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Updated Mac Mini Aims For the Living Room 638

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the need-a-review-unit dept.
WrongSizeGlass noted that besides the pre-order of the new iPhone appearing on the Apple store today, Apple has revved the Mac Mini and started selling those too. "PC World is reporting on the latest version of Apple's Mac Mini. At only 1.4-inches tall the unibody aluminium enclosure includes an HDMI port, an SD card reader, and more graphics and processing power. Even the power supply is inside now. The base model comes with 2.4-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB of RAM and a 320GB hard disk — for $699. Graphics power comes from an NVIDIA GeForce 320M GPU (as found in lower-end MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops). Apple appears to be aiming for living rooms by including the HDMI port and eliminating the external power brick."
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Updated Mac Mini Aims For the Living Room

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  • Re:Just remember (Score:3, Informative)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @10:21AM (#32577894)
    I thought the iMac was the entry point.
  • by Killer Orca (1373645) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @10:22AM (#32577896)

    So with the current mini you're looking at doubling the ram like you always have to for a stock machine and it's a proprietary case not meant for user fiddling so you have to pay the mac store to install the ram

    They actually designed the case so the RAM is user upgradable, just scroll down http://www.apple.com/macmini/design.html [apple.com]

  • Re:Expensive (Score:5, Informative)

    by BacOs (33082) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @10:25AM (#32577940) Homepage
    A Mac Mini sized Dell Zino [dell.com] with HDMI starts at $249.99.
  • Re:Deal breaker (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @10:28AM (#32577988)

    The 3.5mm audio jack also houses an optical output.

  • Re:Deal breaker (Score:5, Informative)

    by benbean (8595) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @10:29AM (#32578010)

    It's one of Apple's magic combined analog/digital 3.5mm jacks. Plug in an optical TOS cable and you've got your digital audio. It's what I do on my iMac.

  • by vijayiyer (728590) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @10:35AM (#32578106)

    The 3.5mm audiojack has mini-Toslink built in.

  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @10:38AM (#32578154)

    so you have to pay the mac store to install the ram

    It's not easy to replace the RAM as in other cases, but there are a number of guides online how to do it. The only unique tool you will need is a putty knife.

    then you have to get the mouse and keyboard which will be wireless and thus more expensive, plus any other accessories you might pick up.

    You don't have to get a wireless keyboard and mouse. You can use USB ones. Or if you already have one like from Logitech it will work.

    Oh, and let's no forget the mandatory service plan since Apple gives you a flat one month warranty, that's it. My mini's hard drive took a shit at one year plus two months. They told me I was SOL.

    The warranty is one year [apple.com] not one month. One year is fairly standard. And no one is forcing you to buy a service plan.

    In your case the HD failed, not the MB so I don't see how your are SOL. HDs fail and the HD isn't a part that Apple manufactures so they don't have control over the quality of it. Replace it and you still have a computer. You'll lose all your data if you didn't perform regular backups

  • by CaptainJeff (731782) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @10:38AM (#32578168)

    Unibody (unopenable) case: BOO

    You can open it. From the bottom, which makes for very easy access to the RAM, unlike the previous design.

    Still Core2 instead of i5/i7: BOO

    Same reason the 13" MBP is still Core2Duo. Try to put a discrete graphics chip in that form factor without losing any of the other features.

  • Re:Expensive (Score:4, Informative)

    by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @10:45AM (#32578248) Homepage
    It is worth noting that the cheapest dual-core model of the Zino is $499, still cheaper than the Mini, but it also has the trendy-retro-60s-ugliness-fit-for-goodwill type look which the Mini lacks.
  • 10W server for $1000 (Score:3, Informative)

    by vijayiyer (728590) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @10:46AM (#32578272)

    I think $1000 for the server configuration with two 500GB drives that you can RAID is pretty darned compelling. They claim it draws 10W at idle, which makes the operating cost almost negligble. And it comes with the server OS, which is normally $500 alone.

  • Re:Expensive (Score:5, Informative)

    by SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @10:48AM (#32578304) Homepage

    Look at the UK prices. Once you take off VAT at 17.5%, and then convert to US$, it is 17% more expensive.

