Mac Wannabe: It's Not the Price, It's the Software

by Todd Ogasawara

As a long time Linux and Microsoft Windows user, I've long admired but not used (since 1989) the Apple Mac user interface and the Mac-only software.
So, I was pretty excited by the rumors circulating the night before the Macworld 2005 keynote and noted it in a blog entry here
(Apple Mac Mini: Diary of a Mac wannabe).
As others have noted
(
CNET: Mac Mini a maxi deal? Depends what you want
),
the actual price of a Mac Mini depends on what compatible spare add-on components you have lying around the house.
The on Thursday (Jan. 13), eMachines had a much quieter product refresh and I noticed the $499 (after a $50 mail-in rebate) T3958 and compared it to the Apple Mac Mini.
The table below gives a component price comparison.




















































Apple Mac Mini Emachines T3958
System Price 599 499
512MB RAM 75 0
80GB Hard Drive 0 0
DVD Recorder 100 0
Keyboard & Mouse 58 0
Firewire Port 0 25



Total 832 524


I used the higher-end $599 Mac Mini as the comparison so that the hard drive sizes would be the same (80GB).
The Mac Mini has an edge in graphics because the eMachines uses the price saving shared video RAM implementation.
I looked for a 32MB ATI Radeon to include in the comparison but could not find such a card with 32MB RAM (64 and 128MB cards in that class were easy to find though).
The eMachines 3958 has 8-in-1 storage card reader for CompactFlash, SD card, Memory stick, etc.. I suppose I could have added $20 to the Mini price for that.


This table will differ from person to person.
For example, I have a spare USB mouse but not a spare USB keyboard lying around.
I have a Firewire DVD+-RW burner that could probably be used with the Mac Mini and avoid buying the Superdrive add-on.
But, as an Mac-fan acquaintence pointed out to me,
I should probably consider the additional $149 Applecare because the Mini probably uses proprietary components and even if it doesn't might be tough to work on a unit that small and packed with electronics.
I've bought and worked on a couple of eMachines boxes.
They tend to be easy to work on to replace or add parts.


The price-wise bottom line for me, then, is that the Mac Mini costs about twice as much (after adding Applecare) as a comparable eMachines model. So, price is not going to be the deciding factor in buying a Mac Mini.
What is? After all these years, it's still the software.
Back in the 1980s when Windows was still a DOS-afterthought, the Mac OS was smooth and cool.
The attraction, for me, is a combination of the UNIX engine underlying Mac OS X, the mature GUI interface, and the iLife application components. The question is: Is the Mac OS X and iLife worth a $200 to $500 premium over a WinTel PC?

If you are a Linux or Windows user buying a Mac Mini as your first Apple Mac even after the real higher price tag became apparent to you, what was the deciding factor in buying the Mini anyway?


45 Comments

restiffbard
2005-01-14 01:08:28
It's worth the price
This is the problem comparing Apples and PCs. You can't. An eMachines is cheaper, but is it worth the hassle? Is it worth the crappy software? How much will you have to add to the price of that eMachines to have software comparable to iLife?


How much does HD video editing cost on a PC? DVD authoring? Music creation?


Also, upgrading a Mac Mini it would seem is not as hard as some first thought. tuaw.com

ButUmmm
2005-01-14 01:56:18
You forgot one thing....
That eMachine PC is about 12 times (or more) the size of the MACmini, you would do better to compare an equivalent PC notebook that uses similar components to the Macmini. to be fair.


Somehow the tech writers generally just don't get what's happening and what the mini is going to be. Hmmmm.

ButUmmm
2005-01-14 01:59:54
Here You Go
ButUmmm
2005-01-14 02:15:03
Here You Go
eMachines M5405 - 1.6GHz CPU/512MB Ram/60 GB HDD/DVD CDRW combo drive/integrated shared graphics/integrated 802.11g/15.4" LCD
$999.99


MACmini - 1.42GHz CPU/512MB RAM/80GB HDD/DVD CDRW combo/Radeon 9200 GPU&32MB video RAM/integrated 802.11g/17" LCD
$938.00


The Macmini will look like a very good deal to some. Also, the eMachines is a bottom end PC notebook, Hey?

mattyarbrough
2005-01-14 06:37:42
Quality matters
The "is it worth the hassle" comments about virii et al miss the more important point. I've known tons of people who've bought eMachines. To a one they have all been shoddily built from low quality parts. Don't worry about the virii, the machine will physically fall apart before you have to reinstall Windows.
hayne
2005-01-14 06:51:58
quality is everything
As others have said, comparing to an eMachines box is like comparing the price of the cheapest flashlight you can find at your local discount mart to that of a MagLight.


