Friday, May 18, 2007

Upgrading Mac Minis

My Powermac G5's power supply died last week. That event sort of provided the catalyst to upgrade my desktop machine to an Intel mac. I took the machine in to the Apple store to get fixed. It cost $300, but that's what buying Apple Care for that machine would have cost to start with. I'm going to put that machine up on eBay.

The question was, with what should I replace it?

A Mac Pro? I don't really use my desktop machine enough to spend that sort of money. My wife has a Mac Pro. But it's her primary machine and she uses it for just about everything. So she should have the best. I'm usually someplace other than the back office, so I'm not in there much.

An iMac? Well, I have a 23" ADC Cinema Display that doesn't have anything wrong with it. I'd have to eBay that as well and then buy a 24" iMac. That plan does have the added bonus of giving me a 3.5" hard disk that would be replaceable. But again, I don't use that machine very much.

A MacBook or MacBook pro? No, I already have a Powerbook - this is going to be a desktop machine.

Well, all that's left is the mini. But that's ok - I've bought two others in the past and they make fine machines.

I bought the cheap mini. This was a tactical error on my part - the cheap minis come with Combo drives instead of Superdrives. Oops. I'll fix this by swapping the optical drive with my office mini. I don't need to burn DVDs there.

I bought the cheap mini because the first thing I do with a new mini is swap out the CPU for a Merom - a Core 2 Duo. This gives about a 33% boost in cpu speed (a combination of having a faster clock speed and just being more efficient than the 1.6 GHz Core Duo they ship) without affecting the power or thermal footprint of the chip. The core 2 chips also support virtualization (good for Parallels) and 64 bit extensions. It's a no-brainer.

The Internet is full of blog postings about how to take your mini apart and upgrade it, so I won't duplicate them here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

All above my head. Feel like a drowning swimmer. Boo hoo! Thought I knew so much more than I do. So, glad there is you.