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Apple Mac Mini
|Release date||January 22, 2005|
|Base price||US$599 (as of 2008)|
|CPU||1.25 - 1.5 GHz PowerPC G4|
1.5 GHz Intel Core Solo or 1.66 GHz Intel Core Duo
1.66 - 1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo
1.83 - 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
The Mac Mini (officially capitalized Mac mini) is a desktop computer made by Apple Inc. Two models were released in the US on January 22, 2005 and released worldwide on January 29; updated versions were released on July 26 2005. Models with Intel Core processors were released on February 28 2006, with slightly revised models introduced on September 6 2006. On August 7 2007, new models were released with Intel Core 2 processors with 1.83 or 2.0 GHz speeds.
The Mini, which resembles earlier Mini-ITX PC designs, is quite small for a desktop computer: 6.5 inches (16.5 cm) wide, 6.5 inches (16.5 cm) long, and 2 inches (5.1 cm) tall. It weighs 2.9 pounds (1.31 kg); an external power supply is roughly one third the size of the computer.
The original Mac mini was announced at the Macworld Conference & Expo on January 11, 2005, at the same time as the iPod shuffle. Both are scaled-down products which have been introduced at a lower price point. They can be seen as a conscious effort on the part of Apple management to target a wider and lower-end market.Template:Or
As of 2008, the Mac Mini ships with Apple's Mac OS X Leopard operating system installed, and also includes software such as the Safari web browser and the iLife suite of Apple applications to create and manage videos, music, photos and DVDs. Trial versions of iWork and Microsoft Office are also included. Intel-based Mac Minis also come with Front Row, an application which integrates the media management features, and the Apple Remote.
The Mac Mini is the first Macintosh desktop not to include a keyboard or mouse. (The Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh also shipped without a mouse, however it included a re-positionable touchpad.) The assumption made by Apple is that "switchers" would already own a USB keyboard and mouse or they could be purchased at a price point chosen by the user rather than Apple's traditionally "high end" designs.
|Component||PowerPC G4||Intel Core||Intel Core 2|
|Model||Mac Mini||Mac Mini (Late 2005)||Mac Mini (Early 2006)||Mac Mini (Late 2006)||Mac Mini (Mid 2007)|
|Graphics||ATI Radeon 9200 graphics processor with 32 MB of DDR SDRAM||ATI Radeon 9200 graphics processor with 32 MB or 64 MB of DDR SDRAM||Intel GMA 950 graphics processor using 64 MB of DDR2 SDRAM shared by main memory (up to 224 MB in Windows through Boot Camp).|
|Hard drive||40 GB or 80 GB Ultra ATA/100, 4200 rpm||40 GB or 80 GB Ultra ATA/100, 5400 rpm|| 60 GB, 80 GB |
Optional 100 GB or 120 GB, 5400 rpm.
| 60 GB, 80 GB |
Optional 100 GB, 120 GB or 160 GB, 5400 rpm.
| 80 GB or 120 GB |
Optional 160 GB, 5400 rpm.</br>
|Processor||1.25 GHz or 1.42 GHz PowerPC G4 (7447A)||1.33 GHz or 1.5 GHz PowerPC G4 (7447A)||1.5 GHz Intel Core Solo or 1.66 GHz Intel Core Duo (T1300/T2300)||1.66 GHz or 1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo (T2300/T2400)||1.83 GHz or 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo (T5600/T7200)|
|Memory|| 256 MB or 512 MB PC-2700 DDR SDRAM|
max. 1 GB
| 512 MB PC-2700 DDR SDRAM|
max. 1 GB
| 512 MB (2x256 MB) PC2-5300 DDR2 SO-DIMM SDRAM|
max. 2 GB
| 1 GB (2x512 MB) PC2-5300 DDR2 SO-DIMM SDRAM|
max. 4 GB (3.25GB usable)
|AirPort Extreme||Optional or Integrated 802.11b/g||Integrated 802.11b/g|
