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The 21.5-inch iMac will be a compelling lower-cost all-in-one for Mac loyalists, but you can get more capabilities from similarly priced Windows all-in-ones.
The lower-cost Mac Mini offers respectable budget performance and Apple's usual compelling design, but a puny hard drive and a lack of HDMI hurt this system's value and overall potential. It's actually more versatile next to its budget-priced Windows competition than the higher-end Mac Mini, but this entry-level Mac is still best left to Apple loyalists.
Available direct from Apple. Starting price $599.00
With strong competition among small PCs on the Windows side of the aisle, the latest Mac Mini faces a greater challenge than older models. If you demand a small, relatively affordable Mac, we suppose the Mac Mini is your only option. Otherwise, you can find Windows-based small form factor desktops that offer more interesting features with better value.
Available direct from Apple. Starting price $799.00
Apple's newest high-end Mac Mini maintains its small, stylish footprint, and as with the cheaper version, this $799 model has impressive multitasking capabilities. You'll like this desktop if juggling apps with attractive hardware is important to you, but you get much better all-around value in a Windows PC for the same price.
Apple has been content to issue minor periodic hardware updates to the 13-inch MacBook, but the modest performance gains and new Leopard OS keep it in our top tier of laptop recommendations.
Apple Mac Mini (1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo)
The Mac Mini remains unique as the smallest mainstream desktop, but competition from Dell and HP has narrowed the gap in features while also offering room for expansion, and at a better price. If your goal is saving space, the Mac Mini is a winner. If you'd rather get the best deal, there are better options.
With the same elegant design as its 20-inch, 2.4GHz sibling, the 24-inch, 2.8GHz iMac offers 30 percent more screen area and a modest performance boost. The iMac competes with the PC desktop market now better than perhaps any previous Mac to date, but the added cost of the larger, faster model might put off some buyers--especially if you are a gamer or an upgrade enthusiast.
Vector graphics buffs will find this Illustrator upgrade worthwhile, especially to work with SVG-t art for mobile devices.
If you're a professional or ambitious amateur digital artist, we highly recommend Adobe Photoshop CS2.