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Apple's new Mac mini, server surprise with strong sales start

post #1 of 97
Thread Starter 
While Apple's new iMac got all of the desktop-related attention when new hardware was announced in October, the new Mac mini and its debut Server companion have found early success.

Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis with market research firm NPD Group, told AppleInsider that he was surprised by the strong performance of the Mac mini. Previously, he said, the low-end desktop had been "dead in the water" in terms of sales.

"The new mini has done very well compared to what we received previously," Baker said. "I think (it was due to) Apple giving it a little bit of support and talking about it a little more. They went back and kind of reminded people it was there again."

In October, Apple introduced three new Mac mini models: a $599 model with a 2.26 GHz processor, a 160GB hard drive, and 2GB of RAM; a $799 model with a 2.53GHz processor, 320GB hard drive and 4GB of RAM; and a $999 version equipped with Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server and sporting two 500GB hard drives. The server option drops the optical drive to make room for its 1TB of total storage, in addition to a 2.53GHz Core 2 Duo processor and 4GB of RAM, all fit into the system's 6.5-inch square, 2-inch high frame, weighing in at 2.9 pounds.

The new Mac minis were part of a desktop refresh from Apple and were released alongside new iMacs. The 21.5-inch iMac was the best-selling desktop in the U.S. in the month of October, while the 27-inch model came in third for all hardware. The new Mac minis did not crack the top 10 for hardware sales.

But combined with the success of the new iMacs, desktop sales for Apple increased 74 percent year-over-year in October and November. While some assumed that increase was based solely on the strength of the iMac, Baker said the new Mac mini line played a significant role.

"We definitely saw some uptick on that as well," he said, "and it was probably a surprise for me too."

When Mac mini sales were flat years ago, Apple left the hardware line mostly stagnant, with only a handful of minor updates. Though sources suggested Apple could abandon the desktop line entirely, in 2008 new life was breathed into the Mac mini. It was a smart move by Apple, given the apparent success of the October refresh.

Baker said the addition of the Mac mini Server helps to diversify Apple's line of products, and will likely prove to be an important asset to the company. The dual-drive, optical-free Mac mini Server saw a relatively quiet launch in the face of the new iMacs and MacBook.

"I think it's going to help it in the long term," Baker said of the server version. "It probably broadens the audience a little bit."

The new hardware is optimized for Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server, and comes bundled with the operating system software. Previously, users had to spend $500 for the retail box option. For comparison, prior to Snow Leopard, the unlimited user version of Mac OS X Server cost $999. Now, users can pay the same cost and get a Mac mini along with the software.

Also significant is the fact that the Mac mini Server comes with the full-featured version. On the mini PC side, business users must spend hundreds of dollars extra to obtain the Small Business Server Standard software. For a greater comparison and close look at Snow Leopard Server, see AppleInsider's in-depth analysis of the Mac mini Server.



Shoppers can find the best deals on the Apple's new Mac mini models in the AppleInsider Mac Pricing Guide:

post #2 of 97
Well if they got around to adding a Blu-Ray movie playback option, just imagine the success for the home theater applications... It's a bigger bag of hurt waiting for Apple to catch up to the rest of the industry with Blu-Ray.
post #3 of 97
i was doing some price comparison and it's cheaper now to get a basic iMac than a Dell
post #4 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post

i was doing some price comparison and it's cheaper now to get a basic iMac than a Dell

Dell stinks so bad Michael Dell should think about selling the company and retiring.
post #5 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by libertyforall View Post

Well if they got around to adding a Blu-Ray movie playback option, just imagine the success for the home theater applications... It's a bigger bag of hurt waiting for Apple to catch up to the rest of the industry with Blu-Ray.

i cannot wait for apple to add blu ray so i stop reading comments like this

blu ray support in a mac mini server? really??
post #6 of 97
Hopefully by the time comes to replace the MBP Apple will have a Tablet to do what I need done while traveling and thus can move back to a desktop machine.

Of course it is then a toss up between the Mini and the iMac. That is off in the future but a Mini ought to be looking impressive then. I'd expect Arrandale in the current rev soon which would be a healthy boost. By the time I buy it ought to have four cores.

