CNET First Look
Apple Mac Mini (2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 160GB, Fall 2009)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...
[ Music ] ^M00:00:05 >> Hi, I'm Rich Brown senior editor for CNET.com. Today we are going to take a look at the lowest end version of Apple's Mac Mini. This is a 599 version of the Mac Mini with no other options. It comes with a 2.26 gigahertz core 2 duo CPU, a 160 gigabyte hard drive and 2 gigs of DVR 3 RAM right out of the box. As you can see the design for this Mac Mini looks familiar if you've seen any others before. Apple didn't update the design when they revamped the Mac Mini line back in October. It has the same brushed aluminum around the border and then the plastic here on top. The ports have changed a little bit though. On the back you have 5 USB ports, a couple of audio ports, Ethernet, firewire 800, a mini DVI port and a mini display port. Now you do get an adapter out of the box for a mini DVI to standard DVI, so connecting the Mac Mini to a typical monitor shouldn't be a problem. Now the problem though is there is no HDMI port. That way you could serve up video from anywhere online and play DVDs. With no built in HDMI port though, you have to go for an adapter. Now you might not think that was such a big deal if you could drop 20 bucks and get a standard DVI to HDMI adapter, no problem. Of course you don't get the stream audio over the HDMI port like you do when you get HDMI built in to another Windows computer. In order to stream audio from your Mac Mini to your TV you have to either connect it to a stereo or opt for a more expensive adapter that allows for the audio output. It's a pretty convoluted process to connect this thing to your TV especially since it could be solved simply if Apple included an HDMI port. There are a lot of affordable windows PCs out there right now that are very small that have HDMI and cost less than the Mac Mini. Now this is a fairly fast computer for its price. You shouldn't have any problem with day to day productivity or even multitasking. We're a little bit leery of its features though. We're glad that there is 802 [inaudible] built in and you don't always get that in a $500- $600 Windows boxes. But a 160 gigabyte hard drive in a $600 computer simply screams a rip-off. You can get $400 -$500 Windows PCs that have 320, 640 gig drives that really make this look cheap. Now the Mac Mini is probably more versatile than a lot of Windows PCs in its price range .It can handle day to day apps and handle pretty much any video content you want to throw at it. Now if you are looking for a smaller, affordable desktop that can handle a lot of different tasks, the Mac Mini will get the job done. Just know that you may have to expand its storage and connecting to a TV is going to be a little bit complicated. So, I'm Rich Brown and this is Apple's 599 Mac Mini. ^M00:02:18 [ Music ]