And I wouldn't bother with the AppleCare if it is $149 - it is quite unlikely that you will have any problems with the Mac Mini. It (like most Macs) will likely work troublefree for 4 or more years after which you will be able to replace it for what you saved by not buying AppleCare.

jdodds
2005-01-14 07:26:31
quality is everything
I concur. I wouldn't waste money on AppleCare. The Mac Mini has a one year warranty on parts. That should cover you if there are early production problems.


Apple hardware is generally very reliable. I have a 10 year old Apple Laser printer that I use nearly every day and that has never needed service.


Quality/dependability should be part of the value comparison between the Apple and eMachine boxes -- it's a fair expectation to expect the Apple hardware to just work reliably for many years.

toddogas
2005-01-14 08:42:31
eMachines quality
I've bought a couple of eMachines PCs over the last couple of years. They have been built using name brand components inside and have not had any quality problems I can see. The first one I bought about 2.5 years ago has been running Linux 24x7 since then without a hitch (knock on wood). So, I refute all the comments about shoddy quality. Regarding the size. No question there. The Mini's size and coolness are definitely appealing.
andy-lester
2005-01-14 08:50:06
It's Not the Price, It's the Software
You're right, it's not the price, it's the software. Until an Intel box can run OS X, I'll stick with my Macs. The cost of aggravation from daily blue screens of death just isn't worth it.
toddogas
2005-01-14 08:50:35
It's worth the price
Well, so far, no one from my target population (Linux or Microsoft Windows users moving to a Mac Mini) has answered my questions. So, I don't really have an answer having never used iLife myself. Since the Mini won't ship for 3 to 4 weeks according to Apple.com, I suppose we won't have answers from my target population until mid-February.


There are Open Source applications that run on both Microsoft Windows and Linux that can deal with photos, video, etc. I don't know if they match up with iLife since, as I said earlier, I have never used iLife. As for paying for for-fee proprietary solutions for an eMachines Microsoft Windows platform, that's the question. Is iLife that much better than what one might spend, say, $300 more for by buying the Adobe Elements products, for example, for photo and video work, etc.

vainst1k
2005-01-14 08:54:16
It's Not the Price, It's the Software
What's the last time you used Windows? Things have changed since mid-90s. XP is very stable.


The UNIX shell underneath is cool, but it's not like Cygwin doesn't exist for Windows.

toddogas
2005-01-14 08:54:44
You forgot one thing....
Comparing it to a notebook would not make sense to me. It would make more sense to compare an iBook to a low-end notebook. Right?


It might make sense to compare the Mini to a form factor from a firm like Shuttle even though the Shuttle, as small as it is, dwarfs the Mini. Still for around $1250, I've seen a completely configured Shuttle PC with 160GB hard disk, 512MB RAM, 128MB video card, DVD+-RW, and a 17" LCD display.


As to getting the Mini. Sure I do (assuming you are referring to me as a tech writer). While else would I even consider it? As to what is going to be... That is the interesting thing, isn't it? Is it going to be the next iPod? Or will be it be the next Cube or Newton? (I still have my Newton btw :-).

haloofawump
2005-01-14 08:56:35
PC software
PCs also excel in anti virus software. It's part of their heritage.
biuniu
2005-01-14 09:01:20
It's Not the Price, It's the Software
But why use Cygwin when you have the opportunity to use the real thing?
sanchonevesgraca
2005-01-14 10:00:20
Thinking cheap
In your previous weblog you expressed revived interest in Macs because of the new Mac mini. But now, by doing this price comparison, you show that your main criteria is the hardware upfront cost. If it was for the software, you would already have a Mac for years, since Mac OS X was released five years ago. There are more to choices than spreadsheet comparisons. That's what distinguishes engineers from creative people.
mnystedt
2005-01-14 10:19:53
It's worth the price
Yes it's that much better. The integration between iLife apps is very good, and I expect it to be even better now, and with iWork tied in as well. In my experience (and I've tried most things that are available for Windows) there is nothing that compares. There are stand-alone apps that can compare on their individual functionality, but taken together, the suite is the best there is.
mjdennis
2005-01-14 10:39:53
It's The Software
Like some others who might post to this blog, I've used a variety of platforms including all flavors of Windows, Linux running on both x86 and PPC, and different generations of the Mac OS. I can tell you that uniformly I have far fewer issues of any kind running my Mac OSX laptop and desktop systems compared with my Windows machines (XP desktop and 2000Pro laptop). And I should mention that my desktop Mac running OSX Panther is an very old G3, it runs slower than my more modern iBook but is rock stable. In fact I run my home network off of it.


