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Apple updates Mac mini with Thunderbolt, 2X graphics and CPU power - Page 3

post #81 of 112
I read with much dismay the Cult of Mac recommendation to buy the $799 2.5 GHz i5 Mini. I guess the author has no clue how much more bang you get for your buck when you spend only $100 more for a 2.7 GHz i7 capable of Turbo Boosting (2.0) up to 3.4 GHz while it Hyper-Threads 4 threads instead of 2 on an i5 that can't even Turbo Boost.

That's almost an additional 2 GHz of dual thread x2 capacity for only $100 more for a total of 6.8 GHz vs 8 GHz on the $999 2.0 GHz Quad Core i7 Server, although it too has substantial Turbo Boost 2.0 capacity albeit with no dedicated graphics processor which makes it sort of an almost best but no cigar option.

I've been a Mac Pro kind of guy forever. But this is looking to me like the sweet spot for a complementary Lion future that is supplementing an iPad-iPhone dominant lifestyle. It's $600 less than the same power in the high end 13" MacBook Pro without dedicated graphics. I think I'm gonna pull the trigger on this puppy pretty soon. Looks to me like the best value Mac among all this year's offerings. Will add RAM and SSD drive from OWC soon thereafter.

Also will order the mini-display to dual Link DVI adapter $99 to drive my 30" HP monitor. So the total comes to $998. A $49 Thunderbolt cable will come into play when the Thunderbolt HD cases become available empty. I hope we can daisy chain Thunderbolt to an external HD then the mini-display cable to a dual link DVI monitor. Otherwise we'll need a new Thunderbolt to Dual Link DVI adapter which is not for sale yet - that I know of.

Note the Mini is the only Mac with an HDMI port that supports 1920 x 1200 not just 1080p. Plus the HDMI to DVI adapter is included!

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post #82 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJim View Post

The article here about the new 27" display states "Thunderbolt-based Macs with discrete graphics can drive two external displays giving professional users over 7 million additional pixels of display real estate and the ability to daisy chain additional Thunderbolt devices, as well as video and audio capture devices."

My understanding then is, only the mid-range mini has discrete graphics. And only the 2011 15" and 17" (and not the 13") mac books qualify. I would like to see a picture of the ports on the new monitor, won't there have to be TWO thunderbird plugs, to enable the daisy chain?

There are Two Thunderbolt ports. One hardwired to the monitor with connections to all the ports in it and paired with a mag power cable for laptops. Plus one empty TBolt port to daisy chain beyond including to another monitor both Apple as well as third party monitors. We'll have to wait and see if the Mini's AMD graphics processor can drive two Dual Link DVI monitors or not. Used to be 256 MB of dedicated graphics RAM was plenty for two. But who knows? Still 2 months before the Apple Thunderbolt monitor ships.

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post #83 of 112
I will definitely be adding the i7 upgrade to the $799 model and a 7200 rpm drive. I've got a Bulldozer system to build as well.
post #84 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

Wow, no optical drive on any model.

A Mini with SSD would be a deceptively powerful little computer.

yeah, that kind of pisses me off for two reasons. Granted, I'll add the caveat that it's minor (usage-wise). One, i rip purchased CD's...yes i'm one of those. Two I play games that REQUIRE the dvd to be in a drive while playing. Those are my two reasons why that sucks. I'll add a third: adding the Air super drive defeats the purpose of Mac minimalism. But, that's always been my beef with Mac. The single device looks beautiful by itself, but when you start adding their accessories that are actually useful in everyday computing, they look no different than a PC...ugly cords, granted many are cordless but still...

I had this pipe dream that Apple would finally strike a deal with Movie makers to allow us to rip DVD and BD to iTunes, but now that they dropped the drive from the Mini, that's foolish wishing.

Plus a fourth thing that pisses me off...even after dropping the optical drive, it's still $100 more than it originally was.

