back to article Review: Apple Mac Mini 2012

On 10 December 2012, Apple posted the called for Mac Mini HDMI-centric firmware update, after this review was written and published. We will be testing the machine with the new code, and will report back here shortly. I should say right up front that, much as I quite like the Mac Mini’s form-factor, looks and, more particularly …

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  1. djstardust Silver badge

    Quality?

    The old mantra that buying Apple and it "just works" is seriously slipping.

    I can't imagine most people not using HDMI as the main output from this.

    Apple are getting greedy and quality is going out the window. It's a slippery slope ......

    1. Kebablog

      Re: Quality?

      The issue is related to the Intel Chipset, which they (intel) have addressed for other OEMs - just waiting on the Apple version of the fix

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Quality?

        Intel have fixed it, they have also passed the fix onto Apple. the problem now lies with Apples insistence that they tamper with everything and produce their own versions just like they used to do with java and so the patches end up weeks or months behind everyone else.

        1. Andrew Baines Silver badge
          Thumb Down

          Re: Quality?

          Irrelevant - if it's not ready for release, it shouldn't have been released. If I bought a car with a faulty radio, the car manufacturer would be responsible and fix it.

          Looks like it was just rushed for Christmas

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: Quality?

            Standards are slipping. Tim's said that everyone should like working with each other. Steve would have fired the Mini's project manager to put the fear of God into everyone else then popped round to Intel and showed them an iMac running ARM to put the fear of God into them.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              @Dan 55

              I hardly think that Steve Jobb's management style is something to be held up as an ideal way to do things, even if only half of what's said about him is true.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Quality?

            It's a hardware glitch and therefore it may not have shown up in the test environment. HDMI isn't a very simple dumb thing like VGA was.

            There is 1.0, 1.3, 1.4 and version 2.0 of HDMI, 5 transfer modes, HDCP and so on.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDMI

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Quality?

              > It's a hardware glitch and therefore it may not have shown up in the test environment.

              Then its a pretty damn poor test environment. This "glitch" is showing up all the time, not just with some obscure film that only three people ever bought.

              Apple is a multi-billion dollar company, not some corner shop computer assembler who can't afford half a dozen different versions of hardware to test their assemblies. The 5 versions and 3 transfer modes are easily tested in a day or two (no matter how many different video modes their are).

            2. Richard 12 Silver badge

              Practically certain to be a HDCP issue

              Remind me again why DRM is a good idea?

              So far in my experience all HDCP has achieved is to confuse users and annoy support, when stuff "magically" degrades because the handshake didn't work, or refuses to display at all.

              Had both happen at a lot of conferences - "We'll bring the media on our laptop" generally turns into a last-minute panic when the media will not play on the data-projector.

              On the bright side it cranks up the price when we have to fire up our kit to rip out the DRM and play it.

              That's even usually media generated and owned by the client.

            3. Stabbybob
              Facepalm

              Re: Quality?

              "It's a hardware glitch and therefore it may not have shown up in the test environment. HDMI isn't a very simple dumb thing like VGA was.

              There is 1.0, 1.3, 1.4 and version 2.0 of HDMI, 5 transfer modes, HDCP and so on.

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDMI"

              My gosh you're right. If only Apple had the resources to buy a few of these units to test on. Unfortunately they only have a single 12" Samsung TV in their test lab that they all have to share...

              The Fanboi-ism is strong with this one!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Quality?

          Bullcrap, Apple tampering with what exactly? Oh yeah, making a *MACH* kernel version of the driver changes, y'know that kernel that pretty much only OSX uses.

          What good would Windows or Linux driver code be to Apple? none at all.

          More likely they are testing it well as they're pissed off with shoddy hardware and code from Intel.

      2. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        Re: Quality?

        It doesn't matter who you try to redirect the blame at. This sort of thing should have not made it out of QA in Cupertino.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Quality?

          >> It doesn't matter who you try to redirect the blame at. This sort of thing should have not made it out of QA in Cupertino.

          It doesn't matter who you try to redirect the blame at. This sort of thing should have not made it out of QA at Intel either!!

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Quality?

