Mac mini (Late 2009) full review - Page 2

Modest improvements

Where the latest models differ from their predecessors are in processor speed, memory, and hard-drive capacity. The £499 model now ships with a 2.26GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of 1066MHz DDR SDRAM, and a 160GB SATA hard drive (up from 2.0GHz, 1GB, and 120GB, respectively). The £649 model now sports a 2.53GHz processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 320GB hard drive (improved from 2.0GHz and 2GB; the previous £649 model had the same hard-drive capacity). All hard drives remain 5400rpm, 2.5in SATA drives; while these drives reduce energy use and help keep the mini, well, mini, they also provide poor performance compared to larger desktop drives.

The system bus on both models remains at 1066MHz, with the CPU hosting a 3MB Level-2 cache. The £699 model can be upgraded, when purchasing from Apple, to a 2.53GHz processor, and the £649 model can be upgraded to 2.66GHz; each upgrade costs £120. (The £499 model cannot be upgraded to 2.66GHz.)
Both Mac mini models also now support Apple’s USB-powered MacBook Air SuperDrive, even though the mini has its own built-in SuperDrive. This change results from the new Mac mini models using most of the same internal circuitry as the Mac mini with Snow Leopard Server, which omits an internal SuperDrive in favour of a second hard drive.

Rounding out the list of improvements, the newest Mac minis also ship, as you would expect, with Snow Leopard. They continue to include iLife ’09.

NEXT: Still upgradeable

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