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Mac Mini

Posted by Ub3rG33k on May 10, 2010 in Apple, Tech

“Dear Mr Jobs,

When I said “Your work here was done”, in my previous post about my iPhone, I may have been telling porkies, as I still had a Windows machine in the house, however you’ll be glad to know, that I’ve done the right thing, and replaced it with a Mac Mini. Sorry for the porkie, and I am now 100% Apple.

Your ever faithful disciple

Darren.”

As you can probably tell from the above, I’ve replaced my last remaining Windows machine with a Mac Mini (Really ? No sh1t Sherlock). To be honest I’ve been toying with the idea since getting the MacBooks last year, as essentially all the Windows machine did was act as a server. It was my media server, my iTunes server, my torrent downloading machine (all legal of course) and a way of dialling into my network from the outside world using remote desktop and port forwarding.

As you can probably suss from my ted post, I spent a little time and ensured that I could still carry out the same functions on the Mac.

I’m using PS3 Media Server to stream to my PS3’s and Xbox,I’m using a uTorrents as my torrent client,iTunes (obviously) for my iTunes server and finally VNC to dial it.

All these pieces of software are available cross platform, so all is good.

The Mac Mini turned up on Monday (unboxing below). The thing that got me about this was just how small the Mac Mini actually is, imagine stacking 4/5 CD cases onto of each other, and that it !

This this is silent, so compact, so tidy, and takes up no room whatsoever !.

As this is just going to be used for the same purpose the Windows machine was, I didn’t really need a high spec, as the Dell I was replacing was only a 2Gb Core 2 Duo, with 2Gb of Ram.

I went for the below, which to be honest it more than adequate for what I need.

  • 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • 2GB memory
  • 160GB hard drive1
  • 8x double-layer SuperDrive
  • NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics
  • Mac OS X Snow Leopard

Now unlike the iMac, this doesn’t come with a mouse or keyboard, these are optional, however I had a spare set kicking around. The Mac Mini does have an internal speaker (which to be honest I was a little shocked at, as this device is so small. You do however have the option of connecting external speakers via the 3.5mm jack plug at the back.

The Video out connections are both the Mini DVI and the Mini Displayport adapters, allowing you to connect this to VGA, DVI and HDMI, however you only get a Mini DVI to DVI connecter included.

As with all my apple equipment, I switched it on, entered my details, and done !

This has been the final piece is a very expensive jigsaw, however my household is completely Mac, Goodbye Windows, I hope I never have to use you again ! (well, I do have to use it every day at work…but I don’t really have a choice in that)

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Happy Mac Day !

Posted by Ub3rG33k on Mar 17, 2010 in Apple

Well after much consideration, I finally took to plunge and bought a 27″ iMac.

I’ve been running Mac OSX on my PC now for a good few months, and I’ve also got a MacBook Pro. A couple of things were holding me back, first of all gaming ability. As you are probably more than aware, I game….alot ! and the majority of games come out on the PC. Now I know you can run Parallels desktop, and similar wine based software to allow you to run up Windows games on the mac, but there seems to be only a handful of games that run 100%.

Currently I have the option to boot up my Windows 7 drive in my PC and all is good. I was aware of bootcamp too, however until last week I’d not put this to use.

As mentioned, last week, I was going on a VB.net training course and had to put Windows on my Mac, in case I needed to run through anything on a evening….installed windows XP, installed the Bootcamp drivers, and everything ran very smooth 🙂

Another announcement 2 weeks ago which helped sway my decision was the announcement of Steam coming to the Mac in April, and they would also be bringing with them the Valve games. They’ve also said that if you already own any of the Steam games, eg Half Life, Portal, Team Fortress, there is no need to repurchase them !

So the decision was made at the weekend and I bought and iMac 27″. I decided to go with the Quad Core i5 version as I don’t plan on replacing this for a couple of years. When I say I bought 1, I actually mean that I ordered 2, and C wanted one too, as our current machines are around 2 1/2 years old.