        > The issue is related to the Intel Chipset, which they (intel) have addressed for other OEMs - just waiting on the Apple version of the fix

        Really? It's not Apples fault?

        So Apple just put the hardware and software together and never even tried hooking up the HDMI port? Because if they did then would have seen the crappy HDMI performance and that makes it their fault. Despite the obvious issues with the HDMI Apple decided to go ahead and release it and despite Intel having addressed the problem Apple have decided not to make getting a fix out a priority.

        Anyway you look at it it is Apples fault. They would have been aware of the issue before release and they have had enough time to issue a fix.

    2. Captain Save-a-ho
      Meh

      Re: Quality?

      Not as big a mongolian cluster as iOS Maps, but certainly the shine has come off the apple since Tim Cook is calling the shots. No real fanboi can possible deny that things seem more ordinary over the last 14 months.

      1. djstardust Silver badge

        Re: Quality?

        Apparently a Thunderbolt to HDMI adapter solves the issue in the meantime, so apple should issue these until a permanent fix is found.

        Let's face it, it will cost Apple pennies and keep people happy.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Quality?

      Apple have been shafted by Intel, NVidia and ATI before now. It's just a lack of expertise in writing drivers for the OSX kernel.

      Due to all the NDA crap and trade secrets I can only assume that Apple can't write these drivers themselves. Therefore they are at the mercy of a 3rd party who don't seem to know how to code OSX kernel drivers.

    4. Andrew Lobban

      Re: Quality?

      The update from Apple to fix the HDMI issue was released today. Just fire up the Mac App Store and download.

  2. Buzzword

    Bluetooth

    "The Mini has Bluetooth 4.0 too, but who cares much about that these days?"

    If you wanted to use an Apple wireless keyboard and mouse, you'd care.....

    1. Toxteth O'Gravy

      Re: Bluetooth

      Yeah, but Bluetooth 1.0 and 2.0 will do that. So what's 4.0 got to do with keyboards and such?

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Bluetooth

      Apple Wireless Keyboards are still on Bluetooth 2, the power saving version of Bluetooth is Bluetooth 4, so it makes no difference whatsoever.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Hook the Mini up to an ordinary 1080p TV – as I did – ..... I have one of these old ATVs, hacked to run the open source XBMC media centre software, which it runs a treat. It also generates an HDMI image that’s just fine. So I know the new Mini’s woeful HDMI output is nothing to do with either HDMI or my television."

    The old ATVs did not support 1080p, only 720. So it doesn't actually follow that because you don't get issues at 720p with an ATV that your telly isn't the problem when trying to run at 1080p from a new mac mini. Unless I've missed something.

    1. JEDIDIAH
      Linux

      A pretty superficial review...

      As an HTPC, there's just a little bit more than having a cable that connects to your TV. The fact that the machine is tiny may or may not make a difference depending on your setup. You might actually want a larger machine for better heat dissipation or a better GPU. How it interacts with the rest of your AV gear is important.

      Talking heads like to beat this particular dead horse but I don't think any of them actually put Macs through their paces in this area.

      I used to use Minis as HTPCs before it was trendy.

      1. Silverburn
        FAIL

        Re: A pretty superficial review...

        There's also the small issue that Apple saw fit to remove Frontrow from OSX a few versions back, thus destroying the out-the-box media centre USP of the mac mini.

        <--- This fail is for you, Apple.

        Edit: Luckily, mine still chugs along just fine with it in place, and I have no reason to upgrade, knowing I will lose Front Row. Well done Apple - another upgrade sale lost?

  4. Kevin Johnston

    Wow......it isn't £1=$1......still pretty damn close though. I can accept that there is a cost in shipping the things across the puddle but there is no way it is $200 per unit which the UK price suggests at today's exchange rate.

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      There would be a cost in shipping them across the puddle, although as they're probably assembled in China and shipped from there it would be an odd route to take. Having said that the shipping cost from either point would be in the order of a few dollars at most assuming they're being sent on a container ship and not their own seat on a 747.

    2. mccp

      Apples & pears

      UK price is £499 including VAT. US prices excludes all sales taxes.

