Mac Mini –
The Mac Mini (marketed as Mac mini) is a small form factor desktop computer manufactured by Apple Inc. Like earlier mini-ITX PC designs, it is uncommonly small for a desktop computer: 7.7 inches (19.7 cm) square and 1.4 inches (3.6 cm) tall. It weighs 2.7 pounds (1.22 kg). Models prior to July 2011 included a built-in optical disc drive. Models prior to 2010 used an external power supply and were narrower but taller at 2 × 6.5 × 6.5 inches (50.8 × 165.1 × 165.1 mm). The Mac Mini is currently one of three desktop computers in the current Macintosh lineup, the other two being the iMac and Mac Pro.
The Mac Mini was the first recent Macintosh desktop to ship without a keyboard or mouse. In addition, there is no included display. The primary intended market for the Mac Mini was for “switchers” (users moving from a traditional Windows PC to Mac) who would already own a compatible display, keyboard, and mouse. Other customers could easily purchase these if needed. A special version of the computer is also intended for use as a server in a small network. It includes Lion Server and has a second hard drive.
The updated uni-body Mini is notable as Apple’s first computer to include an HDMI video port to connect to a television or other display, more readily positioning the unit as a (more expensive) home theater device alternative to the Apple TV.
A small form factor computer had been widely speculated and requested long before the release of the Mac Mini. There were people who wanted to buy a Mac but would not do so because they cost too much. Rumors predicted that the “headless iMac” would be extremely small, include no display, and would be positioned as Apple’s entry-level desktop computer. On January 10, 2005, the Mac Mini was announced alongside the iPod shuffle at the Macworld Conference & Expo and was described by Apple CEO Steve Jobs at the time as the “most affordable Mac ever”.
The Mac Mini is an entry-level computer intended for budget-minded customers. It has much less processing power than the other computers of the Macintosh lineup. Unlike normal desktop computers, which use standard-sized components such as 3.5-inch hard drives, Apple uses lower power laptop components in the Mac Mini to fit all the necessary components into the small case and to prevent overheating, common in such compact spaces. Because of the choice of components, this machine is somewhat slower and has less storage and memory than a full-sized desktop computer would have.
In general, the Mac Mini has been praised as a relatively affordable computer with a solid range of features. However, the press also agrees that it is relatively high priced for a computer aimed at the lower segment of the market. It is possible to buy small form factor computers at the same price with faster processors, better graphics card, more memory, and/or more storage. Nevertheless, the small form factor has made the Mac Mini particularly useful as a home theater solution.
On October 22, 2009, Apple introduced a new server version of the Mac Mini along with revisions of the computer. This model lacks an optical drive, but contains a second hard drive in its place. This version is marketed as an affordable server for small businesses and schools.
A new model of the Mini was introduced on June 15, 2010. The new model is thinner, has a uni-body aluminum case that is designed to be opened, and incorporates upgraded hardware, such as an HDMI port and NVidia GeForce 320M graphics. An update announced July 20, 2011 dropped the internal CD/DVD optical drive from all versions and introduced Thunderbolt I/O, Intel Core i5 CPU and Intel HD Graphics 3000 integrated graphics on the base model with an optional Radeon HD 6630M GPU available. The server model was upgraded to a quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU.