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Silly questions about the latest Mac Mini

 
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MacUser_Since_1986
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:38 am    Post subject: Silly questions about the latest Mac Mini Reply with quote

I have no immediate plans to get a new Mac Mini, but I am thinking about buying a new one some months from now. I have several (perhaps silly) questions about the latest Mac Mini:

1: How easy is it to upgrade the RAM in the new Mini? What is the maximum practical limit for RAM? What specification of RAM chips does the Mini require?

2: What practical alternatives to Apple's SuperDrive exist for CDs and DVDs burning/reading? Any special features?

3: If I wanted to use a new Mini as a dual-boot machine (MacOS and Windows) to handle a variety of specialized software, what would be a good minimal RAM spec?

4: Does the new Mini offer a working HDMI port to connect to an HDTV?

5: What about connecting the Mini to a digital projector? What accessories are needed?

6: Is there any MacOS X software of the current generation from Apple that will not run on a Mini? (Any pro-grade apps, etc.?)

7: What kits are available to mount a new Mini sideways on a wall, or otherwise discretely behind an HDTV?

8: How well would a Mini work at handling faxes over a residential phone line? (Is it possible to set up a call screening box so that incoming faxes are routed to the Mini, connected to an Apple USB fax/modem, which would automatically wake up the Mini to receive and store a fax?

9: Has anyone tried using a Neat desk scanner connected to a Mini to send, store and receive faxes, as well as using the Neat for other office productivity tasks? Does it actually work? If so, how well?

10: I currently use a G4 iMac (1.25 GHz; 2003-vintage) as a file server. The iMac runs MacOS 10.4.11, as well as MacOS 9.2 in "classic mode". I still use "classic mode" for a few old apps that date back to the mid-1990s. Their replacement (and the iMac's as well) is long overdue. One such app is MacEnvelope Professional from the now-defunct Synex. Our small business office donates support and clerical tasks to some charitable events, including a couple of annual historical reunions. We use sheets of Avery labels (30-up) to send out postcard invitations to meetings, events, newsletters, etc. To this day, I have not found a practical MacOS X replacement for MacEnvelope Professional. MEP is great at managing old postal mailing address lists and printing out envelopes and labels. (Some people still don't have e-mail and are not interested.) I realize something like a Dymo label printer may be considered a "modern" alternative, but sometimes the sheet labels are much quicker and more practical in handling a variety of tasks.

11: Which ports does the new Mini have, and how many of each?
USB 2.0?
USB 3.0?
FireWire?
ThunderBolt?
Video?
Card reader? (SDXC compatible?)


12: Also: I know a friend who recently had her aging Windows XP PC break down. I suggested getting a Mini. Is there any place to find deals on new or refurb Minis? My friend has a small color LCD monitor, but it works well. Would it work with a Mini? (It looks almost square in its screen proportions.) Where do you go to find a cheap USB keyboard and mouse for a Mini?
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ez061111
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 4:20 am    Post subject: Re: Silly questions about the latest Mac Mini Reply with quote

MacUser_Since_1986 wrote:
I have no immediate plans to get a new Mac Mini, but I am thinking about buying a new one some months from now. I have several (perhaps silly) questions about the latest Mac Mini:

1: How easy is it to upgrade the RAM in the new Mini? What is the maximum practical limit for RAM? What specification of RAM chips does the Mini require?

http://www.apple.com/mac-mini/specs.html
1600 MHz DDR3 PC3-12800
Quote:

2: What practical alternatives to Apple's SuperDrive exist for CDs and DVDs burning/reading? Any special features?

Many alternatives and better options than SuperDrive. BD is a possiblity and has backward compatibility. Many have different port options.
Quote:

3: If I wanted to use a new Mini as a dual-boot machine (MacOS and Windows) to handle a variety of specialized software, what would be a good minimal RAM spec?

My suggestion is minimum 8GB, with RAM prices so low now it wouldn't hurt to max out at 16GB and be done with it.
Quote:

4: Does the new Mini offer a working HDMI port to connect to an HDTV?

See Apple link above
Quote:

5: What about connecting the Mini to a digital projector? What accessories are needed?

None.
Quote:

6: Is there any MacOS X software of the current generation from Apple that will not run on a Mini? (Any pro-grade apps, etc.?)

None that I have read about.
Quote:

7: What kits are available ... an HDTV?

8: How well would ... store a fax?

9: Has anyone ... how well?

