Macintosh buying guide 2010

By Roman Loyola, Macworld |  Hardware, Mac Pro, MacBook

Macworld's buying advice: The MacBook Air may not be an impressive speed demon, but it's fast enough for general-purpose use--Web access, e-mail, office software, and even light image and video editing. The MacBook Air is all about portability, and the 11-inch MacBook Air is especially appealing for on-the-go users.

Macworld Editorial Director Jason Snell is a strong proponent of the MacBook Air. Find out why he'll take a tiny, light laptop over a full-size, heavy one every time.

Read our complete review of the 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Airs

Mac mini

The Mac mini went from two models last year to a single model this year. It also had a major redesign; an all-aluminum unibody case replaces the white plastic. The new Mac mini is much smaller than its predecessor, too.

New features include an SD card slot and a power supply inside the computer itself--no more power brick. The Mac mini also has a removable bottom panel so you can upgrade the RAM yourself.

Apple also offers a new Mac mini with Snow Leopard Server (get best current price) with a 2.66GHz Core 2 Duo processor and a pair of 500GB hard drives that you can configure as a RAID. This model doesn't have an optical drive.

Configurations: The $699 Mac mini has a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor, a 320GB hard drive, and Nvidia's GeForce 320M graphics. (Get best current price.) You have to supply your own keyboard, mouse, and display. The Mac mini has both Mini DisplayPort and HDMI connectors, and Apple includes only an HDMI-to-DVI adapter.

Performance: The Mac mini, with its 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor, is about 13.5% faster overall than the older 2.26GHz Mac mini model. In our tests, the new Mac mini kept pace with last year's 2.53GHz model.

Macworld's buying advice: The Mac mini is a nice, affordable computer for new Mac users and shoppers on a budget. It has enough power for everyone except professionals who demand top performance. It's even small enough to incorporate into a home entertainment center.

Senior Contributor Kirk McElhearn ditched his gigantic 2006 Mac Pro for a Mac mini. And he's smitten with Apple's smallest desktop computer. Learn how he came to his buying decision.


Originally published on Macworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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