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  • triclops41 - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    they shoulda used llano,
    much better for a system like this than sandy bridge.
  • TheAbsintheHare - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Pretty sure they have a contract to stick with Intel. Reply
  • 996GT2 - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Why? Mobile Llano has less CPU performance than the 2C/4T mobile Core i5s and considerably less CPU performance than the 4C/8T i7-2635QM.

    Sure, the GPU performance is a little better, but does that really matter for a Mac Mini? I doubt many people are going to be buying Mac Minis with the intention of using them as gaming machines. I'd rather take the much better CPU performance of Mobile Sandy Bridge and the lower power consumption.
  • FITCamaro - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Because the CPU performance is plenty good for the task and then you wouldn't need a discrete GPU to get decent GPU performance. Thus saving on space and producing less heat. Reply
  • joe_dude - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Either AMD A8 for HTPC or SFF, or go with a mini gaming PC with a real video card at those prices. Reply
  • zxnczxcn - Sunday, July 24, 2011 - link

    I also was confused about that. There is literally NO ROOM for anything in these boxes.

    Your satisfaction is our eternal pursuit!

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  • thesix - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Wish Sandy Bridge CPU and a discrete GPU, in such as small box, I wonder how stable it is ... Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Well, its not built for 24/7 maxed loads, but the Mini hasn't had issues with heat in the past that I know of so the update shouldn't change that, but we'll know soon enough.

    Speaking of which, anyone know if they will use graphics switching in the Mini? Its disabled in the iMac's.
  • quiksilvr - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    I also was confused about that. There is literally NO ROOM for anything in these boxes.

    The price is better but with no Superdrive it should be $499 for the mid range model and no low model. I detest companies that do this. Here are some examples of the nonsense here:

    1) You want a faster processor? Well shell $200 more for the mid range model.
    2) Want a SSD? You can't on the lower, spend $200 more just to get the option.
    3) Want dual hard dives? You can't on lower, spend $200 more...

    What a load of crap. Just sell the mid range model for $499 and push your competitors. Right now Mac Mini is a laughing stock and although it's improved, it has a ways to go.
  • ShoePuke - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Agree. Problem is the Mac sycophants will eat it up. Just like the iPad2 (which was iPad1.5 really). Reply
  • TheAbsintheHare - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    I, like most people around here, build my PCs and honestly this isn't a bad price for what you get. I've been surprised lately at what Apple has been offering for the amount of money they charge compared to a few years ago when their markup was near double. Laptops from other manufacturers with the same specs as the mid range model are $1000+.

    Pricing the parts out if you wanted to build something similar to the low end model yourself (using comparative performance to pick them, since these are all "mobile" type or custom parts), you'd pay about $200 for the CPU, over $100 for a motherboard with similar features, $50 to $100 for a small htpc case, depending on quality, $60 to $80 for wireless, bluetooth and ram, and $30 bucks for the operating system. That's $400 to $500 bucks; is an additional $99 - $199 markup that big of a deal to cover R&D, design, support and all that? There's no way they could make a decent profit selling the midrange model for $499.
  • FATCamaro - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    This. Not only that but you don't see Dell/HP falling over themselves to deliver a comparable box at 500. Reply
  • CharonPDX - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Dell has a ROUGH equivalent (the Zino) to the $600 model at $500, but to get the equivalent of the $800 version, you have to pay more than $800. (In Dell's favor, that includes a Blu-ray drive, though.) Reply
  • Exodite - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    I don't believe the point here were markup on the default build as much as on BTO options.

    If the default model is perfect for you all is well and good.

    If it isn't you're SOL, as upgrading single components is either prohibitively expensive or flat-out impossible.

    To be fair that's a problem with all Macs though, not just the new mini.

    The Apple tax isn't too bad on brand new, standard equipped, models and second-hand value is second to none. Unfortunately you're all too often stuck with getting an entirely new computer if you want to upgrade anything past the memory and, if you're really lucky, storage.
  • TheAbsintheHare - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Yeah, I'll admit the markup on the BTO options is pretty hefty, $150 dollars more for for a 750GB HD? But, if you really want those BTO options and don't want to pay that Apple tax, you can always just buy the parts somewhere else and install them yourself; both memory and the drives are user serviceable, no luck needed. Reply
  • Exodite - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    True, which is why I specifically mentioned memory and storage, though that's not always the case.

