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Mac Mini Server Review

July 1, 2011

I bought a Mac Mini Server,

Unless you are a multi-talented computer genius it’s often better to buy a prepacked computer rather than assembling your own, here is why

  1. You are not a hardware genius, unless you don’t do anything else with computers other than building them, you don’t follow the hardware industry’s news everyday, so you don’t know what works best and what works best with what, but people who make these computers at giant companies like Apple, HP, Dell and etc do this for living and know their stuff much better than you who happen to be a graphic designer, web developer, programmer, system administrator, gamer, or an average computer user. So the parts and configurations they choose usually works better!
  2. You are not a System Administration genius either, you don’t know which server editions, and which configurations works best for your operating system and for your hardware. It will take a lot of time for you to build a complete server that works,  and works well as a system! Again the giant companies do have experts who know these stuff and have often are the creator of server software.
  3. Sorry, but you are not a security genius either, giant companies have those guys as well!

Buy buying a prepacked and pre-installed server you are actually hiring a whole group of professionals to assemble your server for you. Unless you think you know better than them, you probably are far safer buying a complete server, and then modifying the software and settings a little bit to suit your needs.

How about economy? We all love money and we hate to pay less, and receive more, what’s more important than economy? love? yeah right!

Well, my server after taxes, with a three year apple care, costs about $1300, think about it, it’s 13 gorgeous little baby one hundred dollar bills! with that I could go to dollar store and buy exactly 1000 useless things, but I made the wise decision not to. They also gave me a free $100 iTunes gift card which I’m gonna use for buying self help audio books, and an unlimited one to one training with apple nerds. I didn’t find this latter offer to be very useful for me, because the apple nerds can’t probably help me with what I want, they will teach you how to send emails and stuff, or how to make podcasts!

The server software itself costs $400. The one thing I don’t like about this server is its CPU, it’s only a 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, which I think I bought one in 2006ish, I’m trying to ignore this bitter reality. I couldn’t complain about the performance of the server though, I thought it would be “Mac Slow Leopard”, but it’s not. you’ll be safe to imagine you are running a 6 core CPU, if you are not doing anything hardcore, besides Apple almighty knows best, maybe a better CPU wouldn’t work in this small pack of awesomeness, Computer companies works in mysterious ways.

So with this amount of beautiful dollars, I could buy a kick ass hardware, then install free Ubuntu Server on it, but I chose not to, because I’m not any of the three experts mentioned earlier. I just want something that works and keeps working relatively well.

The machine itself is amazing, with no doubt it is the most modern piece of technology I have in my house, it’s as big as an external hard disk, It doesn’t make ANY noise, and it will chill in a little corner of my bedroom working constantly for the next three years. Plus I’ve connected this “server” to my TV using an expensive HDMI cable, I’m gonna download torrents, and what netflix with this. Youtube’s 1080p HD videos show up seamlessly on the large screen TV, I’m gonna buy a Magic Trackpad  and the keyboard, and soon my bedroom will be every man’s dream minus a permanent soul mate.

The server software is also amazing, it comes with almost anything a developer would need,  Apache, PHP, Python, Mysql, Samba, bla bla bla. I added  zend framework, xdebug, and moved my mysql databases, placed my log files in my favorite places,  in around 2 hours. What’s left to be done is to do GGG (Get Git Going), and I will have my perfect development environment ready to work in only 2 days since I decided to buy this Mac.

I have to say I had some difficulty with Apple’s people though, I have a Mac Book that I laser beamed it’s Mac OS Leopard. Long story when Windows 7 came out, I had to have it because I was doing some .net work for someone, Mac OS didn’t support co-existence with Win 7 at the beginning so I had to make the executive decision of saying goodbye to Mac Os, hence I removed any trace of Apple software from this Macbook. Now the Win 7 got pretty screwed up after about a year, so now that I’m reinstalling Win 7, I’d like to have Mac OS back too.

The when I was gonna buy the Apple Snow Leopard upgrade from apple store, the nerdy looking guy over there told me you don’t need this. Your server comes with a Disc that you can use to install the OS on your laptop for free as well, I was shocked! So apple doesn’t care about licensing and stuff anymore? I asked him several times, he said he is sure, but it turns out he was deadly wrong.

So I called Apple, they told me the nerd at the store was wrong, you need to buy the upgrade disc.

I went back to the store, met a new nerdy looking girl, and she told me she works at Apple store so she knows best, and she knows an upgrade disc would not be enough since I have no trace of Mac Os left, I would have to call apple and get the same disc that came with my laptop and I lost.

I was thinking ok, so if I buy this and it doesn’t work I can return it right? She said no, not if you open it. Then I thought ok I’m gonna buy this, if it didn’t work, I’ll call Apple, get the old cd, install, and then upgrade using this disc so I need this disc anyways, but that’s just because I thought I could use my gift card for the $30 disc, but I was wrong it could only be used in itunes, so I didn’t buy the upgrade disc.

Why all this madness? It’s understandable, Apple people don’t deal with these kind of issues everyday, most of their clients are people who do normal average stuff, not too many people go and remove everything Apple from their Apple macbook. But that doesn’t justify it, they should know that they don’t know and stop giving non-working advice.

So overall, it’s good product and I recommend it.

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