I am happy they finally made it as powerful as the MB Pro's and the iMac at the very least. I'm still buying one as my next Desktop, but now I'm less excited about it.
post #85 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Young View Post

Well, being a die-hard Optical disk and Optical storage user, having no Cd/DVD drive is discouraging.
I'm glad I've got the slightly older mini with Optical. (tho of course, the cpu in it is now way slower in comparison. --- )

The only upside is that without the optical slot in front, there now is no reason not to turn the Mini sideways so that one would at least have some *Hope* of finding the right port hole to plug things into!

You would have thought Apple would have put the SD slot and half of the jacks on the front so they would be easier to use now that they got rid of the optical drive.
post #86 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Young View Post

Well, being a die-hard Optical disk and Optical storage user, having no Cd/DVD drive is discouraging.

You can get external optical drives.
post #87 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

As for the Mini no longer being a media centre, they did pretty much exactly what I wanted them to do, which is cut the optical and drop the price by $100 so that you can buy whatever drive you want. You can even buy a Sony Blu-Ray burner for $180:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...8048&Tpk=s500u

and you've basically only spent $80 more than the previous model and you get DVD and Blu-Ray playback as well as Blu-Ray burning.

Thanks for that link! But on the feedback tab someone writes that it isn't compatible with OSX. Could that even be true? I mean, it just an optical drive, with a USB plug. Anyone knows if this is the right drive to get in order to create a HTPC with the new Mini? I like the fact that it does BluRay; so I can get rid of my crappy Samsung BD-P1650 player. Love it that OSX remembers playhead position etc. Standalone players don't do this.

Thanks,
Phil
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post #88 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTac View Post

You would have thought Apple would have put the SD slot and half of the jacks on the front so they would be easier to use now that they got rid of the optical drive.

Not if you know anything about Apple, you wouldn't.
post #89 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

Thanks for that link! But on the feedback tab someone writes that it isn't compatible with OSX. Could that even be true? I mean, it just an optical drive, with a USB plug. Anyone knows if this is the right drive to get in order to create a HTPC with the new Mini? I like the fact that it does BluRay; so I can get rid of my crappy Samsung BD-P1650 player. Love it that OSX remembers playhead position etc. Standalone players don't do this.

Thanks,
Phil

There is a program from a company called Macgo that is $39.95 and provides blu-ray support in Lion. All you need is the proper software.
post #90 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by SSquirrel View Post

There is a program from a company called Macgo that is $39.95 and provides blu-ray support in Lion. All you need is the proper software.

You mean proper hardware?

But this isn't reliable in any way, anyway.

Just use MakeMKV and VLC to play straight from discs, no hacked-together licensing software required.
post #91 of 112
Sorry for any confusion I may have caused above. It looks like what will happen is the new TB monitor will have a TB cable coming off it (hey, save $50). And then one TB "out" port to daisy chain onward. And, you can only drive 2 TB monitors off a mac with a discrete graphics chip. (i.e. not the Intel 3000).

Now, with all the above talk about getting better performance by buying the $800 mini then upgrading the CPU, i.e. the $900 mini with a 2.7GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7, lets go a bit further. If you're planning on getting the TB 27" monitor... far better instead to get the 27" iMac... has more or less the same monitor (maybe the same LG panel?) and a quad core i5. In other words, deducting the $999 monitor, for $700, you get a 2.7GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5 and you get TWO TB outputs. (open question as to if you can run 4 monitors, 2 on each TB chain...) . And you get a Slot-loading 8x SuperDrive with 4x double-layer burning (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW). And a proper 3.5" hard disk which is certainly faster than a 2.5" hard disk. And $200 change in your pocket.

If only these macs had USB 3.0... but I guess Apple is still sore or in denial about the failure of FireWire.

Now, has anyone seen a software hack that turns on TRIM for non apple SSD? (Apple finally got SSD two years late, finally got TRIM a year late, and now seeks to punish those who couldn't wait.)
post #92 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

I will definitely be adding the i7 upgrade to the $799 model and a 7200 rpm drive. I've got a Bulldozer system to build as well.

You can get plus one from OWC for way less money. They even sell 1TB 5400 drives for $120. And a pair of 4GB Ram sticks for the new Mac Mini is only $85. So plus $205 to fully trick it out inside. And since I'm sitting on a new 3TB FW 800 drive, I only need the RAM.