Dave
post #7 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Traqqer7777 View Post

Dell stinks so bad Michael Dell should sell the company and give the money back to the shareholders.

There, I fixed it for you.
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post #8 of 97
Why isn't it being compared against a Windows Home Server box? That's what most people would use it for anway, and you can pick one of those up on Amazon for $312 including hardware and OS.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0021L9HKK/...=ATVPDKIKX0DER

If you're going to have 100 or 1000 users, the mini is going to be underpowered. And if you're going to have 10 users, it's overpriced.
post #9 of 97
The article is about Mac Mini SERVER primarily, and the pricing guide at the bottom of the article shows NO Mini SERVER pricing.
post #10 of 97
I'm not even talking about the Server version (which, of course, doesn't include an optical drie at all); just the plain old Mac mini. Bump it up to a 500 GB HD, add a Blue-Ray drive and an HDMI port in back, and voila.

I understand why they're also keeping the Apple TV around as a lower-priced option, but with standalone Blu-Ray players running as low as $90, the time has come to make the BR move:

http://electronics.pricegrabber.com/...742295853.html
post #11 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by doyourownthing View Post

i cannot wait for apple to add blu ray so i stop reading comments like this

Seriously.

Although then they'll just complain about how long it took. And about the glossy screens that I don't see a problem with at all.
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post #12 of 97
I just got one for our small office of 9 people. Converted over from a G4 tower. It's great.
post #13 of 97
i would say the article is totally rubbish
post #14 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueDjinn View Post

I'm not even talking about the Server version (which, of course, doesn't include an optical drie at all); just the plain old Mac mini. Bump it up to a 500 GB HD, add a Blue-Ray drive and an HDMI port in back, and voila.

I understand why they're also keeping the Apple TV around as a lower-priced option, but with standalone Blu-Ray players running as low as $90, the time has come to make the BR move:

http://electronics.pricegrabber.com/...742295853.html

IMHO Apple want everything to be supplied via the internet / iTunes and that is why no support for Blu-Ray. I pass no judgement either way simply stating what I thing is behind the lack of BR.
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post #15 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by doyourownthing View Post

i cannot wait for apple to add blu ray so i stop reading comments like this

blu ray support in a mac mini server? really??

Did you read the article? It's not just about the mini server.
post #16 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

While Apple's new iMac got all of the desktop-related attention when new hardware was announced in October, the new Mac mini and its debut Server companion have found early success.

Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis with market research firm NPD Group, told AppleInsider that he was surprised by the strong performance of the Mac mini. Previously, he said, the low-end desktop had been "dead in the water" in terms of sales.

"The new mini has done very well compared to what we received previously," Baker said. "I think (it was due to) Apple giving it a little bit of support and talking about it a little more. They went back and kind of reminded people it was there again."

In October, Apple introduced three new Mac mini models: a $599 model with a 2.26 GHz processor, a 160GB hard drive, and 2GB of RAM; a $799 model with a 2.53GHz processor, 320GB hard drive and 4GB of RAM; and a $999 version equipped with Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server and sporting two 500GB hard drives. The server option drops the optical drive to make room for its 1TB of total storage, in addition to a 2.53GHz Core 2 Duo processor and 4GB of RAM, all fit into the system's 6.5-inch square, 2-inch high frame, weighing in at 2.9 pounds.

The new Mac minis were part of a desktop refresh from Apple and were released alongside new iMacs. The 21.5-inch iMac was the best-selling desktop in the U.S. in the month of October, while the 27-inch model came in third for all hardware. The new Mac minis did not crack the top 10 for hardware sales.

But combined with the success of the new iMacs, desktop sales for Apple increased 74 percent year-over-year in October and November. While some assumed that increase was based solely on the strength of the iMac, Baker said the new Mac mini line played a significant role.

"We definitely saw some uptick on that as well," he said, "and it was probably a surprise for me too."

When Mac mini sales were flat years ago, Apple left the hardware line mostly stagnant, with only a handful of minor updates. Though sources suggested Apple could abandon the desktop line entirely, in 2008 new life was breathed into the Mac mini. It was a smart move by Apple, given the apparent success of the October refresh.

