back to article Mourning Apple's war against sockets? The 2018 Mac mini should be your first port of call

The world's fourth biggest PC company sells three desktop PC lines, but it hadn't updated one of those three for four years. Maybe Apple had forgotten that the humble and unassuming Mac mini was there at all. But it fixed that this week. The Mac mini has been revived as a machine for grown-ups, professionals such as …

  1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Joke

    Ports a plenty?

    Wot! No UWD SCSI or Parallel printer port?

    What are Apple thinking of eh?

    {see Icon}

  2. bazza Silver badge

    Tempting...

    ...but I'll wait for the iFixit breakdown.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Tempting...

      Yeah didn't they prevent (easy) upgrades in the 2014 model? I rushed to get a 2012 before the stock was used up after 2014 was released!

      1. Dave K Silver badge

        Re: Tempting...

        Yes, they did. I've had a couple of Mac Minis in the past, my most recent was one of the first Core 2 Duo ones they released. Decent little machine, and lasted me a long time due to RAM/HDD upgrades. Last year it was really showing its age and I decided to replace it with another mini system. I had the choice of an outdated Mac Mini with 3-year old components and zero upgradability, or an Intel NUC where everything is upgradable, it used modern parts, and it was cheaper to boot.

        End result, the little mini server running under my desk is now a NUC. Sorry Apple, too little, too late (and too expensive). On the plus side, I have seen some pictures that suggest the RAM is upgradable again. Anyone know for sure?

        1. Kay Burley ate my hamster

          Re: Tempting...

          Yup the 2008 model was very cheap and provided some respite while Microsoft shafted Windows users with Vista. Orlowski rant skipped once I realised why the article made no sense (he wrote it).

    2. MrNed

      Re: Tempting...

      ...but I'll wait for the iFixit breakdown

      Yep - that's what I was thinking too. But I also took a look at it on Apple's site and, whilst it doesn't say-so categorically, it does show a series of images showing the bottom circular panel removed. These appear to show a standard, easily accessible SO-DIMM mounting, and an accessible SSD card.

      Here's hoping...!

    3. Wzrd1

      Re: Tempting...

      "...but I'll wait for the iFixit breakdown."

      Do you mean like Microshaft's bollocks of 1802/1803 cloistersmurf, then the goat rope of 1809?

      Seriously, I suggested in our staff meeting that the 1802 was beta tested by interns, staff suggested that beta testing was performed by the interns children.

      I'll not bother going into our organization's costs on the more ancient patch level, 1809, well, it followed an earlier pattern that we observed, Microbrain fouling older drivers.

      Only one version survives the earlier patch, so I suspect it was a test case, which its fix patch fouled up.

      1. Phil Kingston Silver badge

        Re: Tempting...

        How did we get from a Mac Mini to a Windows patch rant?

        1. Steve K Silver badge

          Re: Tempting...

          Mornington Crescent?

  3. herman Silver badge
    Devil

    Hmm, there is no RS232 port for a punch card hopper either.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Or for our Cisco switches.

      1. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

        On my employer standard issue macbook pro I use a USB to RS232 convertor with the lead patched through to the RJ45 serial port on the Cisco switch. Screen as the terminal.

        Ways and means. I did similar on a Win7 machine, but make sure your terminal runs in admin mode, for some reason, to load the USB-serial drivers.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          @WallMeerkat I was just pointing out there are still needs for RS232 today, with modern equipment.

          I use an USB to RS232 convertor on my ThinkPad T480 as well.

      2. Glen 1 Bronze badge

        Do you want an *actual* serial port, or the weird pin swapped Cisco thing?

        1. Khaptain Silver badge

          If it's for a Cisco then you probably have the original Cisco cable which deals with the propieratary side of things..

          1. big_D Silver badge

            Exactly @Khaptain, we have cables for Cisco, Dell and HP etc. labelled, in every server room. Just plug the RS232 (432) end into the PC and the RJ45 / RS232 into the device and the cable is wired correctly.

          2. Glen 1 Bronze badge

            If you're talking about a proprietary cable, then you probably have a usb version available.

    2. ben kendim

      A card reader or TTY would not talk RS-232...

      ... it would want a 20 mA current loop.

  4. Richard Tobin

    2GB?

    "The mini can take up to 64GB of RAM or 2GB of storage." Shome mishtake shurely.

    1. RAMChYLD

      Re: 2GB?

      Indeed. Sounds like 1995.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 2GB?

        Something, Something, 640kb

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: 2GB?

      G&T, easy mistake to make.

      Mine's a double, thanks

      1. matjaggard

        Re: 2GB?

        I think this was fixed by the time I looked, I was more confused the the OR. Do you want RAM or storage?

  5. Lee D Silver badge

    As I proved recently on another forum, for the same price (of all the models available) I can get a PC that out-performs the Mac for a-half-to-a-third of the price - and that usually a laptop with an HD screen to boot!

    It's another Apple "designer" product, and I don't see why anyone would touch them, nor why Reg would cover it at all seriously.

    "mainstream professional power users"... yeah, right. The kind of people who want to buy a machine that can barely cope in its default config, where the highest config is comparable to a run-of-the-mill PC and where the graphics card is an optional extra because it only has the Intel HD graphics...

    Literally for the same price I can get a gaming laptop that'll knock every feature it has for six. Or I could buy a desktop (no monitor) that'll wipe the floor with it so badly the poor thing wouldn't be able to network with it from embarrassment.

    Honestly, stop bigging up their over-priced peddled trash.

    1. GreggS

      There was a time when you wouldn't see Apple reviews for love nor money on El Reg. Seems you can't please everyone!

      I didn't read teh article as "bigging" it up either - quite the opposite.

    2. IsJustabloke

      ummmm....

      "over-priced peddled trash"

      over priced... possibly

      trash...I think not.

      if it's not for you then that's fine but I don't really get why you're so angry that some people like their kit.

      1. Truckle The Uncivil
        Go

        Re: ummmm....

        @isJustabloke

        I am going to argue about the "over priced". Firstly, I am prepared to pay a considerable premium for not having my data sold everywhere. So not all "price factors" are being considered. You are comparing Apples with rotten fruit.

        Secondly, I went Apple (as did my family) when Apple went FreeBSD or Jordan Hubbard went Apple whichever way you want to put that. Since that time I have spent far, far less than prior budgets for the family computing (family includes 3 students). Your long term TCO with Apple is considerably lower than people think.

        Thirdly, consider longevity. My phone is still a 6+ no need or serious inclination to upgrade. I would like the OLED screen, but it can wait until my 6+ dies. Still get two days use from it. But I never leave it on overnight charge. My fondleslab is the first 12" iPad (the first with a pencil) is still running as new. Some apps now have noticeable pause on loading but I think that increased overhead not the machine.

        Fourthly, my watch saved my life by insisting I get medical help when I just wanted to go back to sleep. Septicaemia from two seperate organisms. Doctor said I would not have made it to the morning and I nearly did not make it anyway. I should have acted on first warning. Anyway, my watch saved my arse. That is simply priceless.

    3. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Really - and your soopa doopa machine runs a supported OSX as well? It meets lots of needs and TCO is actually very reasonable (something that so many people tend to forget about - I've listened to many wings about the cost of running a colour printer - 'well what do you expect if you only paid £29 for the bloody thing, the manufacturer wants their profits'). But as hon doubt will be pointed out - don't have a need don't buy it, they are not compulsory.

    4. snozdop

      > I can get a PC that out-performs the Mac for a-half-to-a-third of the price

      So? Can you legitimately run macOS on that PC? The OS is what makes a Mac a Mac, and I would guess is the main reason why people choose to buy a Mac over a Windows/Linux PC.

      If everybody was like you and cared only about hardware specs and purchase price, then nobody would buy Macs. However, many people realise that the software and OS running on that hardware is where the value lies, and for those people who prefer macOS, the extra cost is worth it.

      (Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs, and have higher re-sale value, so that also helps to offset the higher purchase price).

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        Mac OS legitimately? No.

        But my 8-year-old laptop has a VMWare virtual machine on it with MacOS from my "proving" the same thing to somebody else.

        With that OS, running inside a Windows 7 hypervisor, I can allocate 25% of the laptop resources and enjoy BETTER performance inside the VM than on a real Mac. While also getting real-work done and even virtualising other OS (I have Windows, Mac and Linux VMs running on a Windows machine, all picking up the same codebase and all compiling via Eclipse and running the result to test it works, in case you wonder why.)