      $599 + 20% VAT = $719, or £449 at $1.6=£1

      So there's a 10% difference. Not great, but also not the $200 you quoted.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Or the 20% VAT that's added?

    4. Jan 0

      Ignoring shipping, they cost more here because Apple use UK staff, paid UK wages. Conversely European hardware costs less in the USA, because the US retail and supply chain staff are on lower wages.

  5. spencer

    No percentage score?

    How can we moan about Apple bias if there's no score?!

    1. Prof Denzil Dexter

      No point. Apple never scores below 85% no matter how poor their offering.

    2. Oninoshiko

      @spencer

      I wanted to say the same thing. Seems odd to me.

      The review indicated this was a poor release, but avoided giving the percentage number for comparison.

  6. Robert Grant
    Stop

    "And it may not even be Apple’s fault, at least not directly."

    No, that is Apple's fault. Apple products (allegedly) Just Work. That means when things don't work, that is their fault. Or are all the Apple product reviews going to go on about how amazing Samsung and Intel are in the future?

  7. RachelG

    the 2009 mac mini (which looks identical) has an nvidia GT320M on it and as such runs XBMC on Linux through HDMI just perfectly; although thanks to their odd EFI implementation it's a bit of a fight getting the initial linux installer to boot.

    Buying a media player outright now, I'd rather get a Zotac ID80, with an onboard GT520 - rubbish for gaming apparently, but therefore cheap and perfect for media-playing. Even if cost isn't an issue, these Intel HDx000 integrated GPUs seem to have been a bit of a disaster for media-player-type use. The HD3000 models couldn't even lock to 23.976Hz for movies; I don't know if they finally fixed that for HD4000, but shipping with this HDMI bug doesn't give confidence that they're paying attention to that use-case.

    I think the current crop of mac minis are great, but not as media players. They're fine desktop machines if you want to choose your own monitor, and great little servers.

    1. EyeCU

      If you want cheap

      Then see if you can find a emachines er1401. I paid about £100 and it's a great little media centre. get rid of the awful linpus linux and stick xbmcbuntu on it (v11.0 eden) and it works brilliantly.

      1. RachelG

        Re: If you want cheap

        any old thing these days can do 1080p, including raspberry pi; the difficulties is in dealing well with interlaced material. Ideally you want temporal/spatial deinterlacing, for which the gt520 is needed. The 320m in my mac mini can't do it, only getting as far as vdpau-bob (although to my eyes there's not enough difference to be worth the extra outlay).

        Needed if you watch a lot of BBC HD output through it. :-)

      2. Anomalous Cowturd
        Thumb Up

        Re: If you want cheap

        +1 for the emachines jobby. I'm using one as my general pc. Low power consumption, more than powerful enough for general net stuff, plus HDMI and optical audio output. Not too good for a build machine though. Apparently, it's an Acer inside.

        I paid £120 for mine. Rats.

    2. Antidisestablishmentarianist
      Headmaster

      Urrr, no

      The 2009 model did not look identical. The current shape (but with optical drive) came out in mid 2010. Prior to that you had the fat minis.

      1. RachelG
        Facepalm

        Re: Urrr, no

        you're right; i'm off-by-one on the year. This one I have is a 2010 mac mini *server* originally, so didn't have the optical drive slot and is, thus, identical in appearance to the current models. :-)

  8. Allonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I wanted one of these

    My Win7 Acer Aspire Revo, which was less than half the price, is a bit underpowered for high-res video. And its HDMI support is patchy.

    I thought that if I got a Mac Mini, everything would Just Work. Sounds like maybe I dodged the metaphorical bullet by reading this review first...

    *scratches Mac Mini off Santa list *

    1. JEDIDIAH
      Linux

      Re: I wanted one of these

      > My Win7 Acer Aspire Revo, which was less than half the price, is a bit underpowered for high-res video. And its HDMI support is patchy.

      A Revo is more than capable of handling high-res video. The Nvidia GPU does all the work.

      It can happily even play BluRays. That's about as rough as you're going to get in terms of high-res video.

      It's stuff like Hulu and Amazon Prime that an ION box won't be able to handle (due to the weak CPU).

