Silence is golden

The other night, my partner Michael and I were in our home office, and we looked at each other quizzically. “Does it seem really quiet in here?” I asked. Mike was sitting at the Mac and I was at my desk, and strangely, the whir and hum of my Mac and its multiple peripherals was… eerily silent. And when we went to sleep that night, neither of us had to bolt upright to turn off the Mac because it was too loud. I can say with certainty that we owe this all to the latest Mac mini.

See, in my test-run with the latest Mac mini, I decided to take advantage of my position as one of the luckiest Mac users alive (a.k.a. a Macworld editor) by turning this irresistible little machine into my own Mac for about a week. I mean, of course I had to see whether I wanted to buy one for myself—and whether Michael would pony up half the cash. (I may be lucky, but Apple doesn’t give us editors Macs for free…)

I switched from my elderly 450MHz Power Mac G4 (AGP Graphics, grey and white, thank you very much), which is definitely end-of-life and sadly slow, and whose constant whirring fan has been driving us slowly insane. I eagerly used the Migration Assistant to get all my files over to the Mac mini, I moved the cables, and I shut down the old computer. Don’t tell Jen’s Butt Kicker—name of hard drive upon formatting in 2000—but I don’t think I’m going back.

I can’t tell for sure, but I’m almost certain that this little SuperDrive-laden Mac mini is significantly quieter than the previous model I reviewed back in January. It doesn’t make any noise when I do basic tasks like double-clicking, its hard drive doesn’t noticeably spin up, and I can barely hear whether it’s waking from sleep when I tap on the keyboard. It’s like a luxury car: I start it up and can't even tell it’s running.

It’s all a little eerie for now, but I get the feeling it will all work out in the end.

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