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Saturday, April 29, 2006

My next desktop....

Yes, I've picked the Intel Mac Mini. The runner up was the Lenovo Thinkpad X60s, which is two generations later than my work laptop, which is an X31. The Thinkpad X series have absolutely amazing battery life, fantastic keyboards (much better than the Mac laptop keyboards, which I find detestable),and very good performance and has proven very reliable.

The Mac Mini with 2GB of RAM, however, with a suitable discount (thanks to a good friend who works at Apple), was a good $1000 cheaper than an equivalently tricked out X60s, which only has 1GB of RAM, but a much faster processor, and of course, comes with its own screen. A surprisingly big contributor to the cost is the cost of the MiniDock, since the laptop does not come with a DVI connector, and obviously doesn't have slots so I could install one.

Of course, I've heard horror stories about the Mac's reliability (one of my office mates had a broken Powerbook screen, and another colleague had a bad hard drive soon after he bought a new Powerbook as well), and lack of Intel-native software is a liability (especially stuff like Photoshop, which is the only reason you'd want to trick out a Mac Mini with 2GB of RAM). Fortunately, with Boot Camp, I can turn it into a Windows XP box and run my 5 year old copy of Photoshop 6 (and it'll still run circles around MacBooks or Intel iMacs running MacOS photoshops), as well as any of my old software.

A suitably tricked out Dell, by the way, cost about the same as the Intel Mac Mini, but came with a much larger form factor (and admittedly, more expandability). I've avoided Apple products in the past mostly because of their insanely high cost, but with the iPod and the Mac Mini, they've proven themselves capable of competing with commodity products.

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