      1. Philip Lewis
        Unhappy

        Re: I wanted one of these

        Every time I see the name "Revo", I shed a silent tear for PSION. The REVO was simply an outstanding device and the demise of PSION before the further development of those devices was a sad loss. :(

        1. dajames Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: I wanted one of these

          Every time I see the name "Revo", I shed a silent tear for PSION. The REVO was simply an outstanding device and the demise of PSION before the further development of those devices was a sad loss. :(

          Lovely little device ... but spoilt by an inadequate NiMH battery and dodgy battery monitoring hardware. If Psion had had the courage to charge a bit more and use a Lithium battery with a decent capacity it would have been brilliant.

          Agreed that Psion's withdrawal from the consumer market was a tragedy.

          The devices may not have been developed further, but the OS became Symbian, of course. Such a shame that Symbian never shipped with the excellent application suite that Psion wrote for their PDAs, especially Agenda (the diary application) which was better by far than anything I've seen on any smartphone.

          Mine's the one with the Psion 3mx in the pocket, though.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No problem here.

    I've got a 3570K-HD4000 running 10.8.2 over HDMI and have NO screen issues whatsoever. So either Apple's already patched it or it's not 'driver' but CPU related.

    Agree though that Apple should've fixed it. Maybe the could fire someone.

    1. Ivan Headache

      Re: No problem here. also

      Set one of these up about 3 weeks back with a brand new AOC monitor connected with the HDMI cable provided by AOC. So far there haven't been any issues like the 'snow' some users are reporting and overall the user is very pleased with his purchase (he's having trouble adjusting to Mountain Lion though moving from Tiger)

  10. spaceyjase
    Thumb Up

    To be honest with you, I've not had any HDMI issues -- is it a TV thing too, or does it apply to all 2012 minis? I've had the odd flicker when resuming but figured that's exactly that, sleepy hardware cranking its way to life.

    Don't be put off purchasing one though. It's a really nice system! I replaced an ageing Hackintosh that I had previously used for development work and was flaky as hell. I have even thought about replacing the little wall wart server I have with this as everything Linux-based just works (with a few --arg exceptions...) so it is instantly useful, small and exceptionally quiet. Power use is only marginally higher than that of the wall wart (a Guruplug derivative) so will do just nicely. Max your mini with 16Gig RAM and it is way beyond anything else as a roll-your-own media server, client or whatever really.

    Totally happy with mine. I even posted while logged on so can be labelled a fan boy ;-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Faulty unit?

      Weird review this. Did you speak to Apple? Might it have been a faulty unit?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Faulty unit?

        Not seen this issue myself either so suspect it is not affecting all users / installations. Intel dropped the ball on this one.

  11. Kevin7
    Stop

    If you're only going to run this as some kind of media server you're wasting your money unless you have some kind of fetish for Mac OS X. You could probably build your self a Linux based machine for about half the cost. Even though my main home machine is a Macbook Pro I've given up on the Apple ecosystem for a media player. I mean if this is going to be used as a computer rather than a media player you might be able to justify the cost but it seems bloody pricey to me.

    1. RachelG

      agree, as a multiple-mac user myself; the mac mini under my tv is running linux, but only because it's spare and capable. i wouldn't be buying a new one just to be a media player.

      Although I did once, running Plex; but I was feeling richer than I was in reality, and it didn't work out (aforementioned HD3000 bug wrt 23.976Hz) so that machine ended up on different work anyway, and I a little wiser. :-}

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    my new 2012 mini has a major USB3 to Bluetooth incompatibility!

    2TB external USB3 hdd with manufacturer cable - out the back of the 2012 Mac mini is giving a Denial of Service attack against the 2.4GHz bluetooth protocol apple Magic mouse & apple bt keyboard . I know it's all my fault.......but....

  13. LaunchpadBS
    FAIL

    Just the HD4000...?

    Apple release another product with a major fault...quality control must have kicked it along with Mr Jobs.

    The issue with the HDMI output for the HD4000 was well known by Intel and has been acknowledged by other manufacturers using it in their offerings and Apple still went ahead and released something with known issues. Intel must have made all sorts of promises.