    Also, the Mac Mini first started at £399 when it was introduced, and affordable computer, it now starts at £649, with mediocre hardware.

    It's a rip off, for sure!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @10:52AM (#32578368)

    Oh, and let's no forget the mandatory service plan since Apple gives you a flat one month warranty, that's it.

    Apple provides a one-year warranty that can be extended to three years with AppleCare. Not a "flat one month warranty" as you stated.

  • by dingen (958134) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @10:57AM (#32578442)

    At only 1.4-inches tall the unibody aluminium enclosure includes an HDMI port, an SD card reader, and more graphics and processing power.

    The new Mac Mini doesn't pack more processing power, it's actually slower than one of the previous models. The old line up included two models, one with an Intel Core 2 Duo at 2.26 GHz and one at 2.53 GHz, both with the option to upgrade to 2.66 GHz. Now the new line up includes only one model, clocked at 2.4 GHz, also with the option to upgrade to 2.66 GHz.

    So all in all, the new model is faster than the entry model of the previous version, but the old line up also included a model faster than what's available now.

  • Re:Apple TV (Score:4, Informative)

    by Burdell (228580) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @10:59AM (#32578470)

    you can already stream an HD movie or TV show faster than you could get up off your couch and go buy or rent it physically

    Wally-world is 3 minutes from my house. I can be there and back in 15 minutes from when I decide to go. They actually have a decent selection of Blu-Ray movies these days, including a number in the cheap bins. Blu-Ray supports up to 36 megabits per second, which is faster than the Internet access at the vast majority of homes in the US. For example, to get Blu-Ray quality video on my 6 meg DSL, for a 2 hour movie I'd have to wait for up to 10 hours of "buffering" before I could "stream" the video. If you only did half the max quality level of Blu-Ray (18 meg) and your Internet connection was twice as fast (12 meg), you'd still have to wait an hour before starting to watch a 2 hour movie. And that assumes there's a server farm somewhere that can feed a whole bunch of 18-36 meg streams simultaneously.

    Also, there's nothing to stop you buying an external BD player. Newegg has 'em under $150.

    Does Apple include Blu-Ray player software (complete with all the necessary DRM support so you can actually get 1080p)? A drive is useless without the software, and the software included with the drive will be for Windows, not Mac OS X.

  • by psergiu (67614) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @10:59AM (#32578472)

    > Oh, and let's no forget the mandatory service plan since Apple gives you a flat one month warranty, that's it.

    In what God-forsaken country do you live ? In all of the EU all the Apple products have a two-year national warranty (including a one year international warranty coverage) by default.
    Also: no other company would have replaced a component they don't manufacture (the hdd) after the warranty expired.

    You're a troll.

  • by Moridineas (213502) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @10:59AM (#32578482) Journal

    Oh, and let's no forget the mandatory service plan since Apple gives you a flat one month warranty, that's it. My mini's hard drive took a shit at one year plus two months. They told me I was SOL.

    AFAIK this is totally wrong? I thought all Apple products come with a one year warranty (90 days of phone support).

    You could also have bought a 3 year warranty (Which I never do on something this cheap) for like $150 iirc.

    Sucks that the drive broke, but surely a slashdotter could open a mac mini and replace the drive easily enough? I've done so on many models of iMac (even back it was hard!)

  • by CubeDude213 (678340) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @11:05AM (#32578558)
    The RAM is user upgradeable, the warranty is for a year, not a month, and there’s nothing that prevents you from using a ten-year old USB keyboard/mouse. Don’t know why you wasted your money paying for all that... I’m sure most slashdotters have a few keyboards and mice lying around, I know I do.
  • by greed (112493) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @11:17AM (#32578764)

    Changing the disk in the last-gen Mini isn't too hard. You have to do all the work to pull the disks to get at the RAM anyway.

    Just be sure to remove the heat sensor from the HDD, rather than trying to unplug it. Not all units have a plug like the one in the iFixit tear-down, and you might need a soldering iron if you do it wrong. Don't ask me how I know.