My experience tells me that the Apple hardware is very high quality stuff, generally never breaks but when it does they stand behind it, and is designed around getting real work done. Plug some new hardware in and it works, install software and it works. You can basically forget about drivers, registry settings, or even setup permutations for that matter. The OS is smart enough to take of things for you and let you get on with your real work. I value that and for me that justifies the perceived premium price of entry I've paid.


Then you consider the quality of software included with the OS. iLife and all the other stuff is icing on the cake. Not to minimize the quality of Apple's offereings or anything though because there is really nothing of comparable quality on the Windows side that's included by Microsoft. I wont even begin to address the security issues other than to say that my Mac boxes have never been hacked, spammed, or infected with viruses. Ever. Period. You can spin that any way you want but those are facts.

alain_99
2005-01-14 10:54:51
It's worth the price
I don't see software that beat the iMovie one. I try Ulead Video Studio and it's far from. The simplicity of iMovie is so incredible i learn it the time of the tutorial (around 30 minute). Oh by the way a guy have made a commercial movie (i don't remember which) with iMovie. The guy just find iMovie so simple that he stay on. A lot of other software that bring complexity to the movie editing exist but i believe that everything must be include on iMovie plug-ins. So simple to do your timeline. And iDVD a perfect complement. I take a day to do nothing in DVD Studio Pro just to learn. You can control everything but 80 % of the function are on iDVD which take no time to do a DVD. Is so simple that i record some Simpson and burn them to DVD so simple.AAArrrgg


Homer

mwalker
2005-01-14 11:32:19
Thinking cheap
One problem with the comparison is that you are assuming that the AppleCare will be necessary, and that both machines will need some kind of repair, but that the eMachines repair will be free.


If you don't think that future repairs on the eMachine will be free, then you should also add in an estimate for those costs.

toddogas
2005-01-14 12:21:25
Thinking cheap
The eMachines boxes are easy to work on and can use easy to obtain off-the-shelf components. So, yes, I don't see the need to add a 3 year warranty for it to mostly cover labor costs (I'm free labor to repair my own stuff). However, given the small size of the Mini, I'm not sure if I can easily take it apart and then use off the shelf parts to repair it.
toddogas
2005-01-14 12:24:37
It's worth the price
Forgot to say Thanks for that link to tuaw weblog. Very interesting and useful information there.
toddogas
2005-01-14 12:32:17
Thinking cheap
Hey, I'm not a wealthy person! Price always matters :-) The money has to come from somewhere. The $800 or so spent on the Mini can buy other interesting tech toys. And, while Mac OS X has always looked interesting, I've also found value in the Linux distros (Mepis is the one I've been using for the past few days) and Windows XP too.
sholland
2005-01-14 13:26:09
emachine comparison
I think one important factor you've left out in your comparison is design. While it may be difficult to quantify, it adds tremendous value to the mini, and not only because it's smaller and looks better.


My roomate has an eMachines mini tower, no doubt similar to the $499 model listed here; I've got a G4 iMac. When my computer's on, it's near-silent; when his is running, it sounds like a large air conditioning unit that hasn't been serviced since the mid-1980s. And that alone is worth the price difference to me.

kollivier
2005-01-14 15:36:00
All I can say is "give it a try"
For me, the number one reason to go with Mac has always been that it's pretty much a hands-off machine. No anti-virus issues, no text config file editing, no real hardware issues (except for non-Mac compatible hardware, which is getting rarer these days). And, of course, their first-rate multimedia-editing software, and now maybe their first rate office suite. (I'll be exploring whether Keynote 2 is suitable as an easy to use Flash animation creator!)


In short, I moved to Mac because I wanted to use my computer, not fiddle with it. And also because I think the Mac is going to become a bigger part of our diversifying computer landscape, and so being familiar with it and being able to use it are valuable skills that will in fact be marketable skills in the future. ;-) Well, maybe not all my practice with GarageBand (which has yet to produce music like in their demos), but still...