  14. An0n C0w4rd
    Coat

    ARM

    How long until people start justifying the alleged move to ARM for desktop products on the Intel HD4000 failure?

    Don't get me wrong, I love ARM products and have done ever since my A410/1. But AFAIK they've got way to go until they can release a desktop product that is as fast as the current crop of Intel Core processors.

    Mines the coat with an ARM (or 2) in it

    1. KjetilS

      Re: ARM

      AFAIK they've got way to go until they can release a desktop product that is as fast as the current crop of Intel Core processors.

      Do they really have to be? I would think the crucial part would be if they were fast enough

  15. JDX Gold badge

    Review

    No score, and more crucially no handy table of specs!

  16. JDX Gold badge

    Question to Mac Developers

    Is the Mini the Mac of choice for iOS development? And how would this incarnation review on that basis?

    My 2008 MacBook is showing signs of age and I don't need a laptop.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Question to Mac Developers

      The i7 mini servers are awesome, shove in 16GB of RAM and you can run 30+ virtual machines under it :-)

      I agree the mini would be developer's choice, if you already have a decent monitor. The new razor-edged iMacs are fast and look pretty, and come with keyboard and mouse included, but are a pain and a half to disassemble if you want to swap out RAM or HD.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Question to Mac Developers

      I make iOS apps and recently bought a 2012 Mini (2.3ghz Core i7 model). Works beautifully. Just as fast as any iMac or Mac Pro from a couple years ago, and there aren't any current Macs that are more than a few percent faster. People can argue about GPU performance but since you are doing development and not gaming that should be largely irrelevant.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Question to Mac Developers

      You'll probably want a Mac Mini. No glossy screen, and if the iMac's hard drive or the screen fails it needs a trip into service before you can go back to work since neither is easily replaceable.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But on the flipside

      As an iOS developer, you might be better with a retina display to see what artwork is going to look like. Snag is that the 13" model has atrocious graphics, I suspect if you've been using a MacBook you eyes might drop out at the 15's price, and neither of them has anything upgradable or replaceable at all...I think you might be best using an iPad 3/4 as a monitor. Here's a link on that:

      http://mashable.com/2012/11/01/tablet-second-monitor/

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But on the flipside

        Having a retina display doesn't help you with artwork. The artwork looks the same on the devices, just half (a quarter) the size. And you can easily test on devices.

    5. LaunchpadBS
      Thumb Up

      Re: Question to Mac Developers

      I replaced my 2008 MBP with the new mini, put in an SSD and 16GB of ram and it flies, run a Win7 virtual machine for ASP and .Net stuff as well as XCode with no lag at all. It's a great cheap dev machine

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Question to Mac Developers

        Well apart from the fact I could test the artwork proper on an actual iPad3/4, couldn't I just get a Mac Mini and buy a hi-res monitor?

        And a MacBook Pro is definitely not in my price bracket :)

  17. The FunkeyGibbon
    FAIL

    When Microsoft are doing it better Cook needs to worry

    Even the ATI Xenos in my Xbox 360 can do 1080p without stressing...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When Microsoft are doing it better Cook needs to worry

      You must have misread. The Mac Mini isn't stressed doing 1080p, there's a bug with the HDMI output. Use DisplayPort and it works fine. Also, a firmware update was just released today that seems to fix the problem.

  18. Mike Moyle Silver badge

    Reviewing the computer as a computer would have been helpful.

    I'm not really interested in a media server to connect to my TV right now -- and if I were, I would be looking into dedicated media servers, rather than general-purpose computers, but maybe that's just me...

    OTOH, I AM thinking about replacing my aging PPC Mac desktop. What are the benchmarks for the Mini vs. an iMac? How well does it handle tasks like video-editing?

    You CAN use a wrench as a hammer, but if you're looking to BUY a wrench, how good a hammer it makes should probably be well down on your list of purchasing criteria -- well below the question: "How well does it work as a wrench?"

