I always like to work with the newest and best, but the reality of my budget is always the deciding factor. So I upgrade a bit less often than I would like. This time I had no say in the matter. A freak accident wrecked one of my Mac Mini’s and its external hard drive with backup in one fell swoop. Panic time and calls to Apple for help. Even though not responsible Apple was generous in helping with the recovery, although I had to spend some money too, plus invest a lot of work time. But the recovery is almost complete.

It makes me happy to have my tools functioning again and even more so because this newest premium model Mac Mini with its new video NVidia GeForce 9400M and now 4GB of RAM running Snow Leopard is a high step above the previous model. I have been recommending Mac Minis to photographers because they allow choosing a good pro-graphics display and be able to afford the combination. With this latest model, the display quality is definitely superior, and the overall performance is no compromise at all to the much more costly Mac Pro for what a photographer needs on a daily basis. Now, I can readily recommend the Mac Mini premium with the full allotment of RAM as a first choice to do digital photography computing.

There are other differences as well with this model. One is the fact it uses the mini DVI port like the MacBook models, but a mini to standard DVI adapter is included. In addition the one FireWire connector os now a 9-pin 800 model, so an adapter is needed to connect to many external hard drives, that is not suppled, nor could I find an adapter that had both a 6-pin and 9-pic connector and nothing offered in the Apple store, so what I could get that works conveniently I found on In other words the support accessory hardware for the Mac Mini also needs some upgrades.

It is my understanding that the Mac Mini is maybe not as popular as it should be. Can’t blame Apple for not pushing it harder as I am sure some iMac sales would probably suffer. It would be much easier to promote if Apple had a version of their 24” LED Cinema Display that were more amenable to gain/contrast adjustment so it could be calibrated and profiled for both color and density print matching. But so far I have not acquired an open ear to my thinking that for the average serious amateur photographer a mac Mini with a well matched display might be the best choice in performance for the money. But it’s so small, how could that be. Yes it uses the kind of components that are used in MacBooks that are compact, but being made for a portable computer they are surely designed for reliability and efficiency. And the Mini is not so small really as it is accompanied by a good sized external power supply, so heat inside the computer is even less than is a laptop. People. Please think outside the box and you will realize a small box can pack a big punch.

But an ideal and affordable display that has a wide color gamut and good resolution that will work ideally for digital photography is missing from the larger consumer market still. There are a couple that are close. The NEC P221W, that by itself is reasonable, but add both the NEC Spectraview 2 software and colorimeter and it does in a $1,000. And with the P221W, you do need the whole kit to get its full potential. But I am writing more fully on this for a report in Shutterbug, so enough for now.

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