It really depends on what games you play. I just got the high end mac mini i7 with Iris graphics. The graphics card is much improved but its still not powerful enough for some games. My mac mini for example could launch and play Tomb Raider but I had to keep on the lowest settings. On the MM the situation is better but still not the best and by no means can i have it on the highest settings. I also play wow not a steam game. On Mac Mini my frame rate in battlegrounds and raids was very low..
I was lucky if it sustained 20 FPS. This on the lowest settings. Now its a lot better on my MM with frame rates between on low settings and a bit lower on the lowest settings. On Second Life I liked to do high end photography. On my old mac mini could barely get away with mid-settings.
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Now I can have it on nearly ultra and still move my camera around with no issues. I will do a benchmark in Tomb Raider and Hitman and add to this post. Both of those games were particulary hard on my old mac mini.
It is a silver box, it looks great, it is everything you expect from an Apple product. We noticed that the plug and back of the unit did tend to heat up a bit after lengthy use, but never to a worryingly high level. The Mac mini on review here is one of the higher-spec 2. Just to compare, that is about the same spec as the recently released entry-level MacBook Air. OS X Lion does a great job of getting through daily browsing and basic computing tasks easily on any processor speed, so if you are picking up the mini just to use for office work and nothing too graphically intensive, it could be the perfect choice.
Connected up to our sitting room television with a wireless keyboard and trackpad sitting in front of us, the Mac mini becomes the perfect internet browser, Twitter updater and video playback box, packing in the power it needs to perform as a media centre.
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Less intensive apps like Spotify and iPhoto can run in the background offering a more comprehensive experience than you might get from some connected media boxes. Playing high definition downloads from iTunes was totally lag free, with the mini keeping quiet even after lengthy periods of p playback - no need to worry about noisy cooling fans spoiling those tense movie moments.
Personally we would opt for the 4GB minimum offering just because having that extra bit of RAM takes the edge off multitasking. One of the major plus points of picking up the new Mac mini is that it ships straight to you with OS X Lion included, so you get the latest Apple operating system and the speediest user experience yet.
We have covered the features of OS X Lion in depth in our review , so we are not going to go over it again here.
Mac mini review (mid 2011)
We will say, however, that the new OS is perfectly at home on the Mac mini, with things like Launchpad running very smoothly and looking great on the big screen. The ability to switch between full screen apps using a four finger swipe and the forward and back Safari browsing looks especially slick on the screen of your big TV, tidier than having to use menus, docks or taskbars to navigate the OS. This is where the mini really begins to shine. It'll sit nicely on its edge for those contemplating a vertical installation, but the protruding lid on the bottom makes it a little less elegant for those applications.
Speaking of the rear, the dozen connectors found there aren't cosmetically different than those on the last build. Funny enough, last year's DisplayPort socket looks identical to this year's Thunderbolt connector, and not surprisingly, DisplayPort monitors and peripherals will happily fit themselves in with no adapters needed. Tinkerers are bound to love that bottom lid Our test unit came with a pair of 1GB memory modules, but even the greenest DIYer could swap those out with more sizable ones -- a couple of snaps and a tug is all it took.
Unfortunately, we're still miffed at Apple's decision to keep the HDD away from a user's fingertips. If we had our druthers, the RAM wouldn't be the only thing that's just a few clips away, but alas, we're stuck with what we've got. We shouldn't have to chide Intel and Apple and whoever else wants to claim responsibility for not having USB 3. A foursome of USB 2. Unfortunately, Steve Jobs still seems to think that the newest iteration of the world's most popular port isn't going anywhere fast, so we're apt to see Thunderbolt pushed as the true USB 2.
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That doesn't mean we have to like it, though. Given that it's the only new port onboard, it's worth mentioning that Thunderbolt is a fantastic addition to the array. The ability to daisy-chain monitors and peripherals off of it enables the bantam desktop to play grown-up in a few key ways. It'll handle vast display resolutions up to 2, x 1,; the HDMI socket tops out at 1, x 1, and outlandish storage solutions, and thanks to the revised CPU, it can more easily handle 'em with poise more on that in a bit.
It's also worth pointing out that the power supply is still internalized huzzah! Let's all breathe a simultaneous sigh of relief, cool? Whisking about Lion and handling mundane tasks we're looking at you, Office was a breeze, though we confess to getting a little impatient when waiting for heavier applications to load for the first time.
Mac mini review (mid )
Bootup routinely took right around 45 seconds from off to usable, and there's no question that an SSD swap would do wonders for the general snappiness of the system. We're pinning that on the lowly 2GB of RAM; granted, we were intentionally pushing it, but those hoping to get creative work done on a mini will certainly want to invest in a few more gigs and a speedier disk drive. On the gaming front, the results were downright impressive.
We fired up Half Life 2: Episode 2 , turned the details to "High" and cranked the resolution to 1, x 1, to natively fill our inch panel. The result? A consistent 31 frames per second. Granted, that title isn't exactly the newest in the stack, but this at least confirms that light-duty gaming with your favorites from yesteryear is indeed possible. This particular system scored For comparison's sake, the mid Mac mini scored on Geekbench, proving that the Core i5-infused newcomer is leaps and bounds more powerful in terms of raw number crunching.
The so-called HTPC factor Like it or not Apple's firmly on the 'not' side from what we can gather , the Mac mini looks like it'd be the ideal home theater PC. It's also a dream come true for heavy Boxee users and iPhone owners; just toss up the overlay and allow your phone to handle the controls. It couldn't be simpler, and if you're able to find an easy solution like this that negates the need for a dedicated mouse and keyboard, you might be just in heaven.
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