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Apple Mac Mini

Apple Mac Mini 2010

Makes other SFF PCs look like towers

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Business security measures using SSL

Dell’s Inspiron Zino HD – which is perhaps the Mini’s closest counterpart in the PC world, and reviewed here – is similarly priced, but trails behind the Mini graphically, running only to 30fps in Far Cry 2. The Mac Mini also beats the Zino HD in most of the PCMark Vantage tests – although, as mentioned, the 5400rpm hard disk lets it down. However, the Zino HD that we reviewed did include a Blu-ray Disc drive

Apple Mac Mini 2010

Peripherals not included

Incidentally, there is also a new ‘server edition’ of the Mac Mini, which comes with Snow Leopard Server pre-installed. This costs £929 with 2.66GHz processor, 4GB of Ram and twin 500GB hard disks. However, this model lacks an optical drive altogether.

Verdict

The design of the new Mac Mini speaks for itself – it makes most ‘small form-factor’ PCs look like bloated heaps of junk. The long-overdue addition of HDMI finally acknowledges the Mini's media centre credentials, while the improved graphics performance means that it can handle HD video with ease, and manage some decent gaming action too.

But the price is high. Apple used to say that the Mac Mini is intended as the low-cost entry-level Mac – the desktop counterpart of the popular white plastic MacBook laptop. In fact, its price and design are really more comparable to the premium-priced, ultra-portable MacBook Air.

If you convert the US price of $699 into sterling - it's about £480 - and then add VAT, the price comes to about £570. At that amount, it’d be a no-brainer upgrade for the Mini that is currently sitting in my living room. At £649, however, my brainer does find itself thinking twice. ®

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