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Replacing my Small form factor PC with a Mac Mini


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Old 25-11-2012, 09:48
Kargo
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Hi guys,

Over a year ago I bought a Small Form Factor PC from Acer that had Windows 7 installed. Unfortunately it packed in yesterday and my years warranty has expired.

I was saving up for a Macbook Pro to have as a secondary computer but now that this has happened, I think I might go straight into a Mac and buy a Mac Mini.

I would rather buy a system that is small and compact as the room I'll be using it in is quite tight for space.

I just wanted some advice though, Having used a PC for years this will be my first step in migrating. I have a few questions that I'm hoping some forum members may be able to answer.

- I'll need to find some Mac alternatives to some software such as a video converter and a webpage editor. I've been using Freemake Video Converter and Kompozer on Windows. Are there any software that will allow me to do the same on a Mac?

- Would you say the Mac Mini could work as a primary PC replacement? I understand it has all the hardware it needs but being so small, I can't help but wonder if its a computer that isn't intended for daily long time use (8-10 hours daily)

Thanks guys
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Old 25-11-2012, 10:33
Staunchy
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I've recently bought a Mini and although I initially purchased it as a secondary machine it is starting to take over as my primary computer. I've had no problems using it for long periods, some people use them as servers so running them for 8-10 hours shouldn't be an issue.

I too am used to Freemake on my PC but I haven't looked for a replacement to run on a Mac yet, there is Handbrake but the input and output formats are more limited so it depends on your needs whether it'll do the job for you.
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Old 25-11-2012, 10:46
chenks
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my mac mini runs 24/7 (albeit it is set to go to sleep when it's not in use).
it hasn't been physically powered off since i bought it.

video converter - handbrake
web editor - textwrangler (free) or coda (pay)
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Old 25-11-2012, 12:00
s2k
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I used my mac mini as my primary computer for about 6 years. For basic tasks it was more than capable.

One thing I would say though is that now they have made them more accessible to work on (no more putty knives) it would make more financial sense to purchase a lower end model and seek a RAM/HDD upgrade elsewhere as Apple really screw you over when you adjust the base config.
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Old 25-11-2012, 12:05
TheBigM
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Hi guys,

Over a year ago I bought a Small Form Factor PC from Acer that had Windows 7 installed. Unfortunately it packed in yesterday and my years warranty has expired.

I was saving up for a Macbook Pro to have as a secondary computer but now that this has happened, I think I might go straight into a Mac and buy a Mac Mini.

I would rather buy a system that is small and compact as the room I'll be using it in is quite tight for space.

I just wanted some advice though, Having used a PC for years this will be my first step in migrating. I have a few questions that I'm hoping some forum members may be able to answer.

- I'll need to find some Mac alternatives to some software such as a video converter and a webpage editor. I've been using Freemake Video Converter and Kompozer on Windows. Are there any software that will allow me to do the same on a Mac?

- Would you say the Mac Mini could work as a primary PC replacement? I understand it has all the hardware it needs but being so small, I can't help but wonder if its a computer that isn't intended for daily long time use (8-10 hours daily)

Thanks guys
It might be worth buying their one-to-one support for a year if you have an apple store near where you live - you can just go in and ask them anything for a year.

When I went to play with Macs in an Apple store, you just find it's all those little things you know in Windows (e.g. certain keyboard shortcuts) that you need to re-learn for OS X.
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Old 25-11-2012, 12:47
Kargo
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Thanks so much everyone, your replies have definitely put my mind at ease
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Old 25-11-2012, 13:03
chenks
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Thanks so much everyone, your replies have definitely put my mind at ease
and remember, you can run windows on it too using "boot camp" or via virtual installation, so if you ever have a problem finding a particular app, you can also quickly boot into windows.
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Old 26-11-2012, 03:53
Tigerpaws
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If you want advice on good program's for Mac have a look on the Mac Rumours forums you'll find tons of useful info.
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Old 28-11-2012, 22:16
ibatten
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I used my mac mini as my primary computer for about 6 years. For basic tasks it was more than capable.

One thing I would say though is that now they have made them more accessible to work on (no more putty knives) it would make more financial sense to purchase a lower end model and seek a RAM/HDD upgrade elsewhere as Apple really screw you over when you adjust the base config.
Note that although memory is now much easier to get at on Minis (it's a plastic cover that takes a few seconds to get off, it's now officially user-servicable and paying 80 to go from 4GB to 8GB is mad) the hard drive is substantially more annoying to work on, ideally requires a special tool to help you remove the main logic board and is certainly not a job for the faint-hearted. I've changed RAM and disk drives in plenty of putty-knife Mac Minis, and RAM in new metal ones, but I think I'd be happy to pay someone else to do a disk drive swap on a new Mini.
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Old 29-11-2012, 01:35
cnbcwatcher
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It might be worth buying their one-to-one support for a year if you have an apple store near where you live - you can just go in and ask them anything for a year.
I disagree about the One to One support at the Apple Store. I think the OP would be better off buying a decent book on Mac OSX and signing up to forums like MacRumors. And then of course there's the Mac users on here Plus the Apple Stores have free workshops. But that's my opinion. I think One to One is rubbish and not really worth the 79 you pay for it. I never really saw the appeal of the service. Who wants to sit in an Apple Store doing those sessions when there are better things to be doing? I used to say that I'd rather watch Ocean Finance TV while eating glass than do the one-on-ones at Apple, but now that channel has closed down I have to find an alternative channel to watch. Now, where did I leave my TV remote?
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Old 29-11-2012, 08:39
Erlang
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Whilst One to One, can be a very effective method of learning it's not cheap, unless you can take advantage of heavy discount i.e. student discount and spare the time to take full advantage.

