3 thoughts on “Apple Mac Mini MC936LL/A with Lion Server (NEWEST VERSION)

  1. Steve H "books911" says:
    17 of 17 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    A Superb, Unique Macintosh and mini!, November 5, 2011
    By 
    Steve H “books911” (U.S.) –
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    This review is from: Apple Mac Mini MC936LL/A with Lion Server (NEWEST VERSION) (Personal Computers)

    My primary desktop, iMac, was a few months over four years old. It began to feel a bit slow with the latest operating system, programs, etc. Therefore, I decided it was time for a new Mac. Despite great notebooks, iPhones, and iPads that we all have today, my desktop computer is still what feels most “right,” to me. It’s my favorite place to discover music, work on photographs, maybe do a little video work, write, email, browse the web, etc. A comfortable chair, large screen, and fast desktop just feels “right.”

    How did my search for a new Mac lead to mini Server and what makes it a good choice?

    Naturally, coming from an iMac, I considered a new iMac. However, having purchased the newer iMacs for other uses and family members in the past two years, I regularly saw issues with their displays. Yellow tint to certain parts of the display. Furthermore, besides RAM, iMacs are extremely hard to upgrade. The hard drive is very difficult to get to, which makes upgrade and even repair, once out of warranty difficult. Furthermore, it is hard to take an iMac to an Apple Store, even while under warranty, due to their large size. A mini can easily be taken to an Apple store, or better yet, Apple I believe (if I am not mistaken) offers mail-in service for the mini, if you’re in the middle of nowhere. I would still purchase an iMac in the future, but it just felt like a lot of things were adding up against it this time. I might want a SSD at some point too, and it would be “risky,” to do that myself on a still warrantied iMac. iMacs don’t come stock with two hard drives for RAID options either.

    Therefore, I knew the Mac mini might be a good choice and the Server model was especially inviting! Why? For one thing, the mini Server Mid-2011 has a faster processor than the lower entry-level iMacs. Yes, it an i7 Quad Core 2.0 GHZ. While all iMacs are now quad-core, the lower end models have i5s, which get Geekbench scores somewhat lower than this mini Server. The mini-Server had the same CPU as the seventeen-hundred dollar 15-inch MacBook pro from early 2011, though the MacBook Pro did get a slight processor bump in late 2011. Nevertheless, you can see, the mini Server, for its size, gets an extremely impressive processor. Geekbench scores put it right at, or even slightly faster than the entry level mid-2010 Mac Pro desktop, now that is saying something! The speed of a machine which costs 2.5x more money!

    Second, two hard drives. 1TB of storage in a mini is nothing to laugh about (2 500 GB drives are included). Furthermore, the key here is that the mini Server gets 7200 RPM hard drives, the same speed found in full-sized desktop computers. The two lower end mini models have only 5400 RPM drives, significantly slower and makes them feel more like “notebooks.” Furthermore, by having two hard drives, you have many options. You can use one for time machine, just use both drives for storage, or even put them in RAID 0 or RAID 1 with disk utility when booted into a recovery disk. There are some risks in using RAID, but if you’re a pro user, you will know the risks (higher possibility of losing your data in RAID 0), and you lose Apple’s new Recovery HD which isn’t compatible with RAID. I went ahead and used RAID 0 because this gives me much faster disk reading and writing. More performance, more reason to choose mini Server.

    The lack of Apple including any restore disks or USB stick on new Macs is frustrating. I recommend reading some online tutorials on backing up your system, backing up your recovery HD, or even backing up an entire recovery install for easy reinstallation should you ever need it.

    Next, memory. The mini Server has 4GB of RAM which is fine for many home users. However, those who do a lot of photography and video work, may want to upgrade it to 8GB. These minis make RAM upgrades simple. A panel rotates on the bottom and allows easy access to the memory, if not access to much else. I upgraded to 8GB, and it is a noticeable improvement. This was less than a fifty dollar upgrade to do myself, and again, offers me more performance and multitasking.

    Software: The mini Server has Mac OS X Lion Server included, which is essentially the same consumer version of OS X Lion with the extra “Server,” application included. This application can allow you to use the mini Server as a more professional “server.” You could serve up iCal calendars to people in your home or office, serve local email, etc. However, unless you know you need these features, you’ll likely leave the server functions turned off, or just not open that application. It is there though, should you ever need it, or if you do need it now. You can read more about server at Apple’s website. Of course, every copy of Lion allows you to share files with other Macs as well as use iTunes to serve music and videos around your home, this is…

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  2. Alan F. Northam says:
    12 of 13 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Almost perfect upgrade, August 8, 2011
    By 
    Alan F. Northam (Birmingham, AL) –
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    This review is from: Apple Mac Mini MC936LL/A with Lion Server (NEWEST VERSION) (Personal Computers)

    I purchased this to replace a 2010 model mini (non server version). The first thing I did was to upgrade the ram to 8GB. Next I rebooted into internet recovery mode and configured the disks into a RAID 0 (striped) volume and reinstalled the OS. You should make good backups (Time Machine) if you use RAID 0 in case of a hard drive failure. I have a fast internet connection and the whole process took approximately 40 mins. Note the internet recovery install doesn’t install the iLife type applications that came with the factory install but you can install them from the Mac App Store for free after recovery.

    The i7 in this unit is a huge jump in performance vs my previous mini with 2.4ghz c2d. Like the previous model, 1080p video content plays perfectly even while running a busy minecraft server in the background. The Intel graphics have given no issues in use as an htpc. The DVD drive in my old mini was used exactly zero times so I don’t miss it in the new model.

    The only thing I’ve noticed is that the new model gets warmer than the old. Also I never heard the fans in my old model but occasionally I do hear them in the new one. This might not happen with better air flow, my mini is in an enclosed component stand along with a NAS, cable box, XBOX 360, etc. I wouldn’t go so far as to call this an issue or a con, just something you should be aware of if you are accustomed to the old model. It’s a reasonable trade off for the increased performance.

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  3. Brian Stucki says:
    31 of 40 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Built to be a server, July 22, 2011
    By 
    Brian Stucki (Las Vegas, NV) –
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    This review is from: Apple Mac Mini MC936LL/A with Lion Server (NEWEST VERSION) (Personal Computers)

    We’ve installed a good number of machines at Macminicolo, here is what we learned

    A quick list:

    The Mac mini has kept the same basic shape. You can still twist the bottom cover to upgrade RAM easily.

    Apple has eliminated the optical drive across the board with this release.

    There are a good number of build-to-order options. You can use SSD, upgrade any machine to 8GB of RAM, upgrade both internal drives for a total of 1.5TB. Amazon only offers the three stock machines.(But you can upgrade the RAM easily on your own.)

    The Mac mini has left the Core 2 Duo family and now uses Intel i5 and i7 processors. A significant upgrade. In some cases doubling the performance.

    The RAM has changed from PC8500 DDR3 1066MHz to PC10600 DDR3 1333MHz.The Apple avilable limit is 8GB, but we’re hoping to test 16GB soon.

    The Mac mini gains Thunderbolt. This will be a huge deal eventually as more ThunderBolt Accessories are released.

    The mini machine still uses a ridiculously small amount of power and is nearly silent in operation.

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