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Apple Updates Mac mini - Slimmer Chassis, HDMI Port Feature.

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Apple Updates Mac mini - Slimmer Chassis, HDMI Port Feature.

The Apple Mac mini has received a much wanted overhaul, adding crucial connectivity, in the form of an SD card slot and an HDMI port, to the device's rear. Better still, the chassis has been reduced in size to 19.7cm square by 3.6cm tall, using the unibody construction technique debuted by the MacBook Air.

The power supply has been moved inside the Mac mini, leaving the overall footprint much reduced, and there's now a removable plastic cover on the bottom which when detached reveals user-upgradeable RAM. 2GB of DDR3 RAM will come as standard, with processor options comprising a 2.4GHz or 2.66GHz Core 2 Duo.

The graphics chip is also an improvement on the outgoing Mac mini model. The nVidia 320M - which shares 256MB of the system's memory - is purportedly twice as fast as the previous 9400M - a useful upgrade with the recent launch of Steam on OSX. A 320GB hard drive is standard, upgradeable to 500GB, though alas not by the end user as that particular component is buried deep in the bowels of the Mac mini (Apple has to make its margin somewhere).

There's now only one 'standard' configuration available, as opposed to the two previously offered, priced at £649. While the redesigned chassis, improved graphics grunt and welcome addition of an HDMI port and an SD card reader are nice, this model does have half the RAM (down from 4GB to 2GB) offered by the previous same-priced Mac mini.

Personally, that doesn't strike as too big an issue in terms of performance - OSX isn't a particularly memory hungry operating system - but it's a little galling. Nonetheless, most would-be buyers will probably be wooed by the snazzier chassis and, particularly, the HDMI port which make the Mac mini an even more compelling under-TV media PC.

The Mac mini isn't cheap, but it is the cheapest Mac and, yes, it is a lovely thing to look at - an important consideration in a computer, obviously.

The Mac mini with OSX Snow Leopard Server (a mouthful if one was ever swallowed) also benefits from this update. That system now comes in at £949, with a 2.6GHz Core 2 Duo CPU, 4GB of DDR3 RAM and two 500Gb, 7200rpm hard drives. But in trade-off for that increased capacity the Mac mini Server forgoes an optical drive.

Both systems are available right now, so sally forth!

Apple Mac mini

HarryGlass

June 15, 2010, 6:57 pm

Wow an SD card slot, I didn't think Apple believed in such things. I couldn't believe it when I used a friends Macbook and found there was no slot to copy the photos from my cameras' SD card onto the computer. The iPad needs one as well if I'm to ever take it seriously.

Stelph

June 15, 2010, 7:15 pm

Well its an excellent refresh of the Mac mini, I love the slimmer chassis, the HDMI, SD card and the built in power supply and I can kind of understand the price increase in the US up to $699 but why oh why do apple continue to push this non-US apple tax that they are so keen on?





$699 dollars is not £649 Apple, even taking into account VAT and transport costs! Anyone looking to buy one of these models should seriously consider using bundlebox...

ChaosDefinesOrder

June 15, 2010, 7:35 pm

RE Stelph: Yep, I make it £560 including VAT using current exchange rate. That's just under £100 mark-up compared to US price...

Mattj

June 15, 2010, 9:26 pm

I remember when the Mini was £339, if this was somewhere closer to that then it would make sense (Possibly £400). At the minute, a Mini with a 2.66ghz processor and 4GB of RAM is only £100 cheaper than the base model iMac, which has a faster procssor, bigger hard drive and a very nice Screen.

autosapien

June 15, 2010, 10:39 pm

It's a shame Apple aren't interested in targeting the HTPC market as this device has potential. It wouldn't have taken much to do that by having a Blu-ray drive, a digital audio output and a better graphics card for some 720p gaming on the plasma.





And if they are going to be impractical just for the sake of it, it would have been more consistent to hide the optical drive away by having it eject from the back, just like the SD card slot.

eddypolak

June 15, 2010, 11:23 pm

The audio output is in fact one of those combined analogue/digital affairs. What it really needs for HTPC is a proper integration into Front Row of Elgato or similar TV tuners. Given the addition of HDMI it looks to me Apple are pretty much targeting the 'living room' market..but not quite delivering the goods. Looks nice though... I bet the AppleTV in its current form is not long for this world!

Pbryanw

June 15, 2010, 11:54 pm

I didn't think Apple could make the mini any smaller, but somehow they've succeeded. Disappointing that the new mini comes with only 2GB Ram. If you run any kind of virtual OS on Snow Leopard then that Ram quickly gets eaten up. If, however, the RAM is user-replaceable, and is easy enough to change yourself, I can see this as being an improvement over previous minis. I think I paid ~£80 for an Apple memory upgrade for my last mini - I imagine buying from Crucial would be a lot cheaper. And the new GPU will come in handy playing HL2, TF2 etc etc.

supersizeme

June 16, 2010, 12:13 am

hmmm a core i3/i5 would make this a most desirable object.

Hugo

June 16, 2010, 12:30 am

I'm not sure there will be a Core i3/i5 Mac mini any time soon as it would risk reducing the appeal of the iMac - not that I think it would, necessarily, but it might.

