Monday, December 25


I'm wondering if I should get a playmate for my Mac mini. This would replace my oldest PC -- now on the "B" side of a KVM switch.

The Sony (PCV-J150) power supply has been a weak link (in addition to the 512 MB memory limit):
1- it gagged when I tried to install a midrange video card
(the Radeon 9250) a few months ago - so I put that adapter in my Sempron instead;
2- the connectors are proprietary, so a motherboard swap isn't possible (the connector won't attach to standard motherboards).
I still (sadly) have to run a few Windows-only apps, so I should also consider a software solution, namely running Parallels Desktop for Mac (speed isn't my primary concern -- the 1.83 GHz Core Duo shouldn't care).

I nosed around the web for a few hours, but can't decide what to do. None of the major players in the PC space (Dell, HP) build what I'm seeking. The closest thing I found Out There is AOpen's MiniPC.

The specs I like on the Mac mini are:
SFF (small form factor)
relatively green (+ for fanless)
legacy free (no parallel, PS2 or VGA)
meaning: USB 2.0; Firewire; DVI
multicore (since That's The Trend)
Gig-E (+ for Wireless-G)
I tend to prefer AMD over Intel, and while I don't need uberGamer-quality graphics, something that'll run stuff like Second Life* without crashing every hour would be nice. That's why running Parallels is not ideal - I'd be limited to the built-in graphics of the Mac mini - an Intel GMA950).
*which wants a GeForce 6600; Radeon 9600; or better
I like the mini-ITX form factor, which at 170mm is similar to the Mac mini's 165mm size (adding the system case will make the PC larger). Bottom line: my need isn't immediate, so I'll likely think about it for awhile longer.

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