As for price, you're right - it isn't necessarily the cheapest box on the market, depending on how you compare. But considering the price of a small form-factor PC (which I think is more fair becuase of special parts considerations imposed by the small size), I think it's fair to say the price is a reasonable one. Not necessarily the cheapest, but not out of the ballpark either. Apple will never have the cheapest box on the block, but they're at least becoming competitive while maintaining their focus on quality and style.


But all in all, if you're curious about Macs, there's only one way to find out more about them. ;-) And one thing is true - there's never been a cheaper or easier way to try out the Mac platform than now.

stottmj
2005-01-14 18:59:18
It's worth the price
Target audience that doesn't yet exist, like you say until mid-Febuary.


However, I am a switcher. I've used a wide variety of computers since 1982. I never could afford an Apple back then. I've owned PC's since the 486 became hot. I've run DOS then DOS/Win then OS/2 Warp, then Linux (0.8x kernels), then Win95/Win98/WinNT/Win2k/WinXP.


I service Windows systems for a living. I see it all, every single day. Spyware is my new number one enemy (mostly because it breaks MSIE so web apps cease to function or bring a computer to it's knee's), the prior enemy being DLL Hell on developer machines.


I've been a raging Linux fan since the beginning. I've told developers how to fix problems on AIX and Solaris due to my Linux knowledge.


I bought my first Mac when the first release of OS X was officially released. It was a PowerBook G4 550Mhz computer and I upgraded the memory on my own (Crucial is a lot cheaper). I must have spent three hours in the Apple store picking the salesman's brain and playing with the hardware on display. Two years later I bought a PowerMac G4 and a 17" flat panel Apple display. I later added another 17" display and run dual now. I am typing this on a newer Aluminum PowerBook 15". Price was no longer an issue. If my PowerMac was reaching it's end of life I would have already bought a PowerMac G5! Had the Mini been around when I was shopping, it would have been my first Mac.


For me, the clincher was the Unix underbelly of OS X. I would never have bought a Mac with OS 9! But I'm a Linux Geek and Apple is making major headway with our target market.


The combination of the Apple Stores and the low entry level cost of the Mini may even surprise Apple in how fast it will fly off the store shelves. I see this as a potential tipping point for Apple to really make headway with expanding their computer market share. The low cost means users may just give it a shot. Once they actually use a Mac for a while, they will not gripe about cost when they go to buy another one. They will appreciate that it just plain 'works' and wonder why they put up with WinXP for so long!


For me, the cost is more then worth it. You really do pay for what you get. Mac OS X is truly superior, it's easy to use, the apps (iLife/iWork, etc.) are a dream come true. I am so much more productive because I don't have to constantly fix and patch the computer. I don't have to dig through the registry to remove some Spyware that slipped in uninvited. I can sleep the laptop without worrying wether or not it will ever wake again. I can run all of the Open Source, GNU software I want to run. I have an immense development environment second to none. I can ssh to any Unix/Linux box. I can use VNC or even Microsoft Remote Desktop.


I even had my friends shoot my wedding with digital camera's and camcorders. The pictures were instantly on display during the reception on a PowerBook slideshow. An iPod plugged into a stereo was my reception dance floor DJ. In about 2 hours, I had a DVD of my wedding with still slide shows and video clips plus I had an iPhoto hardcover photo album being shipped by Apple in a weeks time. I printed my wedding invitations using Corel Draw on my PowerMac. (velum, backing, envelope, silk flower, reply card). I also printed thank you cards with a wedding photo, again printed on the Mac. It was just so darned easy!


Heck, my Apple computers have become part of my family!

toddogas
2005-01-14 21:49:29
emachine comparison
Yep, design-wise there isn't any comparison between the Mac Mini and anything else (including Shuttle PC type form factors). Noise-wise, I was amazed to learn that the Mini is rated at 18db. That said, the eMachines PC I use as my 24x7 Linux file server is surprisingly quiet. Probably just a different model from the one your roommate has (or a bad fan in that noisy one). The other two eMachines I've bought since then are not quite as quiet. But, they aren't as noisy as other PC brands I have used.
toddogas
2005-01-14 21:50:29
All I can say is "give it a try"
Thanks for te input. And, yep, I agree with you. I probably should fork up the $800 or so for a Mini and give OS X and iLife '05 a try :-)
esc
2005-01-16 05:08:24
the mini won't - and doesn't have to - appeal to all segments
It should be noted the mini doesn't have to appeal to all segments of the PC world in order to be successful. If they sell 1 million a year it will be a huge success - double that and one wonders if they can find and manage the manufacturing resources. The later figure would do amazing things to Apple's stock and bottom line.


