Apple Mac Mini Core 2 Duo

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Apple Mac Mini Core 2 Duo
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Intel Core 2 Duo processor, size and price, it has a DVD burner

Cons

  • The Mac mini operates at the slower speed and shorter range of the 802.11g when compared to the iMac and MacBooks, it doesn't come with a mouse, keyboard and monitor

Bottom Line

The latest Mac mini models have made some impressive gains in terms of performance, without gaining bulk or higher price tags. Still a great bargain, especially for those who already own a mouse, keyboard and display, the Mac mini's size and price allow it to fit into spaces and budgets that other Macs cannot. With its faster performance and DVD-burning capabilities, the 2GHz Mac mini is worth it, but if DVD burning isn't something you need, the 1.83GHz Mac mini still gives a lot of bang for the buck. If space is not an issue and you don't have a spare keyboard, mouse, and display hanging around, you may be better off with an iMac, whose superior graphics and hard disk performance may be worth the extra money.

Would you buy this?

Performance

The Mac mini represents a complicated marketing and engineering juggling act - striving for the best performance possible while maintaining a small size and affordable price. And though many people complain about its limited graphics capabilities and sluggish hard drive, there is a reason the Mac Pro and other high-performance workstations are so large.

Higher performance components tend to run hotter and therefore need more space and cooling fans - and they cost a great deal more, too. Although it would be great to be able to have our computing cake and eat it too, the Mac mini does do a nice job of balancing cost, performance, and size limitations. Looking at the benchmarks, you can see the improvement provided by the Core 2 Duo processors in the results of our processor-intensive tests.

In our Photoshop test, for instance, the 1.83GHz Core 2 Duo model was 19 per cent faster than the previous high-end Mac mini, the 1.83GHz Core Duo. The new 2GHz Mac mini was 24 per cent faster than the older model in that test. Compressor scores showed even more dramatic improvement, with the 1.83GHz Core 2 Duo model besting the Core Duo model by 28 per cent; the new 2GHz system was 35 per cent faster than the old 1.83GHz Core Duo Mac mini.

Comparing the Mac minis to the new aluminium iMacs, the 2GHz Core 2 Duo Mac mini held its own against the entry-level, 20in 2GHz Core 2 Duo iMac in many tests, finishing just one second behind the iMac in our iMovie, iTunes, and Cinema4D tests. Other tests showed the iMac's advantage in using full-sized, 7200rpm hard drives.

For instance, it took the 2GHz Mac mini twice as long as the 2GHz iMac to duplicate a 500MB file in the Finder. Another place where the iMac has the advantage is in the realm of 3D graphics. With its ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT graphics processor and 128MB of dedicated video memory, the low-end iMac was able to display three times as many frames per second than the high-end Mac mini with its integrated Intel GMA 950 graphics with 64MB of shared memory.

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