1506 Views 3 Replies Latest reply: Oct 24, 2007 10:49 AM by CaptDenny
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The requirements for Leopard are sufficiently low that even an old Mac mini should run it well, let alone one of the new Core 2 Duo models. As such, the 2.0 model with 2Gb RAM should be more than adequate. Leopard's only notably heavier demand is drive space, now requiring close to 10Gb. Clearly the 120Gb drive standard in the 2.0 model would be adequate to that task, plus allow for use of Windows also. As such, a larger internal drive wouldn't really be recommended, though you may wish to consider adding a good sized external, preferably a firewire connected drive, for extra storage and backup.
Where running Windows is concerned, Leopard comes with BootCamp, so you could use that as opposed to Parallels. The downside is that while BootCamp is free, it doesn't permit the running of MacOS and Windows side by side. At boot, you have to select one or the other. If that meets your needs, then it's a better bet in many ways, since it allows the entire system, memory and processor to be dedicated to whichever OS you need at any given time, rather than shared.
On the other hand, if you need or want to run both MacOS and Windows simultaneously, and switch between them, Parallels is the option that would allow that, though both MacOS and Windows will suffer in terms of absolute performance since RAM and CPU are shared between them.
You should have no problem substituting a new mini into your home network using the same setup as you presently have on the soon to be retired Cube.
To run Excel, PowerPoint and Word, you'll need a copy of MS Office. The current version for Mac is still 2004, which is not Intel native. The updated version to closely match MS Office 2007 for Windows will not be out for Mac until 2008. If you buy a copy of MS Office 2004 for Mac however, you'll get an upgrade to the new version when it is released. Upgrading at that point would be advised since while the current version is not Intel native, the new version due is. If you are a student or teacher, you will qualify for the Academic version at around $150, otherwise it's a little expensive $400 list price.
+what is the minimum Microsoft package I would need to buy in order to open and work with basic Excel, PPS, and Word documents?+
A non-MS, free alternative which will open and work with those documents is NeoOffice.
You can try it on your current system to test to see how well it handle your documents -- though it will run much faster on a new Mini.
Be sure to download the correct version (Intel vs. PPC) for whatever Mac you install it on.