Apple continues to get behind the new Thunderbolt technology with the inclusion of a Thunderbolt port on the new Mac Mini. Just a shame there wasn’t more than one, considering the inclusion of four USB 2.0 ports.
As on the updated MacBook Air, the Thunderbolt port replaces the Mini DisplayPort but is still compatible with the Mini DisplayPort when used for video out purposes. There is also a HDMI port available to connect your monitor.
Although still the same shape and size as the previous Mac Mini there is a noticeable difference in its appearance. On the new Mac Mini there is no optical drive, giving you a more aesthetically pleasing design.
The baseline Mac Mini has an Intel 2.3GHz dual-Core i5 processor and a 500GB hard drive with Mac OS X 10.7 Lion installed.
An Intel HD Graphics 3000 processor comes with 288MB of DDR3 SDRAM which is shared with the systems 2GB of RAM. There is an option to upgrade to 8GB of RAM and 750GB of disk space.
There is a 2.5GHz Core i5 processor and 500GB hard drive with Mac OS X 10.7 Lion installed on the next model. Graphics are supplied by an AMD Radeon HD 6630M processor with 256MB of GDDR5 memory, again shared with the 4GB of system RAM. You can boost performance with a 2.7 GHz Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and additional disk space if required.
A version of the Mac Mini with Lion server installed is also available. It comes with an Intel 2.0GHz quad-core Core i7 with dual 500GB hard drives and 4GB of RAM. There are upgrade options available with this model also.
The following ports are available on the back of the Mac Mini:
- Thunderbolt port (up to 10 Gbps)
- FireWire 800 port (up to 800 Mbps)
- Four USB 2.0 ports (up to 480 Mbps)
- HDMI port
- SDXC card slot
- Gigabit Ethernet port
- Audio in/out
The Mac Mini would sit well in a living room where its good looks wouldn’t look out of place. It is very quiet and doesn’t take up much space either. Unfortunately there is no optical drive or support for Blu-ray.