|Optical drive||8x DVD read, 24x CD-R and 16x CD-RW recording, 8x DVD±R read Combo Drive or 8x DVD±R read, 8x DVD±R writes, 4x DVD±RW writes or 2.4x DVD±R writes, 24x CD read, 24x CD-R, and 16x CD-RW recording SuperDrive||8x DVD read, 24x CD-R and 16x CD-RW recording Combo Drive or 8x DVD±R read, 4x DVD±R writes or 2x DVD±RW writes, 24x CD read, 16x CD-R, and 8x CD-RW recording SuperDrive|
|Minimum operating system required||Mac OS X Panther 10.3.7||Mac OS X Tiger 10.4.2||Mac OS X Tiger 10.4.5||Mac OS X Tiger 10.4.7||Mac OS X Tiger 10.4.10, Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard|
|Weight||2.9 pounds / 1.32 kg|
|Dimensions||2 x 6.5 x 6.5 inches / 50.8 x 165.1 x 165.1 mm|
Mac Mini G4Edit
January 2005–July 2005Edit
- 1.25 GHz PowerPC G4 processor, 256 MB RAM, and 40 GB hard drive, for US$499 (EU€489 in the Eurozone, GB£339 in the UK, CA$629) (Model # M9686LL/A)
- 1.42 GHz PowerPC G4 processor, 256 MB RAM, and 80 GB hard drive, for US$599 (EU€589 in the Eurozone, GB£399 in the UK, CA$899) (Model # M9687LL/A)
Each model also included:
- Slot-loading CD-RW/DVD-ROM Combo drive
- ATI Radeon 9200 graphics card with DVI and VGA output (DVI to VGA adapter supplied) and 32 MB of (non-upgradable) video RAM
- Two USB 2.0 ports and one FireWire 400 port
- Integrated 10/100 Ethernet and V.92 56 kbit/s modem ports
- Built-in speaker and headphone/line-out jack
Optional built-to-order add-ons included:
- RAM up to 1 GB PC-2100 DDR SDRAM (The G4 Mac Mini had a single RAM slot)
- TV Output adapter (S-Video and Composite video)
- Add-in cards for AirPort Extreme wireless networking and Bluetooth cordless peripherals
July 2005–October 2005Edit
On July 26, 2005, slightly revised models were made available. The biggest change was a doubling of each unit's shipping amount of RAM, from 256 MB PC2700 (or PC3200 supported at PC2700 speeds) Synchronous DRAM (SDRAM) in the prior units to 512 MB in the newer models (256 MB having been widely considered insufficient for OS X and its applications).Template:By whom
- 1.25 GHz model (M9686LL/B at US$499)
- 1.42 GHz model (M9687LL/B at US$599)
At this time, the 1.42 GHz model stopped including the internal modem as standard equipment, however it could still be purchased as a build-to-order option.
In addition a high-end model was introduced:
- The 1.42 GHz model could be purchased with a slot-loading CD-RW/DVD±RW SuperDrive for US$699 (M9971LL/B).
October 2005–February 2006Edit
The Mac Mini was silently upgraded in October 2005 to 64 MB VRAM, and either a 1.33 GHz (up from 1.25 GHz) or 1.5 GHz G4 (up from 1.42 GHz) processor, with 512 MB of PC3200 RAM while underclocking it to PC2700. The 80 GB drive was a Seagate Momentus 5400.2 ST9808211A, which runs at 5400 rpm with a 8 MB cache. The SuperDrive is a MATSHITA DVD-R UJ-845, which supports DVD+R DL burning, and may also have unofficial support for DVD-RAM.Template:Or Also, the internal mezzanine board was upgraded to accommodate the AirPort Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology onto one chip. In previous models, the Mini included an AirPort Extreme card taped to the mezzanine board and a separate bluetooth module. This new Wi-Fi card also no longer uses an MCX-Female connector for the antenna (as the previous models did) but rather a proprietary Apple one. The serial number and specifications sticker on the underside of the machine itself do not carry the actual specs of the upgrade. For example, on a 1.5 GHz model, 1.42 GHz is listed. The product packaging also did not reflect the upgrade.
Mac Mini CoreEdit
February 2006–September 2006Edit
- 1.5 GHz Intel Core Solo (T1200) processor, 60 GB SATA hard drive, and Combo drive (DVD-ROM/CD-RW) for US$599 (MA205LL/A).
- 1.66 GHz Intel Core Duo (T2300) processor, 80 GB SATA hard drive, Double-Layer SuperDrive (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW), US$799 (MA206LL/A) - the SuperDrive is a MATSHITA DVD-R UJ-846.
