Styling and Use

The mini’s design is cohesive with the rest of Apple’s lineup. The unibody aluminum construction is less functional in a stationary desktop compared to a notebook that has to be rugged, but it’s nice to look at nonetheless.

At the front of the Mac mini is the opening for the internal slot loading 8x SuperDrive. The drive can write to DVD±R discs as well as dual layer variants. DVD±RWs and CD-R/RWs are also supported. There's no option for a Blu-ray drive.

Like all Macs, there’s no eject button - for that you’ll need an Apple keyboard (not included). There are actually no input devices included in the purchase price, so expect to add another $120 if you want an Apple keyboard and Magic Mouse ($140 if you want them to both be wireless). There’s no remote included either, although Apple’s IR remotes do work with the mini.

The power button is around back, as well as the power connector. The power supply is internal so all you have on the outside is a single white cable with no power brick.

Gigabit Ethernet, FireWire 800 and four USB 2.0 ports line the rear along with the miniDP and HDMI outputs I mentioned earlier. A new addition is the SDXC slot on the back.

The mini has a single internal speaker but you also get digital/analog 1/8” line in and line out jacks. If you’ve got an iPhone headset, just plug it into the headphone minijack and you’ll get both headphone and mic functionality.

The Mac mini ships with 802.11a/b/g/n support but has no external WiFi antenna. The antenna is located in the base of the unit, directly underneath the removable access cover.

The internal antenna behaves virtually identically to a notebook’s WiFi. In fact, I got very similar WiFi performance out of the Mac mini as I did with this year’s MacBook Pro. With a good access point, getting reception at around 60 feet away through walls in a house wasn’t a problem.

The only issue I had with the Mac mini’s WiFi was when I placed the unit in my theater room. The theater is enclosed in two layers of drywall and has a small closet with a metal equipment rack in it. With the mini in the middle of the equipment rack, surrounded by amps and a pre-processor, I couldn’t get more than 1.2MB/s to the nearest access point which was less than 30 feet away but outside of the room. While that’s still enough bandwidth for surfing the web, it’s not enough to stream HD video from a networked file server.

I wouldn’t fault the Mac mini’s WiFi however. I was simply asking too much of it. But keep this in mind if you don’t have ethernet running to a similar setup. Thankfully, I do have ethernet going to the rack and thus it wasn’t an issue.

The mini’s design looks great until you start hooking a bunch of cables up to it. Despite the four USB ports, you’ll want to use Bluetooth peripherals where possible. In an HTPC setting where all you need is a HDMI cable and Bluetooth input devices the setup is very clean.

The New Mac mini Spin the mini
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  • AssBall - Monday, August 09, 2010 - link

    Yeah, that 45 fps at 800x600 in WoW is killer, Dude.

    wtf
    Reply
  • Tros - Monday, August 09, 2010 - link

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/2921/4

    19 fps on an overclocked Intel integrated GPU (i3 generation). I'd say going with NVidia's GPU was the better choice by at least two-fold for gaming.
    Reply
  • thunng8 - Tuesday, August 10, 2010 - link

    Thats right, a standard clocked Intel GPU gets approx 12.5-15fps or less than 1/3rd the performance of the Nvidia 320M Reply
  • retrospooty - Monday, August 09, 2010 - link

    "Apple calls the new Mac mini the world’s most energy-efficient desktop computer"

    Nice thing to call it, considering its really a laptop with no LCD. Gotta love Job's spin. ROFL
    Reply
  • thunng8 - Tuesday, August 10, 2010 - link

    Why is it spin if it is correct? Reply
  • jihe - Monday, August 09, 2010 - link

    Ridiculously overpriced. Might as well get a laptop and hack off the lcd. Any one care to compare this to a laptop at the same price level? Reply
  • Tros - Monday, August 09, 2010 - link

    1) NVidia chipset laptops are hard to find. I imagine this is something like when AMD-powered Dell machines were non-existent.
    2) Compare it and realize what? Power consumption on the Mac-mini is already lower than it's low-voltage netbook counterpart. Would you compare a T8600 to a T8600?

    And yeah, the initial cost is a lot more. But have you considered the cost over time? Even if the ION system was cheaper, the cost-over-time curve has a higher slope because of power consumption and build quality. The Mac-Mini is the better investment for the long-run. Well, unless you replace your HTPC every year, but who has that kind of money?
    Reply
  • jihe - Tuesday, August 10, 2010 - link

    1) NVidia chipset laptops are everywhere.

    2) Turn off the screen of your laptop and see how much power it consumes.

    The mac mini is half an outdated laptop, for much more than the price of one.
    Reply
  • name99 - Tuesday, August 10, 2010 - link

    A laptop that runs MacOS X?

    If you are not in the market for such a machine, fine, but don't pretend you're making deep philosophical points by ignoring this issue.
    I don't give a damn about motorbikes. The difference between you and me is that I don't feel a compulsive need to read articles on motorbikes and then offer up my opinion on devices that I have never owned and will never own.

    20% or so of the US market feels the overall value of Apple products, from the OS to the generally higher reliability to the much better resale value (or, if you prefer, longer usable lifetime) make them worth buying. If you're not in that group, fine, but is your life really so empty that, rather than going door to door asking people if they have heard the word of god, you feel a need to engage in the equivalent behavior wrt a commercial purchase? "Excuse me, ma'am, but have you heard the words of Bill Gates, and how they can save your dollars and the dollars of your loved ones?"
    Reply
  • ManjyomeThunder - Wednesday, August 11, 2010 - link

    20%? I hope you're talking about iPhones and not Macintoshes, Considering OS X (all versions) hold around a total of MAYBE 10% of the US market. Reply

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