    With the SSD 'sleigh' and custom connectors introduced with the new iMac I wouldn't be surprised to hear of similar concern here.

    Also, the MBA has soldered memory rather than modules does it not?

    Not that I'd expect that setup to make it to the mini mind you, just illustrating the point I were making about it not being an isolated issue.
  • name99 - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    "Unfortunately you're all too often stuck with getting an entirely new computer if you want to upgrade anything past the memory and, if you're really lucky, storage."

    If only there were a way to sell that old computer and get a decent price. Perhaps some sort of internet auction site...?

    Look, of all the arguments you can give this is the most stupid.
    (a) Apple make it TRIVIAL for you to move your entire world from one computer to another.
    (b) Have you looked at the prices for second hand Apple kit on eBay? They are REALLY good for the seller, really high.

    To any person ACTUALLY wanting to do this (as opposed to whining in blog comments) this is a complete and utter non-issue.
  • Exodite - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    I believe I specifically mentioned those exact points. In fact, I'm sure of it.

    Nonetheless the inability to customize your device cheaply and easily, or at all, as well as the need for complete replacement when upgrading remain problematic.

    The excellent second-hand value of Apple hardware mitigates the cost but it doesn't make it any less of an issue.
  • gmcalpin - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    Upgrading RAM on minis is easy as pie.

    And it looks like in these new ones, upgrading the hard drives is easy enough for anyone here to handle, too — according to iFixit. They do note that you'll need to find another hard drive-to-logic board cable if you want to put in a second hard drive (and didn't order one), but it's just a matter of time before you can get those (if you can't already).
  • sviola - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Now, you are considering retail pricing. Do you really think that Apple pay those prices for their parts? Looking at their usual profit margin, their cost is probably around half the price they charge. So, they probably have margin to lower the price, if they ever need to.

    As for the R&D, this is a refresh, the most they did is test for thermals, as the rest was already done in the last version (design, etc).

    Not that this isn't a bad option. For the size of it and the specs, it looks very nice.
  • repoman27 - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    And apple is selling to you, the consumer, as a retailer... and so they mark up like a retailer... after buying at wholesale prices... that is how it works.

    BTO's have an additional cost associated with them, plain and simple. Are Apple's RAM upgrade prices ridiculous? Yes. But $150 for a 750 GB 7200 RPM 2.5" drive is not that ridiculous. The drive itself currently costs $114.98 from Newegg, who run on average far lower margins than Apple does. Apple install it for you, and then push a system image to the drive so you have Lion and iLife '11 on it. I installed one of these drives in a brand new 2010 Mac-mini, and I can attest to the fact that it is not a trivial task like replacing the RAM. Had it been a BTO option for $150 at the time, I wouldn't have hesitated.

    As for being a refresh, please point out one component on the logic board of the 2011 Mac-mini, besides perhaps the ports on the back, that were present on the 2010 model. Just because the enclosure is roughly the same physical dimensions and made from aluminum, does not mean that this isn't an entirely new beast. New OS, pretty much 100% new internals, nearly double the TDP of the previous generation in the same form factor... So yeah, I guess the engineering just pretty much took care of itself then.
  • madseven7 - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    "But $150 for a 750 GB 7200 RPM 2.5" drive is not that ridiculous. The drive itself currently costs $114.98 from Newegg, who run on average far lower margins than Apple does."
    That's way to much. They are not giving you an additonal drive they are just swapping your 500 GB drive to a 750GB drive. So they keep your old drive and use it in another system raising their margins.
  • repoman27 - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    Setting aside the $55 difference in retail price between the two drives... Generally when you're selling something you set the price to a desired balance between volume and profit margin. BTO options are often expensive because the manufacturer doesn't really want to encourage them, unless they've got excess inventory they're trying to dump. There are only two models of 2.5", 750 GB, 7200 RPM drives on the market, and Apple's supply chain is likely to be somewhat constrained, so it wouldn't make sense for them to make this a no penalty upgrade.

