Apple introduces Mac mini with Intel Core Solo and Core Duo processors; details on new integrated graphics

Apple introduces Mac mini with Intel Core Solo and Core Duo processors; details on new integrated graphics

Apple has introduced a new line of Mac minis based around the Intel Core Solo and Core Duo processors.

The new systems are shipping today, and are the first minis to include Apple's Front Row -- the remote control software/hardware combination that allows control and media playback in iTunes, iPhoto and more.

Integrated graphics -- comparison to RADEON 9200 One potentially significant drawback to the new systems is their use of Intel integrated graphics -- specifically the Intel GMA950 graphics processor. This means that the Intel Mac mini shares RAM between the system and the graphics processor, potentially representing a step down in graphics performance (and potentially overall system performance) from the PowerPC-based Mac minis, though benchmarks have yet to be produced.

The GMA950 uses "Dynamic Video Memory Technology" (DVMT) to support up to 224MB of video memory; system memory is allocated where it is needed dynamically. It has 64MB of DDR2 SDRAM of its own, shared with main memory

Still, on paper, the GMA950's specs best those of the Radeon 9200 card used by the PowerPC-based Mac mini. For instance, the GMA950 claims 1.6 billion pixels per second vs. 1.1 billion pixels per second for the Radeon 9200. And the GMA950 includes a 256-bit graphics core running at 400MHz while the Radeon 9200 uses a 400 Mhz 128-bit core.

Again, benchmarks have yet to be recorded, but we wouldn't be surprised if the new Intel-based Mac mini's integrated graphics performance exceeds that of the previous PowerPC-based generation with a separate graphics card for most tasks.

Configurations

A US$599 configuration sports the following specs:

  • 1.5 GHz Intel Core Solo processor;
  • 512MB of 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM, expandable up to 2GB;
  • a slot-load Combo (DVD-ROM/CD-RW) drive;
  • 60GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm;
  • Intel GMA950 graphics processor;
  • built-in AirPort Extreme wireless networking & Bluetooth 2.0 EDR;
  • Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000 BASE-T);
  • four USB 2.0 ports;
  • one audio line in and one audio line out port, each supporting both optical digital and analog;
  • DVI-out port for external display (VGA-out adapter included, Composite/S-Video out adapter sold separately); and
  • the infrared Apple Remote.
A US$799 configuration sports these specs:
  • 1.66 GHz Intel Core Duo processor;
  • 512MB of 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM expandable up to 2GB;
  • a slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
  • 80GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm;
  • Intel GMA950 graphics processor;
  • built-in AirPort Extreme wireless networking & Bluetooth 2.0 EDR;
  • Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000 BASE-T);
  • four USB 2.0 ports;
  • one audio line in and one audio line out port, each supporting both optical digital and analog;
  • DVI-out port for external display (VGA-out adapter included, Composite/S-Video out adapter sold separately); and
  • the infrared Apple Remote.

The new Mac minis ship with Apple's iLife '06 software.

For more information, see Apple's Mac mini product page.

Resources
  • Mac mini product page
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