Calling it a “new, mightier mini,” Apple (s aapl0 updated its smallest desktop with special attention to the optical drive. No, Blu-ray wasn’t added, rather Apple now offers a model with no optical drive at all. However, contrary to rumors and wish-fulfillment on my part, Apple […]

Calling it a “new, mightier mini,” Apple (s aapl0 updated its smallest desktop with special attention to the optical drive. No, Blu-ray wasn’t added, rather Apple now offers a model with no optical drive at all.


However, contrary to rumors and wish-fulfillment on my part, Apple did not lower the price of the entry-level mini to $499.

On the low end, the $599 Mac mini has a 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, up from 2.0GHz, and 2GB of RAM, up from a measly 1GB, and a 160GB hard drive, up from 120GB. You still get five USB ports and one FireWire, as well as NVIDIA GeForce 9400M integrated graphics and a SuperDrive. The $799 model now has a 2.53 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB of RAM, and a 320GB hard drive. So, same price, a little faster, more memory, a bit more storage on the low-end. It’s not much of an update to talk about, if not for the Mac mini with Snow Leopard Server.

For $999, you lose the optical drive, but do get two 500GB hard drives (5400 RPM) on a Mac mini running OS X Server. The other specs match the $799 model. Essentially, for another $200 you are getting an additional 500GB of storage and OS X Server (upgrading the $799 model to one 500GB drive balances out against buying an external SuperDrive for the $999 model). But why?

Apple advertises this curious machine as a “simple” server “perfect for any small business or group,” but how many of those types of customers are going to drop a thousand dollars on a server? It seems like Apple missed an opportunity here, no doubt on purpose, to offer a media and backup server, an iServer for the rest of us. Of course, that would have been competing with the beleaguered “hobby” that is the Apple TV, so instead Apple has extended its overpricing of the Mac mini into the sever market.

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  1. LOL @ complete lack of business knowledge

    How many small businesses are going to drop $1000 on a server? Uh lots? It happens every day. How much do you think servers cost?

    1. A couple of hundred bucks from Dell? And aren’t most server drives 7200 RPM? RAID? Wouldn’t a Mac Pro mini be a better fit for Snow Leopard Server? Lots of questions about this thing. But if it helps keeps the Mac mini as part of the desktop lineup, I’m all for it. I just wish the Mac mini was $499 again.

    2. You fail to mention that Mac OS X Server alone costs $499 and is included with this Mac mini.

      It’s a VERY good buy.

  2. Raoul is absolutely correct. For $1000 you get server hardware and server software with unlimited client licenses. Plus, while you may have a consultant help you set it up, one it is operating it is essentially free. No nickle and diming from MS for every little addition to the server and no consultant fees when you want to change something. This baby will be a huge hit with small businesses.

  3. The cheapest Dell server available is the PowerEdge T100, bundled with Windows Server and 5 user licenses, it is $1,498. (That is with a single 250GB Hard Drive, mind you…)

    So, what website are you shopping where you find them for a couple hundred bucks?


  4. Who says you have to run Windows SBS?

  5. Raoul is absolutely right. $1000 for a server with unlimited clients is very reasonable especially for a small business.

    $200 Dell server? Maybe every 4 years when there is a price mistake at Dell and it appears on FW, SD, etc. (like the 400sc).

    The dual drives in the Mini server edition are perfect for running software RAID. It’s natively supported by OS X and works great.

  6. Charles, ok fine, I’ll play your game. The absolute cheapest Dell server I could find is the PowerEdge T105, with 2.3 Ghz Dual Core AMD (instead of Intel) and two 500 GB drives, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux instead of Windows…. still comes up to $1,140.

    But hey, don’t let the facts get in the way of a story.


  7. Whaaa? $1k for what is essentially an unlimited user server on a super low power and compact platform? This will sell VERY well.

    Among the many uses as an actual business server, it will make a great dev platform for web apps, iPhone push notifications, etc.

    And as for ‘overpriced’ – have you priced out a server lately? $1k would be a bare minimum for one without an OS on it. Plus for one of those you need a closet or server room to stick it in because they are hot and noisy.

    Frankly, this is a great deal, and a great base for apple to build a home server off of.

    1. Even more so than a home server, I think Apple may use this as an entryway into OSX Server. When it comes to IT, many professionals will simply choose the tool they know best. By creating an easy gateway, Apple gives the opportunity for more people to check out their server offerings and presumably choose it when they upgrade to full servers.

  8. I want to duck the rage but ask a dumb question. I can understand an MacBook air sideloading software from a DVD, but this requires an external drive right?

    1. These days, software installs require a network connection.

  9. Charles, you obviously don’t get out much. In the past 6 months I have installed over 40 Mac Minis with varying collections of external HDD’s hanging off the back of them, all running OS X Server. Who’s been buying them? SME’s and SoHo workers, who require more than just file storage (a la Time Capsule etc). Companies looking for a cost effective, reliable and feature rich server have been embracing the Mac Mini as a server idea for years. Hell, we’ve even been taking the DVD’s out and replacing them with hard drives ourselves. This is Apple’s validation of what’s been happening for years – ask Mac Mini Colo! We will sell loads of these babies – at £697 ex VAT, there isn’t a thing to match it in the UK for SME’s looking for a server.

    1. Really (matwyn)??? You must be a robot that never sleeps. Since you would have to install one of these every 3 business days, to install over 40 in just 6 months (stretching the truth a bit, hey?). Do you just install and run? Leave the configuration and support for someone else to clean-up. No wonder you think this is great.

      I haven’t seen a post about backing this thing up. Can anyone say RAID or at least mirrored drives? How about the cost of the external drive for Time machine?

      This is a CHEAP solution. I’m not so sure how great it is. I guess if you don’t mind the downtime when a drive fails or you’re just going to drop $599 to replace the system at the first hardware failure. Maybe it’s great if your reselling Mac minis. As a long term solution for a small business that might decide to put all of their business data in one basket, I don’t think it a good idea.

      Spend another $800 – $1000 for external storage or maybe a fail-over Mac mini and then you might have a solution a business can rely on.

  10. There seems to be a lot of experts commenting, so I figured this would be a good time to ask.

    Setting a computer up as a server is always something I’ve heard about, but I’ve never had a reason to look into it. Seeing the new Mac Mini Server perked my interest, but I’m not sure how I (or my small business) could benefit from it.

    Could someone please explain to me, or give me a few links, pointing out some amazing uses of something like this? Or why Mac OS X Server and not just normal Mac OS X?

    Is it strictly for running a web server (say, like Apache or something?) Or, would this benefit our workplace (network of about 5-6 apple computers, apple tv, etc).

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