    If you can't buy one of these yourself and pay an authorized tech to install it for you for considerably less, you'll still probably just go with the Apple option. If you're the type of person who can't bear spending an extra $95 for an upgrade that you could do yourself, you'll buy the base model and DIY. This is exactly what Apple is shooting for.

    BTO's do not raise overall margins, in general they lower them due to the loss of efficiency in producing relatively small quantities of custom configurations.
  • GotThumbs - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Yes! Its too much....... and they just cleared around 9 billion in revenue.....because others ARE willing to give their money away. Reply
  • madseven7 - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    "There's no way they could make a decent profit selling the midrange model for $499"
    If that were the case, then you wouldn't see laptops selling for $499 including a screen and 750GB hard drive if there was no profit to be made.
  • TheAbsintheHare - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    Um... I already pointed out that laptops with the same tech specs as the mid range model sell for $1000+; specifically the Sony Vaio. Find me a laptop with those specs that's $499. You can't just base a price tag on the vagueness of "It has the same size hard drive!". What kind of drive is it? Is it a slow 5400rpm drive? Is it a 6gbps SATA drive, only 3, or god forbid, an PATA drive? What kind of GPU and CPU does the laptop have? Memory speed? Peripheral connections? Reply
  • teladoy - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    I agree actualy a lesser hackintosh was quoted at $600 but the real price I check was $670 to built a core2duo so expecting to get $499 is a dream something I suspect quicksilver does a lot.
    A mac mini with sandy bridge and no hassle kill the hackintosh movement from the root, I know I been one of them for 4 years.
    Also the hackintosh gurus were all windows user and OS X blow them to Mac.
    The reality is that is nothing there better than a Mac right now and that hit hart some people.
  • Uritziel - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    Your 'reality' is hilarious. False, but hilarious. Reply
  • quiksilvr - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    Uh, YES it IS a bad price for what you get. Why would you want laptop parts for a DESKTOP computer? If you wanted mobile parts, you would get a mobile computer.

    And you are spouting out prices that us lowly consumers get charged by the companies, not what they have to pay to make it.

    Right now you can get a lower end model laptop with specs that DECIMATE the Mac Mini for $20 less:

    More RAM, a 15.6" screen, a webcam, microphone, a keyboard and trackpad. Yeah, there's no Bluetooth but you can get USB dongles for that for under $10 now.

    As for the mid range model?

    A whopping $120 less and comes with a faster CPU and GPU, a bigger HDD, and an even bigger 17" screen.

    Mac Minis doesn't come with:
    1) A screen
    2) A dvd drive
    3) A keyboard
    4) A mouse
    5) A webcam

    And you're telling me, this isn't that bad of a price? It's an improvement from before, sure, but it's still a complete rip off.
  • Broheim - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    1) both those screens are terrible.
    2) who honestly use their dvd drive anymore, I have only used this one for OS install and nothing else.
    3) both comes with a terrible keyboard.
    4) none of those laptops comes with a mouse...
    5) again both have terrible webcams (and who really needs webcams anyway?)

    you say the first acer you linked decimates the low-end mini, but the only difference in performance between the two is 2GB of memory (which is user servicable on the mini is you can just throw another stick in there if you want to)

    and your assumption that the 480M is faster than the 2520M based solely on clock speed is laughable.

    the mini offers thunderbolt, but the Acers don't even offer USB 3

    and I'm not even taking quality (both build and parts) into account.
  • erple2 - Saturday, July 23, 2011 - link

    1) I posit that a terrible piece of additional hardware that forces you to buy a better of the same means that piece of hardware isn't worth including as a positive. Besides, I already have a high-quality 24" screen monitor.
    2) I'm with Broheim with that one - though I do rip the occasional CD that I find in buried in a box in my basement. Once it's ripped, it goes back into that dungeon, though.
    3) See note 1. The keyboard on those two laptops is ... terrible.
    4) there's no mouse on either of the two models - terrible trackpads - see note 1.
    5) Once you have kids, and far away, reasonably tech-savvy parents, you'll realize the incredible value of that webcam - grandparents LOVE to see their grandkids on a regular basis. My parents are over 2000 miles away, but they have Skype and a webcam. So I give this as the ONE advantage those laptops have over the Mac Mini.