    I don't remember if there was enough clearance to fit a 12.5mm 1TB 2.5" disk. Standard 9.5mm ones fit no problem, any SATA one will be fine.

  • by BZ (40346) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @11:26AM (#32578918)

    Ah, indeed.

    Looking at the actual parts involved according to wikipedia, the old mini had either a P7550 (2.26 GHz), P8700 (2.53 Ghz) or a P8800 (2.66 Ghz). The new one has a P8600 (2.4 GHz) or a P8800.

    So looks like you're right and the 2.4Ghz model downgrade from the 2.53 GHz model processor-wise.

  • by DigitalSorceress (156609) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @11:26AM (#32578920)

    Unibody (unopenable) case: BOO

    You can open it. From the bottom, which makes for very easy access to the RAM, unlike the previous design.

    Yeah, I realized that after I posted... definite upgrade (though apparently, you still can't get to the HDD to replace it)

    Still Core2 instead of i5/i7: BOO

    Same reason the 13" MBP is still Core2Duo. Try to put a discrete graphics chip in that form factor without losing any of the other features.

    To be honest, I hadn't thought of that. I guess it makes sense when taken in that context.

    I still ~want~ a Mini with an i5 or i7 though.

  • Re:Wasteful (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jeremy Erwin (2054) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @11:27AM (#32578930) Journal

    Atom's integrated graphic chipset doesn't "pull" 1080p.

  • Re:Just remember (Score:3, Informative)

    by cynyr (703126) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @11:27AM (#32578934)
    custom motherboard, custom case, custom cooling, small size, ability to run OSX and not violate the terms, are all things that add markup. Look at shuttle.
  • Re:Expensive (Score:3, Informative)

    by ClosedSource (238333) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @11:30AM (#32578992)

    Well, it's aimed at people who already have a USB keyboard, a USB mouse and a USB microphone.

  • by jedidiah (1196) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @11:33AM (#32579034) Homepage

    The "standard warranty" forces you to dicker around with the service department at Apple.

    The "one month" is how long you have to return the device if it is defective.

    If you think it's defective after that, they won't let you return it any more and they
    restrict you to warranty repair service.

    So do all of your torture testing early.

  • Re:Looks good but.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by flamingnight (234353) <chris.garaffa@NOSPAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @11:38AM (#32579086)

    I have a 2005-era Mac Mini. I love it. However, it's getting a bit slow, and the new ones are barely faster, and cost twice as much. Apple's getting harder and harder to defend these days.

    Your 2005-era Mini likely has a PowerPC G4 (7447A) processor, with one core, running at 1.3 or 1.5GHz. According to MacTracker [dreamhosters.com], the 1.5 averages a score of 822 on GeekBench 2. Even a bottom of the line (2.26GHz) Mini from late 2009 (as MacTracker doesn't have today's update yet) averages a 3056 with an Intel Core 2 Duo.

    The system bus has gone from 167MHz to 1066MHz, L2 cache from 512K to 3MB.

    If your current machine works for you, then it's a good machine. But compared to what you have the new model is significantly faster.

  • Re:Expensive (Score:5, Informative)

    by Aladrin (926209) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @12:10PM (#32579546)

    You can choose a dual-core Athlon for $45 more than the $250 one.

  • Re:Expensive (Score:2, Informative)

    by cyborch (524661) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @12:54PM (#32580238) Homepage Journal
    Last time I checked Snow Leopard was only about $29. You might want to spend your time on something slightly more profitable than fighting for a refund for that particular item...
  • Re:Expensive (Score:3, Informative)

    by hattig (47930) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @12:56PM (#32580274) Journal

    It's $599 for the dual-core 1.8GHz option that's closest to the Mac Mini.

    Bigger hard drive (750GB) and 4GB RAM however.
    Weaker graphics, weaker CPU, bigger box.
    You can upgrade the graphics to the HD4330 for another $75. You can't upgrade the CPU.

    I'd say the prices were comparable, but with the Mac Mini you can update the hard drive space or add it via USB or FW800, and you can increase the memory. You can't increase the CPU on the Dell.

