Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
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holy bat turds, a lot of bickering over a lot of nothing. A few misconceptions.
For what you stated, and the what you plan to hook mini up, it will work and be more than sufficient.
I don't know the OSX support for MAME. It should have enough power to play the game you stated if it does have it.
When I got my mini back in April 2010, my main goal was to be able to some live online videos, be able to have HD onlie video, and play some some ripped movies. The other big thing I wanted, as small of a footprint I could get. I wasn't interested in building it because I wouldn't get near the size. The other purchase items was Dell Zino HD, but it had some issues from what I read. When I got it, I knew I was paying a bit extra for the Apple name. But I also knew plenty of people with Apple products, and by and large, they didn't have hardware issues. This is the same thing as buying a Lexus, Accura, Infinity, and so forth. There is a cheaper version that works too, but there is reason it's bit more. But I digress...the OP never asked if it was best value for his dollar. It was would it work.
I now have three minis. Not one running OSX. There a few things about OSX that drove me nuts coming from using Windows for twenty years. In the two years, I had one hard drive go bad. But it worked well enough I was able to get my information off. Apple used the Hitachi HDD which are known to crash. I put in 750GB Western Digital Black laptop hard drive. Thanks to sites like ifixyit.com, it was that bad to change. The hardest part was getting the case off, and reconnecting one tiny cord.
I personally get this it doesn't work well as an HTPC. I guess it depends on your definition of it. I take the broad approach of being a PC in the home theater. I use mine basically as such. Since I use a VPN a lot, the ten foot interface isn't really an option. With the newer TVs being much more PC friendly with a 1:1 display so you can read the text and not blurry icons, a nice wireless mouse/touchpad and keyboard, or combo device, it's decent experience.
The one thing to note, having a HTPC will have some tweaking to be done. May not be much, but there is usually something you'll need to do.
As for the Apple Geniuses, they're a bunch of idiots like the Geek Squad. They just have better scripts to use. For the most part, most people I know who've used them, it's been a positive experience. Unfortunately, I know people where is was nothing but a nightmare. It's customer service, so it just depends on who you get.