    Note also that the Mac Mini is smaller than those laptops :)
  • gorash - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    This costs $599 U.S. dollars and it doesn't even come with Blu-Ray. Reply
  • web2dot0 - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    I know ... it sucks ... yeah ... you are making me yawn. Your constant complaining and asking for prices they are not selling is useless. You don't like it, don't buy it. It's that simple. If there's enough people not buying it, Apple will change the pricing and feature set.

    If the product is successful, why should they care about you specifically? It's no secret that Apple does their homework on feature set and pricing, so who are you to question them given their track record of making record profits?

    Are you saying that they should make less money? You obviously don't work in the real world ....

    Objectively speaking, compared to what's available on the market today, there's really nothing that compares to Apple Mini in their form factor. Everything else out there are either much bigger or is in a laptop format. They have built themselves a niche product with no obivous competitors to dethrone them. That's why they price their product the way it is .... the lack of competition.

    Show me a product with the same spec and dimensions. I dare you. And no, don't throw me a netbook or a ITX box. They are still much bigger than the mac mini.
  • sprockkets - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Steve's been dying to get rid of the optical drive - it tarnishes his perfect computers with that unsightly hole. Reply
  • TheAbsintheHare - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    I have to agree with him, though. Do we even have a need for them anymore? I download all my games from Steam, OS installs can be done from the Mac Store, movies come from Netflix, Amazon or the iTunes store, backups get done to the cloud or external drives, and thumb drives out trump any optical disc in size and speed for moving files from computer to computer.

    Hell, the only thing I've used my optical drive for in the last 3 years or so is to burn games for my Xbox, and that's not exactly a legit use XD

    Don't want to be one of those guys that still buys a 3.5" floppy drive for all his new builds because it's "still essential"!
  • silverblue - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    There's still definitely a use for optical drives, besides illegal burning of course. ;) There is still going to be a difference between the quality of some film you download as compared to the Blu-Ray original and not everyone has a hefty connection without limits or ridiculous traffic shaping policies. Still, there's nothing stopping people having an external optical drive for such a machine. Reply
  • CharonPDX - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    To upgrade the mid-range model from a single 500 GB hard drive to a single 750 GB hard drive costs $150.

    To upgrade the server model from TWO 500 GB hard drives to TWO 750 GB hard drives costs $100.

  • TheAbsintheHare - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    It's because the midrange model's default drive is a 5400 rpm drive, and the upgrade is a 7200 rpm drive, while the high end's default is already a 7200 rpm drive. The price itself is gouged to hell and ridiculous, but the reasoning as for why it's more expensive to upgrade a single slow drive to a larger fast drive being more expensive than upgrading two fast drives to two larger fast drives is sound. Reply
  • LordConrad - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    I think Apple is being very shortsighted in removing the optical drive from the Mac mini. I know many people who send and receive discs with home movies and/or slideshows on them. Getting an external drive defeats that nice clean Apple look, but then Steve Jobs has never been known for thinking about the needs of others. Reply
  • TheAbsintheHare - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Both of these items are small enough to be sent via email. Just because a few people still use something that isn't necessary doesn't mean we should avoid progress for their sake. The majority of people don't use their optical drive because there are faster, more efficient options available. I don't want to have to pay extra for an included optical drive just because grandpa doesn't understand how thumb drives work, and if you really need one, you're the minority and that's why the option to buy an external one exists. Reply
  • LordConrad - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    The Mac mini isn't made for people like us, it's made for people just like "grandpa" who would use the drive often. DVD drives are incredibly cheap nowadays, so the added cost would be next to nothing. Reply
  • name99 - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    So you, LordConrad, have better knowledge than Apple of how their products are used and what features their customers find most important.

    Please enlighten us as to how you came by this knowledge.
  • LordConrad - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Because I mingle with your average, everyday sort of people. Completely unlike Steve Jobs who is locked away in his tower and unable to see anyone's needs except his own. Reply
  • Wizzdo - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    That must be why Apple is so successful ;)

    Listen LC, USB kicks butt as a small-backup\portable medium. Backing up to CD tech rather than online or an external HD\USBkey is a waste of time, resources, money, power, and space (computer and otherwise).

