Time to geek out a bit. Our new Mac Mini arrived yesterday and I spent the evening setting it up. Here's the low down.
2.3 GHz Quad core i7
1 TB Fusion Drive with 128 GB Flash
Dell Ultrasharp U2412M 24"
Logitech C920 HD Webcam
Our current computer is a late 2006 24" iMac. It's been a great machine, but has started acting up over the last 6 months. The Mini arrived yesterday and I'm about half way through setting it up.
Physically the Mini is very compact and surprisingly heavy. The solid aluminium shell feels like you could fire this thing out of a cannon and do some serious damage. The 16 GB upgrade is still to do, so I haven't looked inside.
Mountain Lion is a little different, I had Snow Leopard on our old machine. The reversed scrolling is a little odd at first, I'll see how everyone else takes to it and if the consensus is thumbs-down I'll switch it back. The ability to resize windows from any edge or corner is amazing. What a great idea. We're living in the future!
Performance - Nice and quick so far. I can open my 160 GB iPhoto library in a couple of seconds and scroll up and down through the events view from top to bottom with only very barely perceptible lag. I was concerned that pushing that much data on to the fusion drive would flush everything else off Flash storage and hit performance, but it doesn't look like it so far. From what I understand if you copy more than 4 GB of data on to it in one go the overspill goes directly to the hard drive.
Copying across my old iTunes media folder was more awkward. I couldn't get iTunes on the new machine to open it directly even though it's the same version, so instead I copied it to a temporary location then imported the old library into the new one. This copied across everything except the PDFs in my books library. Audiobooks and ebooks were fine but I had to copy across the PDFs manually. This method would also lose any playlists, but I only had a few and didn't use them much so no biggie, but for anyone who uses iTunes for music heavily this would be a problem. I have not yet tried syncing our phones or iPad to it yet, that's for tonight.
To be fair, I didn't use Migration Assistant. If I had most likely iTunes would have been fine, but I wanted as much manual control of the process as possible and paid the price. I used MA a few years ago to restore from a time machine backup when our first internal drive failed and it was quick and had no issues.
I installed Chrome, Firefox, Skype and MS Office 2011. All went smoothly. They open in 2 bounces or less and are very responsive.
The Dell Ultrasharp is lovely. I have two slightly older but similar Dell monitors at work, but the IPS panel in this unit seems a little better at first look. I did have one brief issue with the screen switching to white noise, which was resolved by power cycling the display. I found some advice online to set the screen saver delay lower than the power save delay and have not had a problem since then, but keeping an eye out for any recurrences. Apparently it's driver issues with the integrated GPU. That's what you get for getting the latest/greatest I suppose. Everyone knows to wait a few months for teething troubles like this to get worked out. Oh well.
The Logitech C920 HD Webcam worked fine with no software installs or settings tweaks. Sound is fine too. I've not actually tried Skype yet, but gave it a try with Photo Booth and the pics and video were OK. The attachment clips on webcams are often a problem, but this is one of the better ones I've seen and perches perfectly on the Dell, it's as though they were made for each other. I might still try adding a few judicious blobs of blutack. I was setting everything up in late evening under artificial light so I've not considered screen or webcam calibration yet. I'll probably leave that for the weekend.
Tonight I'll put in the 16 GB upgrade, sync the phones and iPad to it, install some more software and maybe spin up a few virtual machines if I have time. The real test will be iMovie. It worked, but used to take 15 minutes to start up on our old machine, especially after I got a camera that took 720p video.