New Apple Mac Mini $530 at MacConnection

From 9to5Toys.com:

Today only, MacConnection has the Mac Mini base configuration for $529.95 with free shipping. That’s $70 off retail and the lowest price we’ve seen (refurb is $519 at Apple).

Add 8GB of Corsair RAM from Amazon for $41.99 and you are still $30 below Apple’s original retail price.

Get a little tricky by adding a super speedy Samsung 830 SSD (review) via iFixit’s second drive kit.

We have other Mac Desktops at lowest available prices here. Read more

Lowest price Mac desktops from MacMall: New Minis start at $551, iMacs at $1086

From 9to5Toys.com:

MacMall is offering 9to5 readers an additional 3 percent off its already lowest prices on Mac Minis and iMacs this month to yield the lowest prices you will find anywhere (by as much as $50) with free shipping via this link. The 3 percent is deducted at checkout and MacMall does not charge tax in most states.

All discounts, including higher end models, are listed below:

Read more

Mac desktop lowest price special from MacMall: New Minis start at $551, iMacs at $1086

From 9to5Toys.com:

MacMall is offering 9to5 readers an additional 3% off of their already lowest prices on Mac Minis and iMacs this month yielding the lowest prices you’ll find anywhere (by as much as $50) with free shipping via this link.  The 3% is deducted at checkout and MacMall doesn’t charge tax in most states.

All discounts, including higher end models listed below:

Read more

MacMall drops Mac desktop prices down to lowest available

From 9to5Toys.com:

MacMall offers 9to5 readers an additional 3 percent off their lowest price new Mac Desktop products at checkout which yield lowest prices currently available in the U.S. with free shipping.  Mac Minis start at $567.99 and iMacs start at $1105.79.

Your only better option would be to buy a refurb iMac at the online Apple Store for $999.

Speaking of Refurbs at the Apple Store, iPad 2s are in stock again at $419, which is a solid savings of $80 (you might want to wait a few months for an update, however!).

Other current Apple Store refurbs:

MacBook Air: Starting at $799
MacBook Pros: Starting at $929
Thunderbolt Display: $849
Airports: Starting at $85  Read more

How the $300 Mini Hackintosh turned into a $750 beast

I was in New York City for a Samsung event focused on SSDs and gaming on PCs last month.  There wasn’t much in the way of new information, but Samsung gave me one of their SATA III 256GB 830 SSDs to try out.  These are within a few bytes per second of the fastest SATA3 SSDs money can buy, so I was pretty excited to get home and throw it in a Mac.

The problem is that I don’t have a worthy Mac to test it out on.  I’ve been using an Air as my exclusive machine for a year and my wife is tired of me testing stuff on her MacBook Pro.  We have a bunch of old Macs laying around the house but nothing with a SATA III connection.

Luckily, I’ve been in the market for a new Mac desktop since I replaced my MacBook Pro with an Air  last year, but to my surprise, I haven’t really found myself in need of one.  The Air drives my 30-inch display pretty well and most of my media has been offloaded to a Gigabit NAS.  Since I already have a 30-inch display, an iMac doesn’t really appeal to me.  Apple’s headless desktops don’t make sense in my situation either. A Mac Mini isn’t going to be much faster than my Air and the Mac Pro hasn’t been updated in over a year and doesn’t even have SATA 3 on board.

I also have some USB3 and eSATA peripherals that I get for testing and can’t use these products on standard Mac hardware.

I decided to give into temptation and build a Hackintosh… Read more

‘Late 2011 iMacs’? (Updated)

Update: Apple has pulled the listing

Some eagle-eyed commenters noted that the Support document about Thunderbolt Displays included an interesting addition.  Apple says that iMac (Mid 2011 and Late 2011) can both support two Thunderbolt displays.

There’s only one problem:

Apple hasn’t released a Late 2011 iMac…yet.

Apple released an EDU-only  iMac in August which is sometimes called “Late 2011 iMac” but that device has no Thunderbolt so that wouldn’t make sense.  Apple last updated the iMacs in May to Sandy Bridge processors.

Rumors of a late 2011 MacBook Pro refresh perhaps could also point to an iMac refresh as well.

Here is Apple’s current support doc on how to identify iMacs:

Interesting to say the very least. Read more

MacBook Pro refresh coming before Christmas?

AI reports that the MacBook Pro line will receive minor processor updates before the holiday shopping season.  In fact, they say the updates should come before the end of the month.

According to people with proven insight into Apple’s future product plans, the late-2011 MacBook Pro refresh will deliver marginal speed bumps to the notebooks’ Core i-Series of Sandy Bridge processors but will otherwise introduce no material changes over the existing models.

While precise timing for the update may change, those same people say the Mac maker currently anticipates an introduction of the refreshed line before the end of the month,

The report seems to stem from the recent release of Intel Core i7 2700 series processors fit for use in MacBook Pros (right).

