The more expensive late Mac mini reviewed here has a 2. At just If you want to use the same computer at home and at work, for example, you can set up a keyboard, mouse and monitor at each, and then when you're ready to leave, unplug the Mac mini and slip it in your bag. Since the mid refresh, the Mac mini's transformer has been built into the body, so the power supply is a cheap figure-of-eight lead.
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The Mac mini lost its optical drive with the previous generation, in the summer of , and unsurprisingly, it doesn't make a return here. The refresh isn't a radical overhaul. It retains the same basic form factor as the last generation of Mac mini, and makes no major changes to its functionality. But it's more than a mere incremental upgrade. The step up in processors, from the second generation Sandy Bridge chips to the new third-gen Ivy Bridge CPUs, bring a welcome increase in power.
Unfortunately, the discrete graphics chip that made its Mac mini debut in last year's high-end model has now gone, so both Mac minis rely solely on integrated graphics. This is annoying, considering making room for the discrete chip was given as a reason for dropping the optical drive.
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Those preferring a landline internet connection have gigabit LAN Ethernet to fall back on. The receiver for Apple's Remote is built-in at the front, but the remote itself has to be ordered separately. Also not included are a mouse and keyboard. Normal keyboards and mice are, nevertheless, compatible and easy to use. A few slight differences in the Mac keyboard layout might take some getting used to, though. The processing power of the Mac mini can be called good overall, especially considering its range of uses.
Depending on the task at hand, the available RAM of 2 GB DDR and the mediocre hard drive even for notebooks might make for some loading times, however.
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Nevertheless, thanks to the removable base plate and low RAM prices, upgrading the memory is no huge or pricy task. The CPU runs really fast, is great for most programs and even gets file conversions done quickly. With Badaboom 2. That is, we converted the film down to an iPhone-compatible resolution of x pixels. We didn't test any games.
We expect these might be as playable as on the MBP 13 with 2. The noise level stays fairly low with only the fan going, which is only noticeable in quieter work environments. With more intense tasks, the hard drive shows its bad side and produces a good deal of noise. How noticeable the Mac mini will make its presence depends largely on where you put it. In any case, it'll take a lot not to notice it at all.
The power consumption levels impress a good deal though. Particularly under OS X, we hit some very low values unknown in the desktop computer world: between In Windows, the system doesn't work quite as efficiently, using a few more watts here and there. The Mac mini Mid model we tested is the least expensive way of getting into the world of Macs and already offers good performance for many uses.
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The variety of ports is good, the Thunderbolt port should provide many opportunities in the future although you might feel the lack of USB 3. On top of that, the wireless communication is state of the art. The case is small, of extremely high-quality and the RAM and hard drive are easy to physically access.
The system noise is low relative to desktop computers and can be still reduced further by swapping out the hard drive.
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Nevertheless, some might be aggravated by the lack of a DVD drive and others might be appalled at the high price to pay for this sleek, compact case containing typical laptop technology. Very compact, but still powerful and quiet.
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A very inexpensive way of getting into the Mac world. Thunderbolt-compatible devices, Apple Remote included in the package, a fast hard drive and more generous RAM with the entry-level model. Apple's Mac mini is unique in its form. Best Displays , for University Students. Very compact case. Easy access to hardware.
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Ports in comparison reading. Mediocre hard drive. Video conversion with low CPU stress. Badaboom DVD to iPhone n.