Apple Mac Mini Mid 2010 review

The latest Mac Mini is a sleek and very well built mini PC, but it's underspecified and overpriced.

20 Aug 2010
Apple Mac Mini Mid 2010
Our Rating 
3/5
Price when reviewed 
649
inc VAT

Specifications

2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8600, 2GB RAM, N/A display, MacOS X 10.6

Since it was first introduced in 2005, the compact Mac Mini has been Apple's smallest and cheapest desktop computer. However, while the previous Mini was available for £500, the new model costs almost £150 more; thankfully though, it has been substantially improved.

The new Mini sheds the previous white plastic and aluminium case in favour of a sleek and robust all-aluminium design. It’s noticeably easier to upgrade than the older version too. Previously, simple upgrades required disassembling the entire computer using a variety of tools. Now, a simple, twist-to-remove bottom plate gives easy access to the RAM slots. Disappointingly, reaching the hard disk still requires significant disassembly. Although one could add an external USB or FireWire 800 disk instead, it’s not nearly as neat.

Although the Mini is a bit slimmer than its predecessor, it’s a few centimetres wider and deeper. This is actually quite impressive, though, as Apple has now managed to squeeze the previous model’s brick-sized power supply inside the aluminium case. Despite this, and the small cooling vent, the Mini never became worryingly warm during our demanding Windows benchmarks.

Apple Mac Mini Mid 2010

The Mini is Apple's first computer to have a HDMI port - a long overdue addition as it’s now standard on TVs and common on new monitors. A HDMI-to-DVI adapter is included in the box, so connecting non-HDMI monitors is simple. There's also a Mini DisplayPort connector, but if you want to collect a second monitor you‘ll probably need the DisplayPort to DVI adaptor, which costs around £20.

There's a SD memory card slot, the first we've seen on any computer to support the latest SDXC cards. There are four USB2 ports - down from five on the previous model. Annoyingly, all of the ports are located on the rear where they could be hard to reach – a front-mounted USB port and memory card slot would have been far more convenient.

The Mini comes equipped with a Core 2 Duo P8600 processor and Nvidia GeForce 320M integrated graphics. We suspect Apple chose not to opt for a newer Core i3 or i5 processor so it can continue to use Nvidia's integrated graphics chips instead of the slower Intel alternatives (a dispute between the two companies means there are no Nvidia Core i3/i5-compatible chipsets). Although the P8600 is fast enough for most tasks, scoring 70 overall in our benchmarks, it's starting to show its age compared to the newer Core i3 and i5 chips. The Nvidia graphics chip isn't powerful enough for playing the latest 3D games, but it can easily handle HD video and assists with certain applications, such as Photoshop.

Less forgiveable is the measly 2GB of RAM and 320GB hard disk – we'd expect more at this price. It doesn't even include its remote control which would be useful for customers who want to use the Mini as a media centre computer. As expected, there’s no option for a Blu-ray drive, since Apple would rather sell HD movies through its iTunes Store.

We're quite taken with the Mac Mini's sleek and elegant design. However, the stingy specification is hard to swallow, especially as it now costs nearly as much as some all-in-one Windows PCs. It's still the cheapest way to get a Mac, but if you’re happy with Windows there are better value compact computers available.

Basic Specifications

Rating ***
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo P8600
Processor external bus 266MHz (1,066MHz quad-pumped FSB)
Processor multiplier x9
Processor clock speed 2.4GHz
Processor socket LGA775
Level 1 cache 2x 32KB
Level 2 cache 3,072KB
Memory 2
Memory type PC3-8500
Maximum memory 8GB
Motherboard Apple Mac-F2208EC8
Motherboard chipset Nvidia GeForce 320M

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear) 0/4
Firewire ports (front/rear) 0/1
eSATA ports (front/rear) 0/0
Wired network ports 1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support 802.11a/b/g/n
Other ports none

Internal Expansion

Case mini PC
PCI-E x1 slots (free) 0 (0)
PCI-E x16 slots (free) 0 (0)
Free Serial ATA ports 0
Free memory slots 0
Free 3.5in drive bays 0

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s) Toshiba MK3255GSXF
Interface SATAII
Total storage capacity 320GB
Spindle speed 5,400rpm

Graphics

Graphics card(s) Nvidia GeForce 320M
Graphics/video ports HDMI, Mini DisplayPort

Sound

Sound Realtek HD Audio
Sound outputs stereo line out, microphone in, 3.5mm mini jack optical S/PDIF
Speakers mono

Removable Drives

3.5in floppy drive no
Supported memory cards SDXC, MMC
Optical drive model LG GA32N
Optical drive type(s) DVD+/-RW +/-DL

Display

Screen model N/A
Native resolution N/A
Response time N/A
Screen inputs N/A

Other Hardware

Modem No
Keyboard none
Mouse none

Software

Software included Apple iLife 09
Operating system MacOS X 10.6
Operating system restore option restore disc

Buying Information

Warranty one year RTB or customer carry in
Price £649
Supplier http://store.apple.com/uk/
Details www.apple.com/uk

Read more

Sponsored Links