June 16, 2010
| by Arlen Schweiger
We know how many of you like to hook up your computers to run your home theater system, or even fuel a multiroom audio setup and more.
Apple just made its own solution of “HTPC”—or in this case, HTMac—by updating its popular Mac Mini computers, which start at $699.
The biggest improvement of the new Mac Mini for theater enthusiasts appears to be the inclusion of HDMI support, with an HDMI port and Mini DisplayPort built-in, along with an HDMI to DVI video adapter included in the $699 product.
That ought to make iTunes and iLife fans happy, especially those who want to hook the Mini straight to their high-def projector. Of course, another plus is the compact size of the unit, which barely makes a dent in your equipment rack or shelf space by whatever display you want to connect it to. The Mac Mini is just that, at 7.7 inches square and 1.4 inches deep in its aluminum enclosure.
Apple says it has also beefed up the graphics capability, while trimming down on the energy output of the Mini:
With 48 processing cores, the NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics processor delivers up to twice the graphics performance of its predecessor, making Mac mini ideal for graphics intensive applications or visually rich games. Mac mini comes standard with a 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 320GB hard and 2GB of RAM. ...
The new Mac mini reduces power consumption by 25 percent to less than 10W at idle, less than half the power required by competing systems. Mac mini meets Energy Star 5.0 requirements and achieves EPEAT Gold status. The new aluminum enclosure is highly recyclable and Mac mini uses PVC-free components and cables, contains no brominated flame retardants and features material-efficient system and packaging designs.
To facilitate all of that digital media and graphics goodness, the Mini also features Apple’s latest OS X Snow Leopard platform and easy-to-use iLife applications suite.
Do you use a Mac Mini in your theater? Tell us about the performance in the comments below.
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.