questions about mac mini

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Hi there!



I'm currently a pc user who is thinking of buying a mac mini. For a long time, macs were considerably more expensive, and since I am a student I always bought pcs.



I have a few questions about the mac mini:

Can I also connect a regular PS/2 mouse and Keyboard?



Can I use standard PC components, such as ddr-ram (the ram apple offers is quite expensive) if they fit?



Is the dvi converter able of delivering 85 or 100Hz to a vga monitor?



How much Ram do I need for excessive working (so that the computer won't be swapping all the time)? On PCs, 512MB is minumum for xp for my needs, and 1Gb is recommended. Linux with KDE works for me on 256MB.



thx in advance,

David
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    gene cleangene clean Posts: 3,481member
    David, welcome.





    Well, you can't use standard PC RAM because simply, you can't install it yourself. But, if you want to install RAM you can send it to an Apple authorized dealer and they will install it for you. The RAM is standard RAM, DDR333 Mhz, if I'm not mistaken.



    You need a USB mouse and keyboard to connect your existing mouse and keyboard to the mini. This can be easily solved with a USB hub that you can buy for a very small amount of money. I plan on doing that if I get the mini.



    I'm not sure about the DVI, but Apple says it will work with any display LCD or CRT, so unless the graphics card can't handle it, then Mac mini should be able to.



    As far as RAM, I'd say 512 minimum. If you add 512 through Apple it will cost you $67 which is, surprisingly enough, cheaper then getting it aftermarket. However, 1 GB of RAM through Apple is very expensive and I would not advise you to pay $425 on 1 GB of RAM. OS X has good memory management so 512 should suffice unless you are planning on running a productivity business.





    Good luck with your purchase,
  • Reply 2 of 22
    Hi there!



    thx for your quick reply.



    Quote:

    Originally posted by Gene Clean



    Well, you can't use standard PC RAM because simply, you can't install it yourself. But, if you want to install RAM you can send it to an Apple authorized dealer and they will install it for you. The RAM is standard RAM, DDR333 Mhz, if I'm not mistaken.




    Why can't I install it myself? Isn't it as easy as on a regular pc? Or do I need special screwdrivers?

    Will the apple dealer charge me something for installing the ram?



    Apples 256MB Ram upgrade (to 512 MB) costs 67 EUR in Germany, which is slightly more expensive. Also, I can buy regular 512MB RAM for the same price and use the original 256MB Ram on another pc, if the mini has only one slot.



    cu,

    David
  • Reply 3 of 22
    relicrelic Posts: 4,735member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Incoming

    Hi there!



    thx for your quick reply.







    Why can't I install it myself? Isn't it as easy as on a regular pc? Or do I need special screwdrivers?

    Will the apple dealer charge me something for installing the ram?



    Apples 256MB Ram upgrade (to 512 MB) costs 67 EUR in Germany, which is slightly more expensive. Also, I can buy regular 512MB RAM for the same price and use the original 256MB Ram on another pc, if the mini has only one slot.



    cu,

    David




    This is the thing that's confusing me to. I mean ok I void the warranty but people are saying these things are locked tighter then fort Knox. You?re taking to someone who took apart his PowerBook and laid out every piece in alphabetical order.
  • Reply 4 of 22
    Hi there!



    Just ordered one with 512MB Ram, 1.25Ghz, 40GB hdd and CDRW/DVD-ROM combo drive for around 535 EUR.



    Hope I won't regret it!



    Anyway, its available in Germany at end of January, apple's homepage says it ships within 3 to 4 weeks.



    I'm looking forward to it.



    cu,

    David
  • Reply 5 of 22
    snoopysnoopy Posts: 1,901member
    There is a PS2 to USB adapter for sale, as some others have mentioned in other threads. I think the price mentioned was about $8. The picture showed two short cables into a small box, for a PS2 keyboard and mouse. There was a longer cable from the box with a USB connector.
  • Reply 6 of 22
    keshkesh Posts: 621member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Incoming

    Why can't I install it myself? Isn't it as easy as on a regular pc? Or do I need special screwdrivers?



    From what I understand, it's simply that doing so will void the warranty. Most likely, you'll need a Torx wrench to get into the case, as that's what Apple uses when a system is not supposed to be end-user servicable.



    Quote:

    Will the apple dealer charge me something for installing the ram?



    Yes. The price I'm hearing is $50 at an official Apple Store, but locally-owned resellers may charge less (I worked at a place in Alaska that charged $30 for such a service, or it was free if you bought the RAM through them).



    Quote:

    Also, I can buy regular 512MB RAM for the same price and use the original 256MB Ram on another pc, if the mini has only one slot.[/B]



    The mini only has one slot, yes. It uses standard DDR 333 RAM, though, so you can take the 256 meg chip out and pop it into a compatible PC when you upgrade.
  • Reply 7 of 22
    keshkesh Posts: 621member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Incoming

    Hi there!



    Just ordered one with 512MB Ram, 1.25Ghz, 40GB hdd and CDRW/DVD-ROM combo drive for around 535 EUR.



    Hope I won't regret it!




