PC Mac Mini equivalent
July 16, 2006 10:56 PM   Subscribe

What's the Mac Mini equivalent in the Windows world?

Of course, it has to cost cheaper than the Mac Mini to be a valid answer.
posted by falameufilho to Computers & Internet (19 answers total)
Well, with the competition and choices available in the PC world, I don't think there is any single equivalent. bookpc.com sells several machines which are similar in terms of size, speed and cost.
posted by darkness at 11:18 PM on July 16, 2006

Best answer: ... A Mac Mini running Windows XP via Bootcamp? I'm serious.
posted by nathan_teske at 11:24 PM on July 16, 2006

Best answer: nathan_teske has it - the Windows equivalent of a Mac Mini is a Mac Mini. Thanks to Bootcamp (or even Parallels) Windows != PC.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 11:31 PM on July 16, 2006

I'd've said any of the Shuttle-type PC options... something like these
posted by pompomtom at 11:33 PM on July 16, 2006

Bear in mind that if you do it the legal way, you have to buy a copy of XP off the shelf to install on your Mac Mini. XP Pro cost me $300.

Upside: it's totally sweet.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:41 PM on July 16, 2006

Worth pointing out that retail XP is transferable to another computer, unlike OEM. So while it's really expensive to buy retail, you need to buy it only once, as long as you're using it on only one computer at a time.
posted by Malor at 11:51 PM on July 16, 2006

Of course, it has to cost cheaper than the Mac Mini to be a valid answer.

Of course? Why of course?
posted by Prince Nez at 11:52 PM on July 16, 2006

The AOpen MiniPC is basically a Mac mini clone. It starts at $533 including Windows.
posted by cillit bang at 11:52 PM on July 16, 2006

you can DIY mini-itx systems pretty cheap but they might be noisier. the epia sp8000 has some pretty impressive specs but kind of pootered out for me with its weak onboard video drivers for serious multimedia. I saw this sub-100 recently for $75.
posted by psychobum at 2:28 AM on July 17, 2006

Here's a vote for a DIY. My BioStar MiniITX is much bigger than the Mac Mini, but it is very quiet. They're established, conservative, efficient designs—I wouldn't be so comfortable with cheap-looking Mini knock-offs.

The "big" advantage is of course expandability. Tho I always roll my eyes when people knock Macs for lack of expandability, if you are getting a PC it's a mistake to limit yourself to a tiny package not labored over by Apple. Seize the traditional benefits of the platform, or something like that.
posted by Doctor Barnett at 5:05 AM on July 17, 2006

Somewhat related question
posted by neustile at 5:35 AM on July 17, 2006

I'm no Mac expert, but, as I understand it, the Mac Mini has limited expandability, mediocre video and a slowish processor. The upside, though, is that it's small and quiet. Sounds exactly like a mini-itx to me.

If mini-itx isn't small enough, perhaps you'd like nano-itx. Hmm. Where else have I heard those modifiers?
posted by box at 6:12 AM on July 17, 2006

People have always exaggerated the price difference between Macs and PCs, and it was hard to call them out on it because of the different hardware. But now that Macs and PCs are essentially the same hardware, I've found that similarly speced machines, regardless of who makes them, tend to cost about the same. It's also easy to see that there are no super low-end Macs, given that they start with Core Duos. Just get the Mac. It'll make you happier. At least avoid getting stuck with some end-of-the-line chip like a Pentium.
posted by yesno at 7:29 AM on July 17, 2006

box-- the processors in the Mac Mini are far, far better than the VIA chipsets. Don't mind the clockspeed-- in my experience a VIA 1ghz performs like a 500mhz pentium M. I've done quite a lot of work with VIA boards, I have a nano-ITX sitting on the desk here. They are great tiny computers but they are not performers. The dual core Mac Mini embarrasses the mini-ITX boards. It is also cheaper!! After getting the right power supply & DC->AC transformer, disk, ram, case, you're guaranteed to spending more than a Mac Mini. And the Mac can boot any OS, of course.

The Mini-iTX does have more expandability-- most let you have an AGP or PCI slot. The nano has a mini-pci slot.
posted by neustile at 7:33 AM on July 17, 2006

Dan Cederholm had a good post about this last year, with lots of useful links pouring in.
posted by timetoevolve at 7:56 AM on July 17, 2006

Response by poster: Prince Nez - It has to be cheaper than a Mac Mini because otherwise I am better off with a Mac Mini and Bootcamp as our good friends suggested. :-)
posted by falameufilho at 9:53 AM on July 17, 2006

It's also easy to see that there are no super low-end Macs, given that they start with Core Duos.

Actually, the bottom of the line Mini has a "core solo" processor, whatever that means. I presume it means there's only one processor core on the chip.
posted by ikkyu2 at 1:13 PM on July 17, 2006

A mini-itx system will be significantly larger than an Apple mini and in all likelihood uglier. Apple is very good at building small, pretty devices.

There aren't many companies around that could make a system like the mini. Sony could. Dell could make an ugly one. Smaller companies will be put off by the motherboard engineering cost and complexity. Look at VIA's nano-itx fiasco.
posted by ryanrs at 2:56 PM on July 17, 2006

the new ones from Shuttle look ok
posted by mr.marx at 4:04 AM on July 18, 2006

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