A frequent topic of my articles in the OWC Blog center around my adventures in keeping my dad’s Mac mini up and running. As we’re in the Father’s Day season, I think it’s only appropriate that I put together a list of items that would enhance his digital lifestyle. Perhaps your father might appreciate one or more of these items, as well. Of course, I don’t make nearly enough to get him everything here (we have to keep our prices low somehow), but at least it’s a good launch point for ideas, for both my Dad and maybe yours, too.
First of all, I’d have to get him a new Mac mini. While his current mini has served him well, its Core Solo processor is showing its age, especially when he’s trying to make discs and slide shows out of photos he’s taken with his digital camera. However, that’s the only processor-intensive thing he does; otherwise he uses it mostly for email, word processing and the occasional game of Bejeweled Blitz. For those purposes, the latest mini would work just fine for him. Of course, like any good son, I’d have to make sure that the computer is all tricked out, so that he can take full advantage of its capabilities. The best place to start is memory.
It’s well-known that getting memory from Apple is way too expensive in most, if not all, cases. Furthermore, not all configurations are available; from Apple, the most you can get pre-installed in the latest mini is 4.0GB. Fortunately, you can double that to 8.0GB through OWC. Plus, it’s even more economical when you consider our rebate for the original memory!
A new hard drive would be nice, too. While a Mercury Extreme Pro SSD would certainly speed up many of his disk-intensive tasks, I think he’d be better served with some copious external storage. As his NewerTech miniStack v3 has worked quite well for his backups (once I set it up correctly), getting a nice, large 2.0TB model will help store all his photos on an external drive. In fact, we could even partition it into two volumes and use one for Time Machine. That way, if one backup dies, the other is still there.
Since he takes a lot of digital photos, getting him set up with the latest version of Photoshop CS5 would be another great idea. I’ve played with it a little here at the office, and many of the new retouching features (can we say “content-aware fill?”) would help him out immensely.
Of course, editing photos also means eventually showing them off. Sure, many people have digital photo frames and still others print them out. However, knowing my Dad, he’s just as likely to make a slideshow movie, complete with music. That, of course, means that he’ll want to hook his mini up to the television. Depending on how he’s going to want to hook it up, any of the NewerTech Video Adapters will get him connected for less than $30. I doubt he’s going to be needing surround sound, so I can forego the Mini DisplayPort w/5.1 Channel Digital Audio to HDMI Adapter. However, once I get a mini for my home theater, that’s the first thing I’m getting.
Of course, since he likes to send out CDs and DVDs of his photos to family members, I could always splurge and get him a nice external burner. The OWC Mercury Pro Dual Layer DVD+/-RW Samsung Super-WriteMaster™ External DVD writer with LightScribe will not only allow him to burn discs faster than the built-in drive, but it will also allow him to create his own labels, too – no more writing on the discs with a marker!
If you have a Mac-using Dad (or for that matter, a Graduate looking for computer equipment to get them started in “the Real World”), whether they have the smallest Mac mini or the biggest Mac Pro, OWC makes getting that perfect gift easy.