No idea. The fax question is intriguing, you would have to get a USB modem as Macs haven't had a built in one in a few years.
Quote:

10: I currently use a G4 iMac (1.25 GHz; 2003-vintage) as a file server. The iMac runs MacOS 10.4.11, as well as MacOS 9.2 in "classic mode". I still use "classic mode" for a few old apps that date back to the mid-1990s. Their replacement (and the iMac's as well) is long overdue. One such app is MacEnvelope Professional from the now-defunct Synex. Our small business office donates support and clerical tasks to some charitable events, including a couple of annual historical reunions. We use sheets of Avery labels (30-up) to send out postcard invitations to meetings, events, newsletters, etc. To this day, I have not found a practical MacOS X replacement for MacEnvelope Professional. MEP is great at managing old postal mailing address lists and printing out envelopes and labels. (Some people still don't have e-mail and are not interested.) I realize something like a Dymo label printer may be considered a "modern" alternative, but sometimes the sheet labels are much quicker and more practical in handling a variety of tasks.

I used to use a program called Dynodex from the late 80s until OSX, haven't found a program that did all of the stuff it did including labels that I like as much. I've used MS Word for mail merge and grudingly continue.
Quote:

11: Which ports does the new Mini have, and how many of each?
USB 2.0?
USB 3.0?
FireWire?
ThunderBolt?
Video?
Card reader? (SDXC compatible?)

See Apple link above
Quote:

12: Also: I know a friend who recently had her aging Windows XP PC break down. I suggested getting a Mini. Is there any place to find deals on new or refurb Minis? My friend has a small color LCD monitor, but it works well. Would it work with a Mini? (It looks almost square in its screen proportions.) Where do you go to find a cheap USB keyboard and mouse for a Mini?

Apple Refurb Store is the only place that I know. Perhaps the monitor will work, any idea make and model? Mouse and keyboard, office supply shop or online such as Amazon or maybe NewEgg.
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Smithcraft
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 4:27 am    Post subject: Re: Silly questions about the latest Mac Mini Reply with quote

1: Upgrade the memory - I don't know, but I would imagine you turn the base and put the dimm in. 16 GB is the limit listed at the Apple site. Could be higher if you can get bigger dimms. Not sure about the type as Apple's spec page is nearly worthless, but 1600MHz DDR3 SO-DIMMS would be my guess.

2: Optical drive options - I think ASUS has a small external BD-ROM drive that you could use for ripping Blurays. I don't think it writes though.

3: Memory for dual booting - Depends on how many applications you want to run, and what type they are. All of the Adobe CS apps? Go for the max.

4: HDMI - The mini has an HDMI port. I'm not sure what you would do with it if not connect it to a display. HDTVs don't have to play nice with computers so every display might be trial and error.

5: Digital Projector? The projectors connection scheme would determine what would be needed. Thunderbolt DVI and VGA adapters are sold separately, but the HDMI-DVI adapter is included.

6: Apple software that doesn't run on the mini - If it can't run on an Ivy Bridge i5, then I'm not sure what it would need to run.

7: Specialty mounts - I've seen clear plexiglass things for vertical mounts, but not much else. Then again, I haven't looked.

8: Faxes - If the software works in 10.8, I would imagine it would work on the mini. I don't know about 10.8's energy saver options. I would iMagine that there would be wake from sleep for network activity, but I don't know about USB activity.

9: Neat Desk Scanner - Not I.

10: Abandonware options - Maybe a db application like Bento for your mailing list. You might have to get creative with this.

11: Expansion/connectivity ports -
1 x Gigabit Ethernet
1 x FireWire 800
1 x HDMI
1 x Thunderbolt
4 x USB3
1 x SDXC card slot (still conveniently in the back)
1 x Microphone
1 x Speaker
1 x IR receiver
1 x 'n' Wireless card
1 x Bluetooth

12: Display and input devices - If you can connect the display, whether it's 4 by 3, 16 by 9, or 16 by 10 doesn't matter. It just has to have a resolution lower than the max res. Apple's tech specs are for people that are not interested in actual specs. I've heard that the HDMI connection is limited to 1920 by 1080 though. The DVI and VGA should support 1980 by 1200 at minimum. Dual link DVI can go higher. From the gaming specs Apple mentions 2560x1440 so that might be the limit. You can get iNput devices anywhere. You can get deals on refurb minis at the Apple store's refurb page. They come up randomly. The basic 2012 i5 is $509, the basic 2011 i5 is $469, and the fancy 2011 i5 is $549.

http://www.apple.com/mac-mini/specs.html

SC
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[Desktop] Intel mini - 2.16Ghz 2GB 60GB HDD - Newer miniStack v2 500GB - 10.5.8

[Media System] Intel i5 mini - 2.33Ghz 8GB 500GB HDD - 4 x Hitachi 2TB HDD in a qBOX-SF - 10.7.5 (Thanks Phil!)

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MacUser_Since_1986
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is going to sound silly, but I heard (a few years ago) that Final Cut Pro would not run on any Mac Mini because of the Mini's integrated video circuitry setup. I have no confirmation on this, and wondering if it was/is true.