    Besides, using a Thumbdrive is far simpler than burning to CDs etc.

    a) Stick in USB port
    b) Copy files.
  • name99 - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    So, Conrad, your "ordinary folks" grandpa buys a mac mini, NOT an iMac?

    He understands that he needs to buy a separate screen (with the appropriate display connector) and keyboard and mouse --- but then he is confused about buying an optical drive?

    I call bullshit.

    Steve Jobs' "locked in a tower" mentality seems to grown Apple's revenues by, what, about 15x over the past five years.

    Your "hanging out with weird folks who claim to know nothing about computers but buy Mac Minis rather than iMacs" has achieved what exactly? You don't have to have built a company --- all you need to do is apply that keen insight into investing on the stock exchange. How much has YOUR portfolio grown in the past five years?
  • LordConrad - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    Jeez, just trying to make a point. I hope I never drop the soap when you're around. Reply
  • Exodite - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Personally I find the only reason to avoid using the optical drive to be the jet-engine noise it makes. :)

    It's a long ways away before I'd consider a PC without an optical drive but obviously that's not necessarily true for everyone.
  • Bob-o - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    And how is removing a cheap DVD drive "progress"? What bold advancement does that enable?

    I think all desktops should have a DVD drive. It adds 1/2 inch of height at most. On a mobile device size/weight requirements may take precedence, but on a desktop the added flexibility is nice to have. Especially for the target market, as others have pointed out.

    I've had my parents using several generations of the Mini since the powerpc model. And yeah, they occasionally use the optical drive, for photo exchange, actually watching a DVD movie, etc. I'll probably buy a used previous generation mini rather than this new one, since they don't need Sandy Bridge speed or game-level graphics. A DVD drive would be more useful for them.
  • TheAbsintheHare - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    Removing the drive pushes people to adopt new technologies like the cloud, movie streaming, online music purchases. Apple is invested in these technologies, so it makes sense for them to nudge their users in that direction from a profitability standpoint. Yes, some people still use their optical drives, but that's they have not had experience with newer technologies. Without the optical drive, they have no choice but to move on and experience these. Reply
  • Exodite - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    Or buy an external optical drive.

    Or another computer that has one.

    As of today the usage scenarios you mentioned doesn't account for all the uses of optical drives, nor are they adequate replacements for those services they aim to supersede.

    Media consumption especially, since streaming or digital downloads remain more expensive, requires propriety software solutions and is riddled with nefarious DRM solutions.

    People have been harping about the death of physical media for a decade already and doubtless they'll be correct, eventually, though it's going to be one epic death scene.

    Anyway, it's undoubtedly true that not everyone buying a Mac Mini would want/need an optical drive but I'd be surprised if not a significant part of the existing market wouldn't.
  • name99 - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Then go to freaking Fry's and buy an external optical drive for $30.

    Heck, if you want one that matches Apple lines, you can buy the *Apple* model from the *Apple* store for $79 --- though undoubtedly you'll want to complain about how that is price gouging.

    WTF should Apple make everyone pay the costs (both in dollars and in size/power/weight) for an item that only some need? Do you also think they should ship the mini with a screen because some people will have to go out and buy a screen? Perhaps they should include a built-in printer because some people will want to connect it to a printer?
  • LordConrad - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    For the technically savvy, those are good arguments. However, you are in a different market from those who are most likely to purchase a Mac mini. Keep in mind that the Mac mini is not marketed to the technically savvy, it is marketed to the same people who would get the most use from an optical drive. Reply
  • name99 - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    LC, just how stupid do you think Mac users are?

    I have already pointed out the bizarre nature of your claim regarding who buys Mac minis. But let's assume this is not a Mac mini. Let's assume it's the 2012 iMac, shipping without optical.

    Presumably the way this will go down is naive buyer goes to the Apple store, looks around, and says "how come it has no CD drive"?
    Apple minion asks him "what sort of things do you use a CD drive for?"
    He then either says "hmm, I guess I can't think of any" in which case, minion says "Enjoy your iMac". OR
    He says "well, I like to get DVDs from Netflix" (or whatever) in which case minion says "OK, I'd suggest you also buy the Apple DVD drive. You just plug it in to this connecter here at the back."

