Apple radically re-imagines the professional desktop with the new Mac Pro, featuring a design that looks fantastic and offers genuine breakthrough advantages. But, consumer-level Apple enthusiasts should note that this product isn't specifically targeted at them and DIY upgraders will lament the loss of traditional desktop tower flexibility.
Apple's new $799 Mac Mini demands that you abandon disc-based media, and that you surround it with potentially expensive extra hardware to realize its full benefits. It makes most sense for committed Mac users, those who need it for a specific niche-case, or for those who value design over functionality for the dollar.
Apple's new 27-inch iMac will charm plenty of you with its screen size alone. Fortunately, that won't lead you astray. Behind its expansive display, Apple has packed one of the fastest all-in-ones available, and added a few useful extras to sweeten the deal. This iMac isn't perfect, but its positives far outweigh its negatives. We can think of few users to whom we wouldn't recommend this system.
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.
The Apple Mac Mini is an unquestioned winner among budget desktops, but HP has a small-form-factor PC whose feature set will woo many would-be Mac Mini buyers.
Apple recently updated the Mac Mini with Intel Core Solo and Core Duo chips. Apple no longer sells models with the older PowerPC G4 processors, but you can still find such units available at various online resellers. Since the Intel-based models aren't any more expensive and they promise better performance and include more features, such as Front Row and a remote control, there's no reason to choose a G4-based Mac Mini unless you find a great deal as resellers clear out their old inventory. For our most recent coverage, read our review of the Mac Mini Core Duo.
The Apple iMac G5 gets trimmer and cheaper as it ups its performance and adds a handful of multimedia features, resulting in an all-around first-rate home PC.