The latest rendition of the Mac mini has the same stylish look as previous versions, but what’s under the hood has been revamped. Increased power and a new port have been added, while the CD/DVD drive and some software have been removed. We decided to take a look to determine whether this version is a move forward or a step back.

The Mac mini comes in two basic models as well as a server model. The 2.3 GHz model with 2 GB of memory has an MSRP of USD 600. A 2.5 GHz model with 4 GB of memory has a suggested price of USD 800. Both of these have Core i5 processors. The Mac mini with Lion Server comes with a 2.0 GHz quad-core Core i7 and has an MSRP of USD 1,000. We reviewed the USD 600 model, which comes with a Core i5-2415M processor.

All of the Mac mini models come in a similar box and they all share the same hardware design. The Mac mini box is shown in Figure 1.

Mac mini Computer ReviewFigure 1: The Mac mini box

The contents of the box are shown in Figure 2. These include the Mac mini, an HDMI to DVI adapter, a power cord, and some minor printed documentation. While the box contents are usually mundane, we found that several of these components were very interesting. The first is the absence of a power block on the power cable. Ultimately, this makes the Mac mini more portable. The second thing of which we took note is the inclusion of the HDMI to DVI adapter. This allows you to hook up the mini to a digital monitor as well as an HDTV without having to purchase additional adapters.

Mac mini Computer ReviewFigure 2: The contents of the box

As you can see in Figure 3, in the Apple tradition, the Mac mini is a wonder of design engineering. Although a little boxy, it is small, sleek, and unobtrusive. At 7.7 x 7.7 x 1.4 inches (19.7 x 19.7 x 3.6 cm), the 2.7 lbs (1.22 kg) aluminum-clad Mac mini contains just about everything needed for today’s average computer user.

Mac mini Computer ReviewFigure 3: The Mac mini


Sandy Berger, respected computer authority, journalist, media guest, speaker, and author, has more than three decades of experience as a computer and technology expert. Her eight books include: How to Have a Meaningful Relationship with Your Computer, Your Official Grown-up’s Guide to AOL and the Internet, Cyber Savers –Tips & Tricks for Today’s Drowning Computer Users, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Better Living through Technology, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to the Internet, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Gadgets & Gizmos, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Health & Wellness, and Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Travel. Sandy’s newspaper column, magazine articles, feature stories, product reviews, and computer tips can be found at her website, Compu-KISS.