    I mean, we are talking about plugging a device, sold by Apple, bus-powered (so no power cable) into a USB socket. If someone has the intelligence to pop a CD into a CD drive, they have the intelligence to plug this thing into a Mac.

    You seem to forget that Apple has a HUGE infrastructure, in the form of Apple stores, to TELL people that things like external CD drives exist, not to mention a large installed base of savvy customers (ie friends, family, co-workers) who can do the same.
  • LordConrad - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    In regards to your first sentence: They're called "sheeple" for a reason. :-) Reply
  • TheAbsintheHare - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    But they only get the most use out of an optical drive because it's the only thing they know how to use. They would get just as much use out of the newer, faster, alternative methods if they were exposed to them and learned how to use them. Apple has invested heavily in these new technologies, thus it would be stupid of them from a business stand point to cater to people who don't want to use them simply because they want to hold on to their old technology. These arguments against the removal of the optical drive are the same that were given with the removal of the 3.5" floppy; can you imagine still using one of those? Sometimes it takes a push to get people to move forward, even though moving forward is the smartest move. Reply
  • erple2 - Saturday, July 23, 2011 - link

    No, I'd disagree - I'm not sure the mini is targeted at the non-savvy. For one thing, it doesn't come with anything - just the box. You'd still need a keyboard and mouse, which the non-tech savvy won't realize. You'll also need a screen of some sort.

    I'd posit (damn, I love that word) that the mini is actually for the tech savvy individual that wants a small, unobtrusive "good enough" machine to run OSX on it in an environment where they don't actually have OSX, or just need a side file server (hence the "server version" of the box) or other headless server like duties for as little money as possible, within reason.

    The iMac, I think, is for the non-savvy - it comes with everything you need to start using a computer built in, or included.
  • lwatcdr - Tuesday, July 26, 2011 - link

    Do you really think they will? I mean most people already have a blu-ray player these days. I have more DVD playing devices than I can shake a stick at. I have a Blu-Ray, and my XBox plus the DVD drive on desktop, the DVD drive on my wife's desktop, the DVD on my notebook, the DVD drive on my wife's notebook. We hardly every use any of them because streaming and Amazon are built into my Blu-Ray, my Roku, and my XBox!
    Buying Mac software isn't that easy. I am not sure that Wal-mart has any, Best buy has some but most people are going to buy online these days. The Mac App store will actually make that easier for those average users. They will just buy it on line. No need to keep backups of the programs or find the disks to re install.
    You can download software from other sources as well. The last box of software I bought was FSX. Well not counting XBox games.
    I don't see many none tech savy people using their desktop for DVDs. Their laptops maybe but not a desktop. For those that want to hook it to their tv they could just get an external Blu-ray for it, use one of their blu-ray players, use their PS3, or use a DVD player on another machine. I am guessing most of the real techie media center users just rip everything they get and store it on a server. If so then the $99 AppleTV might be what they need.
    Honestly I see this as a great modern C-64. Hook it to any HDMI monitor and plug in a keyboard and mouse and your have nice little computer.
    It will play a lot of games, will not be loud, and will probably run forever. It is a lot easier to add your own ram on this bad boy also.
  • sean.crees - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    The writing is on the wall though for optical drives, even Blu-Ray drives. Streaming/downloading is obviously the future, it's just so convenient.

    Need to get local files from A to B, put them on a thumb drive. They can hold a lot more data and are a lot faster.

    Thumb drives are so cheap now a days. I wouldn't be surprised to start seeing HD movies and software in stores being sold on cheap usb 2.0 thumb drives soon.

    It's not shortsighted at all. I've been building my own PC's for 15 years, i stopped putting optical drives in my systems about 5 years ago. I have an external optical drive that i dust off and need to use maybe once a year.
  • Exodite - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    Digital distribution have been the future for a decade already and will most likely continue to be the future of media for some time yet.

