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As you may recall, earlier this month, I picked up a Mac mini. I was impressed with the performance of the little guy despite it being the base model. Even so, there were still very little things that occasionally made me notice that I was in fact using the base model of the entry-level Mac. Under normal consumer load, the mini is just fine. Throw in a few extra challenges, and minor interface glitches rear their tiny little ugly heads. I don't think it is anything the average person would notice.

Being the geek that I am, I decided that even minor interface hiccups were more than I could bare. The question of what to do about it loomed large. Speaking of large, it would cost me two of them to upgrade to the high-end model. I wasn't convinced that jump was necessary. So I opted for a compromise. I picked up an additional 4GB of RAM. That single Benjamin made a world of difference.

I am pleased to report that the i5 mini with 8GB of RAM is a legitimate powerhouse that I can recommend without reservation, to all but the most power-hungry users. With the original configuration, I could do things that would make the system stutter, if only slightly. With an additional 4GB of RAM, those tricks no longer work. 

As you can see in the screenshot, I had eight separate virtual spaces open at once, two of which were Logic Studio. I had two games open, one of which was flash-based running in Safari. Presently, I have four tabs open in Safari. I usually run with more as I do a lot of research when I write. Remember, this is all happening on an entry-level Mac mini with 8GB of RAM. 

I don't know if Apple is going to upgrade the mini or discontinue it. The mini is clearly not a priority for Apple. If they upgrade it later this year, I will swap this one out for no better reason than I am a neck-bearded geek that loves computers. If they don't, then I am happy I got in on the mini before it meets its fate. If you are looking for a new Mac, or a great way to try out the Mac without breaking the bank, I hardily recommend the entry-level Mac mini. If you consider yourself a power user, put your money where your ego is and configure it with 8GB of RAM. You will not be disappointed. 

David Johnson

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