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Inside Apple's new Mac mini, unboxing the new iMac

post #1 of 34
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Apple's new Mac mini is still easy to pry open with a putty knife and features some internal component rearrangement while the new iMac sports a slimmer, more refined pedestal and some other tweaks, as two sets of unboxing and comparison shots reveal.

Mac mini

Apple debuted the new mini with five times better graphics by utilizing the same NVIDIA GeForce 9400M integrated graphics used in the unibody MacBooks. Apple interim chief Tim Cook also called it "the world's most energy efficient desktop computer" and the "most affordable Mac" because it uses 13 watts of power when idle - or 10 times less power than a typical desktop PC.

Starting at $599, the Mac mini had gone without updates since late summer of 2007.

Macminicolo.net, which is responsible for both sets of photos, reports getting a call from its local Apple Store yesterday with an invitation to pick up one of the new machines. Wasting no time to check it out, a photo gallery shows the unboxing and gentle dismantling that soon followed.

The back of the 31 percent smaller retail box shows the same design, leaked by a tipster earlier this week, that recommends the preinstalled iLife suite, advanced graphics, and 802.11n wireless.



Open the box up, and you'll find the familiar "Designed by Apple in California" box, documentation and installation/restoration discs, the Mac mini itself, and an external power adapter with cord. Apple also packs in a mini-DVI to DVI adapter.



Macminicolo.net stacked the old mini on top of the new to highlight the differences in the subtly redesigned back panel. The power button and port, air vents, security slot, Ethernet jack, and the combined audio input and output minijacks are unchanged.

FireWire 400 is gone, replaced with FireWire 800, and the large footprint from the DVI connector has been filled with a mini-DVI connector, Mini DisplayPort, and a fifth USB 2.0 port to join the four previously present.



Upon opening the case, there are now three antennas on the top section that must be separated from the logic board before it can be fully opened. Macminicolo.net confirmed the new SATA drive, which it predicted several months ago, and with the optical drive, fan, and hard drive removed -- seen below -- it's clear that the RAM has changed orientation from perpendicular to parallel with the front edge.



Additional photos here.

iMac

The Las Vegas-based colocation company also bought and unboxed a brand-new, top-of-the-line iMac, which Apple says is more affordable and more powerful with twice the memory and storage as its predecessor.

Comparing side-by-side with an old iMac box, the packaging is essentially identical save for the updated image.



The revised port layout shows off the new Mini DisplayPort emerging standard and an extra USB at the expense of FireWire 400 and DVI. FireWire 800 is right between the four USB connectors and the Ethernet jack.



Macminicolo.net uncovered an interesting design refinement that Apple hasn't been touting: a thinner, tapered stand that gives off a more elegant vibe than the larger and thicker stand it replaces. The difference can be clearly seen in this image, comparing the brand-new iMac on the left with its predecessor on the right.



Finally, this new iMac's display is configured by default to show colors in a little cooler temperature. Whether this is true of all the new models isn't yet known, given the early adoption, but it is possible to re-calibrate the display to your liking. Oddly, this change arrives in contrast to a change Apple made during the transition from the original iPhone to the iPhone 3G, which can not be user-calibrated.

The iPhone 3G features a yellow-tint compared to the original iPhone's blue tint, which Apple said was deliberate in order to generate more accurate colors, deeper blacks, and a crisper image.

Below is the new iMac, again on the left, compared with an earlier model's display.



Customers upgrading to a new iMac or who simply want a different color profile can look no further than the Color tab in Mac OS X's Displays system preference pane.

Additional photos here.

The above photos show Macminicolo's server room with roughly 400 Mac minis in operation | Photo: macminicolo, AppleInsider.

Macminicolo.net hosts hundreds of Mac minis in its data centers for customers in 26 different countries who use the low-cost, versatile machines as servers (see AppleInsider's in-depth profile of the company, which explains the various corporate uses for the mini). The colocation firm also recently added Time Capsule hosting to their product offerings.
post #2 of 34
Give the keyboard black keys to match my MBA and one of those iMacs will be mine when the new school year rolls around.
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post #3 of 34
C'mon, lets see some frickin benchmarks...
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Multiplex is an online comic strip about the staff of a movie theater.
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post #4 of 34
I like the slightly thinner edge on the "foot"... I'd like to see some head-to-head comparisons on performance also.