Castalan

June 16, 2010, 2:32 am

Tempted ... presumably I can just wipe OSX and stick windows7 onto it with no bother like the macbook pro ?

xenos

June 16, 2010, 3:04 am

Macbook Pro, Macbook, Mac Mini, how long do I have to wait for the new Macbook Air so I can choose between it and the 13" Macbook Pro? I don't want to even buy a Mac but I have to as I have a web design program that requires it :S





Figured I might as well kill a few more birds with the same stone as it will be virtually immune to most viruses I would encounter on Windows based machines as an IT consultant, as well as having a pretty useful battery life. I still hate Steve Jobs though.





Back to the point not sure about not being able to remove the hard drives on these new Minis? iMac's and Macbooks look more appealling as every update the price of the Mini seems to go up and up for what it is. You can put a hella fast PC together for the asking price now..





And about the Core i3/i5, Sandy Bridge is supposedly out Q4, I think they are going to leapfrog it!

MrHorizontal

June 16, 2010, 3:18 am

Pros:


Power supply integrated into chassis. This is actually a really important thing.





Cons:


- Less memory as standard. 4GB is the absolute minimum for a PC (and the comment that Mac OS X doesn't use much memory is totally false, it's about 3x greedier than Windows 7 to run all that Quartz Aqua eye candy!)


- Form over function. The smaller box size means a smaller motherboard is being used. This disallows the use of 3 chips which the old form factor could handle, and opted to use the 2 chip solution used in Core 2 Duo. There's absolutely no reason for the old Mac mini form factor to not use a Core i5 chip (the 1st gen Intel Mac mini did in fact have 3 chips), especially for the server which demands 4 cores (even if 2 are hyperthreaded in Clarkdale).





A small form factor server is a really important thing. If it had a Core i5 and 8-16GB of RAM, I'd be using 4 of these with ESX as dev cloud. Instead I have to build my own ITX boxes with Clarkdale to do this. Opportunity well and truly missed.

GoldenGuy

June 16, 2010, 5:11 am

And why do we have Apple TV again?

Hugo

June 16, 2010, 5:36 am

Castalan - Yep, or Boxee, or XMBC, or anything.

Pendejo Sin Nombre

June 16, 2010, 11:42 am

"I'm not sure there will be a Core i3/i5 Mac mini any time soon as it would risk reducing the appeal of the iMac - not that I think it would, necessarily, but it might."





_________





Surely the reason is the graphics chipset and the Intel/Nvidia licensing issue rather than any worries of iMac sales cannibalisation.

Castalan

June 16, 2010, 11:43 am

@hugo - thanks ... it looks nice enough that it'll get the thumbs up from the wife to go in the sitting room :) consider me sold

Ash

June 16, 2010, 1:36 pm

I bought a Mac Mini last year and connected it to my HDTV, its cool. But I was expecting the new Mac Mini to have a BluRay drive, which it doesn't :(

Stelph

June 16, 2010, 1:50 pm

@Castalan


If you are considering getting a Mac Mini for a HTPC, I would defiantly recommend either buying or using your iPhone/Ipod Touch as a remote as it really does work well, check out Hippo Pro or even the dedicated XBMC/BOXEE remotes





http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...





Also if you want to use the Mac mini as a smart PVR, look into getting the eyetv software and the eyetv Iphone app. You can use the app to watch recorded TV on your iPhone (streamed over 3G or wifi) and schedule recordings on the HTPC as well, it looks very clever and defiantly scores well on the wife acceptance factor (and when I get my hands on a reasonably priced Mac Mini this is the set up i am getting!)





http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Castalan

June 16, 2010, 5:19 pm

@stelph


Thanks for the tips and links - and was wondering what to do about the remote :) I've got an old IR receiver and microsoft remote but this Hippo software looks better





thanks

Stelph

June 16, 2010, 7:34 pm

@Castalan No problem, now I just have to control my insane jeleousy that you can afford to buy this and I can't. Grrrrrrr....... (:-))





Heres their website for more information, theres also a Lite version which you can use to test the app





http://hipporemote.com/

CV

June 16, 2010, 9:12 pm

The reason the Mac mini, as well as the MacBook and 13-inch MacBook Pro still have Core 2 Duo processors is due to the lawsuit between Intel and NVIDIA, isn't it? The Intel integrated graphics in the Core i3 chip are inferior to the NVIDIA 320M, but Apple can't use the 320M in lieu of the Intel integrated graphics because of the ongoing court battle. So they're opting for C2D processors + NVIDIA 320M in all products that use integrated graphics.

broadcastm

June 18, 2010, 6:09 am

have been using an old mac mini for the last year as an htpc just becuase of the small form factor and less noise emanating from the machine, had to get rid of the windows pc it just sat there in the front room making a noise no matter what i did to change the fan speeds or this or that, anyway its been great apart from the no bluray issue but that isnt so much of a prob with the ps3 sat there and the bluray player up in the bedroom. using eyetv and boxee with the hulu desktop app to add a bit of american programming, chuck in the bbc iplayer and you have a pretty decent media outlet plugged into your tv no need for those pesky monthly fees anymore....this would be a welcomed upgrade if only i could justify the price tag 700quid??? pfft get an old one from ebay and upgrade it..not a fanboy i use windows and osx together everyday on apple hardware ;)

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