Alt routes are, the vast amount of online resources particularly Apples own online resources such as http://support.apple.com/videos/, plus the forums already mentioned.

Others include:
http://macmost.com/
http://www.youtube.com/user/TheMacUdotcom/videos
http://www.youtube.com/user/lyndapodcast/videos (PC and Mac Videos)
http://mac.tutsplus.com/category/tutorials/

We added another Mac, a Mac Mini to the house the other day replacing the last PC. PC World Black Friday saved 50.

Enjoy.
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Old 29-11-2012, 10:10
cnbcwatcher
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Whilst One to One, can be a very effective method of learning it's not cheap, unless you can take advantage of heavy discount i.e. student discount and spare the time to take full advantage.
It's 79 for the year and then of course you need the time to go to the Apple Store and do it. I would never sign up for One to One as I have better things to do I've read of One to One members who go for sessions every day and seem almost devoted to their One to One sessions! Now that is just unhealthy IMO and those kind of people need to get a life. Think of all the other things you could be doing instead! You could be watching the shopping channels, Ocean Finance TV, Fox News, trading your gold for cash, playing bingo, claiming back your mis-sold PPI, filing an injury claim, taking out a new insurance policy (and get a free meerkat)... I could go on OK, I watch too much TV lol
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Old 29-11-2012, 17:13
MartinPickering
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I've been using Freemake Video Converter and Kompozer on Windows.
Download and install KompoZer for OSX. I found it a bit buggy but it might have improved by now.

Video conversion:
Handbrake (as suggested above)
MacTheRipper
MPEG streamclip
ffmpegX
Perian
Flip4Mac (free version)

Also pay the small fee for QuickTime Pro and the MPEG2 component from Apple.
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Old 02-12-2012, 22:53
cnbcwatcher
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OP have you thought any more about the Mac Mini?
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Old 06-12-2012, 20:13
Kargo
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OP have you thought any more about the Mac Mini?
I have been cnbcwatcher.

I'm going to wait until my next pay day before I make a decision whether to stay with Windows or a Mac Mini (although im 60% sure I'll go with a mac)
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Old 06-12-2012, 21:49
chenks
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I have been cnbcwatcher.

I'm going to wait until my next pay day before I make a decision whether to stay with Windows or a Mac Mini (although im 60% sure I'll go with a mac)
remember even with the mini you can still use windows though.
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Old 06-12-2012, 21:57
whoever,hey
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remember even with the mini you can still use windows though.
just factor the licence cost in.
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Old 06-12-2012, 22:19
cnbcwatcher
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I have been cnbcwatcher.

I'm going to wait until my next pay day before I make a decision whether to stay with Windows or a Mac Mini (although im 60% sure I'll go with a mac)
That's cool. The Mac Mini is the cheapest Mac around, so hopefully you can afford it. I hope you enjoy the Mac if you get it though Oh and if you buy from the Apple Store don't sign up for the training classes
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Old 06-12-2012, 23:39
Kargo
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Thanks guys

Oh I've heard about how the training courses aren't exactly as nice as they make out them to be

I suppose the only thing that's holding me back is that whatever I buy, I'll be using as my main computer and that means it will be used daily, up to 10 hours a day (possibly on all weekend). It would need to handle Photoshop and the occasional video converting. I guess just by looking at it and how it fits in the palm of your hand almost, can a device at that size outperform a mini desktop?
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Old 07-12-2012, 03:40
rottweiler
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It will perform those tasks without a hic cup
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Old 07-12-2012, 15:23
cnbcwatcher
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Thanks guys

Oh I've heard about how the training courses aren't exactly as nice as they make out them to be
How did you find out? Was it from me? I'm pleased you won't be doing the one to one sessions. You'd be better off watching crap TV. Pity Ocean Finance TV closed down Oh well, watch the shopping channels instead! Or the payday loan and PPI adverts on a loop.
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Old 07-12-2012, 15:52
chenks
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I suppose the only thing that's holding me back is that whatever I buy, I'll be using as my main computer and that means it will be used daily, up to 10 hours a day (possibly on all weekend). It would need to handle Photoshop and the occasional video converting. I guess just by looking at it and how it fits in the palm of your hand almost, can a device at that size outperform a mini desktop?
won't be a problem at all.
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Old 07-12-2012, 20:42
whoever,hey
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It will perform those tasks without a hic cup
They aren't the simplest of tasks. Why are there better specs if a mini can do everything?

I ask seriously because I don't like people having false expectations.

The mini I had couldn't even run code for iPhone let alone Photoshop!!!
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Old 07-12-2012, 20:53
Maxatoria
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Running iOS stuff requires a good level of emulation of the hardware which isn't based upon x86 arch so its always going to require a lot of power to emulate it

but for 99% of things a mac mini's fine and i'll probably look into one soon for a media centre so a second hand one will be fine
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Old 07-12-2012, 21:50
chenks
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They aren't the simplest of tasks. Why are there better specs if a mini can do everything?

I ask seriously because I don't like people having false expectations.

The mini I had couldn't even run code for iPhone let alone Photoshop!!!
which mini was that then?
a basic mac mini will run photoshop fine, and should have no problems running xcode either.
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