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AOpen shows Intel's answer to Mac mini

Almost as small, but will it be as cheap?

At the Computex trade show in Taipei, AOpen is showing off a small desktop PC that closely resembles Apple's Mac mini, except for the use of Microsoft's Windows operating system and Intel's Pentium M processor.

The AOpen product is part of a larger effort backed by Intel to promote the use of the Pentium M processor in small PCs designed for living rooms and entertainment centres. Intel is working with several PC manufacturers and vendors on similar PCs, which should be released later this year, an Intel spokesperson said.

The Mac mini drew favourable reviews from Apple fans for its simple design and compact chassis when it was unveiled in January at MacWorld in San Francisco. It costs just £399 and isn't much bigger than a standard CD.

The device demonstrated at Computex is roughly the same size as the Mac mini, but pricing and specifications are not yet available.

Intel's Digital Home group has been given the freedom to choose chip designs from all areas within Intel to develop products for the digital home.

The Pentium M's power characteristics make it much more suitable for entertainment applications than are the Pentium 4 or new Pentium D processors, which are powerful but require sophisticated and noisy cooling technology.

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