        Granted, it was a couple of years ago that I last did this specifically to prove the point, but my laptop is EIGHT YEARS OLD. And it can virtualise MacOS in one-quarter of its resources, faster than Mac native hardware. Seriously... go try it. VMWare Workstation and a couple of UEFI config file tweaks to make it boot.

        Honestly, that same 8-year-old laptop still beats out this Mac Mini! It's Intel i7, 12Gb RAM, dual-drive bays with 1TB in each (but I later replaced one with a 1Tb SSD - however the tests above were NOT done when it had an SSD) and has nVidia graphics (I think it's a 960M, to show you that it's hardly top-of-the-range even back then!).

        If you don't realise that MacOS is clever-tricks and showmanship and NOT actual performance, then you've not looked into it. The slippy-slidey menu at the bottom is a perfect example. You're led to think it's scaling those icon in real time. It's not. They are pre-cached bitmaps in a variety of sizes. It's giving you a GIF animation, basically. On the VM I made, you can knock the allocation down to a single-core and it still does slippy-slidey quite smoothly, but every performance metric of "real work" (e.g. loading apps, browsing websites, compiling code, etc.) falls below on the actual Mac hardware compared to a VM experience.

        MacOS is designer shine on a hardware turd. Sure, it's "clever" in its way, but it's entirely snakeoil.

        Honestly - if you have VMWare (I don't think it works in anything else as it has a serious UEFI integration), go Google how to do it, load MacOS up and run it. If you dial-down the resources allocated, you'll instantly spot what's snakeoil and what's actual performance. And your PC will still kick the Mac's arse.

        Honestly, the only reason to own MacOS is if you need to cross-compile to Mac, where you can only reasonably do so via an up-to-date XCode, which usually needs and up-to-date MacOS, no matter what compiler / development environment you are using. I use Eclipse and the CDT, and the only sensible way to cross-compile to Mac is to load Eclipse on MacOS, configure it to load the XCode etc. compilers and libaries, and then make that do the compile.

        1. The Specialist

          Mini or not Mini ...

          > But my 8-year-old laptop has a VMWare virtual machine on it with MacOS from my "proving" the same thing to somebody else.

          BFD. I can run windows on VMWare partition on a 2010 series Mini. And that Mini cost me less than £500 new! How much did you pay for your super-duper laptop?

          Horses for courses my dear. Just because a <insert your hw> doesn't do what you want doesn't mean it is bad for everyone.

          1. Reaps

            Re: Mini or not Mini ...

            "BFD. I can run windows on VMWare partition on a 2010 series Mini. And that Mini cost me less than £500 new! How much did you pay for your super-duper laptop?"

            Made my old pc in 2009 for £500 that would make the mac look like a toy...

            (kids still play 1080p games on it now..)

            As people have said apple sell over priced, over hyped crap..

        2. arthoss

          You lost me at “eclipse”

        3. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

          Granted, it was a couple of years ago that I last did this specifically to prove the point, but my laptop is EIGHT YEARS OLD. And it can virtualise MacOS in one-quarter of its resources, faster than Mac native hardware.

          Except if you ran it on time-period-correct OS X version (maybe Snow Leopard), and you used GPU passthrough, I can't believe you. Like really. Anything above Mavericks runs like a dog in a virtual machine (and that's coming from a "gaming" laptop test).

          Snow Leopard, on the other side, ran perfectly fine on Intel Atom. Yeah, Intel Atom. No wonder it'd run fast on a laptop with an i7 (of back then).

          Anyhow, you can run macOS/OS X on the hardware itself (that's called a hackintosh setup). Lots of resources online, but you have to fix drivers et al.

          Waaaaaaaaaaaaay faster than on a VM, and that's how I got myself a touchscreen "Mac".

        4. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

          @Lee D

          "With that OS, running inside a Windows 7 hypervisor, I can allocate 25% of the laptop resources and enjoy BETTER performance inside the VM than on a real Mac. "

          No, you can't.

        5. Davegoody
          WTF?

          Nah - your claim that MacOS / OSX is "Snake Oil" to run on poor hardware is nonsense. Whilst I totally agree that a typical Mac, on the face of it, costs a bit more than typical PC hardware, in my experience the build quality (thus also the resale value) is sky-high. Take your 8-year old PC laptop, sell it online and get £50 -£100 for it, a similar mac, 3-4 times that value. And the claim that a seven-year-old PC laptop with no SSD runs MacOS faster than a current "Real" Mac is nonsense. It's just not actually possible. My Mac VMs do run fast, granted, but nothing as fast as a real machine to run them on. It's like claiming that you 10-year-old Ford Mondeo drives faster because you nailed a Lamborghini badge on the bonnet !

        6. Ilsa Loving

          > Honestly, the only reason to own MacOS is if you need to cross-compile to Mac,

          No, it's not the only reason. The biggest reason is that you just want to get you friggin' work done but still need access to commercial software like Adobe or for whatever reason.

          You can piss and moan about 'tricks' all you want, but at the end of the day what matters is this: I can measure the uptime on my Mac in months. Windows? A few days if you're lucky. Especially with Windows 10 and Microsoft's update nonsense, you get the added benefit that when your machine reboots it may not come back up again at all.

          Running MacOS in VMWare completely misses the entire point. You'd still have Windows underneath so you'd be dealing with the worst of BOTH worlds.

          I know this is difficult for you to believe, but some of us use computers to get WORK done, and not to have a wank while reading the tech specs like a porn magazine.

      2. The Specialist

        Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs ...

        > Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs

        I can vouch for that. I have one from 2010 still going strong (headless server) and 2 from 2012 editions - again running one of them as headless server and the other as my working from home kit.

        I used to build my servers and run *BSD on them for 24/7 operations but I could not get anywhere near the low power consumption + small footprint + near silent operations of Mac Mini's hence I switched.

        I stack them in a cupboard and forget they are there.

        1. Fading Silver badge
          Linux

          Re: Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs ...

          Well not windows now (it has been upgraded to Linux) but my HTPC (Dell Inspiron 540s) is from 2009 and still going strong (gave it a shiny new SSD last year for its birthday).

          The machine cost me £310 in 2009........

          1. Steve Kellett

            Re: Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs ...

            Two desktops at home:

            A circa 2009/2010 Mac Mini with maxed out RAM, and a Dell Inspiron 540 of similar vintage which has been running Ubuntu since the original HDD died and now sports two hard drives and maxed out RAM. I’ve stuck at Ubuntu 16.04 as I suspect the driver compatibility creeping death for the decade plus old Dell hard ware it getting close, which is incidentally why my equally ancient Dell Netbook has Mint 17.2 on it.

            I had to buy a VGA to HDMI converter box for a tenner earlier this year when the original Dell monitor died and I wanted to re-purpose one of the spare HD TVs we had kicking around (they breed).

            Keeping this old hardware running is a hobby in and of itself....

          2. GinBear

            Re: Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs ...

            Are you sure that PC isn’t like Triggers broom? :-)

        2. jason 7 Silver badge

          Re: Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs ...

          But then millions of folks like myself have Windows PCs that are still trucking just fine after 10 years. I just upgraded a old M6400 to a quad core CPU which will keep it going running Windows 10 (it sold with Vista back in 2008). It already has a SSD etc. etc. etc.

          Plenty of Macs fail pretty quick, check out Louis Rossmann on YouTube.

          Moot.

          1. big_D Silver badge

            Re: Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs ...

            I still have a working 2004 Acer laptop. It still gets monthly updates from Microsoft (Windows 7 upgrade). It is slow these days, but is just used to manage an old ISDN system that doesn't support Windows Vista or newer (it uses XP Mode in Windows 7). Luckily that system is finally being replaced and I can retire that old notebook.

            Around half the PCs we use are pre-2010 and being gradually updated to more modern systems.

            On the other hand, Apple gave up supporting my 2007 iMac in 2014, even though it still works - only the Bootcamp Windows gets security updates these days.

            1. Snorlax Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs ...

              @big_D:"On the other hand, Apple gave up supporting my 2007 iMac in 2014, even though it still works - only the Bootcamp Windows gets security updates these days."

              What's your point?

              PC manufacturers don't support hardware from 2007.

              Microsoft doesn't support operating systems from 2007.

