In the lab, this new nVidia GeForce 320M graphics procesor let the new Apple Mac mini (Mid 2010) play our FEAR game benchmark at 29fps (Maximum detail settings), over twice the framerate of last year’s model (14fps) in this graphics test.
Other running changes include a loss of one USB 2.0 port, down from five to four, and the addition of an SD Card slot. Also able to accept SDHC and SDXC cards (the latter curently available in sizes as large as 64GB), this slot is sited on the rear panel, in order not to upset the clean lines of the unit’s front face.
So up front is just a single thin aperture for the slot-load DVD±RW dual-layer optical drive, which additionally hides an IR sensor for use with the optional dinky-sized remote control.
Video connectivity has changed, HDMI replacing the mini-DVI port. An adaptor is included in the box to easily allow this port to be used with regular DVI cables. But that single switch to HDMI ought to be enough to overcome some people’s lingering inertia in considering the Mac mini as a drop-in media centre PC, now it can be so easily connected to a large flat-panel television. And don't forget that HDMI can also carry multichannel digital audio alongside high-definition video.
Rear panel of the Apple Mac mini (Mid-2010). Note HDMI port [fourth from left], and SD Card slot to the right
We gave the new Apple Mac mini (Mid 2010) a full real-world speed test with WorldBench 6. It finished with a score of 93 points, just two points below the 95-point score of last year’s top model with 2.53GHz processor.
Note that for this 2010 generation of Mac mini, there is only one ‘standard’ configuration offered, although you can specify a faster processor as a build-to-order option direct from the online Apple Store. The 2.66GHz processor option does add £123 to the price though.
Not only is the mini a very quick and very compact computer even in standard trim, it’s also incredibly power efficient. In fact, it’s the most economical PC we’ve ever seen, consuming just seven watts (7W) in our tests when idle. This is an incredibly low power-consumption figure, underlining some clever industrial engineering in the Apple Mac mini (Mid 2010)'s design.
Following the last refresh from late last year, the Apple Mac mini (2010) is also available in a server edition, which sees the optical drive inside replaced with a second 500GB 2.5in hard disk. This model comes with Snow Leopard Server Edition pre-installed.
With two hard drives on tap, you could use one as boot drive and one for additional storage; or elect to set up the mini with a RAID 0 or RAID 1 array, for respectively increased performance and capacity, or for maximum data security.
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