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Planning to be a Mac Mini user soon - a few questions.
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Voyager
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:53 am    Post subject: Planning to be a Mac Mini user soon - a few questions. Reply with quote

I'm looking to get a Mac Mini soon.

The back story is that I have an aged old PC (I've been using it since I built it sometime in 2000!) it has noisy fans and disks and it is driving my wife nuts! So since I have been given an ultimatum to 'get rid of it', not the end of the world as it really is getting a bit flaky (understatement!), I have decided that a change to a Mac would be a good idea. I have some experience with using them but only really with problem solving users with laptops and iMac's and not 'hardware' related.

I guess that with a Mini I can continue to use my perfectly serviceable Iiyama Vision Master Pro 450 CRT monitor with a mini DVI to VGA Adapter - even though Apple specifically don't mention the Mac Mini with the product? Or must I use a mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter? I guess the question is really - will the monitor be recognised and work on either port and is there any benefit using one over the other? (One other question about monitors is that I've seen that some people are using two monitors as a duel display on a Mac Mini - how do they do that?)

Now input devices - for years I've been using an old ICL 101-key keyboard (from an old server) it had a lovely key action but it is PS2. Can I use it on a Mini with a USB adapter? And it has no 'Windows' key - will this be a huge problem with Mac software? I also have an old Microsoft Trackball Optical (5-button) mouse that I would be loath to have to give up. Will that plug in and work or will there be lots of workrounds to get it running?

I expect I'll get the 2.53GHz with 4GB memory and 320GB hard drive - as I don't see there any real benefit in spending nearly the cost of a flat-screen monitor on a 2.66GHz processor upgrade? Is there? I don't need a larger hard drive as we have a Synology disk-station on our network for data which, as a network device, should still be usable.
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philiparcario
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals/mac


this is the apple online store link. 2.53ghz mini's come up 1 or 2 times a week at 679 full warranty with applecare available. the crt may work I dont think the keyboard or mouse will


This will let you have a second screen. i also think this will let you the crt if the vga adapters don't work. I forget which adapter works better with vga. some one else should chime in.

http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other%20World%20Computing/VIDU2DVIA/
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MalzyWheels
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I were you, I'd go with a new keyboard, just to be on the safe side.

Your Microsoft trackball will more than likely work as a regular mouse would. Only downside is that you won't be able to program the buttons. Don't know if Microsoft provides Snow Leopard drivers for that paticular device or not, but a solution to give all your buttons unique functionality could be an app called SteerMouse.

http://plentycom.jp/en/steermouse/index.html

I own a Kensington trackball that is no longer supported by Kensington, and I had to get SteerMouse to get the trackball to work. Works better than the Kensington software ever did.

When I first bought my mini at the beginning of August, I had it hooked up to a Apple CRT display via a Mini DisplayPort to VGA adaptor, because I was told on another forum that that was the way to go. Never had a lick of trouble up until I received a LCD display for Christmas. Was also told to stay away from the Apple adaptor and go with Monoprice:

http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=104&cp_id=10428&cs_id=1042802&p_id=5107&seq=1&format=2

That was sound advice, too. Smile
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Voyager
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks chaps. Only problem is that I'm in the UK so getting stuff from the States can be, depending on the exchange rate and if it gets stopped for import duty, expensive!

A bit more research and I've found that Microsoft software looks like it'll work the mouse. So that looks okay. (SteerMouse looks good though). I so love the Trackball Optical I'd probably not go for a Mac if I could not use it. Very hand friendly, I used to get what I think could be the beginning of RSI using regular mice but that never happens with the Trackball.

Keyboard could be an issue? Is that because I really need the special Mac keys? Shame but no a deal breaker - I'll have a search for nice keyboards that suit.

I've searched for an answer to the question about the miniDVI or mini DisplayPort - is there a difference between them? Even if there is it will probably not going to make much difference to running an old CRT monitor so I'll go for a miniDVI adapter because they are cheaper!
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Smithcraft
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The problem with the keyboard isn't because there is a certain pattern screened on the keys, it's most likely because it's PS/2. It might work with an adapter, or it might not. I use an Apple Extended II keyboard with a ADB to USB adapter, and it works great. There is no way I'm giving up the Extended keyboards!

As for monoprice and import duties, I think monoprices prices are rather low, so it might not be too expensive to import.

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MacDSmith2
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It should not matter if you use the mini-dvi to VGA dongle or the mini-display port to VGA dongle, as both should work equally well, PROVIDED the Mac Mini will work at all over VGA with your CRT monitor! That may be problematic as to whether or not an older CRT will give satisfactory performance. Any Microsoft type mouse should work fine, both USB and wireless versions; better than the Apple mice in my opinion. Any USB keyboard will also work fine. The Mac Mini is very tolerant with keyboards and mice in general, not necessarily with older CRT displays.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 5:46 am    Post subject: Re: Planning to be a Mac Mini user soon - a few questions. Reply with quote

Hi there Voyager. Lovely part of the world you live in! Smile

Voyager wrote:
...it has noisy fans and disks and it is driving my wife nuts!

