Monday, February 12, 2007
My two-year-old Mac Mini appears to have some serious issues. The other day while I was using Skype to talk to my sister and a friend, it crashed several times then the Mac OS itself went down. I had to push the power button on the back to restart and it couldn't successfully boot.
Several attempts to erase, partition or repair the drive using the system DVD that came with the Mini resulted in various errors or frozen progress bars.
When I try to start the Mini up without the system DVD, it hangs on the log-in screen and ends with a frozen progress wheel and this attractive black box. :-p
I opened up the case and blew out all the dust in a vain hope that that may magically fix it but, of course, this didn't help at all. While I had it open, I booted it up again to listen more carefully to the clicks it made while attempting to boot. I'm pretty sure that the hard drive is a goner.
Right now, I'm torn between buying a new computer and limping along with this one. I can buy a hard drive and attempt to repair it myself. This will cost about a hundred dollars. The only drawback to this is that, if the hard drive isn't the problem, I'll have wasted the money and it still won't work.
I'm actually quite disappointed in this failure after a relatively short time. While the Mini is two years old, it hasn't seen heavy usage and certainly hasn't seen anything which has required strong hard drive usage (like video editing or torrent downloads). I spend about 3/4 of the time on my old PC doing web or e-mail work and about 1/4 on the Mac doing the occasional graphics, page layout or database work. This failure represents some fragility in the hardware that I wouldn't expect from an Apple product.
While I realize that a Mini is a cheap computer at $500, my eMachine cost $400 and has lasted twice as long as my Mini (so far). I'm guessing that cramming all those tiny components into a small space may have something to do with it since I can't imagine Apple uses cheaper parts than eMachines.