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post #93 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Multimedia View Post

You can get plus one from OWC for way less money. They even sell 1TB 5400 drives fir $120.

Exactly. Never buy RAM or HDDs from Apple.
post #94 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJim View Post

Sorry for any confusion I may have caused above. It looks like what will happen is the new TB monitor will have a TB cable coming off it (hey, save $50). And then one TB "out" port to daisy chain onward. And, you can only drive 2 TB monitors off a mac with a discrete graphics chip. (i.e. not the Intel 3000).

Now, with all the above talk about getting better performance by buying the $800 mini then upgrading the CPU, i.e. the $900 mini with a 2.7GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7, lets go a bit further. If you're planning on getting the TB 27" monitor... far better instead to get the 27" iMac... has more or less the same monitor (maybe the same LG panel?) and a quad core i5. In other words, deducting the $999 monitor, for $700, you get a 2.7GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5 and you get TWO TB outputs. (open question as to if you can run 4 monitors, 2 on each TB chain...) . And you get a Slot-loading 8x SuperDrive with 4x double-layer burning (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW). And a proper 3.5" hard disk which is certainly faster than a 2.5" hard disk. And $200 change in your pocket.

If only these macs had USB 3.0... but I guess Apple is still sore or in denial about the failure of FireWire.

Now, has anyone seen a software hack that turns on TRIM for non apple SSD? (Apple finally got SSD two years late, finally got TRIM a year late, and now seeks to punish those who couldn't wait.)

I see what you mean. Since I already have two 30" monitors already, it looks a little off-putting to me. And I don't like the iMac concept in the first place. Too hard to change HDs. I have a ton of them and am only adding 3TB each going forward. I guess I'm just looking at the $899 i7 Mac Mini as one heck of a bargain way into Thunderboltness this year if you have all the other parts to go with it. I even already have a new 3TB FW800 external HD still virgin in the box I got for less than $200 last winter. So I guess you could call me predisposed to liking the $998 - including the display port to dual link DVI cable - entry price. \

Six x 3.5GHz '14 MP, 64GB, 1TB PCIe, 16TB HDs
2.6GHz 6GB 17"HD LED MBP, Sony 52XBR6 HDTV
EyeTV 500, Hybrid 2G, EyeTV 3 HDTV Recorder
64 ATT iPhone 5S, 128 ATT iPad Air, 128 ATT iPad miniRetina, 16...

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Six x 3.5GHz '14 MP, 64GB, 1TB PCIe, 16TB HDs
2.6GHz 6GB 17"HD LED MBP, Sony 52XBR6 HDTV
EyeTV 500, Hybrid 2G, EyeTV 3 HDTV Recorder
64 ATT iPhone 5S, 128 ATT iPad Air, 128 ATT iPad miniRetina, 16...

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post #95 of 112
I have decided to upgrade my old C2D with 1G of RAM,

All I do is download movies from internet/stream from my TC/basic internet surfing

The question I have is it worth it to upgrade from the $599 MM to the $799 MM?

It looks like the biggest difference is the video. If all I am doing is watching movies, does it make a difference for me?

I was at the Apple store yesterday and the guy said it was more for gamers, but I think I value the views of this site more than his.

Thanks in advance.
post #96 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbeFroman View Post

I have decided to upgrade my old C2D with 1G of RAM,

All I do is download movies from internet/stream from my TC/basic internet surfing

The question I have is it worth it to upgrade from the $599 MM to the $799 MM?

It looks like the biggest difference is the video. If all I am doing is watching movies, does it make a difference for me?

I was at the Apple store yesterday and the guy said it was more for gamers, but I think I value the views of this site more than his.

Thanks in advance.

i'm no graphics expert. So I asked Apple Sales support if the dedicated AMD chip feeds to the HDMI port as well as the Thunderbolt port. He confirmed the AMD graphics goes out BOTH HDMI and Thunderbolt ports. But they think you'll be fine with the entry level model plus $85 to OWC for a pair of 4GB RAM sticks. He also confirmed the Thunderbolt port will support daisy chaining TWO monitors in addition to the HDMI monitor. So 3 monitors are possible he said.

