Apple Mac Mini (2009)
The new Mac Mini from Apple retains its small form factor but gets an updated CPU and beefier graphics.
- Decently priced, reasonably powerful, small and attractive design, DisplayPort connection
- No HDMI, 5400rpm hard drive
With the latest upgrade, the price gap between the Mac Mini and other Apple computers has widened. For the price, you get decent power and a small case that will fit into the tightest of spaces.
Price$ 999.00 (AUD)
It has been a year and a half since Apple updated its budget desktop line of Macs, but a new Mac Mini has finally been released. That may excite those looking for a cheap computer or powerful alternative to the AppleTV. The hardware has been improved, but the design is similar to the previous model. The lack of an HDMI connection remains the biggest deterrent to those looking for an elegant home theatre PC.
It's the Mac Mini’s internals that have undergone the biggest changes. Both configurations come standard with a 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU and an NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics processor; a significant step up from integrated Intel GMA 950 graphics used in the previous model. The $999 Mac Mini offers 1GB of DDR3 memory and a 5400rpm, 120GB hard drive. For $300 more you can grab 2GB of DDR3 memory and a 5400rpm, 320GB hard drive.
Wireless connectivity includes 802.11a/b/g and draft-n over 2.4GHz and 5GHz radio frequencies, as well as integrated Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR.
Testing the 2.0GHz Mac Mini with 2GB of DDR3 RAM, we encoded an album’s worth of uncompressed WAV audio files to 192Kbps MP3 audio in 1min 33sec; this is the same result as the similarly configured (but Windows-based) Dell Studio Hybrid. The Mac Mini is capable of accomplishing most office productivity, Web browsing and basic creative tasks; however, it did struggle to complete iTunes' gapless playback process on a large music library without freezing.
The Mac Mini lacks a keyboard and mouse but it is comparatively well-priced for an Apple computer. Optional upgrades aren’t expensive either, at $270 for a 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU and $180 for an extra 2GB of DDR3 RAM (for a total of 4GB of memory).
The Mac Mini's exterior design has gone unchanged. It still has the brushed aluminium sides, the white top with familiar logo, and a tiny white LED power indicator on the front. The back panel features a power connector, Gigabit Ethernet and five USB ports (up from four on the previous model). FireWire 400 has vanished; it's replaced by a FireWire 800 port (you can attach FireWire 400 devices if you purchase an adapter).
Both of its display ports use proprietary Apple connections: mini-DVI and mini-DisplayPort. Unless you have the Apple LED Cinema Display, using either port will require an adapter; a mini-DVI to DVI adapter is bundled, but otherwise you are looking at shelling out more cash. The Mac Mini also lacks an HDMI connection, and there is currently no way to throughput audio and video over the same connection from the Mac Mini to conventional home theatre components.
The Mac Mini's closest competitor in size is the Dell Studio Hybrid, and with its beefier graphics the Apple comes out on top.
The Mac Mini remains cool and quiet during use, dissipating heat through recessed vents on the underside and a vent on the back.
The computer's small stature can be attributed in part to the use of an external power supply. Rated at 110W, the brick is significantly larger than a power adapter of the Apple Macbook Pro but is still small enough to tuck away behind a desk. According to Apple, it also makes the Mac Mini the world’s most energy-efficient desktop computer. Though it is hard to substantiate this claim, the Mac Mini definitely didn't consume much power during our tests, drawing 12W in standby mode and reaching brief peaks of 49W during intensive tasks.
MacOS X 10.5.6 is preinstalled, as is Apple’s creative suite, iLife 09, with access to software including GarageBand, iPhoto and iMovie. iWork 09, however, isn’t included, leaving the Mac Mini devoid of any competent productivity applications.
Apple's cheapest desktop computer works well as both a low-end, small-form-factor PC. It provides reasonable power in a small and competitively priced package. Unfortunately, the lack of an HDMI connection makes the Mac Mini unsuitable for your home theatre system.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Lexar® Portable SSD
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Google Daydream VR headset
Acer Swift 7
Huawei Mate 9
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Surface Pro 4
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 2 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 3 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
- 4 Panasonic Blu-ray recorder PVR set-top box review
- 5 Garmin Fenix Chronos fitness tracker smartwatch review
Latest News Articles
- Samsung Galaxy S7 hardware will come to the DragonBoard 820c computer
- Now you can try Microsoft's supersized Surface Hub before buying
- Samsung scraps a Raspberry Pi 3 competitor, shrinks Artik line
- Google wants to add AI to gadgets made using Raspberry Pi
- How to fix a limited connectivity problem on a Windows 7 PC
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- LG G6 phone: full, in-depth review
- Subaru XV 2017 review
- Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- TPAO6 IT Procurement OfficerQLD
- FTService Desk ConsultantACT
- TPSenior Node.JS DeveloperNSW
- TPJava DeveloperWA
- FTField Deployment EngineerNSW
- FTProject Manager, FinanceNSW
- CCSenior Storage System Engineer -NetApp & TSMNSW
- FTNetwork Solution ArchitectVIC
- FTSenior Applications Support AnalystSA
- FTSenior C# Software Developer, BankingNSW
- CCApplication Architect - CloudVIC
- CCSenior Business Analyst - Forecasting SASNSW
- TPInfrastructure EngineerNSW
- FTNetwork Engineer - Cisco VoiceWA
- FTAgile CoachACT
- CCOracle WebLogic AdministratorNSW
- FTJunior Wintel Systems AdministratorNSW
- CCAutomation TesterQLD
- FTBusiness Change Lead, OrganisationalNSW
- TPSenior Project CoordinatorVIC
- FTBusiness Improvement ManagerNSW
- TPSQL Server Developer | 3 month contract |NSW
- FTSAP Logistics ConsultantNSW