I recently replaced my old, good, but huge Mac Pro tower, which weighs 50 pounds, with a Mac Mini (i7 processor running at 2.6 Ghz) that is faster and does just about everything I need. The Mac Mini weighs about 2 pounds. I have been pretty impressed with the Mac Mini. It has USB 3.0 ports, so I have new USB 3.0 hard drives running off it, and the drive speeds are fast. Even newer Mac Pros still don't offer USB 3.0; and I wish my 2011 MacBook Pro had USB 3.0 ports. I even have two 24" Asus monitors running off my Mac Mini, with no problem at all. I use my MacBook Pro for most of my usual office and email work; I use the Mac Mini (and used to use my Mac Pro tower) for other tasks that require lots of hard drives attached, such as editing videos and still images.
The one big problem with the newer Macs and all newer Macs will not run Rosetta, which is an invisible software emulation package that allowed me to run older Power-PC-based software that I used with my older Macs (all running Snow Leopard). The software that runs on my older machines, but which will not run on my newer Macs, includes Final Cut Pro 7 (the last great version of FCP before the widely-disparaged FCP X), Microsoft Office X, Quicken 2006, the batch-renaming utility R-Name, among others.
The old Mac Pro is still a great machine (and I am keeping one of them; I had two) because it can run
OS10.6 Snow Leopard, which is the last OS that runs older Power-PC-based
applications. These machines can also run the newer OS’s such as 10.7
and 10.8, Mountain Lion and Lion. These machines
will become increasingly valuable as folks with older software that
work on Rosetta machines (such as Final Cut Pro 7) will need machines
that run Snow Leopard.
They are indestructible, heavy duty, professional machines that just
keep on chugging along. They are loaded with all kinds of connectivity
that you need such as front and back Firewire 400 and 800 ports,
several USB 2.0 ports, and the list goes on.
Again, a new machine will ONLY run the OS
that it comes with and higher versions, none of which will run older Power-PC based applications -– about the only way to run older applications on these machines is to
buy Parallels and a copy of the very hard-to-find Snow Leopard Sever –
which is bit of a pain to use, since Parallels Tools
won’t work (transferring files is therefore a hassle). It seems possible to install the standard Snow Leopard operating system on Parallels, but that seems very difficult, something only real techies should try to do.