Baker said the addition of the Mac mini Server helps to diversify Apple's line of products, and will likely prove to be an important asset to the company. The dual-drive, optical-free Mac mini Server saw a relatively quiet launch in the face of the new iMacs and MacBook.

"I think it's going to help it in the long term," Baker said of the server version. "It probably broadens the audience a little bit."

The new hardware is optimized for Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server, and comes bundled with the operating system software. Previously, users had to spend $500 for the retail box option. For comparison, prior to Snow Leopard, the unlimited user version of Mac OS X Server cost $999. Now, users can pay the same cost and get a Mac mini along with the software.

Also significant is the fact that the Mac mini Server comes with the full-featured version. On the mini PC side, business users must spend hundreds of dollars extra to obtain the Small Business Server Standard software. For a greater comparison and close look at Snow Leopard Server, see AppleInsider's in-depth analysis of the Mac mini Server.

Shoppers can find the best deals on the Apple's new Mac mini models in the AppleInsider Mac Pricing Guide:

With the new quad-core processors, both the regular Mac mini and the server model would be compact powerhouses.
post #17 of 97
When I went to pick up the 2.53 model for myself in November, there were none to to found anywhere in my city. I found 1 of the lower end model and one of the previous general model. They had no idea when they would get them in. I checked 4 different places.

I ended up finding one in another city about an hour's drive south of here.
They can't keep them in stock apparently, but I did notice Future Shop has a display model now.
post #18 of 97
Fellas

No more thread jacking. This isn't about HTPC configurations with Bluj-ray, it's about basic server duties. Let's keep the focus on the articles original intentions.

For me it's no surprise that it's doing well. The 2.5Ghz Mac mini is $799. For only $200 more you have a full fledged OS X server.

Perfect candidate for the SOHO setup or remote office. Apple's seemed to have a change of heart regarding the mini and their desktop lineup. If there's potentially one good thing that's come from booming iPhone sales it's that Apple isn't trying to bludgeon their way to desktop revenue/profts by hobbling the Mac mini.

They've seem to accept that it's a great little platform to have as an entry level.
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post #19 of 97
I'm going to get a Mac Mini, since I can't get an iMac without a glossy screen. It's the only solution for me right now, since I don't want a laptop. I'd get a Core i7 iMac if the screen was right.

If Apple sticks to glossy screens for the iMacs, it would be nice if they would make a more powerful headless computer (other than the Mac Pro) - a Mac Midi?

P.S. My original iMac G5 (20") has a great screen - even after 6 years, the colors look better to me than any new glossy Mac. I wish I could find a way to hook up a Mac Mini to that screen.
post #20 of 97
If only they would have had a built in power supply. The stupid external brick is just a pain.

Now, if they really wanted to be cool about it, they could build a brick that is the same size as the server so it could stack on top of the power supply. Then, add a battery backup in the same package. Nice little jumper cable to the server and you're set. Now we're talking!
post #21 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by bjojade View Post

If only they would have had a built in power supply. The stupid external brick is just a pain.

Now, if they really wanted to be cool about it, they could build a brick that is the same size as the server so it could stack on top of the power supply. Then, add a battery backup in the same package. Nice little jumper cable to the server and you're set. Now we're talking!

If they did that, it would probably ruin the 6.5"x6.5" form factor, since heat dissipation would become a major problem squeezing the power supply and battery backup in with the rest that tightly. This in turn would cause incompatibilities with all of the peripherals that have already come out to stack above/below the mini.

Now, if they had simply gone with the old G4 Cube's dimensions (8"x8"x8"), they would have had room for 5.25" hard drives (at 7200 rpm) as well as the power supply/etc, but it *still* would have been extremely compact. Not sure why they didn't do that--an extra 1.5" wouldn't have killed anyone...
post #22 of 97
Custom ordered one from Apple with a 2.53 Ghz CPU/500GB HDD and 4 GB RAM. Hooked it up to my 47" HDTV. It's a great iTunes/iPhoto/iMovie server for me with plenty of horsepower and FW800 port for storage expansion, when I need it. Never turn it off, this little thing is a true workhorse syncing all my iPhones/iPods and ripping CDs. Yes, it doesn't play BD, but I have a PS3 right next to it...