Frustration with Windows among people I know who aren't technical enough to run Linux is high. Many of the machines I have helped people with have been heavily impacted by malware and getting them running well can be non-trivial. I have given up helping friends for free and hand them geek squad business cards. The average Windows user can probably survive well with a couple of geek squad visits (at about $150 each) per year.


Another issue at the low end is the willingness to pay for extras. Some studies show people who pay less than $500 for full computers tend not to buy software. Either they use what is on the machine only or they push friends and neighbors for pirated stuff. The people who pay $750 and more for PCs actually buy software and service contracts. If I was trying to expand my base, I know where I would shoot.


An interesting note for small developers is there may be some real opportunites here that have long vanished from the Windows world.

dtrickey
2005-01-16 19:57:39
Better Designed OS Makes Macs Worth More
I'm a former Windows user. After using OS X for a several months, I got rid of my Windows PC for good.


I have a big problem with the design philosophy behind Windows. So much has been tacked on without careful thought.


**A couple small examples among many:
Microsoft originally decided to "improve" the window close button by adding a menu. The result was that in order to close a window (a VERY common task) you had to double-click.


With Win95, instead of getting rid of the menu, MS decided to ADD a close button on the other side of the window. Ack! WHY?? Why not just use the one that was already there?


Also, the organization of the Control Panels is a mess. Look at OS X's System Preferences to see organization done right. About 23 icons and about 50 screens total. That's it. Everything is there. Now, WinXP Pro appears to have 24, but with about 75 total screens! Now, that either means that WinXP is 50% more configurable or the Control Panels need to be reorganized. Hint: the WinXP control panels need to be reorganized.


Just about every Apple-designed utility and application is done right. Apple's software lets you do what you want without getting in the way.


Of course, no one OS will be preferred by everyone. But when people try OS X, and use it long enough to understand how it works instead of expecting it to work just like Windows, most begin to appreciate the superior design.


So I think the Mac mini is an inexpensive way to see if you like it. It may be a good idea to get 512MB. After the warranty is up, I'd likely crack it open and replace the 512 with a 1 or 2 GB DIMM. OS X is picky, so select high quality mem.
(Maybe even right away--yank the 256.)


Doug

JFirestone
2005-01-17 08:19:49
the mini won't - and doesn't have to - appeal to all segments
I agree wholeheartedly.


Some other great things to add to this note would be:


Re: Windows Switchers, another reason to leave is the virtual absence of virus activity on the Macintosh side. Folks are sick of Windows viruses and Spyware. In the Mac world you have to worry alot less about the distribution of them, or getting bit. I think it's really important to remember that a Windows PC MUST be protected by more than just one PC Adware tool, and that should be added to the cost review of any Windows box. No adware protection (thus far) is needed on the Mac Platform and that alone is a great switching point.


Re: As for developers, there's a great set of development tools provided with the OS X operating system FOR FREE. I see no such tools provided on the Windows platform WITH the operating system. (No, I'm not counting open source tools here, since most of the same open source tools are available for the Mac as well ) XCode is a great set of developer tools. The opportunities you mentioned are outstanding by default.

MacDoc
2005-01-17 08:34:47
Thinking cheap
Yes, but your time is worth something. (:-)


If you are going to be the "AppleCare" for your eMachines box, then you should include the estimated cost of your time; (parts and labor). Right?

GravitySwitch
2005-01-17 10:20:58
XP Professional cost more
Don't forget to add $80 if you're using this computer in a business enviornment. Default copies of XP are "Home" (READ: cripled networking).
mystic_cowboy
2005-01-17 11:48:25
It's worth the price


I'm not exactly in the audience you mention but I do use Windows and Linux along with OS X. For ease of use, nothing Open Source touches the iApps.



iPhoto

Adobe Album $49. This is similar in features to iPhoto 3. Newly announced iPhoto 5 adds some editing features. Since most digital cameras offer low end editors and catalog programs you can get a similar feature set but nothing like equal ease of use.