This seems to fly counter to earlier reports from MacRumors that the next update to the MacBook Pro line would be a big redesign.

MacRumors has heard reliable confirmation that the next revision of Apple’s MacBook Pro line will utilize a new case design for the first time in several years.

For what it is worth, we’re seeing no hiccups in the supply chain on current models.  Silent updates aren’t unheard of however.

Read more

MacConnection coupon: 3% off already low-priced Apple desktops and laptops

From 9to5Toys:

MacConnection offers readers an additional 3% off Mac desktops and laptops via coupon code “3%MacDeal”. The coupon applies to MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac Pro, Mac Mini, and iMac computers. It’s the best percent-off coupon we’ve seen from MacConnection in recent months. Even better, free shipping applies to most deals, yielding a trove of lowest-we-could-find prices.

Best Bets: New Core i5 MacBook Airs now start $921 (Amazon is $949).  Mac Minis start at $551.88  (Amazon is$569)

MacConnection also has the lowest price we could find on the new Thunderbolt display at $979 and a 128GB Crucial 6Gb/s SSD for $189.99.  AppleTVs are $94.99 as are Airport Express base stations..  Wireless Magic Mouse – $64.99. Read more

Macworld: for simple tasks, a decked out Mini beats a base iMac handily (or SSDs rule)

Macworld decided to put a decked out Mac Mini Mid-2011 against a current baseline iMac 2.5GHz to see what kind of performance could be gotten from Apple’s diminutive little machine when an SSD is added.

When we say “decked out”, we’re referring to the $100 2.5->2.7GHz CPU improvement + $600 SSD upgrade which almost doubles the price of the $799 ($769) high end Mini and pushes it above the price of the base model iMac. Minis start out at around $568.

The results are pretty apparent: when running simple tests, especially ones that rely only on CPU and disk access, the Mini beat the iMac handily (above). That’s almost entirely due to the added speed of the SSD compared with the iMac’s 3.5-inch HDD. When doing more graphics intensive tests (below), the iMac and its more powerful GPU took over.

The takeaway on this however is that a HDD to SSD upgrade can make a heck of a lot of difference in performance. For those handy out there, adding an SSD to a Mac Mini doesn’t have to be a $600 proposition either. Reasonable SSDs can start out at $100 and can be added to the new Minis’ hard drive configuration (not swapped) with a simple kit.

Another important tweak not detailled in these tests is adding 8GB of RAM to the Mini which will run you somewhere south of $40. Added RAM really improves performance when lots of windows or applications are open at the same time.

Read more

Apple Stores begin Lion transition

.

We’re getting word from numerous Apple Stores that the Lion transition has begun.  In this photo taken at the 14th St. Apple Store in NYC by a passerby, you can see Apple employees updating Macs as well as some heavy hardware in the foreground.  Those are reportedly the new signage packages.

Read more

Lifehacker posts guide to building a Mini Hackintosh

Lifehacker has posted a nifty guide to building a Hackintosh, Mini style. This Hackintosh is very similar to Apple’s Mac Mini in price but more burly in specs. Hackintoshes offer a great way to learn about the innards of computers and how they work.

The end product ran up a price tag of $599.65, which is a very fair price for what you’re getting.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. Gigabyte GA-H55N-USB3 Motherboard $104.99
  2. Intel Core i3 Processor i3-540 3.06GHz 4MB LGA1156 CPU $110.00
  3. ZOTAC nVidia GeForce GT240 512 MB DDR3 DVI/HDMI PCI-Express Video Card $84.99
  4. 2x2GB Corsair PC3-10666 1333Mhz Dual Chanel 240-pin DDR3 Desktop RAM $43.99
  5. Western Digital 1TB SATA III 7200 RPM 32MB Cache Desktop Hard Drive $59.99 (2TB: $79)
  6. SilverStone SG05BB-450 ALL Black Plastic/SECC Mini-ITX Computer Case with SFX 450W 80+ Bronze Certified/Single +12V rail Power Supply $119.99
  7. Sony Optiarc 8X SATA DVD+/-RW Slim Drive $34.99
  8. StarTech.com MCSATAADAP Micro SATA to SATA Adapter Cable with Power $11.71
  9. Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard $29.00
  10. OPTIONALOCZ Agility 120GB SSD $199.99 (note: this is optional and not included in the total cost of the machine)

The squad over at Lifehacker used tonymacx86′s CustoMac Mini tool and a good suite of hardware. While this isn’t as small as a Mac Mini, it is very close and is a lot faster. Check out Lifehacker’s video above on how to set this up and visit their post for a list of hardware. We have to warn you, this isn’t for every computer user, because you need to know how to build your own computer and do a little tinkering.

If a Hackintosh Mini isn’t for you, check out tonymacx86′s guide to making a Sandy Bridge Hackintosh. Intel’s Sandy Bridge processor is rumored to be included in many of the new Macs. Why not go ahead and build one on the cheap? Tonymacx86 has all the answers.

Read more