I decided as we will have 2 iMacs and 2 MacBook Pros, it was only sensible to get a Time Capsule too. We do currently use our 2Tb Acer Aspire EasyStore for the majority of our storage, but through it would be advantageous to have the Time Capsule for the “what if” factor.

As you can guess by the title of this post, today everything has turned up !

Below are the images of the unboxing of both the iMacs and the the Time Capsule apparently turns up tomorrow.

The huge brown boxes

Unboxed from said brown boxes

Unboxed

The Keyboard

Keyboard and Mouse

Again, the keyboard and mouse

This is how slim the magic mouse is

and this size of the keyboard

Size of the screen, compared to my 15.4″ MacBook Pro

The spec from the box

Finally in place

C with the original PC in place

Both in position

and finally to give you an idea of the screen resolution, below is a google search ! Look at all the white !

Finally, how is it ?

Let me tell you, it’s huge, it’s fast, it’s deadly quiet, and it’s Apple !…..so yup it works really well. The mouse and keyboard are taking a little getting used to, apart from that, I’m loving it !

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Windows 7 Beta, a couple of weeks in.

Posted by Ub3rG33k on Feb 3, 2009 in Microsoft

I’ve now been using windows 7 beta on my spare machine for a couple of weeks, and it pains me to say, I’m impressed.  It’s rock solid, and not fallen over once.

The machine I’m running it on is a Dell Vostro 220 that I bought toward the end of last year.

The Spec is as follows

2Ghz Core 2 Duo

2Gb Ram

2 x 150Gb Sata Hard Drives

ATI 3450 256Mb Dedicated Graphics

Onboard sound

All driver I’m using are in inbuilt Windows drivers, apart from the ATI drivers which are beta.

I’m currently running, Tversity, Utorrent, MKV2VOB, Imgburn, Epson CDprint. Now granted I’m not really pushing it, well apart from the Vob encoding, and the Tversity encoding, but it’s worked flawlessly since I installed it on the 21st Jan 2009.

Taking the above into consideration, I decided to ghost my hard drive on my main gaming PC, and install it on the main drive, big mistake !

Now I will be honest, my machine isn’t the best example of a standard machine, as I’ve had a number of issues with it. There is nothing phyically wrong with it, hardware wise, it’s just have had some (Microsoft hates ATI, and ATI can’t write drivers for toffee issues)

The spec is as follows

AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ Dual Core CPU
4GB DDR2 5400 OCZ Memory
Asus M2R32-MVP SB600 chipset Motherboard
1 x Pioneer 212 DVD-Multi Drive
1 x WD 500Gb 7200 Hard Drive
2 x WB 250GB 7200 Hard Drive
ATI 2900HD 1Gb Video Card

Now the initial problems I had were with the installation, As I have a SATA DVD drive the AHCI doesn’t like working, however I was able to crowbar the operating system on, this worked ok, however the system paused every couple of seconds, and the hard drive light lit up like a Christmas tree.

So based on this, I put the hard drives into IDE Native mode, and reinstalled, and this fixed the pausing problem.

Driver support….well apart from ATI, NONE ! I know the software is in beta stages, but Geeez, didn’t manufacturers learn thier lesson from the Vista release, I remember waiting for months for Soundblaster to release stable drivers, I ended up taking my XFI card out and using the onboard card instead.

The ATI drivers were Video only, so I have no motherboard drivers, which mean much slowness. I attempted to use the Vista drivers, nope, forget it, just hung. I found that any vista drivers I tried, just made the system hang (fair enough, they ain’t for Windows 7)

I tried to run a few games with the current machine, and they run bad. If they would run at all, they were slow and choppy.

Now I do understand, that the majority of the issues are driver related, so I’ll keep an eye on these and retest at a later date.

As an operating system, I actually can’t wait for it to come out, it’s what Vista should have, and hopefully everybody will forget Vista even happened (kinda like Windows ME).

I like the way the Widgets are no longer on the windows sidebar, I love the preview Window when you scroll over the bottom bar, like the management of the taskbar menu.

Will update when more drivers are available, but at the moment a 2 thumbs up

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