    Meanwhile, in the right here and now, it's not nearly ready for wide consumer adoption - mostly due to artificially enforced limitations.
  • steven75 - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    I think Apple is being very shortsighted in removing the floppy drive from the Mac mini. I know many people who send and receive disks with documents and/or pictures on them. Getting an external drive defeats that nice clean Apple look, but then Steve Jobs has never been known for thinking about the needs of others. Reply
  • Plester - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Apple wouldn't want to make 4gb the baseline for RAM, what with the staggering price of that extra 2GB. Reply
  • ninjit - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    As mentioned elsewhere in the thread - profit margin on the baseline models are usually reasonable, it's the upgraded models where they make all that money.

    And while you're right, the extra 2gb would probably only cost them <$10 (in volume), they aren't avoiding it to save money...
    They're doing it to make the upgraded models look more appealing, so that more people will opt for the high-end if its specs "look" more high-end compared to base.
  • Greguar - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Also, at +$100 for an extra 2GB of RAM vs +$200 for the RAM plus a CPU upgrade plus a GPU upgrade, it will likely persuade a lot of customers to get the higher-end model instead of upgrading the base. Even with the crazy margin on that RAM upgrade, Apple undoubtedly makes more profit overall on the model upgrade.

    The other sneaky thing is rolling in a portion of their inflated RAM prices into the model upgrade, so that folks who want the CPU/GPU upgrade are taking a nice big gouge on the RAM.

    And then there's just pricing to take advantage of the powers of convenience, where lots of customers will just swallow Apple's price in order to have the RAM installed right out of the box rather than having to do any aftermarket legwork or having to venture inside the scary depths of the case to install it themselves.
  • Wizzdo - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Apple has to support the hardware it installs. Proper support costs $.

    You're free to source your own Ram and stick it in at your own risk.

    I still think they charge too much for RAM but I also think other companies are FAR WORSE when it comes to support and support has a value.

    4 GB should be default these days but the Apple OS can run pretty well on 2GB in a lot of typical scenarios.
  • gmcalpin - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    And you should be thanking them! You can buy the RAM elsewhere for MUCH, MUCH less. OWC, for instance.

    Why do non-Mac users always complain about Apple's RAM prices? Nobody with any sense buys RAM upgrades from Apple.
  • peterlws08 - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Just with a power connector (e.g. 12V dc), ipod connector and thunderbolt. maybe Include Wifi + GPS + 3G.

    That way I could.

    Slot it into the palm rest of a future laptop shell, or connect it to one of the new apple displays.

    It could have a 1.8"ssd.

    Or maybe make it iPhone dimensions to include the Apple Magic Trackpad as the top of the device and make an additional model with same dimensions and connectors plus a screen and call it a iPhone5. (iPhone 5 version will use citrix like technology to get big screen experience.)

    [CPU + Storage + Thunderbolt + Apple Dock Connector + Top surface multitouch ] + [Power / Battery] + [Display , connectivity, interface ]

    Apple. Modular, flexible.. sorted.
  • peterlws08 - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Oh and a really tiny battery too, just enough to suspend to disk if power loss. Reply
  • andrew_rs - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    Overpriced for it's internals, but in a purdy, stylish aluminum package. The iSheep should love it. I'm not an apple owner, but I am a shareholder.
  • Uritziel - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    That's the way to play it. Reply
  • ET - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    When the mini first appeared I thought it might be my first Mac, which I could use as a media PC. Price was always a bit of a problem, and since it went up last time even more so. Now without an optical drive, that's a bit of a death to that option.

    Problem is, if you're outside the US then the option of getting all your media via the internet is just not there. I understand that the US is the target market, so I guess the design makes sense.

    In any case, these days there are good alternatives for media PC's, such as E-350 based ones, which are just as small or smaller and also cheaper.
  • silverblue - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    Without the infrastructure, downloading all your content isn't going to be the swiftest method for many people outside of countries with fast internet networks such as the US, Netherlands, South Korea etc. In the UK, the aim is to have the fastest network in the EU by 2015, however I'm sceptical, especially with ISPs imposing limits on what you can and cannot download. External drives are a good workaround in this case.