              Is any linux distribution from 2007 still supported?

              1. big_D Silver badge

                Re: Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs ...

                @Snorlax Apple stopped providing upgrades or security updates with Lion for my iMac. On the other hand the Bootcamp side still runs Windows 7 happily and still gets updates. I could upgrade it to Windows 10, but Apple don't provide any drivers for it and it would probably be too slow.

                The point being, whilst MS might not still support XP / Vista, machines from that era machines will most probably still run Windows 7, when not Windows 10 and they will get monthly security updates until 2020 at the very least.

                The iMac was an Apple abortion, with a 64-bit processor but only a 32-bit UEFI, which they dropped like a hot potato in 2014.

                1. Snorlax Silver badge

                  Re: Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs ...

                  Windows 7 is still in support, having been released in 2009, regardless of what hardware it's running on.

                  You're slightly correct in saying that OS X Lion isn't in support, having been released in 2011. There have been several *free* upgrades of OS X in the meantime that allow Mac users to stay current.

                  I'm still not getting your point... You're comparing apples and oranges (no pun intended).

                  1. big_D Silver badge

                    Re: Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs ...

                    @Snorlax, did you actually read my comment? Apple abandoned the 64/32 Mac with Lion.

                    There have been no free updates for them since Lion. There might be upgrades for other / newer models, but the 32/32 bit and 64/32 bit Macs have long been abandoned by Apple in terms of security updates or new OS versions.

                    1. Snorlax Silver badge

                      Re: Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs ...

                      @big_D:"Apple abandoned the 64/32 Mac with Lion.

                      And they abandoned the PowerPC architecture after 10.5 - so what?

                      Oh dry your eyes... Times change. Technology evolves.

                      Sure was great using Windows 3.1 on a 486SX, but that was then and this is now.

              2. Updraft102 Silver badge

                Re: Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs ...

                My 2008-manufactured Asus laptop runs Windows 7, 8, 10 just fine, with everything supported and working. Linux Mint 19 works great on it too. I don't need to use a distro from 2008 or Windows from 2008... that's exactly the point. I can use a fully supported OS from 2018 on hardware that is ten years old, and it works. You can do that with a Mac that old too-- but not with the OS that defines a Mac as a Mac. For the kind of money they cost, I'd expect better. The rate of PC hardware obsolescence has slowed greatly, and as long as my hardware is good enough to be useful, I expect it to be made useful by its OS.

                I also have a HP laptop from 2004ish, and it works fine too. I even put 10 on it to see if it would work (it did, but slowly). It's really too slow to be of much practical use, but the point is that it works.

              3. JBFromOZ

                Re: Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs ...

                Our embroidery machines still run windows 3.1 network edition.. havent had a security update for that for a while either..

                I'm not sure how we will cope when our last 10base2 hub dies....

              4. Crypto Monad

                Re: Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs ...

                > Is any linux distribution from 2007 still supported?

                Yes.

                RHEL 5 (from March 2007) still has "Extended Life-cycle Support" available until November 2020. This "delivers certain critical-impact security fixes and selected urgent priority bug fixes and troubleshooting for the last minor release" - for a price.

                See https://access.redhat.com/support/policy/updates/errata#Life_Cycle_Dates

                RHEL 4 (from Feb 2005) is technically still in its "Extended Life Phase", but since support has ended, this doesn't count for much. "No bug fixes, security fixes, hardware enablement or root-cause analysis will be available during this phase". You just get access to the documentation and knowledgebase.

              5. Rainer

                Re: Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs ...

                > Is any linux distribution from 2007 still supported?

                RHEL5.

                If you pay RedHat for it.

            2. Mark 65

              Re: Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs ...

              On the other hand, Apple gave up supporting my 2007 iMac in 2014, even though it still works - only the Bootcamp Windows gets security updates these days.

              My 2008 iMac has just gone out of support for new versions of the OS, which did irritate me as the lowest hardware they support for Mojave is less capable than my machine in both GPU and CPU. I can move up to High Sierra from Sierra and still get security fixes or I can do like I have with my 2007 Macbook and install Linux on it and be supported for quite some time. Linux Mint installed without issue and runs snappily on the old hardware.

              Official support for Sierra ends September 2019 and, presumably, High Sierra will be around September 2020. That would mean 12 years of support for that hardware. Support for 12 years is pretty good and I am only irritated by the lack of further support because it seems to be artificially enforced given the aforementioned supported spec.

              I have to confess that I have a newer machine that is a Hackintosh. That is an acquired taste but I did it because there was no path available where I could have an Apple machine with user upgradeable and replaceable components. I had a sketchy graphics card in the iMac which I only realised was a recall item after the recall ended. It promptly shat itself shortly thereafter. I would have preferred to be able to replace the component myself but didn't have a clean-room to remove the screen and dick about with the internal layout and custom card form factor. This machine will last a very long time and would only be hindered on the macOS front by a change in architecture from x86 to ARM.

          2. The Specialist

            Re: Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs ...

            > I just upgraded a old M6400 to a quad core CPU which will keep it going running Windows 10

            That reminds me Trigger's quote regarding his broom from "Only Fools and Horses"

            I've had the same broom for 20 years - I only had to change the head 17 times and the handle 14 times.

            1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

              Re: Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs ...

              That reminds me Trigger's quote regarding his broom from "Only Fools and Horses"

              I've had the same broom for 20 years - I only had to change the head 17 times and the handle 14 times.

              Which is yet another plus for "PC"s (and remember, PC != MSWindows) and a minus for Apple/Mac. The very idea that you *can* upgrade components is yet another reason NOT to buy Mac.

            2. jason 7 Silver badge

              Re: Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs ...

              "I've had the same broom for 20 years - I only had to change the head 17 times and the handle 14 times."

              But you know...it's nice to have that option, rather than having to throw the whole broom away cos its all one piece or glued together.

          3. Joe Montana

            Re: Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs ...

            Louis Rossman is a good point, if a mac fails outside of warranty people are likely to go to someone like Louis to have it repaired. If a generic PC fails outside of warranty, people usually just throw it away and replace it. This even happens when there's a software failure and the underlying hardware is fine.

        3. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

          Re: Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs ...

          I can vouch for that. I have one from 2010 still going strong (headless server) and 2 from 2012 editions - again running one of them as headless server and the other as my working from home kit.

          The 2010 ... You said it's running headless. Can I assume that you're not running macOS? If that's the case, can't a similarly specced machine with a similar footprint (think about these machines which are small enough squares that you can hang off the monitor) achieve the same result, with the same footprint and same power consumption?

          1. The Specialist

            Re: Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs ...

            Oh it is running OS X.

            The only things that are plugged into them are power cord and network cables.

            I also have Raspberry PIs as well for dedicated tasks like hosting HASSIO & messing about for IoT stuff before I promote them to "production" level.

        4. applebyJedi

          Re: Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs ...

          I have a 5k iMac that is just over 3 years old. Cost £2,000 and needs a new main logic board. At a cost of £580.80 which is the price of a whole computer in the windows environment.

          My MacBook 12" needed a new screen after 8 months. Fortunately that was in warranty because it would have cost nearly the price of a new machine to replace the screen.

          Apple is no where near as bullet proof as they would have you believe, but the OS is less taxing than windows so that it keeps going, even if your hardware doesn't.

          1. Mark 65

            Re: Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs ...

            I have a 5k iMac that is just over 3 years old. Cost £2,000 and needs a new main logic board. At a cost of £580.80 which is the price of a whole computer in the windows environment.

            I have serious doubts about the iMac design. For anything other than a controlled 20 degree Celsius temperature controlled environment I think they simply end up burning themselves out. My graphics card shat itself. You've got a logic board issue. I simply think they end up running too hot thereby shortening their components' lifespan. They need to come out with a new modular desktop box. The iMac Pro may have plenty of power but I'd wager that using it regularly will come at a heavy cost (excluding purchase price).

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs ...

              Heat killed 2 out of 2 iMacs our department had. The fans just got louder and louder and even taking it to bits and vacumming the thing out didn't help in the end. It was non recoverable and so a whole machine including the massive monitor was out. I'm sure we could have spent some time getting various bit repaired but time was too short. Swapped for a Mac mini and a standalone (non-Apple) monitor.

              Eventually moved the Mac mini over to a mini PC.

        5. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          Re: Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs ...

          > Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs

          I can vouch for that. I have one from 2010 still going strong (headless server) and 2 from 2012 editions - again running one of them as headless server and the other as my working from home kit.

          And I can make my Linux boxes last way beyond that. Generally my Linux kit only gets replaced when I acquire some newer (yet still used) kit, or the machine completely dies.

          1. big_D Silver badge

            Re: Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs ...

            I can vouch for that. I have one from 2010 still going strong (headless server) and 2 from 2012 editions - again running one of them as headless server and the other as my working from home kit.

            2010 isn't anything of a big deal. Still over half of the PCs at work are on an upgrade cycle, because they pre-date 2010.

            I've worked with other customers who still have PCs from the turn of the century in production environments. They still wobble along and don't cause any problems. They are generally attached to plant that costs high six figures.

        6. Dave K Silver badge

          Re: Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs ...

          > Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs

          Hmm, they used to have a longer usable life, but I doubt that's the case any more. My old Mac Mini (2008) also ran great until I retired it last year, but one of the primary reasons it lasted so long is that I could upgrade it. If it was stuck with 1GB of RAM and the 180GB HDD it originally came with, it would have been obsolete several years earlier. Thankfully with an upgrade to 4GB of RAM and a 750GB drive, it kept me going for a few years more.

          These days? I'm not so sure. Apple's hardware is pretty reliable, but the fact that modern Macs are increasingly soldered together and unupgradable means that "planned obsolescence" is increasingly built into them. Decent PCs are also pretty reliable these days (just recently retired my previous PC which was from 2010), so it's not that clear cut any more. Saying that, I'd be interested to confirm just how upgradable (or not) the new Mac Mini is...

          1. Mark 65

            Re: Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs ...

            These days? I'm not so sure. Apple's hardware is pretty reliable, but the fact that modern Macs are increasingly soldered together and unupgradable means that "planned obsolescence" is increasingly built into them.

            To be fair, with 4 Thundebolt 3 ports you have upgrade paths for GPU and fast storage covered. This was not possible before in the older generations that had Firewire 800 and USB 2. You need only worry about whether the RAM is soldered in. As for the CPU, you should always think a little forward when buying.

            Your chief concern would be making sure operating temps remain under control. Do so and these should last a fair while.

      3. big_D Silver badge

        That is the thing, if you need macOS, you are lumped with over priced, under specced kit. If the applications are important, but the underlying OS not, then you have much more choice and can get much more power for the same price.

        And for businesses, this is generally where the decision falls. They need hundreds or thousands of desktops for their employees and the choice is 399€ from Dell/Lenovo/Fujitsu or 899€ from Apple, and the PC for 399€ is marginally faster and runs all the corporate software, what are you going to do? How do you justify more than double the price? Or for the same price, you can have a much higher specification PC.

        Given that those cheap PCs with Windows integrate more easily into the corporate system, you can book on-site support and they use standard components that you can switch out yourself, it makes it very hard to justify Macs, unless there is an application that is critical to the company and only runs on macOS. Generally, that is limited to media businesses (advertising or film), where they have set up a business process using Mac software.

        For your average business, the little if no justification to go with Apple. It looks chic, but the normal PC is nearly silent and sits unseen under the desk. It runs macOS, but that doesn't matter if all of the applications (or equivalents) required run under Windows or Linux - especially if the company already mainly uses Windows or Linux.

        A normal PC doesn't run macOS? Okay, but you don't actually "use" macOS to create documents or edit photos. The more pertinent question is, does it rune Adobe CC or SAP or Microsoft Office, or LoB software. The underlying OS is irrelevant, macOS might do some things more easily than WIndows and vice versa, but at the end of the day, there are very few "unique" features that only one has.

        It all comes down to, are you already heavily invested in Macs? If so, you are going to have to go with the Mac mini or iMac range (or MacBook for portable work). If not, then there are much cheaper / more powerful options open to you, so you wouldn't consider a Mac mini anyway.

        It is only if you are waivering between macOS and Windows that there is any real decision to be made.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "(Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs, and have higher re-sale value, so that also helps to offset the higher purchase price)."

        There's a bit of forced obsolence in both, to be honest. My old 2006 Windows XP machine is very happy running Linux Mint 19, but I wouldn't want to try Windows 8/10 on it. One of my colleagues has an old iMac (~2010), which became unusable due to a succession of OS updates making it unbearably slow - they replaced it with a Chromebook.

        1. rg287 Silver badge

          One of my colleagues has an old iMac (~2010), which became unusable due to a succession of OS updates making it unbearably slow

          Whilst the successive OSes have got heavier, just as a point of comparison. I'm still running an early-2008 Macbook (the first metal-unibody one) and it's fine - though it did get a midlife RAM upgrade and the 5400rpm HDD has been swapped out for an SSD. That might be a bit biased since that model is a joy to work on - with a tool-free catch to get into the HDD compartment.

          The 2010 iMacs aren't too hard to whip the screen off the front of and swap the HDD for an SSD. Lifting out the big panels on 27" models does give me "the fear", but we've managed it a several times without incident.

          With the tumbling price of SSDs, updating the storage gives them a new lease of life.

      5. DuncanLarge Silver badge

        "Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs"

        Really? Well tell that to the genius bar who will try to convince you that your 4 year old mac is a vintage computer.

        1. snozdop

          Just because it's considered "vintage" by Apple doesn't mean it suddenly stops working. It just means they haven't made it for more than 5 years, and therefore obtaining parts becomes harder.

          A four-year-old Mac would not be vintage. "Vintage products are those that have not been manufactured for more than 5 and less than 7 years ago." Source: https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT201624

        2. The Specialist
          Coat

          @DuncanLarge- I'd love to tell the dudes at Genius bar regarding my Mac Minis are not vintage, but to date I had no reason to take any of them to Apple for "servicing".

          Never know, I might get the opportunity to do that next decade or the one after.

          I must be doing something wrong.

        3. jason 7 Silver badge

          "Really? Well tell that to the genius bar who will try to convince you that your 4 year old mac is a vintage computer."

          Oh yes I do very nicely out of folks that come to me for a new HDD in their Mac to replace the failed one, cos the 'genius' told them it was an antique at 4-5 years old and they needed to buy a new one.

      6. Del_Varner

        this: "(Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs, and have higher re-sale value, so that also helps to offset the higher purchase price)."

        I'm probably getting one of these new fangled minis because the iMac I bought 12 years ago finally went kaputt.

      7. jelabarre59 Silver badge
        Linux

        If everybody was like you and cared only about hardware specs and purchase price, then nobody would buy Macs. However, many people realise that the software and OS running on that hardware is where the value lies,

        Ah yes, so that, combined with the eye-wateringly-high price, and hostility towards upgrading/repairing and maintainability add up to a multitude of reasons why I won't be buying one. "Value" of the OS: hmmmm... yes and very-much no. It's pretty I guess (until they came out with the Fugly-Flatso look), has some interesting apps to run on it, but I don't like un-scalable walls around my garden. I can do pretty much everything I want/need on my Linux box, including adding a fugly-flatso UI to it (not that I ever will) that would look just like MacOS. About the only significant apps I'd want to run on Linux would be MMD (which doesn't have a Mac version anyway) and tax filing software (and the devs on those applications have about the programming competence of a Google developer; none).

    5. rg287 Silver badge

      It's another Apple "designer" product, and I don't see why anyone would touch them, nor why Reg would cover it at all seriously.

      I can - stacking them as a render cluster for Final Cut Pro to send jobs to via Grand Central Dispatch. Or for macOS/iOS application developers to send compile jobs to.

      Yes, you can get the same hardware for less, but not (legitimately) running macOS .

      Outside of that, nah. Don't see it. Too expensive for normal desktop usage (in either a corporate or domestic context), and sofa-surfers or "lifestyle" users who simply prefer macOS will buy a laptop anyway. Moreover, they've driven off the pro and prosumer photographers by binning Aperture. If I was a heavy FCP or Logic Pro user, I'd be keeping a very wary eye on the future of those products given that Apple have already binned off one pro app.

      The only Mac desktop users left are the ones wedded to the OS because of specific applications.

      1. onefang Silver badge

        "Or for macOS/iOS application developers to send compile jobs to."

        That's basically what I bought my Mac Mini for. Needed to make sure my cross platform application worked on Mac OS as well as Linux and Windows, and something to build it with. Didn't want to get a Mac with a screen, mouse, and keyboard, I already had a KVM setup with spare ports. Didn't have much spare space on the desktop for aa big machine. The Mac Mini was perfect for that job. I've upgraded it, and it's still working fine, so I don't need to buy a new one yet.

