Mac Mini Gets More RAM
When the Mac mini originally shipped, I griped about pathetic memory minimums and overpriced upgrades. As of today, I concede that the base Mac mini configuration is good enough for people to get started. 512MB of RAM will significantly boost performance compared with the previous 256MB base. If you do upgrade the RAM, Crucial is still cheaper than Apple.
In my own testing of the previous base configuration, I was less than impressed with several other features. First and foremost, my Samsung 712N monitor did not play well with the mini. Several times I had to reboot the mini two or three times before the monitor was properly recognized. Buy a Cinema Display, you say. That obliterates the $499 price point, I say. Hopefully my monitor experience was just a glitch and general experience is much better.
On some level I continue to fault Apple for excluding a keyboard and mouse. Since the mini is an obvious upgrade path for iPod owners with an older PC, they still get stuck buying a new keyboard and mouse because OEM boxes from Dell, HP, etc. still use PS/2 connectors, not USB. I'll excuse this and let Apple bask in the position of having a $499 machine that should be enough for common things like receiving email and browsing Web sites. If you plan on spending any time in Garage Band or iMovie, a bigger hard drive and more RAM should push you toward a much higher priced iMac or to a comparably priced Dell or HP.