Apple Mac Mini (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.26GHz Rating: Apple Mac Mini (2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo

We were not in love more advanced models from Apple’s most recent Mac Mini update, but we’re a bit more aggressive about this $ 599 version. A reasonably functional desktop, the entry-level Mac Mini will offer consistent everyday performance, wrapped in a familiar aluminum and plastic casing, still attractive. That combination makes this Mac Mini the best trading calculator we can recommend to anyone who needs such a system independent of Windows. The features are relatively weak compared to its price point, and the lack of HDMI puts the Mac Mini a higher rating.

Apple has stuck with the same exterior design for the Mac Mini ever since the system first debuted in 2005. We don’t mind Apple keeping a design that works, but we continue to see surprises. is that for the next five years, no Windows PC vendor has come close to match the industry-class compact Mac Mini. The only thing that has changed about the Mac Mini’s exterior between the iterations is the array of ports on the back. Like the $ 799 base model, the $ 599 Mac Mini gets you five USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire 800 jack, mini-DVI and mini-DisplayPort output, Ethernet port, headphone and audio jacks.

You might find it annoying that there’s no memory card reader on the Mac Mini, but we’ve found that Apple relies on adapters to communicate with the two miniature video outputs. Unlike recent low-cost, small products from Dell and Gateway, the Mac Mini doesn’t have a traditional HDMI port. Worse still, the only adapter included in the box is a mini-DVI-to-full-DVI port, to accommodate standard desktop monitors. Even worse, even if you buy one of the third-party adapters to a jury that has an HDMI output, you’ll need to pay $ 50 or more for an HDMI adapter that supports audio output over HDMI signal and only then by the second cable eats one of the USB ports or the audio port of the Mac Mini.

In other words, despite the fact that the small, attractive Mac Mini actually requires you to bring it into the living room, and despite it it has the power to stream up to 1080p quality video content from every major online video source. , actually connecting From the Mac Mini to the HDTV became much more difficult when Apple chose DisplayPort over HDMI. DisplayPort may very well surpass HDMI in popularity one day, but with HDMI reigning comfortably as the king of HDTV input, that day is not now. With so many Windows PCs in the same price as HDMI offering, its absence in the Mac Mini is a missed opportunity to extend the appeal of this tiny system.

Apple Mac Mini (2.26GHz, 160GB, Fall 2009) Gateway SX2800-01
Price $ 599 $ 510
CPU 2.26 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P7550 2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200
Memory 2GB 1,067 DDR3 SDRAM 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM
Graphics 256MB (shared) Nvidia GeForce 9400M integrated graphics chip 32MB (shared) Intel GMA X4500 integrated graphics chip
Hard Drive 160GB, 7,200 rpm 640GB, 7,200 rpm
Optical drive double layer DVD burner double layer DVD burner
Network connections Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n high speed Ethernet network
Operating system Apple OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.2 Windows Vista Home Premium (64-bit)

Gateway’s SX2800-01 set the standard for budget PCs in 2009. A new version based on Windows 7 launched in the fall (we have a new model under review), but for now we’ll be comparing the Mac Mini with the older model, because that’s the model we actually got our hands on.

From a features perspective, the two have some key differences, and the balance doesn’t seem great for Apple. The Gateway offers four times the hard drive capacity of the Mac Mini, and while the Gateway is slightly larger, it also has a built-in HDMI output, making it much more versatile. The only advantage of the Mac is that it comes with 802.11n wireless networks. Since this Mac Mini is $ 100 more expensive than the Gateway and suffers from a deficit in drive space and connectivity, we need more Wi-Fi to justify the additional cost.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image processing test (in seconds)
(The shorter bar indicates better performance)

Apple Mac Mini (2.26 GHz)

128

Test Apple iTunes encryption (in seconds)
(The shorter bar indicates better performance)

Apple Mac Mini (2.26 GHz)

164

Multimedia multitasking (in seconds)
(The shorter bar indicates better performance)

Apple Mac Mini (2.26 GHz)

530

Cinebench
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Dump multiple CPUs
Dump a CPU
Apple Mac Mini (2.26 GHz)

4,842

2,599

We appreciate the higher-end Mac Mini because it’s not far from a less expensive Windows-based competitor. We forgive the Mac Mini more in this regard as it costs $ 200 lower. Yes, the Mac Mini lags behind $ 480 completely lame HP Pavilion Slimline s5220y on three of our four benchmarks, but Apple’s system is still within a reasonably impressive distance, and it’s not so slow that it severely hinders anyone trying to get through a mid-office workday. jar. We also noted the Mac Mini for its multitasking performance, a test it outstripped the competition.

Because of the design similarities, we should also compare the Mac Mini with the new Dell Inspiron Zino HD. The Dell system is bigger than the Mac Mini, and with the slower AMD CPU, it’s no comparison in terms of performance. However, Dell is aiming for a living room PC and wireless networking, HDMI port and a 320GB hard drive from Zino suggest that it may be better suited for such tasks than the Mac Mini. The problem with our Dell review configuration was that it couldn’t handle 1080p video or even standard definition content from Hulu. Dell offers a graphics chip upgrade for an extra $ 75, which will likely help its video performance, but even then its application performance remains in a serious deficit compared to the Mac Mini. .

If we had to choose a Zino or a Mac Mini for the living room, we’d go with Dell. It’s more affordable, even with an upgraded graphics chip and HDMI port making it simple to connect it to a TV. On the other hand, if you want a small, low-cost desktop PC to both serve the media while handling basic productivity tasks, the Mac Mini is the winner for its faster performance.

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