Mac mini (Early 2005)

Never before had Apple sold a $500 Macintosh. Never before had Apple been poised to grow its market share like it hoped to with the Mac mini. The tiny Mac mini (6.5″ square, 2″ high, 2.9 lb.) has incredibly minimalist design. On the front, there’s just a slot-loading optical drive and a power light. On the rear, almost enough ports to do everything important (two USB ports is kind of skimpy).

Mac mini

The Mac mini shipped in a smaller box than the regular iPod, which was possible because Apple didn’t include a keyboard or mouse. Instead, Apple says you can plug in your favorite USB keyboard and mouse – or buy Apple’s offerings. Mac OS X 10.4 and later include support for remapping the Windows Alt and Option keys to Option and Cmd.

The Mac mini is expandable. Memory can be expanded from 256 MB to 1 GB (but there’s only one memory slot, so if you upgrade, you have to remove what’s installed), and Apple doesn’t recommend that users upgrade RAM (although this will not void your warranty). There’s room inside for Bluetooth and AirPort Extreme (to be installed by Apple or an authorized dealer, not by the user).

back of Mac mini

With USB 2.0 and FireWire, it’s easy to add all sorts of peripherals.

Apple cut costs with a single memory slot and by leaving out the keyboard and mouse, but they also made some choices that raise the cost of the Mac mini, particularly the slot-loading optical drive and the use of 2.5″ laptop hard drives that are smaller, more energy efficient, and more expensive per gigabyte than the 3.5″ drives found in most desktop computers.

Due to poor cooling, the ATI Radeon 9200 graphics processor can overheat during intensive gaming, producing what one reader calls “swirling flying triangles”. Letting the mini cool solves the problem. To minimize overheating, be sure to allow plenty of air flow around the Mac mini, don’t stack it with a hot hard drive, and consider running it vertically or with a set of feet to raise it above your work surface, which allows air to reach the bottom, the mini’s primary heat radiating surface.

Apple offered several Build to Order options, such as a 4x SuperDrive for $100 extra, Bluetooth for $50, AirPort Extreme for $79 (or both Bluetooth and AirPort Extreme for $99), a USB mouse and keyboard for $58, or a wireless mouse and keyboard for $99 (these requires Bluetooth). And with a $19 DVI to Video Adapter, you can connect the Mac mini to most modern TVs using S-video or composite video.

If you have a lot of peripherals, you might want to look into a FireWire/USB 2.0 hub. Prices range from $29-49.

At the time, Apple’s least costly display was the 20″ Cinema Display ($999 when the mini was introduced, and down to $799 in late 2005), although the Apple Store also offers flat screen CRT monitor for a lot less. The big question for the rest of the year will probably be which 17″ flat-panel monitor looks best with the Mac mini. We recommend you pick a display with digital DVI input instead of or in addition to analog VGA.


  • introduced 2005.01.11 and available 2005.01.22 at US$499 (1.25 GHz Combo) and US$599 (1.42 GHz Combo). 1.42 GHz SuperDrive model introduced 2005.07.26 at US$699. As of 2005.07.26, all 1.42 GHz models include AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth 2.0. Replace 2005.09.28 with 1.33 GHz and 1.5 GHz Late 2005 model.
  • Part no.: M9686 (1.25 GHz Combo), M9687 (1.42 GHz), M9971 (1.42 GHz SuperDrive)
  • Model Identifier: PowerMac10,1

Mac OS

Core System

  • CPU: 1.25/1.42 GHz G4 (7457B)
  • L2 cache: 512 KB on CPU
  • Bus: 167 MHz
  • RAM: 256 MB, expandable to 1 GB using PC2700 (333 MHz) DDR SDRAM. 512 MB standard as of 2005.07.26.
  • performance, Geekbench 2 (Leopard): 701 (1.25 GHz), 777 (1.42 GHz)
  • performance, Geekbench 2 (Tiger): 727 (1.25 GHz), 802 (1.42 GHz)
  • performance, Xbench 1.2 (1.24/1/42 GHz, 512 MB RAM)
    • overall: 116.01/144.60
    • CPU: 1351.97/172.25
    • memory: 131.46/130.01
    • Quartz graphics: 160.83/179.39
    • OpenGL graphics: 111.26/123.11
    • Hard drive: 57.38/60.89


  • GPU: ATI Radeon 9200 with AGP 4x support
  • Video out: DVI, VGA with included adapter, S-video with optional adapter


  • drive bus: ATA/100
  • Hard drive: 2.5″ 40/80 GB ATA/100
  • Combo Drive: reads DVDs at up to 8x speed, writes CD-R discs at up to 24x, writes CD-RW discs at up to 16x, reads CDs at up to 24x
  • SuperDrive (BTO option): writes DVD±R discs at up to 4x speed; DVD-RW at 2x; DVD+RW at 2.4x; reads DVDs at up to 8x; writes CD-R discs at up to 16x, writes CD-RW discs at up to 8x, reads CDs at up to 24x


  • USB: 2 USB 2.0 ports
  • FireWire 400: 1 port
  • FireWire 800: none
  • Ethernet: 10/100Base-T
  • WiFi: 802.11g AirPort Extreme optional prior to 2005.07.26; standard on 1.42 GHz model after 2005.07.26
  • Bluetooth: optional prior to 2005.07.26; standard on 1.42 GHz model after 2005.07.26
  • integrated 56 kbps modem supports v.92 standard (optional on 1.42 GHz models after 2005.07.26)
  • Microphone: none


  • size: 2.0 x 6.5 x 6.5 in/5.1 x 16.5 x 16.5 cm
  • Weight: 2.9 lb./1.3 kg
  • Power supply: 85W external power supply
  • PRAM battery: 3V CR2032 lithium


  • none

Online Resources

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