        My main desktop I do everything else with is Linux, and I have a small Windows test box to.

      2. big_D Silver badge

        @rg287 or familiarity. The photographer we used for our family portraits just upgraded to an iMac Pro. He was waivering and thinking of going to Windows, as his old Cheesegrater Mac Pro was getting very long in the tooth and he was sick of waiting for a sensible replacement to come out. Then the iMac Pro came out just as he was about to swap. He stuck with Mac, because he knows the workflow and the montage software he uses is Mac only (there is probably a Windows equivalent somewhere, but he knows this software and has paid (heavily) for it.

        He likes the iMac Pro, it is much faster than his old Pro, although he had to get expansion boxes for some of the hardware from his old Pro. He can also use his Nikon again - the old Pro took too long to load and process the large RAWs it generated, he had switched to a Fuji for studio work and kept the Nikon just for "special" jobs, where he needed the extra resolution.

        His only complaint with the iMac Pro is the poor screen. He says it is great for drafting on, but the colour accuracy is dreadful, compared to his old Eizo display.

        1. Davegoody

          So use the Eizo as a second screen, assuming you (he) has the space.

          1. big_D Silver badge

            So use the Eizo as a second screen, assuming you (he) has the space.

            Well, duh! Of course he has the Eizo set up as a second screen - that is how he knows the iMacs screen is so poorly calibrated.

      3. deadlockvictim Silver badge

        Windows 10

        rg287» The only Mac desktop users left are the ones wedded to the OS because of specific applications.

        There are some who really, really don't want Windows 10 and whose Windows 7 support will be running out soon. Linux, I suppose, is in theory an option.

        And if the machine would anyway have to be replaced, this Mac Mini is not at all a bad replacement.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You could have a bit of fun with the company graphic designer, you know the only one in your company who was on a Mac and therefore every company-wide software purchase had to also be Mac compatible reducing your choice to a few and your remote device management is difficult...

      Set up a PC with an SSD and a load of RAM and a decent CPU. Use the Adobe CC subscription to load on their favorite applications. Make sure the desktop had the links to these applications and then ask if he wants to try it out for comparison. Add two high-res monitors to replace the one that they are used to with the Mac. Then watch as they can't believe how fast it is and how it works pretty much exactly the same - no file issues, no font issues, no iCloud worries, especially when you explain it is much cheaper than the Mac. Watch how they slowly start using the Mac less and less and the 'trial' machine more and more.

      Sure Windows might be a bit rubbish with some horrible awkward UI decisions, but hardly any users 'use' Windows, it's just a resting place for their icons, printer and file manager - same as every other platform.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Sure Windows might be a bit rubbish

        And Micky D. is also a restaurant, so why eat at Maxim's?

        Dealing with rubbish is for the janitor, and masochists... And we're not all just running on nickles and dimes, unable to afford tools we like.

      2. JBFromOZ

        Then watch them scream as suddenly Microsoft decides that .pdf is no longer a valid file format, and that native .pdf handling is nonexistent, and then see the reality distortion field you have generated unravel faster than the next microsoft system upgrade

    7. herman Silver badge

      Hmm, as o'l Democritus put it: "The poor will always be with us", but nevertheless, I'll enjoy my little Mac Mini and my gynyntonix, thank you Jeeves...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Hmm, as o'l Democritus put it: "The poor will always be with us""

        I think you have the wrong philosopher.

        Also some critics think what Jesus actually meant was "there will always be poor people because you can't get your shit together to run society properly". It wasn't just a value-neutral statement.

        1. JEDIDIAH
          Linux

          Re: "Hmm, as o'l Democritus put it: "The poor will always be with us""

          Only the top 10% can be in the top 10%. There will always be distinctions even if your "poor" people are living better than Henry XIII.

        2. Michael Habel Silver badge

          Re: "Hmm, as o'l Democritus put it: "The poor will always be with us""

          Perhaps the "Poor" shouldn't have droped out of School, by first finishing their education, and then got a decent Job like everyone else. Instead of winging on about how a 7.45$ p/h (e.g. Minimun Wage Job), can't meet their expitations of trying to keep up with the Jones's.

          Being Poor is a lifestyle choice. You don't like being Poor? GET A FREAKING BETTER JOB! If needs be WORK FOR IT!

          1. Martin
            FAIL

            Re: "Hmm, as o'l Democritus put it: "The poor will always be with us""

            Perhaps the "Poor" shouldn't have droped out of School, by first finishing their education, and then got a decent Job like everyone else. Instead of winging on about how a 7.45$ p/h (e.g. Minimun Wage Job), can't meet their expitations of trying to keep up with the Jones's.

            Being Poor is a lifestyle choice. You don't like being Poor? GET A FREAKING BETTER JOB! If needs be WORK FOR IT!

            That's either stupid, unfeeling, or just poor sarcasm. It's also badly written and riddled with spelling and grammar errors. Downvote duly administered.

      2. JEDIDIAH
        Mushroom

        Silly toys from toy makers.

        You can blow way more money on a non-Apple product. In a free market, people line up to take your money. They will offer you all sorts of crazy things that you can't get in an Apple approved form factor.

    8. Snorlax Silver badge
      FAIL

      @Lee D

      @Lee D:"It's another Apple "designer" product, and I don't see why anyone would touch them, nor why Reg would cover it at all seriously."

      <rolleyes.jpg>

      I'd hazard a guess that there are a lot of thing you don't see, or understand.

      Cast your mind back to the news from IBM the other week. They've been increasing their use of Apple hardware due to better residual values and fewer support calls.

      "IBM found that not only do PCs drive twice the amount of support calls, they’re also three times more expensive. That’s right, depending on the model, IBM is saving anywhere from $273 - $543 per Mac compared to a PC, over a four-year lifespan. “And this reflects the best pricing we’ve ever gotten from Microsoft,” Previn said. Multiply that number by the 100,000+ Macs IBM expects to have deployed by the end of the year, and we’re talking some serious savings.

      Needless to say, the employees at IBM got it right. And with 73% of them saying they want their next computer to be a Mac, the success will only increase with time."

    9. Crypto Monad

      Definitely not trash.

      If you want a powerful server that you can stick in your rucksack or airline carry-on bag, there's not much to match this currently.

      The Intel Skull Canyon NUC is similar size and weight by the time you've included the PSU brick, but is limited to 32GB RAM and 4 cores (Mac Mini does 64GB and 6 cores). The NUC does have two replaceable PCIe SSD slots though.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        "If you want a powerful server that you can stick in your rucksack or airline carry-on bag, there's not much to match this currently."

        It really depends on your use case, but I think there is. For one thing, you have to figure out why you need a powerful server on the go. If it is to deploy it somewhere else, then you still end up in the small computer comparison. I'll grant you that sometimes you need six cores and 64GB memory on a server that you carry with you, but most of the time, probably not. The ease in modifying a NUC makes it a really good candidate for to-be-deployed server in a small box.

        In most cases, however, the computer you carry in a rucksack to provide you with a lot of power will be a laptop. You can get them with more processing and memory, although those are usually somewhat heavy. I assume that would be a more useful portable machine than a mac mini for most use cases. You can compute on it when you're on the go, rather than having to have mains power, a monitor, and input devices to run it.

        The mac mini also has lost some of its appeal when compared to other options in the small computers lineup. It is far too expensive now to be a logical choice for a media machine, especially as a raspberry pi can do it well. For server purposes, you would probably want a device running Linux on more expandable hardware, rather than using the OSX server app that has been losing functionality.

        As a mac desktop, it's not bad. It has the ports that we normal people want, and it is reasonably powerful. Still, it has lost some of the niches a mac mini used to fill.

      2. onefang Silver badge

        "If you want a powerful server that you can stick in your rucksack or airline carry-on bag,"

        I've regularly carried a desktop system, complete with monitor, keyboard, mouse, couple of network switches, WiFi AP, and assorted cables in my backpack. Then again, my pack is likely a litle bigger than your rucksack or airline carry-on bag.

    10. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well... if you're looking at gaming laptops, then you're probably running Winblows. That tells me everything I need to know. Or you're running Linux, which means you really should know better than to spout this nonsense.

