Pros Only a Linux box can touch the price. Low power consumption. Quiet. Surprisingly fast. Integrates much better in Mac environments than a Windows or Linux server.
Cons By being based on a desktop design it has some "misfeatures" like unnecessary second display support, graphics chip uses too much of RAM, unnecessary speaker. It needs a second network port built-in and an ESATA connector for external drives.
Summary I've got a 6 Mac, 2 Windows PC house, using a Windows PC as my server. I decided it was time to go Mac server with the availability of the Mac Mini Server. Installation is no where near as easy as the workstation Mac OS. I also wish there was more drive flexibility -- 1TB in the box isn't enough and I've had to go with externals from day 1.All installed and running now. It's so much nicer -- faster, smaller, less power, silent -- than my old PC server I don't know why I didn't do this earlier. Maybe because Apple didn't offer it? I've got the internal drives configured as RAID 0 and it really flies. Biggest complaints are with the software, and not the hardware -- you can't sync an iPhone to the Address Book server (iPhone OS deficiency) even though the sales literature claims you can. Also, Macs on a LAN use Bonjour to find each, which doesn't pass through the VPN tunnel, so if you connect remotely using VPN you don't get systems popping up in the Finder. I also don't like Mac OS's limitation of only a single windowing session at a time.
I'm going to like this one and am anxious to complete the conversion and delete the old Dell server.
Updated on Apr 8, 2010
Pros Plenty of high speed USB ports, small footprint, low heat and power consumption.
Cons So far nothing.
Summary I replace 4 servers, 2 G3's 1 G4 and one windows machine used only for a mail server with one mini server. Power consumption of the 4 machines was running over $100.00 a month. The mini uses like 50 cents worth a month. So far this little mini is running all the web sites, mail server,pushes all the content to the home mac tv and acts as a central Itunes library also being pushed to the apple Tv for the pool area. I used to have to run AC in the office server room year round due to all the heat. Now I don't. This little box does everything with power to spare.
Pros Fast, small, affordable, lots of disk space. Leopard of any spots - for me it will be a desktop, a sever and a lab box for learning firewalls for work.
Cons Would be nice to have a Esata connection.
Summary Get ready to study if you want to use the full capabilities of the server software. This is going to be my day to day desktop until I can afford a Mac Pro. Then it will become a great full time server. Had it setup and sync'ed with me.com and added iLife and iWork and computer life is great. I wanted the extra hard disk space the to hard drives provided. Already had a firewire CD/DVD burner. Currently using the second hard drive for Time Machine. Using a Samsung 25 inch lcd with integrated TV and have 2 more computers going to the RGB. Also love the new Magic Mouse. Thinking about doing a Raid 0 for hard drive speed. Will wait until I have done some movie work. Will be running boot camp and vmware.
Pros Small, compact, includes OSX Server which we have been running on Mini's for years now. So it is an overall savings on hardware/software.
Cons Out of the box unit hangs on initial system configuration.
No DVD drive to reload OS when system software is non operational.
Summary I don't have much to say. We thought this would be a good deal as we have been running OSX Server on Mini's for a number of years with no problem. However we cannot get the box to get past the initial system configuration. Every restart requires starting over from scratch as far as set up / migration.
Further, the lack of a DVD drive prevents a fresh reload of the OS. So you are out of luck if you get a bad software load from the factory.
Right now all we have is a shiny box that displays the words "Please wait a moment while server is configured".