GarageBand

Sony Sound Forge Audio Studio $69. This isn't a direct feature match but I'd rate the overall value similar to GarageBand 1. The new GarageBand 2 that allows multiple real-time inputs and which outputs a written score puts GarageBand more into the $200 + range.


iMovie

Ulead VideoStudio is a pretty good feature match for iMovie. At $99 Adobe's new Premier Elements is the same price. I haven't used it yet but expect quality from Adobe.


iDVD

WinDVD Creator 2 $49-$69 depending on how many effects you want. I expect that an HD version will be out soon to match the new iDVD HD but right now Apple is ahead of the curve. No big surprise.


iTunes

Windows Media Player and Real Player will keep the feature wars hot for a long time. I don't expect to have to pay for a music center.


That's $286 full retail. I understand that you can get these or similar programs bundled at signifigant discount. What you don't get is tight integration, which puts a big usability plus in the Apple corner. But as the TV advertisers say, "Wait! There's more."



Appleworks

Microsoft Works $99 is bundled with some computers but not the $499 ones. It's pretty much equal to Appleworks.

Open Office. $0. This is a more full featured and current option than Works. And, it is the exception that proves the point, being the only open source program that can compete with commercial ones in features and ease of use. But get away from O'Reily and Slashdot and how many people know of it?


Quicken Deluxe

Well, it's pretty much the same on Windows for $59. Or use Microsoft Money. Same diff.


OS X

Upgrade from XP Home to XP Pro. $149. XP Pro is the best that Microsoft has to offer. It still isn't OS X in terms of reliability, security or overall productivity. But to be fair you need to compare the professional Windows.


Anti-Virus, Firewall, Anti-Spyware

Wait, I don't use these on Macs. I do use Trend Micro's PC-Cillin on Windows. $49. Add in the time running that and the free Spybot Search and Destroy and I'm probably adding $50 a week in time keeping my Windows computer somewhat safe.


So, adding in all the bundled applications and OS upgrade, we're looking at over $600 worth of software. Even paying for a RAM upgrade and a keyboard an mouse, the value of the bundled programs equals the cost of the computer. Even if you don't use all the iApps, you get a completely usable computer out of the box.



NewtonGuy
2005-01-17 15:08:23
You forgot one thing....
I'm not sure I'll fork over $500 for a Mac mini but I'll sure do it for a new updated version of my NEWTON. I may even go more if it had WiFi and Bluetooth...Wow, got me breathin' hard.
toddogas
2005-01-17 19:19:25
You forgot one thing....
Don't know about Bluetooth, but head here for info about gettin WiFi on an Apple Newton Messagepad:


http://www.deleet.de/ray/newton/802.11b-FAQ.html

toddogas
2005-01-17 19:22:13
Thinking cheap
I'm nor obsessive over the concept of billable hours. I don't count the time I spent putting air in my car tires or gas in the car as billable hours either. On the other hand, I do count the actual currency leaving my hand when I go in for a scheduled warranty maintenance check for the car. So, if I paid for Applecare (people here are saying it is not necessary), I would count it vs. 0 (zero) for an Intel box. Especially since I may never need to crack open the box to repair in a 3 year period.
skuds
2005-01-18 06:20:32
Thinking cheap
When I'm working, I bill the hours, regardless if I'm recovering from a XP crash or the latest malware attack or my XP-user's confusion or attempting to remove all the spyware or actually performing the work for which I bought the computer to help me get done. Let's do the math. Being conservative, we'll estimate the time spent recovering from XP's failings at one hour/month. Let's round my billing down to $150/hour... by 12 months... by 3 years depreciation life of the computer... Gee, that's $5400 more to operate the Dell over its life, since I don't have the costs associated with XP's failings when I use OS X on a Mac. Oh, you said you were poor. Let's bill you at $50/hour... That's only $1800 more. Therefore, the lower cost of operations makes a cost driven decision a slam dunk in favor of the Mac mini.
Additionally, as others have pointed out, your analysis of the platform components cost is also flawed; DVI video, iLife apps, XP pro.
realism
2005-01-18 23:13:53
OSX is what we've been waitng for.
A world-class GUI on top of a UNIX core. What more could you want. All my X11 apps run perfectly. The Aqua interface is handled by the video card, leaving my processor alone to fly solo in crunching numbers. I'm working on a 500Mhz G4 bought 5 years ago, with added RAM and a processor upgrade card, and will be able to run DOOM 3. Exactly how was this a bad investment. And this machine doesn't compare to the dual G5s. Talk about forward thinking. The system bus on the new machines is ridiculous, not to mention the expansion capabilities, from the ENORMOUS amount of RAM that can be added to the PCI-X slots. Gimme a break. Show me a Windows Machine with the same potential longevity for a comparable price, and tell me it'll run for 5 years WITHOUT A SINGLE CRASH!
And I pushed the OSX BETA to the limits! No problems.


