Mac mini Cost

Wednesday, January 19th, 2005 @ 9:28 pm | Mac

Michael’s been doing some math about the cost of keeping your software current versus the cost of buying a Mac mini and getting the software as part of the bundle. Depending on your point of view, the Mac mini comes off as looking like a fairly attractive option, at least for Michael (see Comments).

I’ve been doing my own math and the Mac mini is looking particularly attractive – I’m thinking of picking one up for my apartment instead of refurbishing my old G3 as a backup server.

The G3 would run me probably about $100 to add the 802.11g and the Firewire/USB PCI cards I’d need to support my backup plan.

I don’t know if I’d buy iLife ’05, but lets pretend I would. The new photo editing features in iPhoto could be interesting and I’d like to play with the new iDVD as well. That’s $80 right there.

Speaking of iDVD, I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a compatible DVD burner. I think the only iDVD-compatible drive you add to a PowerBook are the internal drives. OWC sells several models of SuperDrives that will replace the a PowerBook’s internal drive. The drives start at $180 and the model that seems comparable to the SuperDrive available in the Mac mini is $190. Conversely, the SuperDrive option on the Mac mini runs $100.

I’d definitely need the Airport and I’d probably get Bluetooth as well. That’s about $130. I’d also double the installed RAM to 512 MB, adding another $75.

Unless I’m doing the math wrong, that makes the marginal cost of my Mac mini $433.

I’m certainly not going to buy the first mini off the assembly line — I’ll let somebody else work out the bugs 🙂 If I’m able to hold off on buying the mini until Apple institutes an Up-To-Date program for Tiger, that saves me an additional $130, bringing the cost down to $303.

It’s certainly a little more than I’d spend to get the G3 up and running, but I’d be getting a significantly faster machine, some new capabilities, and the ability to run the latest OS on officially-supported hardware.

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