I love the little guy. Not surprised of its success. I can use my Apple BT keyboard and Mighty Mouse right from my recliner. When idle, I think it consumes only 13W of power, probably less than most laptops.
post #23 of 97
I didn't realize they were so popular. Of those of you who own mini servers, what are some of the benefits?
post #24 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by bjojade View Post

If only they would have had a built in power supply. The stupid external brick is just a pain.

Now, if they really wanted to be cool about it, they could build a brick that is the same size as the server so it could stack on top of the power supply. Then, add a battery backup in the same package. Nice little jumper cable to the server and you're set. Now we're talking!

I'm somewhat surprised that no third-party vendor has done this. Perhaps with increased sales of the Mini server there might be an incentive, along with a matching RAID chassis. They could take a page from the old LaCie design and make them into oversized LEGOs for secure stacking.

Incidentally, to all Mini shoppers, don't forget to check the refurb section at the online Apple Store. Unfortunately the Mini is almost always sold out, but every now and then a batch will arrive and you have to jump on them before those colo guys in Las Vegas scoop 'em all up

I got a refurbed Mini server for $850 in early December. (Also note that the server can only be bought through Apple, afaict, either new or refurb. The non-server models are available elsewhere for better price-comparison.)
post #25 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by jabohn View Post

When I went to pick up the 2.53 model for myself in November, there were none to to found anywhere in my city. I found 1 of the lower end model and one of the previous general model. They had no idea when they would get them in. I checked 4 different places.

I ended up finding one in another city about an hour's drive south of here.
They can't keep them in stock apparently, but I did notice Future Shop has a display model now.

Online doesn't reach your house?
post #26 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

Why isn't it being compared against a Windows Home Server box? That's what most people would use it for anway, and you can pick one of those up on Amazon for $312 including hardware and OS.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0021L9HKK/...=ATVPDKIKX0DER

If you're going to have 100 or 1000 users, the mini is going to be underpowered. And if you're going to have 10 users, it's overpriced.

1) This is more like a competitor for an apple time capsule, except the time capsule has built in wireless & offers newer Macs to be woken from sleep for access to file shares.
2) With a 64bit Unix Core I guarantee you that the mini is more than capable of handling all the users any small business could throw at it, & even on the scale of a few large businesses. I don't just say this out of speculation, I manage one in a production environment.
3) Ethernet & USB connections only?! No BlueTooth?! No wifi?! No option for HDMI or digital optical audio?! No video out at all?!!!
4) Processor: 1.6 HGz Intel Atom 230, Memory: 1 GB of DDR2 RAM, nough said.
5) home server features don't even cover 1/100th of the built in features of OS X Server & that's not to mention all the powerful server functions available for Unix platform if you have a little know how in the CLI!

I could probably go on but I think you get the point of how silly the comparison is.
post #27 of 97
We got two for our small office to use as a fully redundant server to replace our G5 tower. The mini server is much faster, has more disk space and a better server OS. It takes up less space, makes less noise, produces less waste heat, uses less power, but is actually more competent. We'll be using ours as a Mac/Windows fileserver, webserver, database server and a few other functions (PHP amongst others).

Because it's so cheap, we got two AND a separate DVD drive but still only paid half what we paid for our G5 a few years ago! It's also cheaper than a Windows box by a long way. However, I think comparing it for 100 users is silly, probably 10 to 25 would be most sensible. Also, the systems it is compared to above are not really the same standard at all, they have much lower specs ie 25% of the Mac's RAM, 65% of the Mac's speed, 8% to 16% of the Mac's storage, and yet the mini is still in their price bracket. It's an amazing bargain.

I haven't heard of anyone actually using it for home use yet, only small businesses that MS has ignored for so long. The only people who seem to claim they know all about who will use it seem also not to like it much. Perhaps because they are MCSEs who get paid for recommending and installing PCs?
post #28 of 97
I recently purchased one of the new refreshed Mac mini's. I couldn't be happier . It was an incredible deal.