For years, I ran Final Cut 4.5 on the G4 iMac. (Haltingly)



I am considering the purchase (long-term) of at least one Mini.

One would be an office-productivity machine and file server.

Possibly a second Mini would be a combination dual-boot machine and entertainment machine. (Possibly running Windows for reading and/or burning Blu-Ray discs through an external Blu-Ray drive, as well as running Windows-only apps like DeLorme's GPS/mapping software) This Mini would be situated in a living room-type situation, possibly connected to an HDTV.
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ez061111
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The HD4000 isn't a bad GPU per se, it's just not incredibly powerful. The CPU on the other hand is a champ. I don't use Final Cut, have read mixed reviews that it's fine and others that say it is not. I'd check over at MacRumors or other sites. If you have a local Apple store they may very well have it loaded on one and you can take it for a spin.

I have read that many power users have been very disappointed with the relatively recent Final Cut Pro X (not necessarily with the Mini but overall), again others are fine with it.

The multipurpose/HTPC will be fine. At this point Win8 isn't fully supported by Apple as they haven't updated their Boot Camp drivers, but many say it runs fine if that is the version of Win you are looking to run.
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marv777
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 3:32 am    Post subject: Re: Silly questions about the latest Mac Mini Reply with quote

ez061111 wrote:
MacUser_Since_1986 wrote:
I have no immediate plans to get a new Mac Mini, but I am thinking about buying a new one some months from now. I have several (perhaps silly) questions about the latest Mac Mini:

1: How easy is it to upgrade the RAM in the new Mini? What is the maximum practical limit for RAM? What specification of RAM chips does the Mini require?

http://www.apple.com/mac-mini/specs.html
1600 MHz DDR3 PC3-12800
Quote:

2: What practical alternatives to Apple's SuperDrive exist for CDs and DVDs burning/reading? Any special features?

Many alternatives and better options than SuperDrive. BD is a possiblity and has backward compatibility. Many have different port options.
Quote:

3: If I wanted to use a new Mini as a dual-boot machine (MacOS and Windows) to handle a variety of specialized software, what would be a good minimal RAM spec?

My suggestion is minimum 8GB, with RAM prices so low now it wouldn't hurt to max out at 16GB and be done with it.
Quote:

4: Does the new Mini offer a working HDMI port to connect to an HDTV?

See Apple link above
Quote:

5: What about connecting the Mini to a digital projector? What accessories are needed?

None.
Quote:

6: Is there any MacOS X software of the current generation from Apple that will not run on a Mini? (Any pro-grade apps, etc.?)

None that I have read about.
Quote:

7: What kits are available ... an HDTV?

8: How well would ... store a fax?

9: Has anyone ... how well?

No idea. The fax question is intriguing, you would have to get a USB modem as Macs haven't had a built in one in a few years.
Quote:

10: I currently use a G4 iMac (1.25 GHz; 2003-vintage) as a file server. The iMac runs MacOS 10.4.11, as well as MacOS 9.2 in "classic mode". I still use "classic mode" for a few old apps that date back to the mid-1990s. Their replacement (and the iMac's as well) is long overdue. One such app is MacEnvelope Professional from the now-defunct Synex. Our small business office donates support and clerical tasks to some charitable events, including a couple of annual historical reunions. We use sheets of Avery labels (30-up) to send out postcard invitations to meetings, events, newsletters, etc. To this day, I have not found a practical MacOS X replacement for MacEnvelope Professional. MEP is great at managing old postal mailing address lists and printing out envelopes and labels. (Some people still don't have e-mail and are not interested.) I realize something like a Dymo label printer may be considered a "modern" alternative, but sometimes the sheet labels are much quicker and more practical in handling a variety of tasks.

I used to use a program called Dynodex from the late 80s until OSX, haven't found a program that did all of the stuff it did including labels that I like as much. I've used MS Word for mail merge and grudingly continue.
Quote:

11: Which ports does the new Mini have, and how many of each?
USB 2.0?
USB 3.0?
FireWire?
ThunderBolt?
Video?
Card reader? (SDXC compatible?)

See Apple link above
Quote:

12: Also: I know a friend who recently had her aging Windows XP PC break down. I suggested getting a Mini. Is there any place to find deals on new or refurb Minis? My friend has a small color LCD monitor, but it works well. Would it work with a Mini? (It looks almost square in its screen proportions.) Where do you go to find a cheap USB keyboard and mouse for a Mini?

Apple Refurb Store is the only place that I know. Perhaps the monitor will work, any idea make and model? Mouse and keyboard, office supply shop or online such as Amazon or maybe NewEgg.
I suggest you read all about the mac mini on all kinds of sites they have posted on the net.
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