New Mac minis add Thunderbolt, lose optical drive

New processors, graphics and Thunderbolt for new Mac Minis in Australia

The new Apple Mac Mini, sans optical drive.

The new Apple Mac Mini, sans optical drive.

The MacBook Air line wasn’t the only Mac hardware to get a Thunderbolt-inspired makeover Wednesday. Apple also added a Thunderbolt port to its Mac mini desktop, which sports new processors and discrete graphics as well.

The new mini retains the 7.7-by-7.7-by-1.4-inch shape of its predecessor, though there is one key difference to its exterior—there’s no optical drive, giving the new mini the same look as the server configuration. That’s the clearest sign yet that Apple, with its Mac App Store for software downloads and its iTunes Store for music and video content, believes that the future belongs to digital downloads.

That would also explain the addition of Thunderbolt, an interface technology that promises high-speed input and output. As on the updated MacBook Air models released Wednesday, the Thunderbolt port on the new Mac mini replaces the Mini DisplayPort, though it remains compatible with Mini DisplayPort for video out purposes.

The previous Mac mini generation featured a single configuration: a $699 model with a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of DDR3 SDRAM, a 320GB SATA hard drive, and nVidia GeForce 320M integrated graphics. Apple has replaced that version with two new models, both of which feature more powerful Intel Core i5 processors. In addition to returning to two configurations, the mini lineup is also returning to its old pricing structure, with a lower entry price.

The entry-level mini features a 2.3GHz dual-core Core i5 chip. It also ships with 2GB of memory and a 500GB hard drive, though you can opt to boost memory and storage capacity to 8GB and 750GB, respectively. This $599 model also features Intel HD Graphics 3000 processor with at least 288MB of DDR3 SDRAM that it shares with the system memory.

The other Mac mini configuration offers discrete graphics with an AMD Radeon HD 6630M processor with 256MB of GDDR5 memory. It’s also powered by a 2.5GHz core-duo Core i5 chip and ships with 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive. (Again, you can upgrade memory and storage capacity if you wish.) That model costs $799.

Apple also offers a version of the Mac mini with Lion Server installed.

The 2.0 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7-powered Mac mini with Lion Server also offers 4GB of memory and dual 500GB hard drives. It has a $999 price tag.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Appleintelhardware systemsdesktop pcsMacsDesktop MacsMac desktops

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Philip Michaels

Macworld.com
Show Comments

Essentials

Mobile

Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?