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Mac Mini Prices, are they really that good?

Posted by Keith Elder | Posted in Computer Hardware | Posted on 31-01-2005

A few weeks ago Apple introduced a new computer known as the Mac Mini. It is small and cute and is being marketed as a cheap way to own a Mac. Before you run out and buy one, you should stick around to see my comparisons. For starters I wanted to know how much it would cost to buy a Mini configured to something that I would at least want on my desktop. The price? $1123.00. This includes 1GB, Superdrive, and Bluetooth. Basically I chose all of the high-end options on it. Which really isn’t that high-end compared to what you can get for a PC nowadays. As my previous article states, I built a pretty decent gaming machine that is 64bit for $1450.00. For $1123.00 could the Mac Mini stack up to what you would get buying a PC? I doubt it. The G4 processor has seen its day long before now but Apple keeps cranking them out. I guess trying to get rid of stock or something? Obviously if they cannot build a G5 Powerbook, they cannot build a G5 Mac Mini, it just stands to reason. So anyway, curiosity got the best out of me so I went to Dell.Com and priced out a Dell Dimension 8400 PC. On the Dell I tried to build it close to what I had built the Mac Mini. I put a 3.4GHz Intell Processor, 1GB of memory, Windows XP, 2 year warranty (standard), 160GB serial ATA hdd, 16X DVD burner (dual layer even) and 128MB PCI Express Video Card. The total? $1018.00. Now the question, can this machine play Doom3 or Unreal 2004? Answer? Yes, without a doubt. It may not play it as well as my $1450.00 custom built gaming machine, but it would still allow someone to play them. My point? Why does Apple continue to charge overflated prices for its hardware, even when they pitch it as the cheapest thing out there? Dont’ get me wrong, I am not an Apple hater. I own and recommed them all the time, but I thought I would point out the hard facts here. BTW, I did do another comparison on the Apple Store where I built a 17inch iMac with the same configs and then I subtracted the difference between it and the Mac Mini and it came out to be $530.00 more for the 17inch iMac. Essentially you are paying $530.00 for the 17inch display and cool all-in-one design. You can buy a 17inch CRT display for a lot cheaper no doubt ($153.00 CRT on Apple.com). Basically if you want to buy a cheaper Mac, the mini is a viable option in the Apple world comparitively speaking, just don’t expect it to last for 2-3 years. It isn’t that strong of a machine.

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