At a Glance
- Analog- and digital-audio input and output
- Four USB 2.0 ports
- Built-in AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth 2.0
- Front Row software with Apple Remote
- Improved performance in many native applications
- Gigabit Ethernet
- RAM is difficult to upgrade
- Improvements over G4 Mac mini not as dramatic as Core Duo model
- Unable to play HD video without dropping frames
- Integrated graphics reduces available RAM
One of two Intel-based Mac minis, this model features a 1.5GHz single-core processor. The form factor of this mini remains unchanged from its PowerPC-based predecessor, although it adds two additional USB 2.0 ports for a total of four while dropping S-video and composite ports. Internally, the new mini has a faster frontside bus and built-in wireless networking via AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth. The mini uses the Intel GMA950 as its graphics processor; since the chip doesn’ have its own dedicated video memory, it shares memory with the main system RAM. The mini also gains the remote-and-software combo that makes up Front Row, allowing you to control audio, video, and photos from across the room.
Even priced $100 more than its PowerPC-based predecessor, the Mac mini Core Solo remains an attractive desktop — especially when you consider features like built-in wireless networking now come standard on this machine. It’s worth noting that this Core Solo configuration underperforms compared with the Mac mini Core Duo in almost every respect; however, it’s still a good entry-level Mac for the money.