back to article Apple ups Mac Mini spec, lowers price

Apple has added Intel Sandy Bridge Core i5 processors to its Mac Mini small form-factor desktop - and yanked the optical drives from the system. The new model - which now comes in at £529, down from the £649 the previous version launched at - sports a 2.3GHz Core i5, 2GB of 1333MHz DDR 3 memory and 500GB of hard drive storage …


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  1. Alan Denman

    An Apple turnover

    Its easy to lower the price when you remove both the graphics card and the optical drive.

    And as always the specs are upped for another Apple downer.

  2. Gary F
    Thumb Up

    Still lots of profit for Apple

    They look good, have great specs, but are still a lot more expensive than a PC with the same specs. But I suppose if people want to buy a Mac the price has never stopped them in the past. So well done to Apple for producing an expensive brand that sells well and generates high profits. I wish I could have done the same! ;-)

    1. Marvin the Martian

      As always, show me this equivalent PC at lower price.

      Last time AOpen made a McMini copy, it was same price, lower specced, worse design. Several other efforts stranded.

      So show this comparative but superior or cheaper machine or shut up.

    2. Ru

      One thing to note

      at least in previous mac mini models, was the startlingly low power draw. There isn't really anything else that offers the same price/performance/power tradeoffs... you may find it is expensive, but compare it to, say, a fitpc 2 ultra which is a markedly inferior machine in most aspects.

  3. Wheaty73
    Thumb Up


    Keeps the FW port, and only £476 educational price too.

  4. Mad Hacker

    Must be an Intel i7-2620M

    The i7 at 2.7GHz but with only two cores must be an i7-2620M. Really wished they had been able to handle 10 more watts and gone for a quad core. Oh well, it's the only machine I can afford that doesn't include a built in monitor so I guess I'll be ordering one.

    Oh and no versions, server or desktop include optical drives. Ok I'll stop now.

    1. gribbler

      "Oh well, it's the only machine I can afford that doesn't include a built in monitor.."

      Really? 'Cos I can give you a list of hundreds of machines without built in monitors that are much, much cheaper. No fruit logos, but you can easily get the spec for less money elsewhere.

    2. famousringo

      You seem confused... or am I confused?

      I'm not sure what page you're looking at, but the one I see agrees with the Apple Store. The top end Mini features a quad core i7 clocked at 2.0 GHz.

      If you need optical, there's a $79 external option. Hardly ideal, but there it is.

  5. Richard Boyce

    Optical drives

    "but lacks the optical drive found in the desktop models". Not any more.

    I think they should have continued to offer an option of an integrated optical drive. A computer system isn't complete without such a drive. Lion may be coming in via the internet, but a lot of software still doesn't. Adding an external drive makes the system not as mini, but I guess it's another high-priced accessory they can sell.

    Apple do like to use video connectors that need adaptors, don't they? They had mini DVI, then mini DisplayPort, now Thunderbolt, but I guess that means more high-priced accessories they can sell.

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      Not quite right on the facts

      Small correction: Mini DisplayPort and Thunderbolt have the same physical connector and any Thunderbolt-equipped Mac can use the exact same accessories as a Mini-DisplayPort-equipped Mac for connection to external displays.

      Obviously you can also connect any old DVD drive you want, no need to buy an Apple-branded one.

      I'm a hawk on eliminating the optical media drive from all computers on the grounds that I barely use mine and don't recall ever having used one away from my home. So investing in a single, external drive and keeping that with the USB floppy drive on my shelf feels like an acceptable way to reduce the cost and size of any future computers I buy. You know, across the whole industry, irrespective of whether specific individual manufacturers pass savings on.

    2. Mark 65

      Re:Optical Drives

      Indeed. How are you to reinstall the OS if it all fucks up? USB stick? Please. Optical is the only logical way. Oh, and you can then play DVDs.

      1. James 139

        I think

        youll find they removed it as Lion is intended to be installed without using physical media devices.

        Apparently, you can reinstall it from the intermawebz during the boot sequence.

      2. Ian Davies

        Might want to check your understanding of "logical"

        Please explain to all us noobs just why installing from USB is such a technical foobar?And what the advantages are of an optical install disc over a USB drive? Capacity? No. Speed? Uh-uh. Robustness? Nope.

        Do come back when you've joined the 21st Century and learnt not to act like chicken licken everytime something a bit different comes along.

