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It’s finally arrived, the first Mac mini PC clone. Our review system was supplied by Evesham, but the barebone chassis is manufactured by AOpen and has until now been known as the Pandora. Sadly this catchy name is gone and AOpen re-named it the miniPC, which is just plain boring. Anyhow, name aside, this is a really cool looking little machine – it arguably looks even better than the Mac mini, mainly due to its aluminium case.
Having a solid cast aluminium top casing the Mini PC oozes of quality and its hard not falling in love at first sight and the slot loaded DVD writer adds to the quality feel. The power button has a blue LED back light and a further two blue LEDs light up when the hard drive is being accessed. Even the Evesham logo looks stylish as it is a proper raised logo, not just a cheap sticker.
But enough about looks, let’s get down to the technical bits. The Mini PC is keeping with the Mac mini’s minimalist approach and as such the selection of ports is limited. From left to right is the power connector for the external PSU, a DVI connector – a DVI to D-SUB dongle is in the box – and an S-Video out connector to which a Component video dongle can be connected. Next up is an Ethernet port – for the onboard Gigabit Ethernet controller - two USB 2.0 ports, a six pin FireWire connector and finally a headphone and microphone jack. What is missing in an option for multi channel audio output, such as an S/PDIF which could easily have been built in to one of the 3.5mm audio jacks. The down side to this is that you won’t get multi channel sound if you would like to use the Mini PC as a home theatre PC.
And that is about it. As this is a miniature PC you can’t expect to get much more inside. A couple of more USB ports wouldn’t have gone amiss though.
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