Apple Releases New Mac mini: Affordable, but MacBook Still a Better Value

In an interesting move, occurring the same day as the iPhone 4 pre-ordering, Apple released an updated Mac mini. The new Mac mini sports Apple’s ever-popular aluminum unibody design. Along with the aesthetically pleasing new looks, the Mac mini received a significant performance boost.

All New Design

The new Mac mini looks stunning to say the least. Aside from the aluminum unibody design, Apple did away with the power brick, incorporating the power supply directly in the Mac mini’s enclosure.

Though it has fewer cables that NEED to be connected, there are more ports than were found on the previous Mac mini. To make it easy to connect to a display or HDTV, there is now both an HDMI out port ands a Mini DisplayPort. There are also 4 USB ports, a FireWire 800 port, an Ethernet port, and an SD card slot built right into the back of the computer.

One notable feature of the new Mac mini’s design is the fact that the bottom panel can be removed to easily upgrade memory (and possibly Hard Drives as well). This leads us into the technical specs of Apple’s smallest computer.

Tech Specs

  • Either a 2.4GHz or 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor
  • 2GB DDR3 RAM
  • 320GB or 500GB Serial ATA HDD
  • NVIDIA GeForece 320M with 256MB of DDR3 SDRAM graphics processor
  • Slot-loading 8x SuperDrive
  • 802.11n WiFi
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR

The Mac mini is available today. Pricing starts at $699 for the 2.4 GHz, 320GB version and $999 for the 2.66GHz, Dual 500GB version. The Mac mini can be ordered directly from Apple and will be widely available soon.

MacBook Value Comparison

Being well into Summer, many high school graduates are looking for a computer to take to college. With the release of the new Mac mini, should students think about going with the Mac mini over Apple’s most popular computer, the MacBook? The Mac mini is Apple’s most affordable computer, but there’s obviously a trade off when it comes to mobility. Many people will be drawn to the $699 price tag, but is it a better deal than a MacBook?

Here is a comparison of the pricing (using Apple’s Educational Discount) between the 2.4GHz Mac mini and the 2.4GHz MacBook.

For the basic Mac mini, the retail price comes to $649 including a $50 educational discount.  At this price, the Mac mini, you get:

  • 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor
  • 2GB of DDR3 RAM
  • 320GB  Serial ATA HDD
  • $99 rebate on a new printer

Note that the Mac mini does not come with a display, keyboard, or mouse. You’ll have to bring your own from an old computer or budget for purchasing these items new.

For a MacBook with similar specs, the price comes to $1,049 including the $50 educational discount if you build it to order at With this MacBook, you get:

  • 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor
  • 2GB or DDR3 RAM
  • 320GB Serial ATA HDD ($50 upgrade over standard 250GB hard drive)
  • $99 rebate on a new printer
  • Free 8GB iPod Touch via rebate ($199)

Even though the MacBook is more expensive at first glance it is a better value for most users. Since it’s a laptop, it of course comes with a keyboard, trackpad, monitor, built-in iSight camera, and built-in speakers. Plus, students who purchase a MacBook this summer are eligible for a free 8GB iPod Touch($199 value) via rebate. The iPod Touch rebate is something that is not offered when purchasing a Mac mini. In addition, the ability to take your MacBook with you wherever you go may negate this comparison entirely.

Clearly, at least for a college student, the best choice is the Macbook, with its portability, and the free iPod Touch.

Related Posts