Both models include:
- 512 MB of PC2-5300 DDR2 SDRAM, SO-DIMM (200pin) form factor, with 2 RAM slots (expandable to 2 GB).
- Integrated Intel GMA950 GPU, which uses at least 80 MB of main RAM (128 MB on Windows XP with Firmware 1.0 or newer), with 64 MB actually made available for graphics and video processing
- Four USB 2.0 ports
- One FireWire 400 port
- combination Analog and S/PDIF Optical Digital audio input and output mini-jacks
- DVI video output
- 10/100/1000BASE-T (Gigabit) Ethernet
- Built-in AirPort Extreme (802.11g) and Bluetooth Version 2.0+EDR
- Apple Remote and Front Row
- Intel Virtualization Technology (VT-x) enabled
September 2006–August 2007Edit
On September 6 2006, Apple increased the speed of the US$599 model to a Core Duo T2300 1.66 GHz [MA607LL/A], and the US$799 model to a Core Duo (T2400) 1.83 GHz [MA608LL/A]. With this change, all Macs now use multi-core processors.
Mac Mini Core 2Edit
On August 7, the Mac Mini was refreshed with new hardware and software features, including:
- New Intel Core 2 Duo processors, running at 1.83 (T5600) and 2.0 GHz (T7200)
- 1 GB RAM up to 2 GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM (PC2-5300) on two SO-DIMMs
- An 80 GB or 120 GB internal 5400 rpm SATA hard drive, with 160 GB optional
- iLife '08
- New Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard
Of note, the revised Mini does not offer 802.11n support. It is now the only current Apple computer that does not offer the newer proposed Wi-Fi standard. Note also that the Mac Mini uses the older 667 MHz front side bus and 945GM chipset, rather than the 800 MHz bus and GM965 chipsets used in the updated MacBook and MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo models.
General Intel Mac Mini informationEdit
Although it has been removed entirely from the Mini's design, an Apple modem is still available - only now it is external, USB-based, and costs US$49 (UK£35).
Initially, the Intel-based Mac Minis were shipped with a bug that caused difficulties with VT-x. Apple subsequently released a firmware update that fixes this bug.
Mac Minis integrate 2.5 inch hard disk drives (ATA in the G4 models and SATA in the Intel models), CPUs and other components originally intended for mobile devices, such as laptops, contrary to regular desktop computers which use lower cost, but less compact and power-saving components.Template:Or These mobile components help lower power consumption: According to data on the Apple web site, first-generation PowerPC Mac Minis consume 32 to 85 Watts, while later Intel Core machines consume 23 to 110 Watts. By comparison, a contemporary Mac Pro with quad-core 2.66 GHz processors consumes 171 to 250 Watts.
Template:Original research The decision to use an 'integrated' graphics chip, the GMA950 GPU, on the Intel-powered Mac Mini is a contentious issue for a few.Template:By whom This is further supported by the fact that in Apple's early marketing of the G4-powered Mac Mini, it touted the superiority of the use of a discrete ATI Radeon 9200 32 MB graphics card over the integrated graphics included in many budget PCs:
Apple argues that a single-core CPU should be expected to be generally unsuitable for gaming. On a dual-core machine, otherwise lightly loaded, the second core can be used for graphics while the game runs on the first, and can perform as well as a low-end graphics card. Additionally, the GMA950 graphics chip is a relatively advanced model optimized for video playback - exactly what Apple is emphasizing in its marketing and branding of the Mac Mini.Template:Vague Furthermore, the GMA950 supports more memory than the Radeon 9200 it replaced, 64 MB vs. 32, allowing it to drive all but the largest of Apple's monitors, the 30" Cinema Display. It also supports Apple's Core Image technology, although this is due largely to most of this functionality running in software on the CPU. Also it supports DirectX 9, while the Radeon 9200 supports only DirectX 8.
Following the move to Intel processors Apple’s senior director of desktops, Tom Boger, claimed that the company saw increases of between 10 and 40% in framerates of unspecified 3D games compared to the PowerPC models. This claim was disputed by some observers who, when playing Unreal Tournament 2004 (UT2K4), witnessed no change or even a decrease in framerates when using Core Solo models. However, it is important to remember that UT2K4 is a heavily processor-bound game and a fast GPU is less important to functionality - a modern processor such as the Core Solo or Core Duo used in the Mac Mini may well help. Performance in mainstream 3D games that extensively utilize a computer's graphics processor has not yet been extensively tested.
