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Cathalain Cathalain is offline
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Default Cannot decide between the Mini 9 vs. the Mini 12 - 03-18-2009, 05:52 PM

I'm getting ready to purchase a Mini, and I'm having trouble deciding which one would be best for me. I intend to use it as a mobile 'classroom' of sorts - I'm enrolled in online classes at a local college and I need to be able to work both offline and online with the Mini while traveling. Some instant messaging would be nice but it's not absolutely necessary. I'm not looking to use it for anything like gaming or mass storage of files, or anything similar.

I've read extensively about both the 9 and 12, and I'm unable to come to a decision based on several factors:

- I like the idea of the SSD in the 9, but from what I understand, there are limited write-cycles using this format, as well as slower write speeds (unless it's based on DRAM - I'm not technically advanced enough to know whether or not the Mini is indeed based on DRAM or not, maybe one of you would know better than I?). I don't like the possibility of this thing crapping out on me in a year, as I'm going to need it for at least the remainder of my classes (at least 2 years' worth).

- Both the 9 and 12 state "no broadband option". Could someone explain to me a bit more about how I would be able to access the Internet using said models? This is absolutely vital for me to consider purchasing the Mini of any flavor.

- I have read that the keyboard is impossibly small on the 9 (I have rather largish fingers), but that the Mini 12 actually boots slower than the 9 does. I have also read that Bluetooth is not an option on the 12, while it is on the 9 (which makes no sense to me whatsoever).

The only thing stopping me from purchasing the Mini 9 at this point is the SSD drive - I just don't like what I read about the write cycles/speeds. I know it's 'only' a netbook and it's not designed to last for years, but I want to make sure that it's not going to die on me while I'm in the middle of an online quiz or something. :lol:

For what it's worth, I'll be choosing the Ubuntu option, which also tends to make me lean toward the 9 as the final purchase.

Does anyone has an opinion as to which would be better? I'd love to hear it, as I'd like to make a decision fairly soon.

Thanks in advance.
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WolfKeeper WolfKeeper is offline
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Default Re: Cannot decide between the Mini 9 vs. the Mini 12 - 03-18-2009, 06:15 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cathalain
- I like the idea of the SSD in the 9, but from what I understand, there are limited write-cycles using this format, as well as slower write speeds (unless it's based on DRAM - I'm not technically advanced enough to know whether or not the Mini is indeed based on DRAM or not, maybe one of you would know better than I?). I don't like the possibility of this thing crapping out on me in a year, as I'm going to need it for at least the remainder of my classes (at least 2 years' worth).
It is probably next to impossible that you would run the SSD into the ground inside of a couple of years. This can be the least of your worries. There are a number of articles out there that the current technology of SSDs probably have a couple of dozen year's worth of life in them.

Quote:
- Both the 9 and 12 state "no broadband option". Could someone explain to me a bit more about how I would be able to access the Internet using said models? This is absolutely vital for me to consider purchasing the Mini of any flavor.
Depends on the model you're spec'd on the order page. Both units come with 802.11 wireless built-in for accessing wireless access points. As of this writing an AT&T broadband option is available on either unit, but you're looking at $60/month for data service.

Quote:
- I have read that the keyboard is impossibly small on the 9 (I have rather largish fingers), but that the Mini 12 actually boots slower than the 9 does. I have also read that Bluetooth is not an option on the 12, while it is on the 9 (which makes no sense to me whatsoever).
The keyboard is not impossibly small, or at least I don't see it that way. I have large hands that measure 13" across from pinky to thumb outstretched. The Mini 9's keyboard takes getting used to, and I would not recommend it for extended typing sessions.

Bluetooth is available on the 12. I've sold a few to clients and we order them with Bluetooth.

Quote:
The only thing stopping me from purchasing the Mini 9 at this point is the SSD drive - I just don't like what I read about the write cycles/speeds. I know it's 'only' a netbook and it's not designed to last for years, but I want to make sure that it's not going to die on me while I'm in the middle of an online quiz or something. :lol:
There's a better chance of it failing outright as a defective SSD rather than running out of write cycles. With all of us die-hards reinstalling operating systems every week or two, we probably would have run out by now...

I think your primary concern would probably be whether or not the screen size of the Mini 9 is compatible with the online courses you will be taking... find out if 1024x600 is big enough. Someone else here mentioned he couldn't see the entire screen of some school's flash presentations, and the school even listed a minimum resolution of 1024x768 on their website.


Getting an iPad
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Cathalain Cathalain is offline
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Default Re: Cannot decide between the Mini 9 vs. the Mini 12 - 03-19-2009, 05:47 PM

Quote:
I think your primary concern would probably be whether or not the screen size of the Mini 9 is compatible with the online courses you will be taking... find out if 1024x600 is big enough. Someone else here mentioned he couldn't see the entire screen of some school's flash presentations, and the school even listed a minimum resolution of 1024x768 on their website.
You know, I didn't even think of that... and that's a valid question that I think I'll need to answer before I make a final decision.

I wish that there were still Dell retail stores where I could walk in and actually put my hands on one, I'm a little funny about how keyboards feel.

The charges for broadband service aren't a problem, I expected that. Will I need a modem of some type? I'm just getting into the mobile Internet thing, so I'm not exactly sure of what equipment I'm going to need. I'm not buying it from Dell, though - prices are always overinflated when you purchase a 'package deal', in my experience.