      The Mini runs OSX, which is in itself a huge reason to cover it seriously. Not to mention the fact that it's most likely better designed in terms of heat dissipation and other reliability factors than your laptop. My 2013 mini's doing just fine with everything I throw at it, thanks, and has outlasted several non-Mac laptops.

      Price isn't everything. Some of us "mainstream professional power users" are willing to pay for an OS and a platform that works the first time, every time, rather than disposable hardware and a marginal, if ubiquitous, excuse for an OS.

      1. sed gawk Bronze badge
        Trollface

        Some of us "mainstream professional power users" ...are willing to pay for an OS and a platform that works the first time, every time,

        Yes but we were discussing OSX

      2. JEDIDIAH
        Devil

        > Not to mention the fact that it's most likely better designed in terms of heat dissipation

        That's funny. My last Mini cooked itself to death and you can easily burn yourself on an iMac if you're not careful.

        The PC laptop is probably better equipped to deal with heat dissipation because it's not trying to achieve form over function.

    11. JDX Gold badge

      >As I proved recently on another forum, for the same price (of all the models available) I can get a PC that out-performs the Mac for a-half-to-a-third of the price - and that usually a laptop with an HD screen to boot!

      Does the one you build fit in the same size box as the Apple one and weigh the same? Or are you saying a Skoda is the same as an Audi because they both fit 4 passengers and do the same mpg? Packaging is important to some people, even if not to you.

      And of course, some people will prefer to pay extra for MacOS because they prefer it.

    12. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I can get a PC that out-performs the Mac for a-half-to-a-third of the price"

      The "all options ticked" Mac Mini runs to c. £2000. An equivalent-specc'd Windows PC would run to (unles I've made a mistake) £1215*. However, this doesn't quite tell the whole story - it's not as small, some of the case materials differ, and it doesn't look the same. Plus, by buying parts, you're not exposing yourself to the cost of paying someone to build it for you, nor take on the support burden. Now, obviously whether the size of appearance of the computer is an issue is subjective, but it is fairly obvious that there is a cost attached to all of those things, and it's up to the end consumer to decide if it's worth it or not (for me, no it's not). And obviously, there's the whole software environment thing...

      * https://uk.pcpartpicker.com/list/76R3jy if anyone's interested in checking my working

      1. JDX Gold badge

        If you spec a similar micro-PC or whatever the form factor is called, how much does it cost?

        Personally I love that I could take the MM with me easily if I travel though I acknowledge this is probably not a common scenario.

      2. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        Features that don't matter.

        > it's not as small

        That is not really a downside.

        "Not as small" means that it is more maintainable, more flexible, and less likely to cook itself. Smallness is a pretty optional feature in 99% of real consumer use cases. It's not really an advantage.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Features that don't matter.

          "Not as small means that it is more maintainable, more flexible, and less likely to cook itself. Smallness is a pretty optional feature in 99% of real consumer use cases. It's not really an advantage."

          I beg to differ. Sure, a larger desktop does have benefits in maintenance and heat. This I'll grant. But the small form factor is more flexible, because you can put it in places you can't put the large thing, as well as every place you could put the large thing. As for it being necessary, people live in small places. People live in tiny flats, university housing, etc. You don't always have tons of space to put something. If power is so important, you'll probably use some of that limited space for a full-sized desktop. Still, it can be useful to have the option of a small desktop that leaves more room for the other possessions you may have. A small computer like a mini/NUC/raspberry pi is also much easier to use headless. If you want a system for a room, something that small can be slotted nearly anywhere, including just hanging on the wall if there is no convenient place otherwise. A desktop doesn't have that.

    13. ThomH Silver badge

      As I proved recently on another forum, for the same price (of all the models available) I can get a PC that out-performs the Mac for a-half-to-a-third of the price - and that usually a laptop with an HD screen to boot!

      By coincidence, I just disproved this, ummm, on another forum. With my girlfriend, but you wouldn't know her, because she's from Canada.

    14. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re. I can get a PC that out-performs the Mac

      while I applaud the spirit, out of interest, what PC OS would you be using to outperform the Mac?

    15. MichaR

      "Over-priced peddled trash"? Nah...

      Two years ago I switched from an iMac to a Dell XPS with a 27" display because I wanted "more bang for my Euro".

      And man, I would like to bang the sh*t out of that piece of Windows 10 crap on a daily basis.

      If they released this thing 2 years ago, I would have bought it.

      I'll probably buy it now..

    16. This post has been deleted by its author

    17. macjules Silver badge

      1) El Reg is one of the bastions for Apple bashing, so less of the ‘bigging up’ please.

      2) I am (despite the monicker) not a great Mac fan, but the Mac Mini is a bloody nice computer. In this day and age I can give freelancer developers a good, fast (i7 plus 32Gb RAM) machine for around £1000 that beats a MacBook Pro costing over double that. Added to that I can lock all the computers up in a desk drawer at the end of the day.

      Enjoy a downvote Sir.

    18. spitfire31

      But you'd have to run… (shudder) Win 10. 'Nuf said.

    19. Andy Denton

      If you're a developer and you need to produce any native code for iOS you need a Mac and an entry-level Mac Mini fulfils the role perfectly. You might want to think about the real world rather than PC forums populated by 733t haxx0rs before launching ill-conceived rants.

  6. }{amis}{ Silver badge
    Windows

    Not bad

    Looking at it the price is up but not by much when you look at it as a workstation the make or break for me would be how noisy it is when you are thrashing it.

    1. arthoss

      Re: Not bad

      Yeah, for me too. If I have a Hoover of a computer in my small office, I’d have to wear headphones the whole time... I’m looking to replace my MBR 15 with something that supports high definition screens and is quiet.

      1. sed gawk Bronze badge

        Re: Not bad

        DELL precision 5510 about 1200 quid, 32GB RAM, 256GB SSD, can drive 2 4k external displays.

        Supports USB-C external dock - so single USB-C cable provides, power/ network / displays / esata / usb.

        Mine came with dell flavoured ubuntu (14.04).

        I run VMs and C++ workloads and it's a decent mobile workstation, which replaced my 2013 MacTop.

        If you get it, get the dock. and the 180 watt power supply as the laptop will require 130 watt of supply over and above the draw of the dock itself.

        1. The Specialist

          Re: Not bad

          > DELL precision 5510 about 1200 quid, 32GB RAM, 256GB SSD, can drive 2 4k external displays.

          Now you're comparing oranges to potatoes. Mini is not nor meant to replace a laptop. Despite having had MacBook Pro's since G4 days, my next laptop will be Thinkpad running Linux. Just don't know which ThinkPad yet.

          Reason to switch - Apple's decision to glue / bond everything to chassis - I cannot even replace the liquid damaged keyboard without having to buy a new chassis.

          1. sed gawk Bronze badge

            Re: Not bad, Did not offer an opinion on the Mac Mini fwiw.

            Not comparing against MacMini - OP asked for a macbook replacement, " I’m looking to replace my MBR 15 with something that supports high definition screens and is quiet."

            I recommended the machine I used as a macbook replacement.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not bad

      If it's all SSDs, then the only noise is the fan. Which, assuming the design is the same as previous Minis, is very, very quiet.

      1. arthoss

        Re: Not bad

        I don’t mind the odd krrckssskrrrk of harddrive, it’s actually a nice noise. No, when my old mini does makemkv and handbrake it sounds like I’m on the launch pad of an aircraft carrier.

    3. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      At Amis, re: noise while thrashing.

      It depends on what you thrash it with & how hard you beat on it.

      A foam pool noodle & light bonking won't get much, but a nail studded Cricket bat & full-on-power-smashing usually gets lots of screams...

      And from the Mini too!

      *Cough*

  7. Len Silver badge
    Happy

    That £3,859.00 BTO version Andrew is talking about...

    ...has:

    * 3.2GHz 6‑core 8th‑generation Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost up to 4.6GHz)

    * 64GB 2666MHz DDR4

    * 2TB SSD storage

    * 10 Gigabit Ethernet (Nbase-T Ethernet with support for 1Gb, 2.5Gb, 5Gb and 10Gb Ethernet using RJ‑45 connector)

    Quite amazing to have the above in such a small package.

    1. jason 7 Silver badge

      Re: That £3,859.00 BTO version Andrew is talking about...

