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Chris Kim

Buy a Mac Mini? Or build a dual boot pc?

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I need a desktop computer that I can use for power stuff, like video stuff, DVD burning, games, etc...


I have a powerbook g4 right now, but I think I need a desk machine. So the question is,


Do I buy a Mac Mini and hope/wait for windows to be able to run on it? Or should I build a machine with the intel 915 chipset and install a hacked osx/windows xp on it? I like having windows close by incase there's something I really need to do on it. Any opinions are welcome. Thanks :D

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This is something you need to judge for yourself. However:


There are bugs still in the genuine apple release of OSX for intel. Having a legitimate machine means you can just auto download software updates, easy.


you get a funky tiny box, and a remote, cool :D



Your built up box may be quicker if you make the right choices.


your built up box is cheap to add extra ram and big internal hard disk. (as the case is also big and uses full size components)


I'm assuming you already have a nice LCD monitor, keyboard, and mouse? if not, by the time you go to 1gb ram and a 120gb drive in the dual core mini your basicly around the price of a dual core 17" imac, a much better machine. particularly if you include the isight in the price.


i've modified my PC enough to be able to run OSX, and it's just very nearly almost a mac. but it isn't. i can't start it in target disk mode to transfer user accounts to a different machine either.


I think if you like OSX, and want to use it full time as the main OS, you have to get a real mac. Although you have the powerbook anyway...


For people that don't mind mucking around with patching constantly, the PC (with osx) is a good way to go but you have to always consider the risk that one day you'll patch it and it won't start up and you have to stuff around with it.


i'm going through much the same thoughts myself lately. I do music stuff, and like to play games. Have recently picked up a 700mhz emac to toy with too. but haven't owned current macs in years.


unless you need a powerbook, i'd consider selling your lcd monitor if you have one, sell your powerbook, and use the mac mini money to get an imac. Well, that's what i'll probably do anyway :D Remember that a few guys are very very close to having XP running on mac. Wait till this happens. if it works well, they you can dual boot the mac. Dual core 2ghz 20" imac for me, with 10gb Raptor X 10,000rpm internal drive and 2 gb ram. :) :) :)

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My main concern is the cost. A mac mini with the specs I want could cost me over $700, but a do it myself PC would cost me substantially less than that... Still open to opinions though-


I guess I dont mind patching. I was also considering that I'll have a much bigger case, so I can spend $125 or so on a 320gb HD, where as it'd be much less GB per $ with the mini.


I dont have an LCD, but I have a projector that my desktop is hooked up to (I only remote desktop into right now, and use it for movies on the projector, it's a 1ghz celeron).


I have an apple keyboard/mouse, so that's not an issue.


I have to have a laptop, because I'm a CS major, and I'm also involved in alot of other stuff that requires me to have a computer with me.

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Now that you know that you can run windows on the 'real' macs, does this ease your decision at all? I would personally use external firewire drives with the mini for now, until cheaper 2.5" SATA drives come onto the market.

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I actually decided that I'm going to build a custom PC that will be compatible with mac osx86. It's much more cost efficient, although it's not as pretty. For $309, I got a compatible motherboard, a Celeron D 2.58 ghz processor, 1gb ram, and a 200gb HD and a DVD+-RW.


I figured, even if I had gotten a $200 dual core cpu, it would still have been cheaper than buying a mac mini, and now I have money to buy a nice LCD or something. Plus, I can run windows, as well as my audigy2, other cards without a worry.

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