Apple says you only need the $599 except in the case of big action films then you might want the Turbo Boosting Dual Threading Per Core Dual Core 2.7GHz i7 $899 model. I think you might want to wait for benchmarks to decide. Too soon to tell really in the case of big action or a USB BlueRay drive playback.

Six x 3.5GHz '14 MP, 64GB, 1TB PCIe, 16TB HDs
2.6GHz 6GB 17"HD LED MBP, Sony 52XBR6 HDTV
EyeTV 500, Hybrid 2G, EyeTV 3 HDTV Recorder
64 ATT iPhone 5S, 128 ATT iPad Air, 128 ATT iPad miniRetina, 16...

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Six x 3.5GHz '14 MP, 64GB, 1TB PCIe, 16TB HDs
2.6GHz 6GB 17"HD LED MBP, Sony 52XBR6 HDTV
EyeTV 500, Hybrid 2G, EyeTV 3 HDTV Recorder
64 ATT iPhone 5S, 128 ATT iPad Air, 128 ATT iPad miniRetina, 16...

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post #97 of 112
Seems a bit odd there is no flash memory option, even just 64gb ala MB Air.
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post #98 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by chabig View Post

You can get external optical drives.

With that kind of statement I guess Apple should kill off the iMac line. You can get stand alone monitors and external hard drives. Why make all in ones?
post #99 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by elliots11 View Post

I think you're right. Looks like you can't do quad plus discrete graphics. That's too bad because I'd be all over that, but I guess it'd cannibalize iMac sales or something. Maybe it wouldn't physically fit or work, but I'll bet its a business move. Drat! That could've served a lot of purposes for me.

I think it would be to do with heat output. The quad i7s in the MBPs get quite hot. The dual i7 is clocked higher though so you get within 75% of the performance. Next year, they should be able to build one with both quad-core and a discrete GPU.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie

Thanks for that link! But on the feedback tab someone writes that it isn't compatible with OSX. Could that even be true?

It was built to be Mac compatible so DVD functions should be fine but some of the Blu-Ray features won't work properly without 3rd-party software. Others reviewers have had success:

http://www.amazon.com/Sony-Blu-ray-E...1278975&sr=8-1

To burn Blu-Ray, you'd need software like Toast 11. To watch Blu-Ray movies, you use MakeMKV and then stream the video into VLC. I imagine you'd probably want to rip the Blu-Ray discs to storage though to save you having to even use the discs. If you create 5-10GB rips, you'd fit over 50 1080p movies on it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTac

With that kind of statement I guess Apple should kill off the iMac line. You can get stand alone monitors and external hard drives. Why make all in ones?

The difference I'd say is that people tend to use their screen more than once a month whereas optical discs really have little purpose for regular use.
post #100 of 112
I've got this great idea that I want to retire the trusty Mac Pro and go for a new Mini. The MP is the original 2006 model and has 2x3GHz dual-core Xeons in it and 8GBs RAM. The video is nothing spectacular: ATI Radeon HD 2600 with 256MBs VRAM.

I'm really tempted by the server model, mostly due to the CPU, but unsure about the integrated graphics.

Will the quad i7 be much of an upgrade over my Mac Pro's Xeons? Will the integrated graphics be super slow?

I do mostly "web" work, so crazy video or rendering or anything like that. Most of my work is done in text editors and browsers. I already have a beefy 256GB SSD that I'll be swapping over, too.

I would like the Mini to "feel" at least as fast and powerful as my mac Pro does, and hopefully even faster. Is the server Mini going to do it for me, or should I get the dual-core i7 model with discrete graphics?

Thanks!
post #101 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Multimedia View Post

i'm no graphics expert. So I asked Apple Sales support if the dedicated AMD chip feeds to the HDMI port as well as the Thunderbolt port. He confirmed the AMD graphics goes out BOTH HDMI and Thunderbolt ports. But they think you'll be fine with the entry level model plus $85 to OWC for a pair of 4GB RAM sticks. He also confirmed the Thunderbolt port will support daisy chaining TWO monitors in addition to the HDMI monitor. So 3 monitors are possible he said.

