While recently in the US, I took advantage of the Euro/Dollar exchange rate and bought an Apple Mac mini — the stock $499 version, with only a 512MB memory upgrade. This small machine has turned out to be wonderful.
At home, I’ve got a Mac G5 desktop machine, and my wife has an old-generation iMac. The mini now sits perched atop the G5. Before the mini, we had two problems:
1. I’m constantly tinkering with Macintosh software, installing, trying, removing, etc. The end result is that I often need to restart my machine. As my G5 was formerly used as our home file and database server, this was causing all kinds of problems for my wife, as I’d sometimes restart my machine without realizing that she’s currently accessing the filesystem. The mini now functions as our home server — file system (via two, large, mirrored external FireWire drives), backup and archive (using SyncPro to archive deleted/removed files to a third external FireWire drive), database and IMAP mail server. It’s been running now for over 25 days, without a hiccup.
2. All of the system administration scripts that ran overnight on my G5 have been migrated to the mini. For example, an rsync script that mirrors our company file server to my local filesystem. This required my G5 to stay running 24/7, and occasionally its loud fans would wake us up at night! Now, the only machine I need to leaving awake at night is the mini, and it’s nearly silent.
Overall, I’m very happy with this new addition to our Macintosh collection. 🙂