Like the upgraded MacBook Air, the dual-core Intel Core i5 processors are standard on the new Mac mini, putting the Core 2 Duo days behind us. The new Mac mini with Lion Server goes one step further, shipping with a quad-core Intel Core i7. Taking another cue for the MacBook Air, the Mac mini now ships without an optical drive. Apple says this allowed for faster processors, better graphics chips and a lower price.
The new Mac mini line also includes support for Apple’s Thunderbolt technology, which means it can connect to the new Apple Cinema Display, as well as a growing list of Thunderbolt-compatible storage devices. The mini still supports Mini DisplayPort and HDMI out.
The basic Mac mini starts at $599 and includes a 2.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 2 GB of RAM and a 500 GB hard drive. For $200 more, users can upgrade to a 2.5GHz processor, 4 GB of RAM and AMD Radeon HD 66430M graphics. The $799 model can also be configured with a dual-core i7.
The Mac mini with Lion Server is $999 and it ships with a quad-core i7, 4 GB of RAM and dual-500 GB hard drives. The $799 Mac mini looks like it hits the sweet spot between price and performance.
What do you think of the new Mac mini? Any plans to add one as an HTPC or for the home office? Let us know in the comments.