This is my second Mac mini. My first was the last generation G4 version. I highly recommend the Mac mini to anyone considering buying a Mac for the first time. It's a terrific machine.
post #29 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by SwissMac2 View Post

Because it's so cheap, we got two AND a separate DVD drive but still only paid half what we paid for our G5 a few years ago!

I would think for your application you would have bought one Mini server and a second Mini non-server (with DVD drive) as a backup, unless you need two copies of the server license. If only one machine is in use at a time you could transfer the hard disk to the spare machine in the event of hardware failure.

(Of course, if you have both machines running simultaneously as OS X servers then buying identical units makes sense.)
post #30 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

Why isn't it being compared against a Windows Home Server box? That's what most people would use it for anway, and you can pick one of those up on Amazon for $312 including hardware and OS.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0021L9HKK/...=ATVPDKIKX0DER

If you're going to have 100 or 1000 users, the mini is going to be underpowered. And if you're going to have 10 users, it's overpriced.

My father just bought one for his desktop (he had a monitor, mouse and keyboard). Anyway, he loves it.
post #31 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Postulant View Post

I didn't realize they were so popular. Of those of you who own mini servers, what are some of the benefits?

I own a mini, but not as a server. Still, I'd think the benefits are obvious: size, cost, the lower cost of energy.

I love my mini and am tempted to upgrade to a new one just for the boost to 4 gigs of ram. The speed boost would be nice too, I suppose, but I'm not really sure how much of a difference going from 2ghz to 2.5 ghz would make in everyday use. Then again, maybe it would be a big difference? I'd definitely benefit from having more RAM, that's for sure.

I've owned many Macs: a Quadra, 7100, 8500, beige G3, Sawtooth G4 and Quicksilver G4. The Mini is my favorite of them all, and it was by far the cheapest.
post #32 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2oh1 View Post

I own a mini, but not as a server. Still, I'd think the benefits are obvious: size, cost, the lower cost of energy.

I love my mini and am tempted to upgrade to a new one just for the boost to 4 gigs of ram. The speed boost would be nice too, I suppose, but I'm not really sure how much of a difference going from 2ghz to 2.5 ghz would make in everyday use. Then again, maybe it would be a big difference? I'd definitely benefit from having more RAM, that's for sure.

I've owned many Macs: a Quadra, 7100, 8500, beige G3, Sawtooth G4 and Quicksilver G4. The Mini is my favorite of them all, and it was by far the cheapest.

I just upgraded a 1.66 Ghz Mini to a Core2 2Ghz proc and a 7200rpm drive and the difference is certainly noticable. I think a 2.5Ghz chip is pretty damn good.

If I had a mini server I'd probably mirror the boot drives in a RAID1 and store my other documents on a NAS device. That way I'm getting very fast application performance and not really limiting myself to internal storage.
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post #33 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by libertyforall View Post

Well if they got around to adding a Blu-Ray movie playback option, just imagine the success for the home theater applications... It's a bigger bag of hurt waiting for Apple to catch up to the rest of the industry with Blu-Ray.

how many real > worth it to buy > bluray titles are out right now ?? 30 ?? 17 ??

if you watch a movie over and over like full metal jacket i say yes

but my dinner with andre does not make the cut

bluray will shine in sport dvd and nature stuff and space stuff
give the 3d guys 3 more yrs to make some stuff also and blu ray will have a larger base to warrant apples leap in BR

apple has its own fantastic HD to buy movies that look fantastic on HD T V 'S
so why should apple cut its own sales ??
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post #34 of 97
Just checked out the reviews of MacMall (the most advertising online store at the site). Looks like a total scam http://www.resellerratings.com/store/MacMall
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post #35 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by jabohn View Post

When I went to pick up the 2.53 model for myself in November, there were none to to found anywhere in my city. I found 1 of the lower end model and one of the previous general model. They had no idea when they would get them in. I checked 4 different places.

