back to article Apple Mac Mini 2010

I’ll admit up front that I’ve always liked the Mac Mini. I used one as my main office computer for a couple of years before retiring it to my living room where it’s hooked up to my HD TV and makes a terrific little media centre. Apple Mac Mini 2010 Apple's Mac Mini: the new Apple TV? So I was delighted to see that the new …

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Anonymous Coward

Worried about over heating.

"The Mini does now get warm when it’s running, but you can still lay your hand on it without any discomfort."

The previous model also got warm. In fact, not only warm, but rather hot. I'm on my 3rd one. The first died of over heating just outside of warranty. The second died of over heating but fortunately within warranty. The room I keep it in isn't particularly hot either, and the mini isn't near a heater or in direct sunlight (i.e., it's not by/in another source of heat).

Point being, they've made a product which in my experience is prone to over heating even hotter.

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Clean it out if it overheats

All the cooling air is channelled through a mesh near the processor. If it is in a dusty or smoky environment it can clog up quite quickly leading to over temperature shutdowns. Nice strip down videos on youtube. The one it replaces also had 1G DDR3 RAM and an extra USB port.

Did they drop the IR remote?

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WTF?

It overheated out of warranty...

...and yet you bought another?!?

'nuff said.

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Joke

Well ventilated?

Did you run it from a desk drawer?

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Ed

Remote

The remote sensor is just inside the DVD drive slot.

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Correction - Mac Mini does have a fan

The new Mac Mini has a brushless fan, see http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Mac-Mini-Mid-2010-Teardown/3094/2

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Blu-ray?

Seriously, Apple, Blu-Ray, now.

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Gold badge

Blu-ray

Optical media is so yesterday.

Check out things like XBMC, Plex and Boxee. Who wants to be shuffling lots of discs around these days?

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Wouldn't make much sense

without a rewrite of OS X to put playback hindrance in like the movie industry wants it.

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Stop

@Giles Jones

"Optical media is so yesterday."

I'd accept your argument if it wasn't sporting a DVD drive... If it's media credentials are to be accepted, then along with its HDMI port it needs blu-ray.

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Boffin

@Annihilator

I am guessing that the main reason for the optical drive is so that you can (re)install an OS. You can buy a half-decent consumer DVD player for less than the price of a Blu-Ray Movie, so this is hardly a cost-effective way of playing DVD's.

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Boffin

@Phil Royall

Seriously Phil,

what for?

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Optical Media still got life in it...

The only people I've heard say "But why?" are those satisfied with iTunes. Sure, if you're happy with that, go for it. Some people are happy with 4:3 analogue TV in black and white, and the lack of image quality doesn't bother them.

But, movie lovers want to be immersed in their film. BD is the best medium currently available in the home, and the quality can't be matched even by the 12GB BD-Rips I've witnessed. It's good enough for casual viewing, but it's no good if you want to be immersed.

As 90% of Mac Minis (own guess) spend their life plugged into a TV in the living room, it seems a bad move to exclude the current standard that's achieved even by very cheap PCs. As a bluray movie generally runs to 25-30GB at the moment, it would be a step backward to expect people to download 30GB just to watch a film, at least with current internet speeds. You can't stream 30mbits/second when your connection tops out at 20, and if it needs to buffer for an hour first then it just doesn't count as streaming!

So, whilst optical media will one day seem a relic of a bygone age, that day isn't going to come in the life of the current line-up of Apple products.

So, Apple should get up-to-date and install bluray discs in their computers. When will they get round to implementing flash on the iPhone, btw?

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Beautiful chunk of technology

The base model is £584 (inc VAT) from the Apple Education Store if you qualify. That's not such a bad deal.

(And in before the 'but I could get three no-name plastic fantastic PCs for that' crowd)

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Flame

The dolt who reviewed this needs an eye test

There is an internal fan, however it is turbine type and not the normal blade type. It is clearly visible the moment you take the lid. It is straight in front of you.

The reviewer really needs his eyesight checked.

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FAIL

So...

... they made a product that's slower, has less RAM, still doesn't support Blu-ray, and then upped the price. It also doesn't look as nice (IMHO).

In terms of price/value, even for the wildest fanboi, it's complete crap.

A fool and his money are easily parted.

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Misleading

Sadly, you are missing quite a few points here with your 'slower but more expensive' nonsense.

There used to be two Minis - one at $599 and one at $799. Apple went with a single model which is exactly in the middle of those two prices. The newer model adds:

HDMI (for some people, this alone is worth the price)

SD (remember all the people complaining about the iPad because SD is 'so critical'?)

Much faster GPU

CPU marginally slower than old high end model and marginally faster than old base model)

Stronger case with better heat transfer

Significantly lower energy usage

Twice the RAM capacity

RAM replacement easier for end user

No more external power supply

Or, if you want to take away the one negative, you could go with the upgraded CPU. The system would then be $50 higher than the older high end model, but would have a faster CPU in addition to all of the above.