    Here's an interesting article about the fastest countries by connection speed... and the US isn't as high up the list as you might think:

    Still, connection speed isn't everything. I've got a 24Mbit line via LLU (UK) and connect at 16Mbps due to distance, and get about 12Mbps average download speed on an unmetered line so I'm doing rather well for myself, however I remember the dreaded days of ADSLMax where the top connection was 8Mbit, and had to endure the connection speed dropping to about 300kbps during peak times. How I wished for 2Mbps to come back, at least it stayed that way all the time. Apparently, as the service was provided by BT Wholesale regardless of whichever ISP you used, it affected everyone using a BT line, so the best option was to move to cable or LLU.
  • silverblue - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    Something tells me Apple probably touted the idea of dropping Intel just to get better prices; doesn't look like they're dumping Intel anytime soon. Also, Apple aren't likely to want to use multiple CPU manufacturers at the same time for a specific product line, so I expect them to keep using Intel CPUs for their more expensive products for some time to come, at least, until Trinity (unlikely though). Reply
  • rickcain2320 - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    No DVD/BD Drive? I can understand Steve Job's obsession with minimalism, but the Mac Mini can be a great system if it was just designed to be a bit taller so a proper 7200RPM HD could, more RAM slots, and higher performing video can be added.
    The problem with Apple's product line is that the Mac Mini bumps up uncomfortably against the iMac. Logically if you can get equivalent performance in a PC without paying for Apple's overpriced monitor, then the iMac no longer is a good deal. That means the Mac Mini is permanently relegated to low-tier performance only to satisfy Apple's product tiers.

    Bring back the Mac Cube, but this time allow some actual expansion capabilities.
  • repoman27 - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    If by "proper" you mean 3.5", you'd be doubling the size of the entire computer and increasing the overall power consumption by more than 10%. The problem in not so much bumping into the iMac's market-share, as it is bumping into the laws of physics. Dissipating more than 85 W in such a diminutive package is not happening gracefully. The CPUs alone in the 27" iMacs have TDP's of 95 W. I think the whole point of the mini is the folly of the form-factor. It requires a lot of sacrifices, but they're still pretty cool and functional in the end. Reply
  • davinja - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    wow to this Reply
  • Wardrop - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    I'm actually quite impressed with the new mini's, though it took them long enough to get em' out. The one thing that bothers me is that if I was buying one of these, I'd want the server mini for its quad-core processor and duel 500GB hard-drive's as standard, but sadly, you can't get it with the discrete GPU or standard OS X. Otherwise, that would help bridge the gap between the mini and the Mac Pro for people who don't want a Mac with a screen, but still wanted a bit of performance without shelling out $4000+ on a Mac Pro. Reply
  • gmcalpin - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    I wonder how well an external GPU (via Thunderbolt) could address that, once a PCIe 2.0 chassis comes out… Reply
  • Wolfpup - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    The Mini desperately needed a Blu Ray drive and user replaceable hard drive. Now it doesn't even have DVD?

    Makes the last gen model even cheaper and smaller...
  • steven75 - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    "Desperately" needed a BR drive? Do you know lots of people that watch movies on their desktop computer monitor instead of the living room TV? Reply
  • dhiiir - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    the GPU performance is a little better, but does that really matter for a Mac Mini? I doubt many people are going to be buying Mac Minis with the intention of using them as gaming machines. I'd rather take the much better CPU performance of Mobile Sandy Bridge and the lower power consumption.Genuine. Good quality. Cheap. Fashion., Clothes and shoes, and glasses, bags, etc. Reply
  • Omid.M - Saturday, July 23, 2011 - link

    So you can't upgrade the server model to the AMD discrete GPU? I would think not, because of the greater TDW of the quad core; they wouldn't want the GPU adding to the overall heat output I guess.

    Seems like the low end plus 3rd party RAM is the best buy.

    I wish Brian Klug or Anand would chime in on the wifi antennas. Brian said only two are connected but you can buy a wifi antenna (extender?) and hook it up to the third port, I think.

  • Wolfpup - Friday, July 29, 2011 - link

    I've long thought the Mini was almost perfect as a living room PC except no Blu Ray...this is going backwards.

    The other big problem is the difficult to access hard drive, which wasn't fixed.

    If it had Blu Ray, and an easily accessible drive, this would actually be quite compelling.

    Now what? I attach an external even just to get DVD? Yet I'm STILL thinking of doing that...

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