        1. Mark 65

          @Ian Davies

          Well Mr Davies I shall inform you "21st Century" know-it-all types as to why it is better to use optical media that your oh-so-brilliant USB stick - a USB stick remains write-able whereas an optical disk can be on a read-only format so your "Robustness? Nope." argument goes right out the window. I don't give a toss as to whether the USB stick could "potentially" outlast it as a storage medium. I give a toss that what I wrote to the device has not and cannot be altered - especially when I am relying on it to give me a fresh system install. That is why optical media still has its place in "the 21st Century".

          1. Mr Floppy

            @Mark 65 - Writeable optical disk

            One of my optical disk drives used to used to write on my read-only media. Well, I should say etch...

            I had a read-only USB thumbdrive from a marketing company that was read-only. After a lot of fiddling about, I finally had to open the case and solder a little bridge to make it writeable. Sure it was only 512MB but I installed puppy on it, removed the bridge I soldered and it's read only again.

  6. Fuzz

    Media PC

    Take the bottom model, put Windows 7 on it and you have a very nice Media PC.

    Smaller and faster than my Acer Revo but also more than twice the cost and is a mouse and keyboard still extra with the mini?

    Still I think it's a good price for what is essentially a 13.3" Macbook pro without the keyboard. touchpad or screen.

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Media PC

      A media PC that can't play blu rays or DVDs.

    2. Mike Richards Silver badge


      Take the bottom model, DON'T put Windows 7 on it and you have a very nice Media PC.

      This is a tempting upgrade to my G4 Mac Mini which has been a faithful EyeTV, VLC media box for some time now.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Errrm, and then some...

      "Still I think it's a good price for what is essentially a 13.3" Macbook pro without the keyboard. touchpad or screen."

      --> also lacking battery, most of the chassis, the optical drive, the webcam and probably some more things I haven't thought of yet.

      The price is so so, you pay extra for the tiny size.

    4. Frank Bough

      Or alternatively...

      Leave OSX 10.7 Lion on it and have a BETTER one.

    5. Gulfie

      Why use Windows?

      Just put Boxee (other media centres are available) on the native OS and you're ready to go. I have a Mac Mini that does just that. In the background it runs Hudson, and on power-up it logs in to a default account and starts Boxee. Stick it under the TV and plug an HDMI cable in.

    6. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Mpc wtf

      What's the point of a mpc that can't rip cd's and dvd's?

  7. Mad Hacker

    Rumored specs not actual

    Ok update the specs now that they've been released. The server uses the slower processor of the entry level model and Apple lists the i7 option as still dual core which doesn't make a lot of sense IMHO.

  8. Len Goddard

    What optical drive

    You say:

    Both CPUs are dual-core jobs, but you can have a quad-core Core i7 running at 2GHz if you fancy the Mac Mini Server box. It has 4GB of memory and two 500GB 7200rpm hard drives, but lacks the optical drive found in the desktop models.

    But the desktop model no longer has an optical drive. Cut'n'paste from an earlier review?

  9. dannypoo
    Thumb Down

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    but lacks the optical drive found in the desktop models.


  10. Peter 39

    optical drives

    Er - they've ALL lost the optical drive. Not just the server model (which lost it some time ago).

    No optical drive on ANY Mini.

  11. Stephen Moll

    In case you hadn't noticed...

    All of the current Mac Mini models, desktop and server alike are without an optical drive.

    An external optical drive is an optional extra.

    Now seeing as the desktop model doesn't have an optical drive any more, this would suggest it might be possible to fit a second drive, in fact one of the build to order options is to have both a 750GB rotating drive and and a 256GB SSD.

  12. tempemeaty
    Thumb Down

    I laughed when I read it had no optical storage.

    Ever depend on the Internet for installs? Ever have Internet go down in the middle of something when you find you need to install another tool? Internet dependence of computers can cause all kinds of end user problems. Then there's the whole point that optical storage is not subject to accidental magnetic erasure of data. I have lots of data and programs on DVD. I install the most of it from optical disks. Then there's magnetic storage drive mechanical failure, loss of data to this is real and optical disks are the solution. In the end it's, "no optical drive no sale."

    Well best of luck to the Jobs and crew but no sale. I suppose the fanboys will not care though...

  13. Citizen Kaned

    no optical?

    pretty useless then.

    also, for the cash the spec is pretty low.

  14. sebacoustic

    enough cooling

    i wonder if these things survive if you work them real hard. Wouldn't be the first Apple product that suffers from meltdown.

    Might buy one if came without software. Would be a nice Linux box.

  15. sebacoustic

    enough cooling?

    i wonder if these things survive if you work them real hard. Wouldn't be the first Apple product that suffers from meltdown.

