I made the leap yesterday, and have started an adventure in a new world called Macintosh.
I purchased a Mac Mini.
Weighing in at 2.9 lbs and costing me $680 ($599 for the Mac Mini and $30 for the keyboard) I figured that this was the perfect way to introduce myself to the world of OS X, while also filling a need I had for testing software on Mac.
I purchased from CompUSA in Ann Arbor. The experience was a good one, as there was an Apple Store rep there at CompUSA who was more than happy to take some time and answer any questions that I had. Some of those questions:
q: Can I use a VGA monitor?
a: YES! The Mac Mini comes with a DVI -> VGA adapter that allows PC users who already have a monitor available to them to connect that up to their Mac.
q: Do I have to buy a special keyboard and mouse?
a: NO. You can use any USB keyboard / mouse with the Mac. Even a two button w/ scroll mouse works just fine. If you buy the Apple keyboard you'll notice that it comes with an extra USB port on it, so you could just plug your mouse into that and that way you would have one USB port free on the Mini.
q: What about speakers?
a: The Mac Mini has a regular headphone jack that you can use with external speakers or with headphones. I also found out that it has a built in speaker as well.
q: I do quite a bit of media production. Creating music / movies on the PC using Sony's Vegas Video and Acid Pro 4.0. Is there similar software for the Mac?
a: YES. Mac is made for media production. The Mac Mini even comes with some software that will help you get started like iPhoto, GarageBand, iTunes, iDVD, and iMovie - which are all part of the iLife Suite.
q: Will Mac Mini be able to handle the heavy processor load for music / video creation and editing?
a: KINDA. Mac Mini was made to accomplish exactly what it did with me - get a PC user to check out the "other side" of the playground. It's not a "power" machine by any means. It has a laptop processor and comes with 256 MB ram installed. (can be upgraded very easily to 1GB for $114 through Crucial - thanks for the tip Kevin!) When doing music creation in GarageBand, for instance, you may notice a difference in speed if you're working with anything over 5 tracks. Also - although iLife comes with iDVD, you won't be able to burn DVD's unless you add in the Apple SuperDrive to the Mac Mini. These points didn't sway my decision too much as part of the goal of purchasing the Mac is to check out the software - and if I like it, upgrade to a G5 system later this year.
q: Networking? Does it support it?
a: YES. Mac Mini comes with a built in 10/100 network card, so you can just plug it into your hub/router and you're ready to go! You can also get the optional AirPort Express to give you wireless freedom.
a: 90 days - full. 1 year limited, with the option to buy Apple Care Protection for an additional $150.
q: Will it make me cool?
a: YES. As soon as you make the purchase you'll notice that people, starting with the clerk, will start treating you different. It will have nothing to do with you just spending $680. You'll have entered a secret club and should get your handbook with special Mac slang cheat sheets and instructions on how to do the Mac Mini handshake within a couple of weeks.
I think if I had signed up for Apple Care, they would have thrown in a decoder ring and lapel pin... but oh well.
With these questions answered I was prepared to make the leap... and I did.
Next post: First look and initial thoughts...