2.0).

My wife has an older Mac Mini which she runs Windows Vista in Boot Camp mode and has done so without problem for over a year. I would think this Mini would be even better as a Windows 7 box with the much improved graphics chips allowing for better use of the Aero interface.
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Mac user, retired PC user after 20 years..., December 14, 2009
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This review is from: Apple Mac mini MC239LL/A Desktop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
This is my first Mac and Mac used since the Apple II was out in the 1980's, so I've owned a PC for almost 20 years. Bottom line is it works as a computer user would hope without all the issues related to using a PC. Connects (wireless network) to my old PCs and peripherals without any compatibility issues. It makes no noise, takes up a 6x6" area on my desk and does everything as well as my monster (9x24x20") 3.2Ghz PC I built awhile back and does without crashing. I thought I loved Windows XP, which was/is MSs best OS ever released (I have Win 7 Ultimate trial on my PC, nice but still bloated) however the Mac OS is much simpler without all the added nonsense (popups, balloons, smart copy, desktop cleanup, Aero graphics etc.), the OS is not meant to be entertainment, just a means of running the apps you actually want to install efficiently. My Mac came with zero crapware installed, no trial this or that; just the basic apps an average user would need and access to anything else you might ([...]).

I am still learning new things each day but was able to figure out everything I needed to the first week. Installing applications is odd, not the same as a PC... So many free applications. I am running Star Office (similar to MS Office), it was completely free and no ads or popups. It opens, displays, edits etc all of my Office 2007 files. I had issues writing to my PC hard drives (via USB hard drive enclosure and network) initially but found a free app that corrected that issue and made the NTSF drive fully compatible, again, no advertisements or popups.

I don't play computer games so I can not comment on its performance for games, however everything I do is instantaneous without locking up or hesitating. It has only an 8x(6x DL) DVD burner so if anything is not as fast as my old 3.Ghz I would complain about the DVD burners 8x cap. It has created flawless DVDs 100% of the time so far, which I can't say for my PC; again the Mac just works period. If anything is not up on current levels of performance it is the drive, not sure why Apple has not upgraded this, Blueray would also be a very nice option...

I had to buy a new keyboard as my old one was not USB, could have gotten an adaptor but it was a good excuse to get the new Mac wireless keyboard, which is great. Still learning keyboard short cuts, probably the biggest learning curve. I have not read or looked at any Mac tutorials, which could probably get me up to speed quicker. Biggest complaint, ports in back of computer are loose, not snug, especially the AC and display port. I accidentally restarted the computer many time the first week I had it when moving the computer around slightly. Not sure if mine is defective or if they all are like this. USB ports seem fine. I watched a Youtube video on upgrading the Mac Mini, it is not as easy as my PC I built. Every bit of space in the mini is used as efficiently as possible. If you are one to upgrade your computer down the road I recommend doing so when ordering it, which is why I opted for the 2.53Ghz and 4GB RAM version. I've rebuilt/upgraded PCs many times but I would not feel very comfortable doing so with the Mac Mini.

Overall I am absolutely very pleased with my switch to the Mac, I have yet to run into an issue or concern besides the sloppy/loose AC and display ports. I do not plan to buy another PC unless my kids absolutely need them when they go to school. Hope this review helps!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Happy with Mac Mini, November 17, 2009
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Vox Locus "Vox Locus" (Tulsa, OK, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Apple Mac mini MC239LL/A Desktop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
I have lots of Mac computers, both the ones I am in charge of at work, and my own at home.

This 2.53ghz Mac Mini is my desktop at work, pushing to the side a MacBook Pro 15" 2.2 ghz

Why?

I was using the MacBook Pro mostly as a desktop, driving a 24" monitor, and using the 15" MBP as the secondary monitor.

I do a lot of spreadsheet work, and decided the Mac Mini's ability to drive two 24" monitors simultaneously would be a big help.

And it sure is.

I'm now running a Dell LED 24" and an HP that offers pivot for when I need to view all of a really long document.

I am very happy with the purchase. Even tho the Mini sits about 2 feet from my ears, I can't hear it run.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better and better!, November 29, 2009
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This review is from: Apple Mac mini MC239LL/A Desktop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
The Mac mini is getting better each year. This is the fourth one I've owned (for home and business) starting with a G4 a few years ago.

The 2.53GHz 2009 model is quite speedy and has good graphics. You might not want to play high end 3D games with a mini but everything else, including HD video works just great.

It's very quiet, with only a whisper of a fan. It'll drive two displays if needed. It has five USB ports which I usually have filled. And Firewire 800 lets me attach a big fast external drive.

Highly recommended!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars lovein' it!, December 9, 2009
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This review is from: Apple Mac mini MC239LL/A Desktop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
At work, I got a MacBook Pro and decided that I liked Mac OS X well enough that I'd run it at home. This little box is like the micro-desktop equivalent (performance-wise) to my MacBook Pro. Low power, small, simple... and I don't feel overly tied in to a specific monitor. I already had an HP 24" and the mini fits perfectly on the actual monitor stand, below the screen. They were made for each other.

I also bought an Apple keyboard to keep things consistent but use my logitech wireless laser mouse with it. Another great combo.

