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It might be cheaper to just buy a Mac Mini than run it on AWS

Apple Mac mini (M1, 2020)
(Image credit: Future)

Renting virtual cloud instances can work out a lot cheaper than buying new hardware outright in a lot of cases – but not all and certainly not with the bare metal Mac Minis being offered to AWS users.

The Register points out that Amazon’s pricing plan for its new Mac instances, which are powered by Mac Mini hardware, means that it’s probably worthwhile simply buying a Mac Mini – certainly if you are going to be running those instances for a prolonged period of time.

Based on AWS charging $1.083 an hour, $25.99 a day, or about $9,490 a year to run the Mac instances, it will only take 77 days of renting from AWS before you reach the $1,999 cost of a brand new Mac Mini. If you’re likely to need access to a macOS environment more often than that, it may be worth buying a Mac.

Pros and cons

Of course, working out cloud computing costs is never as straightforward as it seems. On the one hand, the price you pay will actually be a little higher than the one quoted above once storage fees have been added. However, there are other pricing plans aside from the pay-as-you-go option. Going with one of AWS’s EC2 Savings Plans, for example, is likely to make things a lot cheaper.

There are also other cloud providers offering bare metal Mac instanced – some that work out cheaper and some that are more expensive than AWS. There’s also the cost of a slightly cheaper Mac Mini to consider. The 16GB version only costs $1,099 and boasts pretty similar specs to the 32GB one being used by AWS.

Working out whether renting via AWS or buying a Mac Mini yourself is the best approach financially is difficult enough. Then, there are other factors to consider, like maintenance, security, and convenience – all things that are likely to be better managed at AWS. Basically, if you’re thinking about renting cloud instances, there are a lot of competing factors you should weigh up first.

Via The Register