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post #5 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

I like the slightly thinner edge on the "foot"... I'd like to see some head-to-head comparisons on performance also.

Yes, it gives it a bit of a MBA look.
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post #6 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by gmcalpin View Post

C'mon, lets see some frickin benchmarks...

yes
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post #7 of 34
Is it just me or is the packaging for the Mini beginning to look like "If Microsoft designed the packaging"?

I do not remember seeing iLife and such things on the packaging in some earlier versions, I only remember seeing the Mini itself and nothing else.

Cheers
post #8 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

I like the slightly thinner edge on the "foot"... I'd like to see some head-to-head comparisons on performance also.

The LED Cinema Display was the first product to get that tapering treatment.
OK, can I have my matte Apple display, now?
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OK, can I have my matte Apple display, now?
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post #9 of 34
.....
post #10 of 34
Fantastic! Thanks AI for these updates.....keep 'em coming! :

Can the new mini run a 30" monitor and is the new mini more powerful than my current original iMac intel duo?

Thanks in advance for your input!
post #11 of 34
Though I wonder whether getting a mini dvi to VGA is better than mini dvi to DVI, as a lot of people (myself include) still have VGA montiors.
post #12 of 34
They tapered the stand but couldn't make the face either entirely metal or totally black??
post #13 of 34
Now all we need is a nice LED backlight monitor that supports Display Port. Anybody out there have a suggestion or a list of Display Port capable monitors? I ask that question because an alternative to Apples $800 display is always a good thing.

It is nice to see that the Mini has been greatly enhanced. It is probably the best value in the sub compact market right now and is certainly a much better update than the iMac.

Dave
post #14 of 34
The picture inside the Macminicolo of all the mac minis is surely impressive, but the picture is just as surely doctored.

The rack in the foreground shows the side edge full of xserves, but you cannot see these extending into the rack.

What do you think?
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post #15 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by e_whizz View Post

The picture inside the Macminicolo of all the mac minis is surely impressive, but the picture is just as surely doctored.

The rack in the foreground shows the side edge full of xserves, but you cannot see these extending into the rack.

What do you think?


I don't know about the photo but I do know there are better deals for Mini colocation.

I use xservhosting for a couple of Minis and they've been great.
post #16 of 34
In the mini... do the hard disk drive and optical need to be removed to change the RAM?
post #17 of 34
Pay all that money and get only half a keyboard?? What a good deal that is.

MIke
post #18 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by miker View Post

Pay all that money and get only half a keyboard?? What a good deal that is.

MIke

And still no floppy drive. You'd think Apple would have learned it's lesson by now
post #19 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by K.C. View Post

I don't know about the photo...

Those are actually two photos placed side by side so the Xserves look cut off. I think AI put them that way because it's hard to get the full view of the data center since it is a long narrow cage. On a side note, since these pictures were taken, we've doubled the minis you see here. All those Xserves are gone and that whole shelf is now filled with minis as well.

Quote:
I do know there are better deals for Mini colocation. I use xservhosting for a couple of Minis and they've been great.

The guys at xservhosting are good guys. (We've actually sent a few Xserve referrals their way.) But don't put too much stock into that graph on Mac mini pricing. It was done a long, long time ago and is terribly inaccurate. We've asked them a few times to update it but no luck yet. For our pricing, see here.
macminicolo.net - Use your Mac mini as a server. Low cost, high performance.
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macminicolo.net - Use your Mac mini as a server. Low cost, high performance.
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post #20 of 34
why to add fifth usb port and not second fw port

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #21 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

why to add fifth usb port and not second fw port

My guesses would be:
- people on average have many more USB devices (including keyboard and mouse) than FW
- you can daisy-chain FW
- USB ports are smaller so you can fit more
- USB port hardware is cheaper than FW
post #22 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by nutts View Post

My guesses would be:
- people on average have many more USB devices (including keyboard and mouse) than FW
- you can daisy-chain FW
- USB ports are smaller so you can fit more
- USB port hardware is cheaper than FW

you're probably right. yet a little graceful gesture wouldn't have done any harm...