      And as Apple doesn't have a great reputation when it comes to hot hungry CPUs in small places, it will most likely throttle itself big time making it a waste of money.

      1. JEDIDIAH
        Thumb Down

        Re: That £3,859.00 BTO version Andrew is talking about...

        This style of machine tends to be a problem regardless of who makes it. It's an inherently bad combination of design choices for a power hungry machine.

        I had 3 similar boxes from 3 different vendors (including Apple) that all failed the same way for basically the same reason.

    2. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Re: That £3,859.00 BTO version Andrew is talking about...

      ... and you could save a few pound by buying the RAM elsewhere.

  8. chivo243 Silver badge
    Holmes

    My cost of living

    never seems to keep up with new and shiny gizmos. I wouldn't mind a decent spec'd mac minis to replace the Mac Pros I'm running ESXi on. I'm sure there would be power savings, but would it offset the cost of new mac minis?

  9. Buzzword

    Mac OS X Server isn't what it used to be

    As your colleague pointed out - https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/01/29/farewell_to_macos_server/ - a few months ago, Mac OS X Server has been thoroughly gutted. Gone are the mail server, web server, VPN, and more. It's now just a tool for administering other Mac and iOS devices.

    Of course you can still use a Mac Mini as a departmental server; but you'll need third party tools, and you can no longer expect Apple to support your efforts.

    1. Phil W

      Re: Mac OS X Server isn't what it used to be

      It's not just the software either. Your options for server hardware should not be iMac or Mac Mini form factors with single hard drive, or Mac Pro with multiple drives (assuming you use one of the older tower type not the new sexy cylinder jobs).

      Want a server with enough storage physically attached to store the user profiles and work of a few hundred plus users? Yeah no help there sorry, you'll have to run a Mac Mini to manage the the users and then a Windows/Linux/BSD server or dedicated NAS/SAN appliance for the storage.

      Want your server virtualised, as per industry standard operations these days, to help improve reliability and downtime (forget costs this is Apple we're talking about), nope sorry.

      Most of us are left having to manage network users on Macs through Active Directory, with maybe a Mac "server" thrown in for extra functionality if required.

      Maybe Boris Johnson is secretly running Apple, given the "F*** business" attitude that seems to be prevalent.

    2. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

      Re: Mac OS X Server isn't what it used to be

      I guess you can use it also as a build server, if you write software for macOS.

    3. chivo243 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Mac OS X Server isn't what it used to be

      @Buzzword

      Damn, you are right... I checked my install at home, it's running 10.11.6(as far as she goes!) and it has server 5.2 which still has all of those great things, mail, calendar, contacts mail messages, vpn, websites etc... Jump to the Appstore to see what's current, and I'll be damned! I don't see any of those services in "Server.app" any longer. What a waste...

      1. The Specialist
        Unhappy

        Re: Mac OS X Server isn't what it used to be

        I am almost certain all those services you listed are there, just not easily visible by default. But I agree, Apple is doing us a disservice by making OS X server less relevant.

  10. Jove Bronze badge

    Naysayers ...

    ... all seem to be vociferous Windows advocates - the same old childish dribble.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Naysayers ...

      >... all seem to be vociferous Windows advocates - the same old childish dribble.

      Nope, us Linux folks also think appletards are soft in the head and the wallet.

      1. Wyrdness

        Re: Naysayers ...

        "Nope, us Linux folks also think appletards are soft in the head and the wallet."

        Not all of us Linux folks.

        Some years ago, I decided to get a Mac for my wife, as I didn't really expect her to use my Linux box. Since OS X is Unix and has a terminal app with bash shell, I decided to have a play with it to see what it was like. Surprisingly I found myself using the Mac more and more, until my Linux machine was starting to gather dust. I ended up just using Linux all day at work, and Macs at home. I still resent paying the Apple Tax though. Until this new Mac Mini, I was thinking that my next machine might be a home-built dual-boot OS X / Linux hackintosh, but I'm not sure now that it's worth the effort of hacking/patching ACPI tables to get a stable hackintosh when I could just buy one of these.

        1. soaklord

          Re: Naysayers ...

          Exactly the same thing. I fought the idea of buying Apple products ever since my old ][c died. Couldn't game on one, couldn't justify the tax, hated the interface, etc. My wife is an artist and wanted to use a Mac because, art! I decided that despite her desire for a new, shiny iMac 27" with 1440 vertical resolution, I'd just build her a nice PC that could do all the same stuff for less (this was 2010). Except that I couldn't. By the time I spec'd the machine to be equally as powerful, RAM, HD, etc. then priced out a similar size and resolution display, the closest I could come was $100 less than the iMac. Without an OS. While I'd be happy to run Linux, there's no way the wife was going to do art on a Linux box. Soo... I reluctantly spent the money for a nice iMac in 2010 and hated it. Hated having to use it as our home computer (shared) at the time. Until, one day, the interface started making more sense, the terminology stuck, the keyboard commands started staying in my memory, etc. Now, I type this on a 2016 MBP (prior to the butterfly abomination keyboards, etc.). I have replaced her 27" with a 5k 27", and my 2012 Mac mini has been upgraded to 16gb of RAM with two SSDs and still takes everything I throw at it despite running 24/7. None of my PCs lasted more than a couple of years at best. The only Mac I've killed was the iMac I sheared the monitor mount off the logic board on when attempting to upgrade it to an SSD. I'll pay for Mac repairs to iMacs from now on... Apple makes some bad calls. Butterfly Keyboards are terrible, the 2 core Mac minis from last gen were way underpowered, etc. But for the most part, their stuff lasts, doesn't require reboots every seven hours come out of sleep mode without a hitch, and are pleasing to the eyes. This new Mini has me wondering if there's a way to justify replacing the 2012 quad core mini I have running as my Plex server/desktop/handbrake/makeMKV machine.

        2. JEDIDIAH
          Linux

          Re: Naysayers ...

          I found Apple style apps too limiting and it seemed silly to run mostly Free Software on a non-libre OS.

          The subtle gratuitous differences in MacOS just annoyed the other users in my household. Lack o of that "pervasive 3rd party support" also didn't help.

          Then there's that whole problem with doing something slightly "creative". Apple users don't seem to appreciate power users that push boundaries. Windows the OS may be crap but the user community is far less pedestrian.

      2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        Re: Naysayers ...

        "Nope, us Linux folks also think appletards are soft in the head and the wallet."

        Nothing soft about my wallet thankyouverymuch

      3. Jove Bronze badge

        Re: Naysayers ...

        ... but the free-loads tend to be a little more well-informed and civilised (well, with a few exceptions) than the average Windows advocate/lobbyist.

    2. arthoss

      Re: Naysayers ...

      It’s human to be afraid of what you don’t know.

      1. JEDIDIAH
        Devil

        Re: Naysayers ...

        > It’s human to be afraid of what you don’t know.

        What makes you think we haven't "been there" and done that? What makes you think we haven't been there and done that multiple times going all the way back to the 68K days?

  11. confused and dazed
    Windows

    some of these comments get on my wick

    Can we stop all the Apple basing .... it's tedious.

    All this willy waving about it not being powerful enough for your use case is just juvenile bollocks. Well done, you can find a higher spec machine for less money - you must be hung like a blue whale - happy now ?

    If people knowingly want to spend more on a Mac - let them. Some folk waste money on flash cars or fancy meals ....

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: some of these comments get on my wick

      I think there's a few people on here who like to troll the dedicated Apple users and get some perverse pleasure out of doing so. I call it Macsterbaiting.

      1. Glen 1 Bronze badge

        Re: some of these comments get on my wick

        I think the issue is that many comments are bigging up the plus points, and are blind to the faults of their chosen platform.

        In many cases it's not facts, it's feelings.

        Where there *are* facts, people don't have the same set of priorities.

        Reminds me of something...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: some of these comments get on my wick

        >Macsterbaiting.

        I thought that's what iTards did when they received their latest new fruit ?

        At least you're making Tim O'Grady's Paul Cook's day.

      3. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: some of these comments get on my wick<

        I think there's a few people on here who like to troll the dedicated Apple users and get some perverse pleasure out of doing so. I call it Macsterbaiting.

        So it that what all of you Apple fainbois get up to at night?

        1. Just Another SteveO

          Re: some of these comments get on my wick<

          Read the context you ermm macsterbaiter...

