Dell XPS 27 all-in-one desktop computerstars
Our favorite all-in-one still has a higher-than 1080p touch screen and gamer-level graphics.
Falcon Northwest FragBox (2013)stars
Is there anything more fun than a gaming PC with the latest Intel and Nvidia parts?
Dell XPS 18
Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon 27 (Core i5)stars
More than an all-in-one or megatablet, the 27-inch Horizon is the PC reimagined as home...
Lost among the news of the emergence of the Intel-based Mac Mini receiving a CPU jolt of its own. The low-end tossed aside its Core Solo processor for a Core Duo, and the $799 Mac Mini now ships with a faster 1.83GHz Core Duo processor. While the slight tick up in clock speed is appreciated, we wish the baseline configuration included 1GB of memory. The other two weak spots for the $799 Mac Mini are its relatively small hard drive and the integrated Intel GMA 950 graphics that borrows resources from the already limited main memory. The Mini's charms, however, are abundant. It remains a marvel of PC design, wireless networking and Bluetooth come standard, and its software bundle is unmatched by any desktop in its class. These features make the Mac Mini a great choice if you are looking for an affordable way to dip your toes in the Mac waters. It's also become a popular choice for home theater owners looking to add a little computer muscle to their living room, and rightfully so: as configured, it has more than enough oomph to carry out home-theater tasks, provided your gaming comes courtesy of an Xbox 360 or the soon-to-be-released PS3. We'd say it's the best general-purpose small-form-factor desktop, too, if not for the .and the getting a boost with new Intel Core 2 Duo CPUs was the
Priced at $975, our HP Pavilion Slimline s7600e review system is $175 more expensive than the baseline $799 Mac Mini. We think that the added features--more memory; bigger, faster hard drive; media card reader; PCI slot; TV tuner; LightScribe DVD burner; keyboard and mouse; and better warranty terms--add up to more than the difference in price. In the Mac Mini's favor is its superior design and software bundle, which includes the unparalleledsuite and the simple yet effective Front Row app for easy navigation from the sofa. Both computers ship with comparable dual-core hard drives and a remote control.
The Mac Mini's design remains unchanged from past models'. The 6.5-inch square sits just over 2 inches tall and is a bit more compact than HP's Slimline. And with its glossy, white Lucite top and brushed-aluminum sides, it's certainly better looking than the Slimline, which looks like a shrunken yet still boring midtower PC.
The Mac Mini loses out on features and, to a lesser extent, upgradability. The Mac Mini uses smaller and slower notebook drives. The standard drive is an 80GB, and you can upgrade to a 120GB or 160GB drive; all three drives are 5,400rpm, 2.5-inch notebook drives. The HP Slimline features a 7,200rpm, 3.5-inch desktop drive in sizes up to 250GB. Both the Mac Mini and the HP Slimline start you off with 512MB of DDR2 SDRAM, though the Mac Mini uses faster 667MHz memory. Our Slimline review system included an upgrade to 1GB of memory, which is a slightly cheaper upgrade than what Apple charges for the same amount of memory. Still, we recommend at least 1GB in either system since both use integrated graphics, which borrow from the main system memory.
Continuing through the feature sets, the HP Slimline also boasts a handy multiformat media card reader and the option to add in a TV tuner. While you can add both features to the Mac Mini via external USB peripherals, it's nice to have them integrated on the case, particularly if you plan to hide the system among the home-theater components in your living room. Both systems feature a DVD burner, but HP's is a LightScribe drive that lets you create laser-etched labels on CDs and DVDs. We admit that's a small victory for HP, given the time it takes to create just a somewhat blurry, grayscale label.
Neither SFF system offers much in the way of expandability, which isn't a surprise given their dimensions. It's easier to get inside the HP Slimline, however, and it offers a PCI slot.
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