No regrets so far.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great product--hardware boost makes a huge difference, November 30, 2009
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This review is from: Apple Mac mini MC239LL/A Desktop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
I had been using a Mini from a previous generation (Intel graphics chip) for my HTPC and was mostly pleased with it--anything to do with Quicktime performed just fine. However Internet-based video (Flash for applications like Hulu and MS Silverlight for Netflix) was demonstrating problems--the graphics card just couldn't keep up and would frequently display annoying refresh lines on the screen and drop frames. Not so with this new machine. The new graphics card and bumped-up CPU have performed admirably for all tasks I've thrown at it.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mac Mini is the best, December 6, 2009
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This review is from: Apple Mac mini MC239LL/A Desktop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
I have been a PC guy since 1982 and just bought a Mac Mini. The best thing I have ever done. Loaded Fusion for Windows 7 and now run both operating systems at once. Can open any Microsoft Office application right from the Mac desktop. "AWESOME"!!! My PC mother board was going out and I had a nice monitor and two 500gb hard drives in the PC. I used the monitor and took the hard drives out, bought two external hard drive cases for about $30 and plugged them into my mini. Worked great with my installed Windows 7.

Coal
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It just works., January 16, 2010
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FrankyS (University Heights, Ohio United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Apple Mac mini MC239LL/A Desktop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
I was a pioneer in my family when it came to mac computers. I switched back when I first started law school, and have been using them ever since for home use. This has been my favorite mac yet!

For starters, the computer is nearly silent. There is no discernable noise coming from it unless the fan is on, in which case you'll hear noise from the fan! Second, the mac connected to my Samsung P2370HD monitor without a problem. It comes with a mini apple display cable, which you then need to hook up to another DVI cable, which is then connected to your display. I do find that the display connection is somewhat wobbly. Hopefully it will hold up. Also, the mini is always cool to the touch, even when the fan is on.

The most important thing for me, however, was that the computer be a fast computer. I can tell you that this mac is really fast. I use the computer primarily to surf the web, use microsoft word, watch videos on YouTube, play music in iTunes, and occasionally watch movies on. I find that the computer is incredibly fast for these tasks.

So, to sum up:

THE GOOD
1. The computer is almost totally silent.
2. Runs cool.
3. Very fast for every day tasks.
4. Hooks up easily to your monitor.

THE BAD
1. The connection for the display port is loose and wobbly. I have tried to secure it, and have not lost a signal to the monitor yet.

I love this computer!!!!!! If you're looking for a no-hassles, fast, little, quiet computer, this is it!!!!
Hope this helps!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very competent for graphics work, May 24, 2010
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This review is from: Apple Mac mini MC239LL/A Desktop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
I am a graphic designer and when I had to replace my defunct iMac I was hesitant to check out the Mini. But due to budget constraints I didn't have an option unless I purchased a used Mac. Well, much to my surprise this machine is as fast as my 2.16 GHz Intel iMac was and in some respects it's faster. I use InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, and a few other apps and can not tell a difference between using this and my iMac. The hard drive spins a bit slower but I don't notice it at all with my usage. I can imagine if you are designing motion graphics or if you are a gamer you may notice some deficiencies. And maybe if you like to keep a large quantity of applications running at the same time you will feel the limited memory. I only run one or two apps at a time and I do not play games so I don't notice any problems.

Also, this thing is whisper-quiet. The only time it even makes a noise is when burning a disc and even then it's not unacceptable. I don't know how it stays so quiet even after running for 8 or 10 hours straight. And there is no noticeable heat at all. It is cool to the touch.

I used to believe that I had to have the most powerful Mac available and in the past this was true. But the low-end Macs have come a long way. The previously mentioned iMac was lightyears ahead of all the other Mac towers and desktops I have owned and the Mini steps up the low-end game even more.

The only thing I would like to see change is a faster hard drive with a larger capacity out of the box. And more memory would be nice. However, as a graphic designer I am very happy with the Mac Mini. In fact, I can't think of a reason to purchase an iMac for my professional needs at all. And the new Mac Pro towers would just be overkill for my needs.

I should add one more thing: You will need a monitor, keyboard, and a mouse with the Mini. Don't scrimp on your monitor if you are going to be designing anything that needs to have even remotely accurate colors and crisp text display. I made the mistake of purchasing a brand new Samsung LED monitor and could not even use it at all due to its unacceptable display quality. Fortunately I still had a 5-year-old Apple Cinema display and with the addition of an adapter it works fine with the Mini. Maybe there are other monitors out there which are acceptable but I will never use anything but an Apple display again.

I hope this review helps any other designers that may be thinking about the Mini and feel concerned that it will not run the Adobe Creative Suite in the manner they are used to because it certainly will.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Mac mini ever, December 11, 2009
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This review is from: Apple Mac mini MC239LL/A Desktop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
I upgraded my trusty PowerPC G4 Mac mini to the new 2009 Intel Mac mini. What a huge difference. This thing screams. It is one of the fastest Macs I've ever owned. And it is so quiet, I can barely hear it. I love it.

If you're looking to buy a new Mac, or interested in buying your first Mac, I highly recommend the new Mac mini. You won't regret it.
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