Your wife will love the Mini -- it's completely silent

Voyager wrote:
I guess the question is really - will the monitor be recognised and work on either port and is there any benefit using one over the other?

It shouldn't matter which port you use; the Mini is smart enough to work out which one it needs to send the video signal thru.

Voyager wrote:
One other question about monitors is that I've seen that some people are using two monitors as a duel display on a Mac Mini - how do they do that?

Like this...


Voyager wrote:
Now input devices - for years I've been using an old ICL 101-key keyboard (from an old server) it had a lovely key action but it is PS2. Can I use it on a Mini with a USB adapter? And it has no 'Windows' key - will this be a huge problem with Mac software?

It's possible that you could use a USB-plug-to-PS/2-socket adapter but they aren't cheap. IMHO, you'd be better off finding a USB keyboard with the Mac layout. You won't need a "Windows" key, but you will need an "Option" key and a "Command" (Apple) key...



Voyager wrote:
I also have an old Microsoft Trackball Optical (5-button) mouse that I would be loath to have to give up. Will that plug in and work or will there be lots of workrounds to get it running?

If it's the same one on this Amazon page, then it's described as "Wired - PS/2, USB" -- which sounds as though it'll plug straight into the back of a Mini.
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Voyager
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 5:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Planning to be a Mac Mini user soon - a few questions. Reply with quote

JohnnyBoy wrote:
Your wife will love the Mini -- it's completely silent

Sounds good!
JohnnyBoy wrote:
Voyager wrote:
One other question about monitors is that I've seen that some people are using two monitors as a duel display on a Mac Mini - how do they do that?
Like this...

Now that is clever. I guess it just sorts itself out?
JohnnyBoy wrote:
It's possible that you could use a USB-plug-to-PS/2-socket adapter but they aren't cheap. IMHO, you'd be better off finding a USB keyboard with the Mac layout. You won't need a "Windows" key, but you will need an "Option" key and a "Command" (Apple) key...

I'm resigned to getting an Apple keyboard. Bye-bye trusty old ICL. Crying or Very sad

I'll want a full size one, I'll have to peruse the bay of E for an 'interesting' used one won't I?
JohnnyBoy wrote:
If it's the same one on this Amazon page, then it's described as "Wired - PS/2, USB" -- which sounds as though it'll plug straight into the back of a Mini.

Exactly that - fantastic mouse. I guess the deal breaker is solved!

A Mini is in my future....
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 6:46 pm    Post subject: Re: Planning to be a Mac Mini user soon - a few questions. Reply with quote

Voyager wrote:
Now that is clever. I guess it just sorts itself out?

Yes. If the Mini gets it wrong (putting the LH desktop on the RH screen), then you simply open System Preferences (the Mac equivalent of "Control Panel") and swap them over. Takes about 10 seconds, max.

Voyager wrote:
I'll want a full size one, I'll have to peruse the bay of E for an 'interesting' used one won't I?

Yes! Smile Any Mac-compatible keyboard with a USB plug will work fine. Of course Apple are the obvious choice, but also look out for compatible keyboards from Logitech and MacAlly.

Voyager wrote:
A Mini is in my future....

I hope so, Voyager! They're great little machines... Cool
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Voyager
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JohnnyBoy wrote:
Voyager wrote:
A Mini is in my future....

I hope so, Voyager! They're great little machines... Cool

DAMN!

Was all set to spend £669 on a 'refurbished' 2.66 mini from the Apple store, clicked 'Add To Basket' and I went through the rigmarole of filling out the details - until I came to buy and it said £0.00.

Called Apple and the nice girl at the other end of the line did some checking and told me someone else got it while I was filling in my details! Crying or Very sad

Not a very good shop system is it? It's like someone stealing your shopping from you as you queue up to pay. Rolling Eyes
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philiparcario
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

refurb shop is first come first served. I have lost out on them more then once.
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philiparcario
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

keep in mind that a refurb is a great buy.

in the states that model is 800 USD instead of 950 USD.

It is exactly the same as new so it is 150 USD for free. When offered 2 or 3 are offered. They really sell out fast.
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lacie little big disk 2x 512gb ssds
synology 2tb disk station
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Voyager
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

philiparcario wrote:
They really sell out fast.

It is not that they sell out fast - that doesn't surprise me unduly - it is that they sold out after I had committed to buy!

It was in my 'basket' and I was trying to pay!
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Voyager
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

philiparcario wrote:
in the states that model is 800 USD instead of 950 USD.

Equivalent here to $1050 instead of $1230! Shocked

(You don't want to know what our fuel costs..... we pay @$6.50 for one of your gallons!)
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Electronic equipment is quite expensive in Europe, yeah... Unfortunately...
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