Apple says you only need the $599 except in the case of big action films then you might want the Turbo Boosting Dual Threading Per Core Dual Core 2.7GHz i7 $899 model. I think you might want to wait for benchmarks to decide. Too soon to tell really in the case of big action or a USB BlueRay drive playback.

Thanks.

Thats aboutthe same thing they told me. Everythink looks good on the MM I have now, and this seems a lot faster so I think it should be plenty for my needs.
post #102 of 112
Currently Apple de-activates TRIM on third party SSDs. Hopefully someone will write a hack to correct this annoying Apple stunt.

3 monitors are possible. If I'm correct the AMD chip (only) can drive TWO daisy-chained Thunderbolt monitors. (not sure if the one of the end of the chain can be Display Port). At 2560x1440. The third monitor off the HDMI would cap out at 1920x1080 if I am correct. It might go 1920x1200 with an HDMI-DVI adapter but I'm not sure.
post #103 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by aiolos View Post

Air superdrive? Why couldn't you just plug it in the back of the Mini?

I replied without knowing what the air superdrive was (it had been referred to in an earlier post without much description). I thought the air superdrive was a drive that didn't physically connect to the air. I've since learned it's just an external dvd drive that plugs into the air (and mini).

That said, I would be interested in a wireless dvd drive for the mini (powercord I guess - so "untethered" perhaps). It would be a very small DVD headunit for a HTPC or AppleTV. The mini could be tucked away and so even less would be conspicuous in the living room. And, as Apple moves away from optical drives, a single drive could serve all my machines on those occasions that I need to use an optical disk (new CD, play a DVD, photo CD, load old software, etc.). And would round out AppleTV a bit more...
post #104 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Uh, that's exactly what he's talking about.

This is my fault. I thought an air superdrive was an UNTETHERED drive that used airdisk (or whatever it's called). But it's just an external, tethered optical drive.

I do think an airdisk-compatible external optical drive would be VERY neat. Especially if it could work with AppleTV as well as what I assume will become a parade of no-optical Macs. One drive that connects with whatever needs it. Maybe in black to match AppleTV (or even use that weird USB port on AppleTV and so avoid needing to build in wifi by relying on AppleTV).
post #105 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by bryanus View Post

I've got this great idea that I want to retire the trusty Mac Pro and go for a new Mini. The MP is the original 2006 model and has 2x3GHz dual-core Xeons in it and 8GBs RAM. The video is nothing spectacular: ATI Radeon HD 2600 with 256MBs VRAM.

I'm really tempted by the server model, mostly due to the CPU, but unsure about the integrated graphics.

Will the quad i7 be much of an upgrade over my Mac Pro's Xeons? Will the integrated graphics be super slow?

I do mostly "web" work, so crazy video or rendering or anything like that. Most of my work is done in text editors and browsers. I already have a beefy 256GB SSD that I'll be swapping over, too.

I would like the Mini to "feel" at least as fast and powerful as my mac Pro does, and hopefully even faster. Is the server Mini going to do it for me, or should I get the dual-core i7 model with discrete graphics?

Thanks!

Hi all New here and this is my first post... I'm in the same boat as you bryanus. I have an original MAC Pro 2006 middle of the line model and have been waiting for a refresh to upgrade. I did put a radeon 5770 card in it and it runs well but I game with this unit (mostly Warcraft and boot into Windows to play Rift).

I have a self built HTPC running Windows 7 because at the time the MAC Mini did not have HDMI and did not do what I needed for a home theater PC (so I reluctantly built a Windows Unit). I could use the PC I built to game with and replace my MAC Pro with a Mini to use as an HTPC. My only concern with the Mini as an HTPC is sound. I have an HDMI pass through on my stereo receiver but I don't know if I can get 7.1 surround sound using that. The Mini has very limited audio out options and I need good sound.

