macmini November 12, 2011

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… expand full story

macmini September 16, 2011

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. expand full story

macmini September 13, 2011

If, for some reason, you don’t want to run Lion on your new Mac Mini, it appears that using a clone of a recent MacBook Pro running Snow Leopard will boot and operate the Mac Mini.  MacBidoulle cautions the Ethernet hasn’t been properly tested and the new Radeon Video cards in the high end model may need some hacking to get 3D working. expand full story


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.

expand full story

macmini September 9, 2011

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. expand full story

macmini August 31, 2011

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.

expand full story


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