New dual core MiniPC pricier than Mac mini

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Still think the Mac mini’s not a good value compared to budget PCs? If you want to compare Apples to, well, apples, you might want to have a look at Aopen’s new MiniPC, once it’s unveiled tomorrow at the Intel Developer’s Forum in San Francisco, Calif.

In 2005 AOpen generated interest when it unveiled its MiniPC, a Pentium-based Windows-compatible PC computer with a stunningly similar design as Apple’s Mac mini. Now AOpen is countering Apple’s Intel Mac mini introduction with its new MiniPC, the MP945. It costs a bit more, but sports some features the new Mac mini doesn’t have.

AOpen said the new MiniPC will be available in two configurations, a single-core MP945 model for $699 and a dual-core MP945-V model for $899 — $100 more than Apple’s offerings. The computer is based on Intel’s 945GM core logic — the same Apple uses in the Mac mini — and houses a Pentium M socket that can accept either Core Solo or Core Duo processors. The system’s graphics acceleration comes from the same integrated Intel GMA 950 chip that the Mac mini uses.

The MP945 still features a Mac mini-like form factor, measuring 6 x 6 inches, and shares many common features with the Mac mini — Digital Visual Interface (DVI), Gigabit Ethernet, slot-loading optical drive, audio in and an infrared remote control interface.

The new model also has a mini PCI expansion port and an S-Video interface built in, two amenities Apple doesn’t offer on the Mac mini. Apple offers a $19 DVI to Video Adapter for users who want to connect their Mac mini to a television set or home theater system.

AOpen plans to formally introduce the new PC on Tuesday at the Intel Developer’s Forum in San Francisco, Calif.

Architectural similarties aside, the biggest difference is apparent once you turn the MiniPC on: It comes equipped with Microsoft’s Windows Media Center Edition.

This story, "New dual core MiniPC pricier than Mac mini" was originally published by PCWorld.

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