A new tiny iPad isn't the only little-big news out of today's Apple extravaganza. Here's a the brand new set of upgraded Mac Minis that'll be delivering that Apple love at sub-$1000 prices—Now with upgraded Intel Ivy Bridge processors. They're available for purchase now.
Apple claims the new Ivy Bridge Mac Minis are two times faster than the last batch. We'll see about that, but one thing's for sure; They're just as tiny and cute as ever. The new Mac Minis are 7.7-inch squares of aluminum just 1.4 inches thick.
The baseline $600 Mac Mini comes with a 2.3GHz dual-core i5 processor, 2GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive. You can exand the RAM up to 8GB and the hard drive up to 750GB.
The $800 Mac Mini configuration packs a 2.5 GHz quad-core i5 processor with 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive. Add on all the extras and juice your Mac Mini with a 2.7GHz i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 256GB solid state drive for $1500 all together.
As before, you'll be able to buy the Mac Mini in a server configuration, this time with 2.3GHz quad-core i7, 4GB of RAM two 1 TB hard drives for $100.
We knew this was coming—inventories of the Mac Mini have been depleted across the country for weeks, and the diminutive Mac hadn't been refreshed since July 2011, when it was outfitted with a the then newish Thunderbolt I/O and upgraded Sandy Bridge processors. Last year's baseline $600 model had a 2.3GHZ processor with 2GB of memory and 500GB hard drive, The more expensive $800 Mac Mini came with 2.5GHz processor, 4GB of memory and a 500GB hard drive. When more important computers like the MacBook Pro line get a boost, the Mac Minis, which are aimed at budget conscious and corporate customers, generally follow suit several months later.
The cheapest Mac Minis seem like a solid, budget-friendly alternative for people who don't want to shell out for more expensive iMacs, but once you start piling on the extras, these little tigers aren't really worth it anymore—Unless for some reason you need a monitorless computer you can throw in your briefcase.