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New Mac mini, MacBook Air
Tuesday, 2011 July 26 - 8:52 pm
Here's what's new.

Mac mini

Now starting at $100 cheaper ($599), the new Mac mini no longer has a built-in optical drive; instead, you can add an external $79 USB SuperDrive.

The CPU is now a 2.3 GHz Core i5 instead of a 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo; this is a big speed increase. The graphics are Intel HD 3000 instead of an Nvidia GeForce 320M; pretty much a wash. A Thunderbolt port replaces the Mini DisplayPort. It still has 2GB of RAM; memory is slightly faster at 1333 MHz, and there's an SDXC slot instead of a standard SD card slot.

Instead of a $999 Server model, there's now an $799 model (with Lion Server available as a $49 download). Hardware-wise, it has a 2.5 GHz Core i5, up from a previous 2.66 GHz Core 2 Duo. It has just a single 500 GB drive instead of the two that the previous server had; it has an AMD Radeon HD 6630M GPU, which is a significant bump.

In all, this is a big performance boost for less money than before. It's a nice improvement.

MacBook Air

The Air models are largely the same as before, except they have an Intel Core i5 instead of a Core 2 Duo. All the models use the Intel HD 3000 instead of an Nvidia GeForce 320M, and they have a Thunderbolt port to replace the Mini DisplayPort. So, this is mostly a CPU speed bump with the move to the Sandy Bridge architecture. The price lineup is unchanged.

All the new computers have Mac OS X Lion. Interestingly, these models support re-installation of the OS over the Internet, even if the hard drive has to be replaced; apparently there's Internet network boot code built into the firmware. Nice.
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Posted by Ken in: techwatch

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