    Windows / Mac OS X is personal preference of course, but iLife has to be worth something compared to the add-on software that Dell offers in their personalisation process.

  • Re:Expensive (Score:3, Informative)

    by 3dr (169908) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @01:03PM (#32580374)

    Apple does include it. The current mini comes with the DisplayPort to DVI adapter already, so no need for the adapter you mention.

    As an aside, the local Fry's recently had current minis on sale for $100 off: 2GB / 2.24GHz versions for $500.

  • Re:Expensive (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @01:08PM (#32580450)

    Dell Zino vs Mac mini comparison:

    Z & M- Gig Ethernet, 4 USB, SD card reader, 2GB RAM base - up to 8GB

    Z- M-Radeon HD 3200, M-Radeon HD 4330 option (nice)
    M- NVIDIA GeForce 320M (faster)

    Z- max 1.8GHz Athlon dual
    M- max 2.6GHz Core2Duo (alot faster)

    Z- base 160GB HD, max 1TB (unless you buy your own)
    M- base 320GB HD, max 500GB (unless you buy your own)

    Z- VGA & HDMI
    M- DP & HDMI

    Z- eSATA
    M- FW800

    Z- analog audio I/O, mic, optional better audio upgrades available
    M- analog + digital optical audio I/O

    Z- external power brick
    M- internal PS (new feature - I like it)

    Z- flimsy tray load DVD
    M- slot load DVD

    Z- WiFi - optional
    M- 802.11n (a/b/g/n) WiFi standard

    Z- Bluetooth ?? (seems to be no option)
    M- Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR standard

    Z- Windows Vista OS - base (Win7 -> +$150)
    M- MacOS X Snow Leopard

    Z- 3.4 x 7.8 x 7.8 inch, 4lb, plastic
    M- 1.4 x 7.7 x 7.7 inch, 3lb, aluminum

    Z- enviro - you can BTO a tree planting - woo hoo
    M- enviro responsible/recycleable if that's a big thing to you

    Z- Configured to come anywhere close to base Mac mini - $503
    M- Base price - $699

    If you upgrade the Zino to a 320GB HD, best Athlon CPU, par up the graphics, add WiFi, and add Windows 7 to the Dell Zino, you're within $50 of the Mac mini price, and you still don't have a fast CPU, Firewire, Bluetooth, DisplayPort, digital audio I/O, or a slot load DVD drive. Plus you also don't have the build quality. Methinks the Mac mini wins hands down compared to the Zino, and probably any other SFF PC on the planet.

  • by daoine_sidhe (619572) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @01:25PM (#32580740)

    I have absolutely no idea how you got moderated +5 Interesting. Almost all of what you say is wrong, except perhaps that you bought a Mac Mini and own a TV. The RAM is user upgradeable on this model. You can use any USB wired or wireless input devices; I use a logitech internet desktop 250 set; the pair cost me $7.50. That leaves me at price plus $7.50. I have a 19" Viewsonic LCD I use with the system, which can be had for around ~$100 these days. The warranty is 1 year in the US; I can't imagine where you live that you wouldn't get at least that. And of course they told you that you were SOL; a hard drive failure is (1) Expected (you did expect that, just like you would for any machine, right?) (2) Out of Apple's control (they don't manufacture them, and neither does any of the other computer manufacturers) (3) Not major. Any SATA laptop HDD will do, ~$50 will get your machine running again.

    I am an ACMT, and I manage the service department of an AASP (Apple Authorized Service Provider). I in fact DO know what I'm talking about.

  • Re:Expensive (Score:3, Informative)

    by mrchaotica (681592) * on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @01:41PM (#32580982)

    If you're buying a Mac Mini to run Windows, you're doing it wrong. There are $250 Dells and whatnot for that! The only reason to get the Mac Mini is if you specifically want Mac OS and don't want to deal with the complications (legal and otherwise) of turning that aforementioned $250 machine into a hackintosh.