Now, I can see that you might not think that it's worth the money, but I frankly don't care. The system is less expensive than the old high end system and better in almost every way (except for CPU speed which will not affect most users given the significant increase in GPU performance). But this one-sided misleading trolling about 'slower but more expensive' is just plain wrong.

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Jobs Horns

The ONE negative?

I think you missed the other negative: no bluray.

Seriously Apple, bluray? Try it.

Oh wait, you can't sell bluray discs on iTunes, can you. Silly me.

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WTF?

Well I'd like to see you try

You, a thousand willing slaves, a tonne of each element in the periodic table, a blast furnace, a well equipped workshop and as many thousands years as you want.

Then tell me this (or just about any other modern day piece of technology) is 'crap'.

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Fan

Small correction Re: "There’s no internal fan either, so the only noticeable noise comes from the occasional whirring of the on-board DVD drive."

There is a fan, elegant integration with the design, can be seen in access cover removal photos.

From Apple's mac mini design web page:

"once you’re inside, you’ll see how clean and organized Mac mini is. With attention paid to the tiniest detail. Like the air intake and vents. They’re practically invisible. And when the fan is running, you’ll barely hear it."

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Almost there...

The new mini does have an internal fan, it's the fan looking object under the base plate. Looks like a good machine, disappointed it's not an i5 CPU and that replacing the HDD looks like brain surgery!

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DT
Flame

Worst of both worlds

Mid range desktop money for something that doesn't cut the mustard graphically and can't be upgraded (or easily repaired when it blows up judging the above post!) A media machine that doesn't have a TV tuner or BD and is limited to sub TB hard drives? There're plenty of solutions for hiding regular boxes, under tables, behind sofas or those de rigeur 40"+ TVs.

If such a solution cannot be found, a mid range laptop is not only of comparible cost, usable on the move and also takes up LESS space (there's no need for an external keyboard &mouse). Also the TV isn't tied up as a monitor (which might not be an issue for nobby no-mates, but frequently one person may want to watch telly whilst the other surfs).

A criticism SFF machines in general; what are they, crippled desktops, or a legless laptops? Perhaps that is the USP; a gimmic product used to demonstrate the purchasing power of the owner.

I love it when people attempt to equalise the amount of money they have with the amount of sense, knowingly buying hamstrung machines with reliability issues.

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Gold badge

Same old boring criticism

It's memory and disk can be upgraded.

Are you oblivious to the fact that only 18% of computers sold are "upgradeable" these days. Only desktop machines can be upgraded with slot in cards and faster CPUs and these sell half as many as laptops. The rest of the market is tablets and netbooks (also not upgradeable).

In fact, these days an upgrade is largely a motherboard and CPU replacement anyway, so why bother? You're only keeping the case and discs.

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@Giles Jones

More to the point, how many people actually upgrade the processor? Every time I've gone to upgrade the processor Intel has changed the bloody socket so that'll be a new motherboard sir, CPU and RAM just like you state. I would guess the main upgrades of any point these days are

1. RAM

2. HD to SSD

3. Graphics Card

of which only 1-2 offer all round improvements.

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Jobs Horns

Hard Drive & RAM

I can understand the processor choice, given the Intel & NVIDIA spat, but at this price point it should have 4GB RAM as standard. And why the f*ck are we still dicking about with 5400 rpm drives? I've had a 7200 rpm drive in my (now vintage) 1.66 GHz Core Duo Mac mini for over 2 years now with no problems whatsoever. It's not like power consumption versus performance is a MAJOR issue on a desktop system (versus a laptop).

I always get the feeling that Apple artificially hold back on features just so they're guaranteed at least 1 update in 8-12 months time. I just hope their stash of ancient hard drives isn't as big as their (now thankfully depleted) mountain of combo drives!

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FAIL

Zino HD is not "similarly priced"

Why does The Reg keep insisting that the Zino HD is so expensive? Because it keeps quoting the jacked-up price of the blu-ray model it was sent for review.

My Zino HD cost me £329 last Christmas, and appears to be the same price today. It has internal DVD rewriter (check), HDMI output (check), 3GB RAM (1GB more than the new Mac mini), bundled wireless keyboard and mouse (neither included with the Mac mini), and a 500GB 3.5" SATA drive (not a slow laptop one).

I could have paid £20 extra for 802.11 wireless, or £80 more for a faster CPU (mine has 1.5GHz AMD dual core), or £60 more for a faster graphics card. Even with all those it would still be 25% cheaper than the Mac, but if you don't want these features, you don't have to pay.

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You're comparing a 1.5GHz CPU to a 2.4 GHz one?

You're comparing a 1.5GHz CPU to a 2.4 GHz one?