We're seeing an initial push from the open-source community that I doubt will falter. It will only grow. The amount of software being written for OSX is absolutely astounding....just keep an eye on the MacOSX downloads page on apple's website. It's ridiculous. Not to mention the software that's available that doesn't get posted there.


128-bit encryption of my entire Home directory. Absolute Overkill Virus Protection updated daily, even though there's never been a virus successfully written for the mac. As far as I see, the most useful action of the virus protection software on the mac is scanning files for Window's viruses so you don't inadvertently pass them along to suscteptible Microsoft victims.


$499 for a MAC? Please....had I known it was coming out, I wouldn't have upgraded my processor. I'd just have bought a MINI, and gotten an 80Gig hard drive and Radeon 9200 out of the deal for nearly the same price, connected my macs via ethernet, downloaded project appleseed and shared processor power where it's needed. It would have taken about 5 minutes. Windows simply doesn't have the plug and play ease of use the mac does, on so many levels.


For years, I've constantly listen to complaints from x86 victims complaining about viruses, malware, spyware, etc. Those terms mean absolutely nothing to me in my computing experience. I simply do not have to deal with them.


The DVD burner is included in the $599 variation, by the way.

AlChesson
2005-01-19 01:56:20
It's not just the software....
I was at first pretty disappointed in the hardware side of things when the mini was announced. Superficial comparison makes the Mini look expensive, but if you look in detail, it's not that bad. A lot of people have been making the usual GHz / RAM comparisons... MacWorld has a dug behind the scenes a bit to check these out, it is worth a read for anyone thinking about going for the the mini.
http://www.macworld.com/weblogs/editors/2005/01/miniapplesandoranges/index.php
brutusfly
2005-01-19 08:37:06
A few more things not to forget..
So if you could add to the eMachines:
1. XP Pro
2. Email "Redirect" feature, like the Mac has
3. Drag install, drag to uninstall for most apps
4. Most installs not needing a restart
5. System-wide addressbook
6. System-wide spell checker
7. System-wide fax
8. System-wide pdf export
9. Zero configuration networking
10. quiet cooling
11. Firewire
12. 3D accelerated, pdf based, OS level screen rendering layer
13. Exposé (operating a computer without this has become frustrating for me)
14. Automatic defragging
15. More effecient multi-tasking
16. Tiny form factor
17. High rated customer support


...and more, preinstalled... I could consider that eMachine a good deal. Wannabe is right.

zero11
2005-01-19 10:51:34
auh
you are comparing a mac to an eMachines box? ah... ah... are you kidding me? not the same market. nobody with a lick of sense will touch an eMachine box. it's like buying a yugo. life expectancy is like what 6 months? at least have the sense to compare it with a comperable dell, Gateway, or HP box. eMachines... the Top Ramen of the computer industry.
toddogas
2005-01-19 11:17:57
auh
My eMachines Linux box has been running 24x7 for over 2 years now. So, enough with the unsubstantiated ad hominen attacks folks. FYI. eMachines is part of Gateway.
toddogas
2005-01-19 11:20:28
OSX is what we've been waitng for.
Good info. Thanks. However, the Superdrive DVD burner is NOT included in the $599 model. You can find the specs for both models at: http://www.apple.com/macmini/specs.html
toddogas
2005-01-19 11:23:34
XP Professional cost more
OK. Clear this up for me. Exactly how is networking on XP Home crippled? I've connected XP Home devices to networks of all kinds. Not trying to start a flame-war, btw. Just trying to gather the facts.
RichardsComments
2005-01-21 23:33:11
auh
Emachines desktops have a (inoperable) failure rate double that of Apple desktops. Failure rates for Gateway are marginally worse than Emachines (difference not statistically significant).


As for "broken but still operable", failure rates for Emachines and Gateway are about 70% higher than Apple desktops. Apple has by far the lowest failure rates in the industry (for both laptops and desktops). Plus Apple has the best tech support in the business -- by far. (Source: Consumer report's survey of over 48,000 subscribers).