For $599, you can get the basic 1.67GHz Mac Mini Core Duo. We priced out the parts for building an equivalent system from scratch with the Minuet 300 (including a dual-core AMD processor and Windows Media Center 2005) and arrived at a figure of $750. Since you can't beat Apple on price (wow, that sounds weird), the only type of homemade PC that makes sense to build with the Antec Minuet 300--and any case like it--is either a media server with a larger hard drive than the Mac Mini's current 120GB maximum or a more pedestrian system that's extremely less powerful and, hopefully, less expensive. None of these market realities is the Minuet 300's fault, but unless you simply enjoy building PCs or have a specialized need this case can meet, Apple has made building your own nongaming SFF PC impractical.
We call the Minuet 300 a nongaming SFF case because it's so narrow it can accept only low-profile expansion cards. These cards, also known as half-height cards, are fine for adding expansion ports and other non-performance-oriented upgrades, but you won't find a high-performance graphics card that's not a full-size PCI Express card. That's not necessarily a huge loss, however, because the bundled 300-watt power supply probably couldn't put out enough juice to power an entire PC using a higher-end 3D. What the Minuet 300 does have going for it is sleek looks and a removable drive cage. Being able to remove the cage makes it easier to install the optical drive and the hard drive (there's one bay for each plus a second, front-accessible 3.5-inch bay for, say, a media card reader). We particularly appreciate this feature on an SFF case where space is tight; it also makes installing the motherboard and other hardware and routing the cables a breeze.