Aside from that, a discrete graphics card has additional hardware, namely vertex and pixel shaders, that an integrated Intel graphics chip not only lacks but is also too complex to be replicated on the CPU. The Intel GMA is thus not capable of running games that strictly require such hardware, such as Doom 3. On the other hand, the potency of the Radeon 9200 in the G4 Mini was cut because it had only 32 MB VRAM, more akin to a notebook configuration, while all desktop cards had at least 64 and commonly 128 MB.Template:Or
The Mac Mini is also well suited for home theater applications. The small footprint, CD/DVD player, multi-format video output, digital audio output and remote control make it relatively easy to use the Mini as part of an entertainment system. 
It can be classified as a home theater PC with some limitations. The Mini does not include a tuner card and cannot be upgraded to include one. Instead, external devices like Elgato's HD HomeRun can encode and manage broadcast television from a cable or satellite receiver.
The video connector is compatible with DVI, HDMI, SVGA, S-Video, composite video and component video with the appropriate adapter. Sound is provided by a combination jack that uses both Mini-RCA (analog) and optical fiber cables (digital).
The Mini competes with the AppleTV: it has both iTunes for media rental, purchase, and management, and a similar front-end interface with Front Row. The AppleTV is limited to video in the mp4 format, whereas Mini users employing the appropriate Quicktime codecs can watch other video formats like Divx, Xvid, and Mkv without resorting to hacks.  The Mini can also incorporate third-party front-end applications like Plex which includes extensive media management capabilities. Unlike the AppleTV, the Mini is backward compatible with televisions that have only composite or S-Video inputs.
Opening the case and modificationsEdit
Some Mac Mini owners have managed to use a putty knife or a pizza cutter to pry open the computer's case, thereby gaining access to the interior to install cheaper 3rd-party memory upgrades. In fact, the official Apple Service Source manual for Mac Mini describes this procedure in detail, even including an official Apple part number for a "modified putty knife". It's also possible to use wires to pull the white plastic bottom case out of the metal top case. While opening the case does not actually void the Mac Mini warranty, anything broken while the case is open is not covered. Other modifications include overclocking the processor and upgrading the wireless networking to 802.11n.
With the switch to the Intel Core Solo and Duo line, Apple has begun to use a socketed CPU in their desktop computers which allows the processor to be replaced.
- ↑ "Apple Unveils Mac mini with Intel Core Duo". Apple.com. Retrieved on February 28, 2006.
- ↑ 
- ↑ 
- ↑ 
- ↑ 
- ↑ 
- ↑ "Mobile Intel 945 Express Chipset Family Datasheet". Intel (12 April 2007).
- ↑ "RAM Benchmarks for Apple Mac Mini". OtherWorldComputing. Retrieved on 2008-06-12.
- ↑ AppleInsider | Apple readying significant Mac Mini update
- ↑ Sparkfactor. Sparkfactor: Computer. Retrieved on 2007-07-16
- ↑ "Mac OS X: Firmware Updates for Intel-based Macs".
- ↑ "Mac Mini G4 Graphics". Apple.com. Retrieved on March 12, 2006.
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 Saunders, Grover (2007). "Mac Mini: The original Apple TV alternative". ars technica. Retrieved on 2008-07-21.
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 Breen, Christopher (2006-05-31). "My multimedia Mac Mini". Macworld. Retrieved on 2008-07-21.
- ↑ "The Mac Mini: Inside and Out". MacWorld.com. Retrieved on 2006-03-12.
- ↑ "Mac Hack(001) Opening Mac Mini: Wire Method". Headwedge.com. Retrieved on 2007-08-08.
- ↑ "Overclocking Apple Mac Mini". Leo Bodnar. Retrieved on 2006-03-12.
- ↑ "802.11n wireless upgrade for Mac Mini". Retrieved on 2007-08-27.
- Arthur, Charles (12 January, 2005). "Mac rumour sites get it right" at The Register
- Rizzo, John, Mac Mini Hacks & Mods for Dummies, Wiley, 2006, ISBN 0-471-74900-1
- Apple - Mac Mini
- "Apple unveils low-cost 'Mac Mini'" at BBC News
- Mac Mini User Community
- Mac Mini in the Home Theater