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #23 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by e_whizz View Post

The picture inside the Macminicolo of all the mac minis is surely impressive, but the picture is just as surely doctored.

The rack in the foreground shows the side edge full of xserves, but you cannot see these extending into the rack.

What do you think?


Is that frustration? I mean, almost everyone said the photos from the Mac Mini and it's box were fakes and now they are out. Seriously what's with everyone calling everything fake.

To all who said they were fakes..."b*tch got served!"

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post #24 of 34
I'm happy to see that Apple still thinks FireWire is suitable for the consumers. So basically the only two Macs that lack FireWire now is the MacBook and MacBook Air. On the air I see the logic... but I really can't fully accept that there's no MacBook configuration with FireWire. I mean iMac and the Mini has it, and they are for the low end consumer aren't they? And the MacBook is such a powerhorse for serious work so.. oh well. Never mind.
post #25 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

why to add fifth usb port and not second fw port

A second FireWire port would have been nice, but I'll settle for FireWire 800.

Apple INVENTED FireWire, if I'm not mistaken, so I'm sure their licensing fees are rather low.

FireWire won't go away. With all the howling from Mac users about the omission of it from the MacBook unibody, I bet the Rev.B unibody MacBook gets a FireWire 800 port. FireWire is just far too useful to omit. FireWire Target Disk Mode is a life saver, never mind the speed and efficiency of FireWire for hard drives, audio and video gear.

The mini is a good, solid, if not very exciting update. The real graphics card is the kicker for me! When Snow Leopard is released (maybe sooner?) I'm getting one to connect to my HDTV, with an external FireWire drive to store all my media.
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post #26 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffharris View Post

Apple INVENTED FireWire, if I'm not mistaken, so I'm sure their licensing fees are rather low.

I also thought FW was indeed Apple's child.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffharris View Post

FireWire won't go away. With all the howling from Mac users about the omission of it from the MacBook unibody, I bet the Rev.B unibody MacBook gets a FireWire 800 port. FireWire is just far too useful to omit. FireWire Target Disk Mode is a life saver, never mind the speed and efficiency of FireWire for hard drives, audio and video gear.

Having said "FW", I did mean FW 800.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffharris View Post

The mini is a good, solid, if not very exciting update. The real graphics card is the kicker for me! When Snow Leopard is released (maybe sooner?) I'm getting one to connect to my HDTV, with an external FireWire drive to store all my media.

No, I have no more hope for Minis. I don't think this recent restyling makes them more upgradable... I just let my old G4 machines do some more good to me for some more months until Snow Leopard is here... Then I would probably buy some used Mac Pro... We'll see

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #27 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudson1 View Post

In the mini... do the hard disk drive and optical need to be removed to change the RAM?

...... and can you swap out the optical fro another hard drive??
post #28 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by palegolas View Post

I'm happy to see that Apple still thinks FireWire is suitable for the consumers. So basically the only two Macs that lack FireWire now is the MacBook and MacBook Air. On the air I see the logic... but I really can't fully accept that there's no MacBook configuration with FireWire. I mean iMac and the Mini has it, and they are for the low end consumer aren't they? And the MacBook is such a powerhorse for serious work so.. oh well. Never mind.

The white macbook still has FW.
post #29 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by miker View Post

pay all that money and get only half a keyboard?? What a good deal that is.

Mike

Recall!
post #30 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by e_whizz View Post

The picture inside the Macminicolo of all the mac minis is surely impressive, but the picture is just as surely doctored.

The rack in the foreground shows the side edge full of xserves, but you cannot see these extending into the rack.

What do you think?

That's only because it's so dark inside the rack. You can't get picture where there's no light.
post #31 of 34
Jesus, that's a lot of difference in the background color on the two iMacs. The old one shows white as white, the new one shows white as blue. Simple as that.

I'm glad it can supposedly be changed, but how on earth is this default setting a good idea?
post #32 of 34
:yum: to the new mini 
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post #33 of 34
Of course you people are just going to complain
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post #34 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tsadler View Post

Of course you people are just going to complain

Yup, Mac Mini and iMac updates are lacking in the value-for-money (compared to say, Apple in 2008)... Or maybe it's just the economy.
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