I ended up finding one in another city about an hour's drive south of here.
They can't keep them in stock apparently, but I did notice Future Shop has a display model now.

amazon has never sold out
neither has apples own web site
or bestbuy \\
or mac club
joes diner

next time surf dude
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post #36 of 97
I installed a Mini Server for my home office and small business (really small: 2 people) and couldn't be any happier with that system. It sits in the corner of a bookshelf, makes no noise and sips very little power, less than 10% of the Linux server it replaced. My only complaint is that the MacOS X Server documentation is somewhat confusing (in particular if you are used to servers and tend to skip the "dummy" sections ). As a result you might go in circles until the setup is right. But then.....it works like a charm!

Q-chan
post #37 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2oh1 View Post

I own a mini, but not as a server. Still, I'd think the benefits are obvious: size, cost, the lower cost of energy.

I love my mini and am tempted to upgrade to a new one just for the boost to 4 gigs of ram. The speed boost would be nice too, I suppose, but I'm not really sure how much of a difference going from 2ghz to 2.5 ghz would make in everyday use. Then again, maybe it would be a big difference? I'd definitely benefit from having more RAM, that's for sure.

I've owned many Macs: a Quadra, 7100, 8500, beige G3, Sawtooth G4 and Quicksilver G4. The Mini is my favorite of them all, and it was by far the cheapest.

I recently upgraded to a 2.53 mini from a previous gen 1.87 and was pleasantly surprised to find my old Mac had quite a lot of trade-in value. My recommendation is to upgrade because the new machine is very capable and you might find the cost surprisingly low considering how much of its value the Mini retains.

In regards to whether one should consider the Mini or an iMac, my view is that the iMac has a rather significant flaw. The monitor portion is likely good for 7-10 years if not longer whereas the computer will not hold up nearly as long without requiring maintenance. The way computers improve, better to upgrade every few years to take advantage of advances in CPU and GPU technology. I decided to go the Mini route and now I'm looking at adding a 24" cinema display. One sales rep was talking about how much more sense it made to just get an iMac. But I really don't need two computers and it's not quite the case that you get the same great monitor with a computer thrown in as an extra. The cinema display is larger, currently costs $300 less, and apparently has an outstanding sound system. I'm waiting, though, because there is a chance Apple might tweak the display perhaps later this month to reflect that dramatic drop in LCD components that has occurred since it was introduced last year.

If the cinema display comes in at about $150 cheaper, I really see it as great scenario for me. The Mini set me back $899 Cdn (not including the trade) and I'm hoping the display can be had for around $850 Cdn. Even adding in around $150 for the mouse and keyboard, that totals out to $1,899 before taxes. On the surface, maybe, that seems to favour the iMac on account of I could have a 27-inch iMac for around that cash with more horsepower. But looking at this over a long period of time, let's say the life of the monitor which I would peg at around nine years, the situation changes. In that time period I would have to have spent hundreds on OS and iLife updates, and hundreds more replacing hard drives, etc. And the technology under the hood would remain fixed at current levels. With the Mini, I could trade in the Mini maybe once every three years, eliminating the need for hard-drive repairs or software updates. Best of all, I'd be running hardware that was relatively current, trading up twice during that nine-year span yet not spending any more money than would have been spent maintaining the iMac and staying current re software. I don't think it's a stretch to project a Mini circa late 2012 being no worse than a match for the current iMac and the Mini circa late 2015 blowing away today's iMac on virtually every front. You could turn over the iMac midway through the nine-year cycle but that would be a rather costly way to go, considering how much more expensive an iMac is compared to a Mini alone.
post #38 of 97
The graphic implies that the Mac Mini Server can be used with the 64-bit kernel enabled, but this is not the case. It has been disabled by Apple, for reasons I can't figure out or understand.

http://images.appleinsider.com/servermini-1.png
post #39 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisRankin View Post

I just got one for our small office of 9 people. Converted over from a G4 tower. It's great.

I bet its whisper quiet compared to the G5.
post #40 of 97
Still hoping they update with a second ethernet port to be able to use it as a firewall or file server with iSCSI SAN. Integrated power supply might even work if they moved the system files to SSD and got rid of the spinning drives altogether.

It does offer a pretty good option for a redundant system, but if you are locked into either internal storage or USB, I can't imagine it scaling to more than 10 users.
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