    Really, this could -- and probably SHOULD -- have ben published as a news/feature: "Mac Mini has problems with HDMI". As an article, the title of which claims that it is an actual REVIEW of a general-purpose computer it was... Well, I wasn't whelmed.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Works fine for me

    I will add my voice to the already significant number of people here claiming no problems with the HDMI output on their 2012 Mac Minis. Well, I did see the "black screen" issue twice right after I bought the computer--the screen went black for 1-1.5 seconds each time--but the problem hasn't reoccurred in the last two weeks at least. An extremely minor inconvenience to the point of being basically nonexistent, and I'm a very happy customer.

    To all the people claiming that the sky is falling under Tim Cook's watch, I would guess the vast majority of you aren't actually Mac users and certainly haven't used the product in question.

    BTW--I bought a cheap SSD and USB3 enclosure from Newegg and am using it as my boot drive. Excellent upgrade with minimal cost and inconvenience.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course if they wanted better graphics for this - they should dump intel and go AMD

  21. Bad Beaver
    Thumb Down

    They can keep it

    I'm a big fan of the Mac Mini line but this one is a total turd. Too little, too late, too expensive, shitty graphics performance, glitchy, plus you have more clutter due to the external drive you will need unless you source all your content from the fruit itself. I know it is increasingly uncool to buy physical media but I do like it. It gives me more options at better prices. Unless that option is bluray of course – thank you oh so very much – which, being a bag of hurt, also commands a 3rd party external drive and pricy software on OS X.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    not just a media server

    the key is that it can be more than just a media server and still take up very little room and be ultra reliable.

    I have a 2008 mac mini - 2ghz core 2 duo. it cost 250 quid 'new old stock' from an ebay seller.

    In 2010 it replaced a previous 2006 mac mini doing the same job.

    It sits on top of 4TB of iomega storage (looks like 2 thinner mac minis)

    the whole thing runs 24x7 and has done for the last 2 years.

    it serves ATP and SMB shares to all other devices around the house, the runs evocam with 5 IP camera 24/7 as home security, it runs usenet and torrent downloads. It even acts as a node for rendering when required.

    it does all this making hardly any noise, using very little power day in day out - gigabit ethernet - what more do you need ?

    Maybe I'm unusual but I quickly realised a 'media server' was a waste of space - it had to do more to be useful. So it replaced by file servers, then I realised that with a BT keyboard and mouse I actually spent at least 50% of the time using it as a computer - to surf the net, do emails, reply to forums (like now) - so having something like XBMC (which up to 2006 was my solution - I had 4 XBOXes throughout the house running XBMC, getting media from a central server) just wasn't enough.

    This 250 quid core 2 duo plays everything I throw at it (mostly now through VNC or Movist, but XBMC is still used occasionally) - inc 1080p 5.1 etc, etc.

  23. johnnymotel

    honestly guys...

    why would anyone opt for the MM as a media player attached to a TV, when a simple little Apple TV hacked with Plex will do just as good.

    My MM is doing sterling duty as a replacement for my old MacPro 2008. Just as fast on the renders, about 1/50th the size and weight. Works fine attached to a five bay DAS.

    If anyone wanted a media server, one of last years models is really ample power.

  24. Steven Gray

    Mine's OK, but...

    then I did couple it to a lovely Dell 2412m 1920x1200 monitor (yes, a screen, for computers, not a glorified TV panel) via DisplayPort.

    It was the ideal cheap (for a Mac) replacement for our ageing G5 iMac.

    A couple of points, though. I did connect it to our Sony Bravia and the image was awful... only not the image, but the rendering of the fonts - icons, graphics, the chrome, all fine. After a quick trawl of the Apple discussion forums, it looks like the Mac senses a TV on the other end and adjusts it's output accordingly. Older versions of OSX had a 'font smoothing' option - alas Mountain Lion has removed that option to save us from ourselves... but the setting can be hacked via the command line, cheers Apple.

    Modern TVs, of course, do a fair amount of post processing of the image regardless of the source. Ideally, you should turn these all off or set to 'computer mode' or whatever. I dare say this goes for any computer, not just the Mac.

    But yes, disappointing.

  25. Spoonsinger
    Coat

    Those corners are so round.

    Yeh!

