The Mac Mini has always been an excellent first Apple computer to buy for switchers. My first Apple computer that I bought quite some time ago, about six years ago was a Mac Mini. I still have it connected to my television, although admittedly, I don’t use it that much because it’s not quite up to sending high-definition video to the TV. But I still love the MacMini and what’s so good about it is that it is very quiet and of course, it is very small. The latest Mac Mini Thunderbolt version is now very powerful and is really expandable because of the Thunderbolt support. I have made many podcasts using my Mac Mini which is G4 model and I think I am unlikely to ever sell it. I plan to keep it for nostalgic purposes.
No Optical Drive in the Mac Mini Thunderbolt
The new Thunderbolt Mac Mini 2011 has a dual core i5 processor, and it’s even smaller because the optical drive has been removed. It has a unibody aluminium chassis and now it is even easier to add more memory to it via a circular panel underneath it. Not having a optical drive is not a problem because most Mac applications these days are available as an online download or better still downloaded from the Apple Application Store. If you do need to put something in via optical disc then you can share the optical drive from any other Mac or PC on a network if you install a client program on the remote PC or Mac.
Connecting to the Thunderbolt Mac Mini
The Mac mini comes with an internal 500 GB drive or you can also choose to have a 700 GB hard drive, a 256 GB SSD hard drive or even both. At the rear of the Apple Mac Mini Thunderbolt computer you’ll see the power button, a port for the power cable, gigabit ethernet, a FireWire 800 port, HDMI port so that you can connect to a television really easily, and of course a thunderbolt port. Apple have still managed to put four USB 2 ports, an SDXC card reader and a couple of audio ports to give you digital audio on your Thunderbolt Mac Mini despite the Mac Mini being so small.
The Thunderbolt port uses the full speed dual channel chip that is available also in the iMac and the MacBook Pro, rather than the cheaper Thunderbolt port as used in the MacBook Air. With the Thunderbolt port you can connect an Apple Thunderbolt Cinema display which also has FireWire, USB ports and is kind of like a Thunderbolt adapter hub for various peripherals all connected through the one Apple Thunderbolt cable to your Mac Mini. There is the Promise Pegasus R6 Raid array which is now available in the Apple Store so that you can have huge hard disk expansion available through network attached storage. It is expected that we will have a lot more Thunderbolt devices available by the end of the year. The new Mac Mini, of course comes with the latest iLife suite from Apple along with the new Mac OSX Lion operating system. The Mac Mini does not come with a keyboard or a mouse but you can buy these things separately and a Magic Trackpad works very well with the new OSX Lion operating system.
Mac Mini Thunderbolt Video Options
In the box with the Thunderbolt Mac Mini you will also find a HDMI to DVI adapter so that you are able to use the Mac Mini with an older video display, but it’s probably likely that you will do that rather than buy the quite expensive Apple thunderbolt display, if you are on a tighter budget.
Despite the Mac Mini Thunderbolt being a entry level Apple Computer the performance is not particularly entry level. It is actually a very powerful computer that will be more than good enough for most users. The Mac Mini has good video capabilities and you have an excellent smooth image on whichever monitor you use.
You would think that the extremely compact form factor of the Thunderbolt Mac Mini would mean that that some compromises would have to have been made, but it is not really the case because Apple have perfected the use of the extremely small components packaged in a tiny space and yet give us excellent computing power. The Apple Mac Mini Thunderbolt version has in tests has been an Editors choice when compared to other small computers by various PC manufacturers. The price of the Apple Mac Mini is pretty good for what you get and with having Thunderbolt, it makes it a very good Mac Thunderbolt computer which you will get many years of use from. Hopefully it will not be too long before we all know what is Thunderbolt and we all have a Thunderbolt hard drive on our desks.