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CNET First Look
Mac Mini is the least-expensive way to get OS XThe small form factor Mac Mini costs less than ever, but isn't as flexible as other Macs.
Has the Mac Mini gotten the makeover it deserves? I'm Dan Ackerman and this is Apple's updated Mac Mini. Now, we call small desktop computers like this small form factor desktops. People used to hook them up to their like TVs as media center PCs, really before you had streaming devices like Rokus and small boxes like that, that handled a lot of that internet streaming. Otherwise people use them to kind of hide out of the way if they don't want a big visible computer there. The only way to get an OS 10 Mac system without a monitor attached like you have with a Mac book or an iMac is to either get Apples most expensive computer the 3000 dollar Mac pro. Or it's least expensive computer the Mac mini which starts. At $500, now the late 2014 update to the Mac Mini which we had tested and benchmark here is the first update to this system. In a couple of years they kept the body exactly the same on the outside as the uni-body aluminum construction, inside they updated it to 4th generation Intel core i series processors otherwise known as the Haswell generation. Or gonna be generated, pass that now. In early 2015 we'll see if we ever get an update to those here. But you still get your choice of of Core i5, or Core i7 processors. Dual core, the previous generation, you could get all the way up to. To a quad core Korai 7 so oddly these are less powerful potentially than the ones from a couple of years ago. Where but if you're just using it for for casual media streaming or just to have as a home desktop that shouldn't make a huge difference. Some people are very upset, however, that the RAM is now soldered in. You cannot open up the bottom of this system and put in more RAM yourself. You have to order it when you order the system. And obviously, direct from Apple, those upgrades can get expensive. This base model here, the $500 one, dual core, Core I5, 4 gigs of RAM, 500 gig hard drive. Fairly basic steps for $500. You can't expect a heck of a lot more. It's actually almost the same components especially CPU wise as you'd find in the 13 inch Mac Book Air or the least expensive 21 inch iMac. So a good way to look at it is you're getting that level of performance. For about half the price. There are some other competitors now who are getting back into this mini desktop market, where people haven't done a lot in the last couple of years. I especially like this HP Pavilion mini right here that's actually, it's, it's got a smaller footprint than the Mac Mini, but it's actually thicker. This guy you, you can, you can configure up to a core I3 CPU, so not as powerful, but. You can get a 1 terabyte hard drive in there, so for around the same price, this configuration worked out at 479 and this is 499. You can either get the core I5 and the 5 gigabyte hard drive or the core I3 and the terabyte hard drive. I found performance was actually pretty close between these two in terms of running applications. Also include the keyboard and mouse. For your $500 here on the Mac Mini, you have to actually bring your own keyboard and mouse, and obviously display. I'm Ben Ackerman, and that is Apple's updated Mac Mini. [MUSIC]