The real decision to make when buying a new 2011 Mac Mini

The specs on all configurations of the new 2011 Mac Mini all boil down to one basic decision:

As you can see, the processors are of negligible difference.  The double-memory difference can be solved for much cheaper than Apple is offering.  Both configurations come with the same hard drive capacity and performance.  Thus, the only REAL difference exists in the choice of graphics card.  Going discrete with the AMD (with its own onboard memory) is a much better option than relying on the Intel HD 3000.  But is it worth $200?

That part is debatable.  If you don’t play games, I’d venture to say that it probably isn’t worth the added cost.  And even if you do play games, you still won’t be getting a great frame-rate with that particular video card.  But then again, having a video card that doesn’t share memory with the system is always a good thing, and ensures that graphics-intensive processes don’t slow down the rest of the system’s operations as much.  If you are on the fence, wait for the benchmarks.  If you are on a budget, feel comfortable with the Intel, and just upgrade the ram as much as you can post-purchase.  If money is no object, discrete video memory is always better than non-discrete.

At least Apple somewhat simplified the choices for us, by keeping the storage and processor options essentially the same.  🙂


One thought on “The real decision to make when buying a new 2011 Mac Mini

  1. I still can’t understand why Apple don’t just offer 64GB SSD as standard issue on all Mac Minis – maybe soldered onto the motherboard itself – and then offer second (or third! – there’s plenty of space in the casing) hard disk or optical drive options as upgrades.

    This would make for a faster and cheaper desktop solution. The Mini is supposed to be a desktop computer, for God’s sake – surely it won’t kill us to use an external USB drive instead of opting for an internal drive that is smaller, more expensive and slower than the real desktop equivalent!

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