  12. naive

    Apple mini for the price of an Alienware gaming rig with i7/16GB/PCIe M.2 SSD/1070Ti

    Apple an be admired for the ability to punch people in the face and get boat loads of money in return :).

    1. snozdop

      Re: Apple mini for the price of an Alienware gaming rig with i7/16GB/PCIe M.2 SSD/1070Ti

      "Apple mini for the price of an Alienware gaming rig with i7/16GB/PCIe M.2 SSD/1070Ti"

      Doesn't matter. You might as well say "Apple mini for the price of a three piece suite" - if you're in the market for a Mac, an Alienware gaming rig isn't going to be a suitable alternative.

  13. xanda

    Please sir - I want some more...

    We bought an original line Mac Mini G4 when they were first released. We were tired of Win2k/XP and really wanted a change; something capable and elegant yet fun.

    The base model seemed good value even if a little more pricey than the equivalent spec PC. The promise of an essentially open sourced OS plus a generally willing attitude to make stuff work nicely - especially with our Nokia S40 & S60 phones - was a big factor in deciding to quit MS/PC land. Its ability to work with HD video as standard was definitely a big plus and, if we remember rightly again, ahead of its time.

    There was even a complementing DTV/Firewire receiver which Apple marketed with gusto at the time (although this has sunk without trace since) as a well as the Griffin FireWave - a 5.1 Dolby AC3 interface. We couldn't afford it at the time but the promise of having a novel and capable home theatre/gaming platform was certainly something to look forward to.

    Plus it could run Halo!

    Upgrades were pricey: If memory serves it cost us £399 for the base model with 512MB RAM and the basic superdrive which could read but not write DVDs. The options for 1GB and DVD burner were outrageously expensive - another £150 or so. We waited about a year and fitted our own RAM and optical upgrade for less than £50.

    It served us well as our main desktop and did loads of photo's and video which would have been more tedious on a PC platform. But when Apple hobbled it after just a couple of years by ending support for PowerPC - no Snow Leopard too - we couldn't really see sense in plowing more money Apples way. It's a shame because the rest of the world was really warming up to the Apple ecosystem at the time with hardware & peripheral support getting better.

    We considered an upgrade, perhaps to the iMac, but with Steve Jobs' stubborn refusal to incorporate Blu-Ray into the range we decided not to bother with Apple any further.

    Our Mac Mini still lives on as a basic file and print server and it works delightfully still. But with the initial outlay and its subsequent assassination by Apple we can't help feeling we deserved better for the dosh - maybe we're not alone?

  14. JDX Gold badge

    Never a budget option?

    I am typing this on my late 2012 unibody MacMini. I bought it just before they refreshed the line in 2014 and made it far worse... no quad-core option, less upgradability.

    It cost less than £500 for an i7 with 8Gb RAM (which I upgraded). That was a bargain really for a Mac.

    So what does the new one get me for all the extra cash? 1Tb SSD as standard? Proper GPU? And can I still upgrade the disk and RAM or have they dropped that feature? Mine is a little erratic and I have thought about replacing it so this is good timing - but for "comfortably over £1000" maybe I might as well get a MacBook or iMac?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re. I had a front-row seat in 2005 when the Mac mini was launched*

    presumably, given the star leading to a black hole, this must have been the moment when Mr Orlowski asked THE question which has made the register so famous worldwide for being not blacklisted (and yet!) by apple :)

    Or was it calling them a "Cult" more than once? (A fair assessment! :)

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: re. I had a front-row seat in 2005 when the Mac mini was launched*

      Whatever happened to Front Row, eh? It was perfect for a Mac Mini so of course Apple got rid of it.

  16. mmccul

    mini TOSLINK gone?

    When I looked at it, the specs seem to imply that the combination headphone/microphone/mini-toslink port is now just a headphone/microphone port. That means my only option for digital audio output may be the HDMI port, which is a lot harder to split into two channels to send into both zone A and zone B of my stereo system.

    I like several aspects of the unit, but that item does concern me if confirmed.

    Of course, my late 2014 mac mini shows no sign of needing replacement any year soon, so by the time I do replace it, Apple may have another unit out, and my (already ten year old) stereo may be ready for a replacement as well.

  17. Joe Gurman

    Really, Mr. Orlowski

    A quick trip to Apple's Website would tell you that the current (2017 vintage) iMac models offer a headphone jack, 4 x USB-3 ports, 2 x USB-C ports, and a Gbit Ethernet RJ-45 port — and an SDXC card slot. Admittedly, no HDMI port, but with an inbuilt Retina display that's better than anything standalone display of the same size you can find....

  18. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Where as the Mac Mini might be a well made a decent bit of kit, it is NOT a server. (Although apple price it like it is)

    It reminds me of when I used to work for a local education authority around 15 years ago, we used to get schools going with cheaper quotes from other IT business for 'servers' for the school network than the ones we would provide.

    When you went out an looked at what they had bought, they were just a PC in a tower case and often no better specs than the ones they had on the desks for the students to use, but with Windows server installed on it. And they wondered why they would begin to fail after a couple of years of being left running 24/7, right after any warranty they had with the original company had ran out.

  19. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Meh

    There's no reason for a Mac Mini to not have held its price since the 2005 launch

    Compare and contrast with Intel NUCs and similar.

    If they're hoping that people will buy a Mac Mini because of its operating system, they could at least put some effort into that as well. So far all that seems to change is an extra 0.5 GB of RAM required per major release.

    But given that NUCs and Macs have similar hardware, NUCs are easily Hackintoshable.

  20. Marty McFly
    Pint

    Said I would, and I did

    Been waiting several years with money in hand for an updated Mini. Order has been placed like I said I would. Looking forward to the delivery next Wednesday.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Said I would, and I did

      Before checking if it's upgradable, unlike the 2014 Mac Mini?

      Brave decision...

  21. Ommerson

    One of the USPs

    Often not mentioned - but one killer application of Mac Minis is as build servers.

    If you're building iOS applications and using CI (and many are), you have no choice but to use a Mac as a build machine. Laptops and iMacs don't stack up well in rack cabinets. All those ports are also useful for attaching a load of extra storage.

  22. Mellipop

    You need a mini

    You had to be reasonable otherwise you would appear needy:

    "you can only reasonably do so via an up-to-date XCode, which usually needs and up-to-date MacOS"

    Macs are the only machines you can work on to develop software for any device.

    Admit it, deep down, you would love to own a real Mac. Not a hackintosh.

  23. David Crowe

    OSX Server Software Lives

    I was told by someone from Apple a few months ago that Apple would stop supporting their OSX Server software, which would have killed my reason for having a Mac Mini, but hopefully he was giving me erroneous information, and the Server software would live on, because I really don't want to learn how to configure all the Unix configuration files myself.

  24. Bob Carter

    Perception of speed

    I have never been a fanbois - the sheer price and current inability to upgrade or maintain apple kit yourself stifle that. But I switched to a second hand Macbook 5 years ago for work reasons and I have never wanted to go back. Why ?

    It is fast enough for what I want it to do - the UI tricks that give it a seemingly fast response make it a joy to use. Things like, clicking on a button and getting an instant response - having multiple desktops - actually being able to run multiple programs - choosing when I want to install software patches - regular free OS upgrades that just work. Excellent power control - long battery life - mine is still on the original battery and going strong.

    I do keep a desktop Windows machine but just for 1 purpose - to run a flight simulator - as the equivalent hardware from Apple would be 3 times the cost, and I am considering moving that to Linux so that I have control over the system updates..

    I repair Windows PCs & Laptops for friends, family and a local school, I have lost count of the reinstalls I have to do from botched forced upgrades/patches or users who unwittingly run recovery and factory reset their machines. Programs/Printers that worked last week being uninstalled or broken by the latest OS patches. Ridiculous Boot times, never sure if it has accepted your click and just queued opening the app - then suddenly a minute or so later getting duplicate windows openinge... Or have all my clients just been conned into buying the cheapest machines that really are not capable of running Windows 10.

    My current Macbook is the last of the upgradable Macbooks - mid 2012 - it should still be usable in 5 years time. I could sell it today for a minimal loss after 5 years, the 2nd hand prices being so high. But it will probably be my last apple purchase. I can't see me paying out that much again for a new apple box that I can not open simply and upgrade the memory or disk. Though if the 2018 mac mini proves to be upgradeable I will be keeping an eye on the second hand market in 5 years time !

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