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I’m a fan of the Mac Mini. It’s not a powerhouse, but it serves well as a media hub. I’ve tried numerous set top boxes, but nothing compares to the versatility of the tiny aluminum slab. If you’re interested in taking a peek inside one, our friends over at iFixIt have done the hard work and posted a teardown detailing some of the finer points in this new release. Of note is the new Thunderbolt high speed I/O, SDHC card slot–and once you get inside–a second SATA drive connector with ample space for another drive.

Adam Flaherty

I make cool stuff and write about other people making cool stuff on makezine.com. If you have something you think I should see, send me a tip.


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Comments

  1. Andrew Huggins says:

    I’m not too surprised by the additional SATA connector, the Mac Mini Server has Dual 500Gb drives, with this latest release it seems apple made the Mac Mini more like the Server with dropping the optical drive. It was probably easier for them to just design one board and not add the second SATA.

  2. Matt Alexander says:

    > nothing compares to the versatility of the tiny aluminum slab.

    I wouldn’t say this about any Apple product. Go build a Linux media box and you’ll see what I mean.

    1. I have. A few, actually. For some reason, it’s the Mac Mini that’s been next to the TV the longest. iTunes might have something to do with it. It’s a lame excuse, I know, but I’m not the only one using the setup. It’s still Unix under the hood. I might end up adding a GoogleTV to the mix (Android, Linux kernel…), but I’m holding out for a larger screen before I start messing around with that. Also, I’ve cut the cable out (save for the modem) so I don’t bother with broadcast TV integration. I’m always looking for something interesting to test out. If you find something worth checking out, let me know.

    2. Code Rapture says:

      It should be: Nothing compares to the versatility of a Thunderbolt port.  It is a superset of PCI Express.  That means you can bridge a PCI Express card to it through an external enclosure.  There are also external video cards coming out soon (or you can run an internal card in the new 16X Echo Express enclosure by Sonnet).

      BTW, you can run all of those Linux media apps on OS X if you prefer them.

  3. Jason says:

    There’s no optical drive in the new model. It’s now useless as a media hub and I can’t imagine what one would use it for now besides a dinky server, which is a small niche market.

    I use my 2.26 version as a media hub, and I agree it’s fantastic.  I wouldn’t have minded the new one for more gaming power since there is a pretty decent boost, but imo this model is useless.

    Adding an external USB drive is just a bad joke when you consider what you’re paying in extra cost and lost performance for the sleek little package.

    Also, Lion loses front row (which I never used anyway), so it’s like apple really does want to kill the mac mini as a media device.

    Even the second sata port you’re so proud of is useless until some 3rd party comes up with a replacement for the missing proprietary cable.