Good to know about the SSD. I like the idea of no moving parts in it, means that I don't have to worry about it overheating on my lap or exploding in my purse, etc.

I do have another question, though - could someone (or someones) tell me how well Ubuntu vs. XP works for them on the Minis? I really like the idea of Ubuntu but I have no Linux experience other than a cursory knowledge of it, and while I know XP well... I'd really rather not load up the limited space I'll have with bloatware, as MS products tend to be/have.
If Ubuntu is easy to learn (and I'm fairly well versed in computers in general), I'd much prefer it over XP.

Thanks in advance, again.
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GearheadGeek GearheadGeek is offline
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Default Re: Cannot decide between the Mini 9 vs. the Mini 12 - 03-19-2009, 06:04 PM

I chose the Mini9 because of the upgradability, and for the hackintoshing aspects of it. If you're looking for utility for XP or a Linux flavor, I think the choice is less clear. The Mini9 is a neat package... I'm happy with the trackpad and its buttons, and the display is excellent overall. The keyboard is cramped, and has a few quirky key locations that take some getting used to, but I've been using it more than my bigger notebook in non-working hours since I got it.

With the Mini10, you get a larger/faster hard drive than the Mini12, and a keyboard that's bigger than the Mini9, but apparently the trackpad with integrated buttons takes some getting used to. You're also giving up 24 lines of resolution but getting a bigger display... 1024x576 to the 9's 1024x600. The 12 wins the resolution match at 1280x800, but you're saddled with a slower/smaller hard drive compared to the 10.

If you have no interest in the hackintosh thing or in upgrading the machine, I'd say a 12 or 10 is going to be better if you're picky about keyboards. For EITHER of them I think the 1.6ghz processor is a must. For overall performance, I'd expect the 10 to win with its faster SATA hard drive, but if you're wanting to view HD content on-screen, the 12 has better resolution. One thing you do give up (for now) with the 10 is that its run time is a bit shorter... I think it runs around 2.5 hours in tests, where the 9 runs over 4 hours on a charge. Hopefully an upgraded battery will come available for the 10.

For mobile broadband, if you think you'll need it, consider who your cell phone provider is and what kind of service they offer. If you have AT&T and they have good service where you are, it's convenient to go with the Dell-installed WWAN card and get built-in, always-with-you convenience. If you use Sprint or Verizon or T-mobile, you might want to go with a USB external WWAN device from your provider. You'll probably be able to get a better deal on a multi-line plan with your current provider than a standalone deal from AT&T. Functionally it'll be the same thing, you'll just have to plug in the USB device when you want to use your mobile broadband.

When there are lots of options, choices are complicated.


Mini9|Obsidian Black|2G ram|32G Runcore|OSX 10.5.7
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holmes4 holmes4 is offline
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Default Re: Cannot decide between the Mini 9 vs. the Mini 12 - 03-19-2009, 06:35 PM

Both the 9 and 12 come with WiFi and an Ethernet port. You don't need a modem. There is a "WWAN" option providing internet connectivity through the cellphone network. This costs extra not only for the adapter card but for the monthly service. You may not need it if WiFi is available where you'll be using the Mini.

The SSD does not mean that the device does not get warm - it does. You would not want to have it running inside a closed container, but in sleep mode it would be fine.


Steve
Mini 9|2GB RAM|64GB RunCore|Intel 5300|Windows 10
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Cathalain Cathalain is offline
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Default Re: Cannot decide between the Mini 9 vs. the Mini 12 - 03-21-2009, 02:35 AM

Thanks to the responses that I've gotten here, as well as reading in the forums, I've made my decision and I've purchased a Mini 9 for now. What I'll do is take it out of the box and run my fingers over the keyboard a bit before I even turn it on - if I feel that it won't work for me, I'll ship it back and buy a Mini 12 instead, but I think that the 9 will work for my purposes.

I'm really looking forward to getting it. It's a good thing I ordered it, too... the ship date is April 20th!!!! :shock:

They must be getting really popular now!

I'll be back here for advice on upgrading it, believe me.
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STiMULi STiMULi is offline
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Default Re: Cannot decide between the Mini 9 vs. the Mini 12 - 03-21-2009, 10:24 AM

I have been following and I think you made a good decision. I pondered the reason I wanted the 9 vs the 12 and the biggest reason was size. I have a MacBook and I wanted a smaller one for more portability. Since the MacBook is 13.3. I figured the 12 was too close to the MacBook and the 9 was justifiably just right.

I was right.

Today I recieved a call from my Mom 3000 miles away, She said that the wireless on her laptop had stopped working. I pulled the 9 out and leaned it against the steering wheel and with LogMeIn and her Ethernet connection, within a few minutes I had her wireless working.

Because of the purchase of the 8 cell battery on eBay I had 7 hours a nd 45 minutes of battery life left (or 94% depending on how you look at it) Mine is an OS X and at the end of the day after the 9 hours it had spent the day sleeping, I opened it up to immediate access to the internet with 89% battery life left. Sure, I could have done it withe the MacBook but it was so much less cumbersome.

I love my Mini 9.


Mini 9 MacBook Aspen White
Runcore 64GB | 2GB RAM | ATP 16GB C6 SDHC | 1.3 Webcam | Bluetooth | OSX 10.5.6 | Fusion w/Windows XP | CrossOver | DellEFI 1.2A5 | BIOS A04 | 77Whr Battery

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