    Ahhh, cool! I'm sure you won't regret it. Let us know what you think when you get to try it out!
  • Reply 8 of 22
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    I think you've done the right thing. Try out the mini with the 512 RAM. I think this is the sweet spot in term of price and performance. The hard drive is a laptop one, so that might be more of a bottleneck than the RAM. Just depends on how much you push it. 1 GB RAM cards are so expensive, you can wait a bit and their prices will probably drop anyway later.



    The one big benefit of having the Apple keyboard is that 1. it's USB already plus 2. it has 2 additional USB ports on either side of it, which makes hooking up a USB mouse, a digital camera, etc. very convenient. The keyboard is a bit pricey, but it's like getting a small USB hub at the same time.



    If the adaptor(s) for your PS/2 keyboard and mouse are too clunky or inconvenient, there are of course, cheap USB keyboards and mice by Logitech and others too.



    Just be aware that the nomenclature for an Apple keyboard is slightly different from a standard PC/Windows keyboard. The "alt" key is called the "option" key in the Mac world, and the little key that has the Windows icon is the equivalent to the Apple key, aka the "command" key, in the Apple universe.
  • Reply 9 of 22
    As I'm new to the Mac world and considering a Mac mini I'm looking at TFT displays. Some say they're "Mac compatible" but most don't mention compatibility one way or the other. I would have thought any TFT display on sale today would be Mac-compatible since they're just displays. Can I just buy any monitor I want or do they have to say Mac-compatible in the specs? And would the Mac Mini run a 17" display OK?

    Any help gratefully appreciated.
  • Reply 10 of 22
    mikefmikef Posts: 697member
    The Mini includes a DVI to VGA adapter so any monitor that has a VGA input will work with it. The standard resolutions are supported by OS X (640 x 480, 800 x 600, and higher).



    I've driven my Viewsonic 18" from my iBook (which uses the same video chipset as the mini).
  • Reply 11 of 22
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    So long as the display has DVI or VGA out, and its pixel dimensions don't exceed 1920x1200, any display should be fine.
  • Reply 12 of 22
    Quote:

    Originally posted by mikef

    The Mini includes a DVI to VGA adapter so any monitor that has a VGA input will work with it. The standard resolutions are supported by OS X (640 x 480, 800 x 600, and higher).



    I've driven my Viewsonic 18" from my iBook (which uses the same video chipset as the mini).




    Can you obtain a greater resolution than 1024x768 on your 18" Viewsonic and you iBook ? It seems that the iBook external video is limitated to a mirror mode (and so the resolution is limitated to the resolution of the internal video) ? Is there a mode in which you can use your iBook on your external display say in 1280x1024 ?



    I'm very interested in this functionnality and I'm wondering if I bought a Mac mini, an iBook or a 12" Powerbook.
  • Reply 13 of 22
    mikefmikef Posts: 697member
    Yes, I run my display at it's native resolution of 1280 x 1024.



    The firmware hack is here:



    http://www.rutemoeller.com/mp/ibook/ibook_e.html
  • Reply 14 of 22
    Quote:

    Originally posted by mikef

    Yes, I run my display at it's native resolution of 1280 x 1024.



    The firmware hack is here:



    http://www.rutemoeller.com/mp/ibook/ibook_e.html




    WAHHOUUUUU!!!!!!! Thank you 1000 times for your response, I'm gonna bougth a iBook right now I think!!!!



    And if it's a firmware hack, I suppose that it will work on Tiger as well...
  • Reply 15 of 22
    mikefmikef Posts: 697member
    I cannot see any reason why it wouldn't...
  • Reply 16 of 22
    Hi there,



    got my mini yesterday:



    DVI works fine on 1200x1024.

    I exchanged the DDR-400 hynix 256MB Ram with a DDR-400 jetram 512MB Ram. I also tried a DDR-333 Noname 512MB Ram (same number of chips as the other 512MB) and it didn't work. It just made 3 beeps and remained off.



    PS/2 mouse and keyboard were easy to connect, but somehow the keyboard mapping is incorrect. Where can I fix that?



    Also, while playing a movie with vlan-player, it sometimes stops for a quarter of a second. Is that a software or a hardware problem? (maybe slow CPU?)



    David
  • Reply 17 of 22
    mikefmikef Posts: 697member
    Quote:

    Also, while playing a movie with vlan-player, it sometimes stops for a quarter of a second. Is that a software or a hardware problem? (maybe slow CPU?)



    I'd blame it on the software first. From my experience, the OS X version of VLC doesn't work as well as the Linux/x86 version.
  • Reply 18 of 22
    dfilerdfiler Posts: 3,420member
    Sorry, no answer for your key mapping issues...



    VLC should work flawlessly though. I use it on a daily basis with a huge variety of formats.



    What format in particular has the momentary hang? Are you playing the files off the hard disk or an optical disc?
  • Reply 19 of 22
    e1618978e1618978 Posts: 6,074member
    My mini is driving a 21" CRT at 1600x1200 75Hz - my monitor does not support really high refresh rate, so I can't test your 100Hz.
  • Reply 20 of 22
    Quote:

    Originally posted by dfiler



    What format in particular has the momentary hang? Are you playing the files off the hard disk or an optical disc? [/B]



    Neither. The files are played right off my server, which has a smb share that is mounted on the mini.



    Maybe read-ahead buffers are not big enough?



    Is there another software you suggest for playing avis?



    thx!



    David
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