Mac mini (Mid 2011)

For the first time since the original G4 Mac mini was introduced in January 2005, there’s no optical drive in the Mac mini, which also lets Apple trim $100 from its base price – and $200 from the faster version. The 2011 Mac mini can use the same $79 USB SuperDrive as the MacBook Air. Also for the first time, there are two different graphics processors – the entry-level model uses integrated Intel HD 3000 Graphics, while the top-end Mac mini has an AMD Radeon HD 6630M GPU with dedicated video memory.

2011 Mac miniThis is the first Mac mini to go beyond Intel Core 2 Duo. It uses a dual-core Intel Core i5 running at 2.3 GHz or 2.5 GHz, and the faster model also has a 2.7 GHz i7 build-to-order option for $100 additional. Apple claims twice the performance of last year’s Core 2 Duo model.

For power users, the faster model can be ordered with a 256 GB SSD instead of the 500 GB hard drive for $600 extra – or with the SSD and a 750 GB hard drive (to allow for a lot more storage) at $750 extra.

A server version is available with a 2.0 GHz quad-core i7 CPU, two 7200 rpm 500 GB hard drives, and the server version of OS X 10.7 Lion.

rear panel of the 2011 Mac miniAs with the 2010 model, there are four USB 2.0 ports, FireWire 800 remains (FireWire 400 devices can be used with a FireWire 800-to-400 cable or adapter), and there’s the addition of Thunderbolt, which can be used to connect monitors, drives, or other peripherals. The Mini also includes an HDMI port, the industry standard for high definition TVs, and it supports two displays. Completing the back panel are a power button plus audio in and out ports.

The base configurations runs at 2.3 GHz, and 2 GB of RAM is standard, and Apple officially supports memory expansion to 8 GB. The faster model ships with 4 GB of memory.

There are two memory sockets, both are filled with matching modules. The official maximum memory spec is 8 GB, but OWC has found that with the right modules, you can go to 16 GB.

The Mac mini doesn’t include a keyboard or mouse. Apple says buyers can plug in their favorite USB keyboard and mouse – or buy Apple’s offerings. Mac OS X includes support for remapping the Windows alt and option keys to option and cmd respectively.

Details

  • introduced 2011.07.20 at US$599 (2.3 GHz) and US$799 (2.5 GHz), 2.7 GHz i7 build-to-order option adds $150 to faster model, replaced by Late 2012 Mac mini on 2012.10.23.
  • Part no.: MC815LL (2.3 GHz), MC816LL (2.5 GHz)
  • Model Identifier: Macmini5,1 (2.3 GHz), Macmini5,2 (2.5 GHz)

Mac OS

Core System

  • CPU: 2.3/2.5 GHz dual-core Intel i5; 2.7 GHz i7 option
  • L2 cache: 3 MB on CPU
  • Bus: 1333 MHz
  • RAM: 2/4 GB, expandable to 16 GB using two 1333MHz DDR3 SO-DIMMs
  • Performance, Geekbench 3:
    • 32-bit single core: 2175 (2.3 GHz), 2373  (2.5 GHz), 2512 (2.7 GHz i7)
    • 32-bit multicore: 4407 (2.3 GHz), 4829 (2.5 GHz), 5094 (2.7 GHz i7)
    • 64-bit single core: 2346 (2.3 GHz), 2582 (2.5 GHz), 2747 (2.7 GHz i7)
    • 64-bit multicore: 4847 (2.3 GHz), 5320 (2.5 GHz), 5716 (2.7 GHz i7)

Video, 2.3 GHz

  • GPU: Intel HD 3000 Graphics
  • VRAM: 288 MB DDR3 SDRAM (shared with main memory)
  • Video out: Thunderbolt with resolution to 2560 x 1600, HDMI with resolution to and 1920 x 1200. HDMI-to-DVI adapter included.

Video, 2.5 GHz

  • GPU: AMD Radeon HD 6630M graphics
  • VRAM: 256 MB of dedicated GDDR5 memory
  • Video out: Thunderbolt with resolution to 2560 x 1600, HDMI with resolution to and 1920 x 1200. HDMI-to-DVI adapter included.

Drives

  • drive bus: 6 Gbps SATA 6 Rev. 3
  • Hard drive: 2.5″ 500 GB 5400 rpm Serial ATA standard; 750 GB available on build-to-order basis, SSD options available for 2.5 GHz model
  • SSD: uses same SSD modules as MacBook Air
  • SuperDrive: optional external USB 2.0 drive

Expansion

  • Thunderbolt: 1 port
  • USB 2.0: 4 ports
  • FireWire 400 ports: 0
  • FireWire 800 ports: 1
  • Ethernet: 10/100/gigabit
  • WiFi: 802.11n AirPort Extreme built in
  • Bluetooth: BT 4.0 built in
  • SD Card slot: yes
  • IR receiver: supports Apple Remote (optional)
  • no internal modem; external USB modem available
  • Microphone: none

Physical

  • size: 1.4 x 7.7 x 7.7 in/36 x 197 x 197 mm
  • Weight: 3.0 lb./1.37 kg
  • Power supply: 85W internal power supply
  • PRAM battery: 3V CR2032 lithium

Upgrades

  • CPU can probably be replaced with a faster one.

Online Resources

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