Apple unveils new Mac mini with HDMI port

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Apple on Tuesday announced a redesign of the Mac mini, the company's low-cost desktop system. Besides an entirely new form factor, the new mini sports an HDMI video port, a new graphics processor, an SD card slot, and an integrated power supply unit.

Taking a cue from the MacBook Pro line, the mini’s exterior is a 1.4-inch thick precision unibody aluminum case. Measuring just 7.7 inches square, the mini’s bottom features a black, circular, removable panel that provides access the computer’s RAM for easy upgrading.

In another nice change from the previous version, the new Mac mini's power supply is now internal, meaning that the large, unsightly brick is now gone. Instead, there’s just a standard AC power cord that goes into the mini on one end and into your AC outlet on the other.

In a briefing with Macworld, Apple emphasized the new Mac mini's green credentials, noting that, compared to the previous model, the new mini uses 68 percent less plastic and 20 percent less material overall; it's also 20 percent more energy-efficient and requires an 85-Watt power supply compared to the previous 110-Watt model. According to Apple, the new Mac mini exceeds Energy Star 5.0 requirements by 80 percent. In addition, by omitting the bulky external power supply, Apple was able to reduce the overall weight of the system by a pound and reduce the amount of necessary packaging, which reduces materials use as well as the resources necessary to ship the product.

Spec-wise, the mini sports a choice of 2.4GHz or 2.66GHz Core 2 Duo processors with a 3MB on-chip shared L2 cache and a 1066Mhz frontside bus. By default the mini comes with 2GB of 1066MHz DD3 SDRAM that are upgradeable to 8GB, and either a 320GB or 500GB SATA hard drive. It also packs a slot-loading SuperDrive, an Nvidia GeForce 320M integrated graphics processor that uses 256MB of main memory, and AirPort 802.11n Wi-Fi networking that’s also compatible with the 802.11 a/b/g standards. Besides the HDMI port, the mini also sports a mini DisplayPort connector that supports up to 2560 by 1600 pixels and ships with a HDMI to DVI adapter. There’s also a FireWire 800 port and four USB 2.0 connectors, Gigabit Ethernet, and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR. Apple claims the new Mac mini offers up to twice the graphics performance of its predecessor.

In addition to the basic configuration, the new mini also comes in a server version, like its predecessor. The main difference of the server version is that it foregoes the SuperDrive for a pair of hard drives—in this case, two 500GB 7200rpm SATA drives. It also comes with 4GB of RAM, as opposed to the default mini’s 2GB, and the faster 2.66GHz Core 2 Duo processor—plus it’s pre-loaded with Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server with support for unlimited clients. Otherwise, it’s identical to the default mini.

The new non-server Mac mini—which comes in only one standard configuration—runs $699 in the U.S., $100 more than the previous entry-level model but $100 less than the previous higher-end (non-server) model. The Mac mini with Snow Leopard Server costs $999, which is unchanged from its predecessor.

Updated at 5:35PT with more details on the server configuration.

Updated at 5:44PT with more details on the pricing and new power supply.

Updated at 9:17PT with comments from Apple and pricing information.

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