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Not sure which way to go...

 
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hiphenone
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 4:21 am    Post subject: Not sure which way to go... Reply with quote

Ok here's the deal. I've been without a nice desktop for awhile now, I would say over a year. This christmas I plan on either building a machine or buying a Mac Mini. Keep in mind I'm a poor college student.

Now for $600 I can build a Micro-ATX:

AMD AM2 4200+ (2.0GHz Dual Core)
1GB DDR800
80GB SATA
nVidia geforce 7600GT

Or of course go with the 1.66 Core Duo mini.

What attracts me to the Mini is the fact it runs OS X for one (love me some unix) and secondly the intel processor of which I can basically run any OS I want. Finally the size is what attracted me in the first place. I understand it's not for gaming, but I don't see why it couldn't play CS1.6 and I've read people had mixed results with CS:Source. I'm not a huge gamer but I would like to play here and there.

It seems to me, for building my own system I can get a lot more for my money, yet I have never owned an Apple and would definitely like to try it out.

I honestly don't know which road to take...

What would you do?
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g5g5
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mac mini = the ability to run OS X, Vista and Linux. Enough said! Wink

By the way, it also allows you to run an awesome little suite called iLife and Front Row. The funny thing is once you check out OS X you may not even want to run the others. iDon't! Laughing
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Copernicus
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've done it both ways now; years ago, building it yourself was the only way to go, and I discarded the idea of buying an Apple with nary a second thought. Even today, as you note, you can build a FAR more powerful machine yourself from components than you can get from Apple at the same price.

But things have changed for me. I do like to use commercial software (particularly games), and this is where the problem comes in -- personally, I don't like piracy, and I make sure all the software I use is completely legal. In years past, you could buy a copy of Windows, and move it easily from computer to computer as you upgraded. I would swap out processors, video cards, even motherboards fairly frequently; and, I had no problem with wiping my hard drive and reinstalling my copy of Windows whenever I felt like it.

However, Microsoft has been attempting to crack down on piracy, and one of they ways they do it is by tying your license of the OS to the hardware you are running. This may make sense for them (so that one license for the OS doesn't start running on hundreds of machines), but it also means that I can no longer easily use the same license as I continue to modify my machine. (I don't particularly enjoy the thought of calling up Redmond every time I add new hardware, just so I can continue using the machine.)

Moreover, the virus problem on Windows is reaching ridiculous proportions. I don't really want to spend $30 a year on anti-virus software, but my old solution (wiping the hard drive and reinstalling the OS when something infects the machine) is no longer as easy, since Microsoft's anti-piracy measures don't like it when you do that. Sad

So, I've finally turned my eyes back to Apple. Apple hardware still costs too much, but their engineering is good -- there is simply nothing as small and quiet as the Mini in PC-land, and the Core Duo gives it the kind of processing power to go one-on-one against most PCs. And, since Microsoft is making life hard for people who build their own boxes, I figure I might as well get a box that isn't upgradeable, and dump Windows onto that.

Long story short, I've now got a 1.66 Core Duo Mini, and I _haven't_ yet dumped Windows onto it. Smile OS X really is quite nice, it really is Unix underneath, and it actually runs a fair amount of commercial software; I've got Quicken, used TurboTax on it, have run Civilization III and Myst; the GMA950 adapter is nothing to write home about, but it is surprisingly competent at a lot of different tasks, and the Core Duo processor really _is_ nice. Smile

Given the current situation today, I would take a look at the Mini. Unless you're going the pirate route, you'll probably be tacking an additional $200 onto the PC price to get the (crippled home-user edition) non-upgrade version of Windows. Moreover, Vista is coming out, and I believe the 7600GT hasn't yet been certified as being DirectX-10 compliant, so you may find yourself needing to upgrade more quickly than you'd expect. Sad Life really isn't nearly as much fun in PC-land any more for building things yourself...
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hiphenone
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow... Check that out. You can even go onto an Apple/Mac community forum and get a decent answer, amazing!

Seriously though, you bring up excellent points. I've been building my machines for 4 years now and honestly I would rather much spend the same amount of money on a much smaller PC that is pre-built for me.

I want to say when I was younger, a couple years back, it was all about having the fastest ,meanest machine to play the current games in rediculous resolutions. Now that I'm a tad older (20, I know go ahead and laugh...) I'm more into how computers work, what makes them run, i.e. networking, programming, and how everything interacts rather then wasting hours on end playing games.

So, now that I'm done rambling, what I mean to say is thanks a lot for clearing some things up for me. I'm definitely leaning towards the Mini, because like I said it's running off a unix core. I'm running a FreeBSD webserver, Slackware linux on my laptop, and why shouldn't I be running OS X for my desktop!?

Thanks again for a great reply!
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Copernicus
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hiphenone wrote:
I want to say when I was younger, a couple years back, it was all about having the fastest ,meanest machine to play the current games in rediculous resolutions. Now that I'm a tad older (20, I know go ahead and laugh...) I'm more into how computers work, what makes them run, i.e. networking, programming, and how everything interacts rather then wasting hours on end playing games.


Hmm. Smile I'm, well, quite a bit older than 20 now, and I still like to have a fast, mean machine that plays games at super-high resolution. Smile But I know what you mean.

Certainly, OS X is (for me) nearly the perfect desktop, blending the use of commercial apps seamlessly with the ability to run Unix utilities (and interoperate easily with my Linux boxes). And it's gotta be said, the Mini really is a sexy little piece of hardware. Smile

Good luck with whatever choice you make! If you do choose the Mini, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with just how much work it can handle...
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dungeon92
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 6:14 pm    Post subject: ok Reply with quote

I like Macs since they are more reliable, but I love a good PC I play PC games often. I plan on building a PC and maybe getting a MacBook to replace this laptop and make it a Linux laptop.
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