updated 11:28 am EDT, Thu October 25, 2012
Data center highlights new features
The new Mac mini has reportedly reached performance levels comparable to the previous-generation Xserve and Mac Pro desktops released in 2010, according to benchmark tests posted by colocation service provider Macminicolo. The overall design has not substantially changed since the last Minis were introduced in 2011, however the combination of additional RAM and Intel's Ivy Bridge processors brings a significant boost in performance.
Performance on the base-model 2011 Mac mini, which offered only 2GB of RAM, was said to be "brutal with Mountain Lion," however the new models start at 4GB of 1600MHz RAM and can be built with up to 16GB of RAM directly from the factory.
The Fusion Drive, which pairs a traditional disk drive with an SSD, is expected to provide an attractive balance between speed and capacity. The Server variant has dropped to slower 5400 RPM drives, though the capacities have been upgraded to 1TB and 2TB.
The basic Mac mini can be purchased for $599, while the quad-core i7 variant brings the price up to $799. The Server edition carries a $999 price tag.