Pity the poor Mac Mini. After being unveiled with plenty of hoopla in January 2005 as “the most affordable Mac ever,” it departed the limelight with surprising swifness. The glossy white micro-Mac has received only minor updates such as CPU upgrades and actually got less affordable when the base model went from $499 to $599. Last year, there were even premature reports of the Mini’s imminent death, and most Mac enthusiasts didn’t seem too griefstricken at the prospect of its demise.
But the Mini lives–and even though $599 is no longer anywhere near a dirt-cheap price for a computer, it remains the cheapest Mac. It also comes in a super-small package that’s still fun and distinctive. So it’s the subject of my fourth excessively in-depth Mac-vs.-PC price comparison. My goal, as always, is to gauge whether you pay a “Mac Tax” when you buy a Mini instead of a roughly comparable Windows PC.
Before we get started, here are links to earlier comparisons in this series, just in case you missed ’em:
Round one: A mid-range MacBook vs. custom-configured Windows laptops.
Round two: The cheapest MacBook vs. cheap Windows laptops.
Round three: The iMac vs. Windows all-in-ones