Thanks to Psystar and their “Open Computer” Mac clones (aka FrankenMacs) have been all over the Internets lately. As a Mini owner and a FrankenMac dabbler I thought I should weigh in on the issue as it relates to the Home Theater environment. The short version of the story? Move along, nothing to see here. The long version is that there are really 5 main reasons to choose a Mini over the Psystar box.
1. It’s small.
The Mac Mini lives up to it’s name. It’s compact and it’s form factor integrates easily with most home theater setups. If you think that having a mini tower sitting on the floor next to your entertainment stand is 733t then there is a reasonable chance you’re not a huge fan of OS X anyway.
2. It’s not ugly.
Let’s face it… Apple has some kick <bleep> designs and the Mini shows it. It’s clean lines and understated brushed metal finish look very much at home parked underneath your fancy new flat panel set. This is in sharp contrast to almost every other PC maker’s beige/black/silver box offerings.
3. It’s quiet.
Listen… Do you hear that? Nope, me nether – I don’t hear a peep out of my Mini in my home theater rack. Compare it to my Xbox 360′s “this is what a small turbine engine sounds like” noise level the Mini is a godsend.
4. It’s not really cheaper.
Admittedly the Psystar box seems like a good deal at $399. Now add $155 for OS X, $50 for Firewire and $90 for wireless networking… Maybe not such a hot deal after all. (To it’s credit the Psystar does have the Mini beat in the Memory and disk areas though.) Oh, and by the way you can’t use Software Update on the Psystar box – how much is that worth to you?
5. It’s a Mac
You don’t have to drink the kool-aid to recognize that there is just something about a Mac that makes it different. It’s not just the software, the hardware, the design or the innovation… It’s a Mac!
In summary I can’t say that I would give the Psystar a second look as a home theater PC. In fact as a FrankenMac builder I can also say I really wouldn’t consider a Psystar for any use at all.