  • Re:Expensive (Score:4, Informative)

    by RotateLeftByte (797477) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @04:24PM (#32583006)

    In the UK at least, the Mac Mini includes iLife.
    If you think about what you are getting in such a small package. Now that the PSU is inside and the RAM upgrade is easy (via the removable bottom panel), it becomes quite an attractive package.

    Granted that it is quite a jump from the old model but this one is even smaller and with more inside.
    I'm looking at an Asus eeeBox eb1502 as I write this. This is physically larger than the Mini. IT has an exteranl PSU as well. The mini has a far more powerful CPU than the Atom in the eebox. Granted that the Mini is twice the price but for me, it is a great package.
    Last month, I got my next door neighbour to buy a Mini. IT replaced a Dell Tower (some 5 years old) that was so full of malware (they have two girls who use Facebook etc...) that it was so slow. The HDD was giving up the ghost with lots of errors.
    They are really pleased with the mini. iTunes & limewire works. As does FarmVille, Facebook & UTube. They have MSOffice and they are really happy with their new system.
    No more AV software crippling the system and demanding reboots. No more under the cover software updates that demand a reboot.
    My life is far easier now that they are using the Mini. Yeah, I'm their IT Support. Even the Parental Controls work very well OOTB. That was always hit & miss on the PC.
    I am in no doubt that the Apple computing experiece is far more bounded that the Windows one but as the PC market marutes PC are becoming appliances. The best in class appliance IMHO, is the apple one and the Mini is a great lead into it of you already have a Screen, keyboars & mouse.
    Just my 2p worth.

  • by sootman (158191) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @04:29PM (#32583064) Homepage Journal

    Hate to sound like an Apple apologist, but there's not a whole lot to be gained from going from Core to i, and some good reasons not to. [arstechnica.com]

    And if it seems that they're focusing on new devices at the expense of their traditional lineup: well, sad though it may be, there's a damn good reason for it. [businessinsider.com] 5.4 billion good reasons for it (40% of revenue) in fact.

  • Re:Expensive (Score:3, Informative)

    by stewbacca (1033764) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @04:57PM (#32583376)

    The largest problem with the Zino is that it is sold by Dell.

    You'll go through two or three of them in the lifespan of one Mac Mini, in my experience. Maybe Dell's only suck if you use them at work. I've never been brave enough to try one at home.

  • Re:Expensive (Score:3, Informative)

    by Lars T. (470328) <Lars DOT Traeger AT googlemail DOT com> on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @05:54PM (#32583932) Journal

    You can choose a dual-core Athlon for $45 more than the $250 one.

    Sure. You also go from 1.6 GHz down to 1.5 GHz.

  • Re:Expensive (Score:3, Informative)

    by JohnBailey (1092697) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @06:09PM (#32584116)

    Well Windows 7 doesn't really cost $200 either... more like $150.

    Well.. Windows 7 OEM, which would be on an off the shelf PC doesnt really cost $150 either. More like $30-50 tops.

    So I checked apple.com, and the *upgrade* is only $29, but if you're running an older 10.4 system then you need the full OS. That costs $170. That's the OS tax which is included in every Mac, same as the Windows tax is included in every PC.

    Again.. OEM price. Even though the maker of the OS and the hardware are the same company. So basically, they can get it at cost.

  • by CaptainJeff (731782) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @08:11PM (#32585334)
    Yeah...no.

    If you really thing that the integrated Intel graphics in the i3/i5/i7 chipset even compares to the 320M, you need to either (1) actually compare them, or (2) read any analysis by anyone that actually has done so. The 320M might not be the best graphics package out there right now (indeed, it clearly is not!) but it blows the pants off the IntelHD stuff.

    Seriously...read some benchmarks and analysis before you post such crap. The crappyness of the integrated video is one of the primary reasons to stay with the C2D w/ 320M instead of moving to the i3 or i5 with Intel HD instead in the 13" MBP.

  • Re:Expensive (Score:4, Informative)

    by GigaplexNZ (1233886) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @06:00AM (#32588708)

    If you want to bitch about an adapter, bitch that it doesn't support VGA or DVI without buying the extra cable.

    It comes with an HDMI to DVI adapter in the box. You are correct about VGA though.

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