  26. Andrew Hodgkinson
    Meh

    It's fixed

    Shouldn't have gone out with those faults, but storm, meet teacup:

    http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1616?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US

  27. Joe Gurman

    Perfect timing: EFI firmware catch came out today

    I can only conclude that The Register is either clairvoyant or telekinetic: Apple released an EFI firmware patch today for this issue: http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1616?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US .

    Perhaps The Register can test the patch and tell us whether the mini, costly as it is, is still a good buy.

    1. An0n C0w4rd
      Facepalm

      Re: Perfect timing: EFI firmware catch came out today

      I love the text on the update page, clearly cut'n'paste from a laptop update

      "Your computer's power cord must be connected and plugged into a working power source."

      because clearly software updates on a DESKTOP without an internal battery work REALLY WELL

  28. P. Lee Silver badge
    Linux

    Weird product

    The poor mm seems to be an odd thing.

    It appears to be an office machine running OSX - now there's a niche device!

    It used to be a cheap media server, but its no longer cheap. It used to be low-powered but it isn't really that either. Now that imac's have 21" and 27" screens, there isn't a great deal of reason behind not getting one of those instead - you're unlikely to want more than a 27" screen attached to this device if you are using it for a computer. It isn't really cheap enough just be a media server under the telly and its graphics aren't capable enough to play games, but its cpu makes it overpowered for media server duties and It doesn't have enough disk to be a media server. It's main benefit appears to be easy disk replacement compared to an imac and you can get a matt screen for it. For media server work, you're better off getting a old laptop off ebay and putting something other than OSX on it.

    1. Derk
      Thumb Up

      Re: Weird product

      I don't agree. The mini has its place. I use a 2010 model with 2 x 24" monitors for CAD (Run in parallels Win XP). The 2010 model handles this, together with all my business needs just fine. I would have a 2012 model in an instant, if they only had put some better graphics in it. I'm not keen on the IMacs with their glossy screens, too much glare. The one thing I love about the mini, is the silence, very quiet, oh and its minuscule power consumption too.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Weird product

      For tasks that aren't GPU-bound, the $799 Mini is basically as fast as an entry level 27" iMac. You can get a similar 27" monitor for around $700, and you just saved yourself $300 in addition to having a machine that's infinitely easier to disassemble, upgrade, and repair.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not so weird

      This is how much processors have crept up: it's made with laptop parts, but it's got a replaceable hard drive and upgradeable RAM but more performance even than older octo-core Mac Pros. It's more than three times as fast as the last generation of Power Macs.

      That means that many places who used to use the latter but whose needs haven't increased much recently would be able to drop it in place instead when one dies, assuming they don't suddenly need/want insane graphics performance.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Gimp

    The only HTPC to have emacs, pico and vim built into the OS?

    I haven't used XBMC, so if anyone knows any different I'd be interested/amused...

  30. Matt Bacon 1

    And the fix is in...

    ...a few hours after the review appears, the firmware fix is released. More power to El Reg! I never knew Cupertino paid so much attention...

    http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1616?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US

    bestest,

    M.

  31. Magnus_Pym

    Cupertino quality control fail?

    Looks to me like 'normal service resumed' at Apple. Do I really need to compile a list of previous Apple howlers of the past for the short memoried amongst us.

    1. jai

      Re: Cupertino quality control fail?

      Webster Phreaky have you returned to us??

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fix for this

    Re flickering HDMI there is a fix for this out today

    http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1616?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US

    Be interesting to know if this is the issue you were talking about in the review though

  33. haaz
    Go

    Behold! The Mac mini EFI Firmware Update!

    They must've known ol' Tone was on their case...

    http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1616

  34. Ian Johnston Silver badge
    WTF?

    Magic

    According to Wikipedia

    "Because HDMI is electrically compatible with the CEA-861 signals used by digital visual interface (DVI), no signal conversion is necessary, nor is there a loss of video quality when a DVI-to-HDMI adapter is used."

    I use a cable with a DVI connector at one end and an HDMI one at the other myself. Could someone therefore explain how putting a dumb wiring adaptor in the output manages to get rid of flicker, improve colours and so on?

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    wow what a design classic

    Look like an old router I used to own a couple of years back. I guess you can always hide it behind the Xbox or PlayStation so no one has to see it.

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