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Anonymous Coward

Or use a laptop

My "media" PCs are called "old laptops", no battery anymore, but the same amount of HDD and 1GB of RAM, fantastic bit of idleness. Hook up the TV and Audio channels: home media player. But it also works on the move.

So: what does this bring to the table other than laptop parts in a different form factor, and a lot of money asked for something that doesn't come with any display?

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Its not similarly priced to the Zino

In as much as the 1.8ghz dual core model with the discrete Radeon HD 4330 GPU is £100 cheaper. For 20 quid more you can get it with a 20 inch widescreen monitor too.

Think the Mac would be better at half the price. Surely the original idea of the mini was a mac cheap enough to tempt non mac users to give macs a try? At £650, you can get a quad core beast with a ATI Radeon HD 5770 in the world of PC's, so this isn't very tempting at all.

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There is a fan

In fact you can see it quite clearly in the underside picture on page 2. One internal fan.

Despite that, I too would have some concerns about the heat... I'm not a big fan of Apple's preference for building in the PSU, I think there's a lot to be said for a separate power brick that (a) keeps its own heat to itself rather than the unit, and (b) can be replaced cheaply and easily when it inevitably fails. And Apple's internal PSUs do fail, unfortunately - just ask the owners of Time Machines of a certain age.

At £649 I'm just not convinced by these. A small, cheap Mac where you provide your own screen and keyboard is one thing, but this now isn't particularly cheap, and the crammed-in PSU creates an unwelcome point of failure.

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behind on processor

While Blu-ray is a miss considering HDMI was added, I am shocked Apple to in use Intel Core i7 Arrandale with a mid-year speedbump to Clarksfield. I wanted to see mini switch to the Nehalem micro-architecture, with two cores now and four cores at mid-year.

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FAIL

Acer Revo

I'm a Mac fan with a Macbook Pro and Mac Pro Tower. But even I struggle to see why people would want a mini when you can have an Acer Revo with Windows 7 for a fraction of the price. Sure the Mini is shiny and has OSX but my lord, the price!

The point of the Mini was to create an entry level Mac, but they have gravitated towards producing something that is small as possible but not cheap. While it wouldn't be a good thing for Apple to be producing cheap as possible the Mini has lost much of its appeal for me due to the costs.

If you are considering the Mini but were put off by the cost like me, do take a look at the Revo. It's a remarkable little machine given the price and even comes with a Chinese rip-off of the Apple wireless keyboard I'm typing on at the moment.

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WTF?

Revo? Hmmmm ...

The Revo is good value for money, yes (ignoring the "can only see 3.5GB of the 4GB I paid for" annoyance!), but to say anything about its keyboard other than "I threw it in the bin the moment it arrived" is to overstate its utility dramatically. *Awful*.

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Revo is great

I got one for my TV, running Ubuntu + boxee. Cost me AU$320 and that is less than half what apple are asking for the Mac Mini (AU$699).

As for the keyboard, it is a chiclet style thing. I wouldn't want to type my autobiography on the thing but on the plus side it is small, unobtrusive and light and doesn't take up a lot of space on the coffee table so it is perfect for that sort of light duty scenario.

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re: Worried about over heating.

Something is clearly different with your setup then. My experience with the Mac Mini is the complete opposite of yours and as mine acts as the DNS and email server (amongst many other tasks asked of it) it's never turned off. The router is hotter than the mini.

My complaint with the new mini is the price difference between here and the US. We seemed to be getting gouged by well over £100 (if the conversion rate downloaded by Apple's calculator app is vaguely correct) and like the author I am factoring in the US price being excl tax and ours being VAT inc.

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Linux

Swimming in the cool-aid

...makes other similar machines look like towers?

That's a bit much in terms of the fanboyism, isn't it?

There are already PCs this size. That's probably why Apple did this redesign. They probably thought that they were being left behind or something. Beyond the dubious design change and price hike, this is a fairly mundane apple update.

The HDMI is nice though. You won't need your old adaptor anymore.

Allowing mini users to decommission their putty knives is also a good change.

Not sure that it makes any sense to make the cheapest Mac more expensive though...

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Grenade

Overheating

You don't know that this new model will over heat. if it has a less powerful processor and a slower hd, it will generate less heat. Plus the cpu fan looks quite substantial - although the reviewer said there were no internal fans...

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Ah

Ah, nothing like good old fashioned regional pricing. They may not have any good reason to do it, but they'll continue to shaft us anyway.

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WTF?

HOW MUCH?!

With no monitor, keyboard or mouse, shit processor and feck all base memory!!!

Meh - buy yourself a PS3 or new XBox 360 for a media centre and save yourself 300 notes.

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Still two processor configurations

I don't see how going from 2.26 or 2.53 GHz on the old Mini to 2.4 or 2.66 GHz on the new mini is "downgrading the processor".

