Apple Mac Mini (Spring 2010) review: Apple Mac Mini (Spring 2010)

You might have better luck with games if you try to play them at lower resolutions than the video outputs' maximums. The HDMI out supports up to 1080p (1,920x1,080), the Mini DisplayPort allows up to 2,560x1,600, the native resolution of most 30-inch desktop LCDs. Apple provides an HDMI-to-DVI adapter in the box, and you can purchase a Mini DisplayPort-to-VGA adapter for older displays. You can also configure the Mac Mini for dual-display output using both the HDMI and Mini DisplayPort outputs simultaneously.

For audio, the HDMI and Mini DisplayPorts both support uncompressed eight-channel audio, similar to the most recent MacBooks. We confirmed that the HDMI also supports Dolby Digital 5.1 audio by passing it through a receiver. You also get standard analog/digital in and out jacks.


A new SDXC card slot sits on the rear-edge of the Mac Mini

Data ports on the back of the Mac Mini include the traditional assortment of four USB 2.0 jacks and a single FireWire 800 input. Apple still hasn't adopted eSATA, nor will you find USB 3.0, although you could rightfully consider both of those niche standards, at least for now. We're happy to see that Apple extended its SD card magnanimity from the iMac to the Mac Mini, by way of an SDXC slot on the back of the system. While the back edge is perhaps not the most convenient place for an SD card slot, we'd rather have it there than not at all.


The underside of the Mac Mini has a removable plastic panel.

If you flip the system over you'll see a round piece of plastic that looks not unlike a turntable. Two thumb holes and an indicator dot provide a hint as to what to do next. Insert thumbs, twist to line up the dots, and the plastic cap comes off to reveal the Mac Mini's internal memory slots, a Wi-Fi antenna, and the CPU fan. A determined user can take out a Torx wrench and remove a small metal grill to expose the hard drive. No previous Mac Mini made DIY RAM upgrades so easy. Upgrading the RAM isn't the most common task, but it's also simply enough that it shouldn't require the downtime involved with having to drop the system off at a Genius Bar or an Apple-certified repair shop. We're glad Apple finally provided a solution, and in its characteristic elegant style.


Inside you get access to the system memory (and more for the truly determined).

Juice box
Apple Mac Mini (2.4GHz, spring 2010) Average watts per hour
Off (60 percent) 0
Sleep (10 percent) 1.2
Idle (25 percent) 7.01
Load (5 percent) 33.16
Raw kWh 36.54234
Annual energy cost $4.15

a
Annual power consumption cost

Apple Mac Mini (2.4GHz, spring 2010)
$4.15

Apple boasted improved power efficiency for its new Mac Mini, a bold claim given its faster 3D chip and the older model's already-conservative power draw. We suspect Apple is telling the truth, as this Mac Mini is the first desktop we've tested to register zero watts on our off test. It's likely that our meter just isn't sensitive enough (and we bought it specifically for its low-wattage sensitivity) to pick up the off-draw, because we don't believe it's possible for any device plugged into the wall to pull down no energy, but even if that number is really 0.5 watt, the new Mac Mini would still be the most efficient desktop we've ever tested, by a factor of two.

We've been testing desktop power consumption for over a year now, and we've seen Apple consistently outperform the rest of the PC market in efficiency. We've heard that most consumers don't care about these sorts of tests, but that doesn't make Apple's efforts any less impressive or worthwhile.

Apple remains an outlier in the PC industry for its support policies. You get 90 days of toll-free support and a year-long warranty by default. After that, you can either refer to Apple's Web site, a Genius Bar, or an Apple-authorized service provider, or pony up $149 for three years of phone service via AppleCare ($20 less than the iMac extension), which also extends your warranty to three years. We have a feeling that Apple considers tying the warranty upsell to what other vendors would consider standard phone support a savvy business move. For the inconvenience this policy causes its customers who simply want to pick up the phone, we respectfully disagree.

Find out more about how we test desktop systems.

System configurations:

Apple Mac Mini (2.4GHz, spring 2010)
Mac OS X 10.6.3; 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo; 2GB 1,067MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 320M; 320GB, 5,400rpm hard drive

Apple Mac Mini (2.53GHz, Fall 2009)
Mac OS X 10.6.2; 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8700; 4GB 1,067MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 9400M; 320GB, 7,200rpm Fujitsu hard drive

Asus Eee Box EB1501
Windows 7 Home Premium (32-bit); 1.6GHz Intel Atom N330; 2GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 64MB (shared) Nvidia GeForce 9400M integrated graphics chip; 200GB 5,400rpm Seagate hard drive

Dell Inspiron Zino HD
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 1.5GHz AMD Athlon X2 3250e; 3GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB (shared) ATI Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics chip; 320GB 7,200 rpm Western Digital hard drive

Gateway SX2840-01
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.93GHz Intel Core i3-530; 6GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 64MB Intel GMA X4500 HD integrated graphics chip; 1TB, 7,200rpm Western Digital hard drive

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    Where to Buy

    Apple Mac Mini (Spring 2010)

    Part Number: MC270LL/A Released: 16 Jun 2010
    Pricing is currently unavailable.

    Quick Specifications See All

    • Regional specs shown for US. AU specs are unavailable.

    • Release date 16 Jun 2010
    • Graphics Processor NVIDIA GeForce GT 320M shared video memory (UMA)
    • OS Provided Apple MacOS X 10.6
    • Monitor Type None.
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