First off, an admission: I've always wanted a Mac Mini. Sort of like I've always wanted a Mini Cooper convertible. But then I take a look at the price tag and it always seems too expensive. Call me cheap, but when you're at $600 (for the entry-level Mini) you start to ask yourself: what can I get for a few hundred bucks more--aside from the step-up $799 Mac Mini?
The answer is always a laptop. Now, the Mac Mini, of course, is basically a laptop without the screen. It uses laptop components. This new base system features a new 2GHz Core 2 Duo processor, the same 1GB of RAM, and a larger 120GB hard drive (see Rich Brown's full post here).
The step-up model doubles the RAM and includes a 320GB drive (you really don't get $200 worth of extras for your $200, do you?). Nvidia's MCP79 chipset drives both new Mac Minis; that translates into the Nvidia GeForce 9400M graphics chip driving its display. A nice upgrade from the old model, to be sure, but it would be a lot nicer if Apple had a configuration that started at $399, not $599.
I know what so many of you are about to tell me. Apple doesn't bother with low-margin products. It just wouldn't do a $399 Mac Mini. That's why it's raking it in while other PC makers are having an awfully hard time these days. I understand. I get it. But that doesn't mean I can't ask for a $399 Mac Mini. And it isn't like the Mini was flying off the shelves at $599 before, so why should it fly off them now?
Again, call me cheap. But I want a new $399 Mac Mini--and I'd put an order in for one right now if it existed. Anybody agree?