I think that you may have been misled by the way the Apple store reorganized its models and customization options. Instead of having base models organized by processor speed, there now are just the base desktop and server models which can be customized on processor, memory and storage. There are still as many configurations as before, and none of them are downgrades.

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How much? Oh dear.

If it had Blu-Ray it would be worth considering at £649. Without it's seriously overpriced, even when put besides Apple's other machines. I'll be giving this a miss.

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Overheating minis Intel ones?

I have the original mini with PowerPC processor. I've had it in stinking hot 46C to 48C summers where the fan will run like crazy but it has never died from overheating and I still have it today. Are these overheating ones Intel CPUs?

I've moved up to a MBP (Intel) after my Mini (PPC) introduction to Mac and OS X so I won't be buying a new one. I've had the MBP nearly 3 years and expect another 2 years life out of it before buying another computer (probably another Mac) and if I get 5 years out of each computer then its a decent dollar cost averaging over each year and a better deal in my mind than my previous 28 years of home built PCs and Dells.

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Jobs Halo

SFF

SFF is short for "Small Form Factor", which is long winded and pointless jargon for "small".

The Mac Mini was targeted at Widnows users so they could switch to a Mac and keep their current keyboard, display and mouse.

I've always hoped Apple would make the Mac Mini into a SUTTMMC**, which would combine PC functions with a Tuner and PVR. Unfortunately they seem to be reluctant to install the necessary hardware to create such a device. There would need to be an extension to their "Front Row" application to control the extra functions and a small wireless keyboard with track pad so that you could control everything from your armchair. Even Apple's smallest keyboard is too BFF for armchair use. It's possible to buy the necessary peripherals separately but you end up with a bit of a lash-up rather than a SUTTMMC.

**Small Under The Telly Multi Media Centre

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The Internal Fan

Actually, it's not my eyes that need checking - it's my fingers - the comment about the fan was an unfortunate rushed typo brought on by a courier trying to wrestle the mini out of my grasp in mid-review.

As for the heating issues with older Minis - the ones I've used in the past have simply never gotten warm at all.

And to address another point that's been raised. I did point out that the 'similarly priced' Zino we reviewed included a Blu-ray player, which was one of the reasons I considered the mini to be over-priced.

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FAIL

meh gets beaten easily

for £150 less you can get yourself an ION system that has Blu-Ray, Surround Sound, Optical Audio, Wireless.n, and with upgradeable compontents (2gb to 4gb) upping the 320gb HDD to a larger drive or even two drives in Raid 0 or 1.

Of course Apple's marketing hype machine will probably sell a few to their 'enlightened' customers :)

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I so wanted to like this...

But it seems Apple just keeps missing the ball...

I thought that Apple would make a decent tablet, then the iPad came out, I wanted tip upgrade the 3G iPhone that I have to the 4G, until I compared it to a decent HTC Android and realised they missed the ball after making the 3G the first Smartphone that I actually enjoyed using, the 4 just seems too expensive and under equiped.

And now this. Looks sleek, has HDMI - could be a nice replacement for my HDD recorder. But no... No BluRay, no tuner and too expensive.

And to Deek_Kay. Yes there are two processor options, if you want to lose the optical drive and pay double the price.. The desktop versions has less memory, a lower chip and costs more than the previous one. Looks like a downgrade with a price hike to me.

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Happy

There ARE two processor options

2.66GHz is available as, well, an option. Click on the 'Select' button and you can customise your Mini.

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Happy

OK I'll take that back - there are two options

But the default is worse than the old one, for more money...

With the 2.6 it's a whopping € 934,01 euros! You can buy some serious machinery for that price! For comparison an iMac only costs € 1.099,00 with 3GHz, screen, wireless keyboard and magic mouse.

They definately missed a trick here... Do they not want to sell the Mini's?

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FAIL

I stopped reading about here...

"I’ll admit up front that I’ve always liked the Mac Mini. I used one as my main office computer for a couple of years before retiring it to my living room where it’s hooked up to my HD TV and makes a terrific little media centre."

Yup, I know fine and well that the old Mini Mac of a 'couple of years ago' had the graphics power of an asthmatic ant, and would jump and cause issues with 'HD' youtube content, as was just fast enough to play DVD's. So pluging it into an HD telly suggests you used it for HD content, which would of been rubish as opposed to 'a terrific little media centre'.

I for one would not be happy with a media centre that can not play HD content on my HD telly, regardless of how pritty it looks when I read my mail on a 42" OLED 3D screen.

Anyway I am sure the rest of the article is intresting, but I am using the FAIL symbol for this, as it starts out with a big fat lie.

[Don't get me wrong I love the mini for what it 'was', but I would never recomend it as a media centre in its old form, and certainly not when presumably they want HD content]

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