    Might buy one if came without software. Would be a nice Linux box.

  16. Dan 55 Silver badge

    They're really pushing film downloads

    A DVD drive would make it a nice little media box to have under the telly if you're not bothered about BR. But that would mean uncle Steve doesn't get his cut.

    It's turning into an expensive Apple TV with Lion.

  17. Patrick 17

    Disk too small

    500GB seems so small when it comes to disk space - would probably have bought one if it was 1-2TB.

  18. Matt_payne666

    laughing all the way to the bank!!

    Removing the optical drive means one or two less tooling passes in the case manufacture... so reduced cost, also reduces the number of different cases - the 'server' lost the optical drive when the mac mini was promoted to te server role...

    The mac external drive is rather lovely though... and more money in apples pockets for that!!

    this isnt mac bashing, just an observation - i do have a mini server with snow leopard and the external optical drive...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A MBPro without... anything?

    No battery, no graphics card, no touchpad, no screen. Remind us how they are comparable again?

  20. Gulfie

    Video Port Shuffle

    Has anybody noticed that with Thunderbolt, Apple is on it's 5th or 6th video port standard in as many years?

    DVI, Mini DVI, HDMI, Display Port, Mini Display Port and Thunderbolt.

    Mind you it'll keep sales of port adaptors ticking over nicely. I do like the new cinema display though...

  21. JB

    No optical drive?

    I thought that was the reason for mac minis - to put under the telly and use as a media centre. Yes, I know they want us to get all our content over the net, but out here in the real world, where DSL speeds are a lottery, we still use alot of optical media, thank you.

    I'm definitely sticking with my 2010 model, does everything I need it to, has an optical drive and discrete graphics.

    And yes, the mouse and keyboard you have to provide yourself.

  22. Frederick Tennant

    Almost perfect

    Just what the doctor ordered to place under your tv

    Just load up vlc as it playes mkv files and your in

    download heaven why you can use your phone or iPad

    Instead of buying a keyboard and mouse lol

    Just a bit expensive but that's apple for ya

  23. Matt 20


    Err, the previous entry level mini was priced at £612, not £649. I checked last weekend, right before I swagged a refurb previous gen with optical drive (yay!).

  24. Rich Large
    Thumb Down

    Well, that's that

    I was looking at one of these to use a media PC - which one of the core tasks would be to play DVD's. To ebay it is, and Apple will not be seeing a single penny of my cash!

  25. Mike Kamermans

    I'll take one.... shell

    Someone get me four of those shells, and a casual trip down will let me build four for the price of one. With optical drives! Very sexy look. Rather silly inside.

  26. Matthew Malthouse

    Swap trick

    Apple take Mac Mini "Server" and put it in a Mac Mini Desktop box.

  27. nichomach


    Someone copied and pasted a bit, didn't they? After telling us that the optical drives had been pulled from the desktop models, we read, of the server variant: "It has 4GB of memory and two 500GB 7200rpm hard drives, but lacks the optical drive found in the desktop models."..?

  28. Mr Floppy

    Guess I'll stick to the late 2009 model

    Only interested in this as a media centre under the TV but unfortunately the world still hasn't ditched the optical media, nor has the missus. Mind you, I already had to extract the content from a bluray film we were given to the NAS so we could watch it and the missus puts all her new CD's into iTunes from her mac which is also on the NAS. The only time we use the drive is when the missus rents some DVDs. Really have to get her off this habit.

    I guess this is Apples way of moving everyone to their appleTV media solution

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    £300 equivalent spec - or not, really...

    You can get similar (or slightly better) spec components for about £300 ...

    It all depends what you want your mini computer to look like.

    Yep, the mac-mini is a damn fine "look at me" quality engineered setup, but looks aren't everything.

    Doing a very quick bit of research at, I racked up very similar specs, with a reasonable (if a LOT larger), case, for £300 - mini ATX

    Add the £21 for Lion, assuming you'll go down the Hackintosh route and it's significantly cheaper.

    Heck, slap in an optical drive for another £20.

    It really boils down to looks. That's what your paying for.

    I will add, however, that if you wanted a form factor as small as the mac mini, with the same amount of power, your going to struggle - and it will cost significantly more than £300 - and as far as I can tell, there's no micro ATX case as small as the current mac mini on the market. If there was, for the same build quality, you'd be looking at easily £150.

    I guess the verdict here is, if you've got the moola and want a powerful, sexy, small form factor rig, the mac mini is the perfect choice.

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