Both the 1.83GHz Apple Mac Mini and the HP Pavilion Slimline Ss7600e reside at the upper end of the budget desktop category, and both serve up performance that will meet the needs of mainstream users. The Mac Mini put up an uninspiring Photoshop score, but that's because it must run the app through the Rosetta translation software. Until Adobe releases a universal binary version of Photoshop for Intel-based Macs, you'll have to slog through Photoshop on any Mac. Conversely, Macs enjoy an edge on iTunes because it's built for the Mac OS. The higher-end Mac Mini enjoys a 9 percent advantage over the lower-end $599 model, thanks to its increased clock speed. It's 24 percent slower than the $999 17-inch iMac, which shows you what the Core 2 Duo processor can do for performance. CineBench 9.5 puts Macs and PCs on equal ground, and the 1.83GHz Mac Mini trailed the HP Slimline by the slightest of margins, an impressive showing considering it has half the memory and a dual-core processor that clocked slightly slower.
Apple's warranty is average at best. You get the industry-average one year of parts-and-labor coverage and an annoyingly short 90 days of free phone support. Online help is abundant: Apple's support pages, particularly the user forums, are helpful, and you can google practically any Mac-related problem and find hundreds of other Mac fans discussing and solving it.
Find out more about how we test desktop systems.
Apple iMac Core 2 Duo 17-inch
OS X 10.4.7; 1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5600; 512MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; integrated 64MB Intel GMA 950 graphics chip; 160GB Western Digital 7,200rpm serial ATA hard drive
Apple Mac Mini Core Duo (1.66GHz)
OS X 10.4.7; 1.66GHz Intel Core Duo T2300; 512MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; integrated 64MB Intel GMA 950 graphics chip; 60GB Fujitsu 5,400rpm serial ATA hard drive
Apple Mac Mini Core Duo (1.83GHz)
OS X 10.4.7; 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo T2400; 512MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; integrated 64MB Intel GMA 950 graphics chip; 80GB Fujitsu 5,400rpm serial ATA hard drive
Cyberpower Back to School 2006
Windows XP Home SP2; 2.0GHz AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 512MB Nvidia 7300GS graphics card; 250GB Western Digital 7,200rpm serial ATA hard drive
Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 SP2; 2.66GHz Intel Pentium D 805; 1,024MB DDR SDRAM 533MHz; integrated 128MB (shared) ATI Radeon Xpress 200 graphics chip; 200GB Seagate 7,200rpm EIDE
HP Pavilion Slimline s7600e
Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 SP2; 2.0GHz AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core 3800+; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 500MHz; integrated 256MB (shared) Nvidia GeForce 6150 LE graphics chip; 250GB Western Digital 7,200rpm serial ATA hard drive