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★ Slow show

Recently I bought a mac mini, for reasons I’ve mentioned before, primarily to take care of a little bit of iOS app-making. I was tempted at one point to splash out and buy one of the nice and light macbook airs, but at the time I wanted the best bang for buck, so I went with a compromise machine, the low-end mac mini.

I decided to buy this machine whilst on the road, at this point somewhere in Mexico. I went with the lowest end machine possible, really, though I wasn’t expecting to be as wowed (in both the positive or negative) as has been my experience to date.

I noticed Ben Brooks posting his thoughts on a similar purchase, made recently to replace a broken mac laptop. Given how closely his experience has matched mine (and given how we’ve both been spoilt using iPads and Macbook Airs), I thought I’d share some of that with you here;

On the mini every single thing I did felt like it was being bogged down by the hard drive. Want to search for a file, sure thing, just let me think about that for 15 seconds.

Boot up and shut down was slow.

Search was slow.

Opening apps was slow.

Scrolling large lists of files in a Finder was slow.

To which, I might add;

Emptying the trash is slow.

Writing text is slow.

Having two windows open at the same time is slow.

In short, the mac mini has not been the whiz kid I hoped for, nor even the mildly lazy teenager I’d anticipated. It’s been sloooow. Switching from the SSD iPad, or the lovely Air, it’s a clunky beast, unhappy and unwilling to help me out. It probably doesn’t help that I’m (as often as not) using the machine through a funky screen sharing app on the iPad, but still, even when I’m on a dedicated monitor/keyboard/mouse setup, it’s a pain. I expect I’ll do some upgrades when I get back (the RAM for one), though at this point it’s hard to justify the cost of a 500GB SSD – so it’s likely that I’ll be mentioning this issue again at some point in the future.

Overall, I’m not unhappy with this machine. It’s given me the tools I needed to pull off a spot of iOS development (I can’t wait until the day that it’s possible to write, review, compile and distribute all from the iPad), and it’s been reasonably reliable. Unlike Ben, I’m not going to send it back for the refund (it’s too bloody hard to do that in Mexico, anyway!).

I’m generally happy with the Mac Mini, once given a bit of a speed boost (via RAM), it will certainly make a welcome addition to the apple commercial our household is becoming.