I also play DVDs but an external drive is not that big of a deal. I think using a SSD and a couple of externals would work well with this unit. Right now, my HTPC is running a Panasonic 50" Plasma through a Radeon 5750 and TV Tuner card. The GPU looks to be better than that and I already have Elgato EyeTV on my MAC Pro.

Still, I'm just concerned about the Sound...
post #106 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by p40whk View Post

I did put a radeon 5770 card in it and it runs well but I game with this unit (mostly Warcraft and boot into Windows to play Rift).

Interesting. How'd you get around the barrier between the 32-bit and 64-bit EFIs?
post #107 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Interesting. How'd you get around the barrier between the 32-bit and 64-bit EFIs?

That question is a bit above my level of comprehension so rather than sound stupid trying to answer it I'll refer you to the Article that drove me to buy the 5770: http://www.barefeats.com/wst10g6.html


My X1900 crapped out on me so I was in need of a replacement. Couldn't find anything for such an old 2006 model and even the ebay market was bare. I found this article trying to keep my MAC alive a while longer and just went ahead and bought it. The performance was a huge increase over the X1900 so I was happy.

But now, this machine is at the point where it's served its purpose and I'm ready to upgrade. Just looking at my options right now and the price of the Mini looks much less of a pill to my wallet than what I think the refresh of the MAC Pros will be.

I'll probably trade in my MAC Pro to PowerMax or sell it on ebay but I've gotten my moneys worth out of it and am ready for more power. Just afraid I'll be disappointed in a year or so if I go the Mini Route.
post #108 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by rare comment View Post

The mini could be tucked away and so even less would be conspicuous in the living room.

If you tuck it away the remote won't work as it's IR
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post #109 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

If you tuck it away the remote won't work as it's IR

IR bounces... You can't put it behind closed doors, but you can tuck it away.
post #110 of 112
Plus, you could always use a wifi remote (i.e., iPod, iPhone, or iPad).
post #111 of 112
Haven't received my Mini yet but I did pick up an Air external DVD drive and it is so small, you barely notice it's there at all. Really, considering it's only a $79 add-on, it's much ado about nothing. When I set up the system, I'll have the printer operating wirelessly via a Time Capsule. I'm using a Cinema Display so after I plug in via USB my keyboard, scanner, superdrive, and Cinema Display, I'll have three open USB ports in the back of the display. That's in addition with a Firewire 800 port and when I pick up Thunderbolt externals, I can daisy chain to add as many as i want.

In terms of desktop clutter, the Mini plus superdrive plus monitor will certainly not produce an excessive amount of clutter.

I really don't think many are cluing in that removing the optical drive is the key to the fine upgrades Apple has pulled off with this latest Mini. That removal eliminates a significant heat source and frees up space to allow for discrete graphics and two storage drives. No small thing.

If the trade-off for much better graphics and more storage flexibility is having to pay an extra $79 and put a rather tiny additional box on your desktop, that's seems like a trade well worth making. In fact, with the price of the Mini reduced by about $100, really you're not paying and extra $79.

Perhaps it's a long way down the road but consider, also, that should Apple add blu-ray to the mix in the next couple of years, one need only swap out the DVD superdrive for a unit capable of playing blu-ray. A simple swapping out of devices does the trick. I think that's an advantage, not something to deter one from buying a new Mini.

This could well be the first Mini capable of handling a pro workload and in the years ahead, it's only going to get better. Better graphics, faster CPU, better storage, etc. are inevitable in the next version of the Mini.

In a few days I'm going to find out just how capable the new Mini is. I have a feeling it's going to be a rather impressive little powerhouse running with all the gear maxed out. I'm counting the days.
post #112 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carmissimo View Post

I really don't think many are cluing in that removing the optical drive is the key to the fine upgrades Apple has pulled off with this latest Mini. That removal eliminates a significant heat source and frees up space to allow for discrete graphics and two storage drives. No small thing.

Or they could have very simply made the Mini a little bit taller which would have allowed for the upgrades and keeping the optical drive. And a taller case would have improved air flow and heat dissipation.
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