The new mac mini (1,4 cm flatter however 3 cm larger and deeper) is priced 799 euros (and 699$, that is a high margin), only 2 Gb ram (+90 euros for 4 Gb – then 889 euros) and a lower cores frequency (2,4 Ghz) than the previous model (2,53 Ghz and 4 Gb for 749 euros). However it features the 320M chipset (up to twice as fast as the older 9400M), upgradable ram to 8 Gb max (through easy access) instead of 4 Gb max previously (2x4Gb can be found at 280 euros in shops – 450 euros as an option at the AppleStore !), a new fan that can be useful under intensive work (audio) and hot ambient temperature (now required due to included power supply).
Number of USB2 ports is down to 4 (from 5), however an HDMI port appears (HDMI to DVI adapter bundled). The hard disk (320 Gb) is still 5400 rpm. Max power consumption is down to 85W (from 110 W previously) and 10 W when idle (on an old G4 MDD 1,25 Ghz it was respectively 360W and 80W).
The mac mini server now includes two 7200 rpm hard drives (500 Gb each), that is interesting for audio (does not require to chain external firewire hard disk and firewire audio interface). At 1149 euros it provides 4 Gb memory and also faster processor cores (2,66 Ghz). We will have to add the external USB (auto-powered) superdrive originally targeted to MacBook Air (+89 euros), therefore the whole is finally priced 1238 euros.
However we can find at only 111 euros more (that is 1349 euros) an iMac fitted with even faster processor cores (3,06 Ghz), a dedicated Radeon HD4760 graphics card with 256 Mb (known as a very good entry level card one year and a half ago on PC, and at least two times faster than 320M chipset), a nice 21,5′ display (1080p, and more readable than a Samsung 20′ display at 1680×1050 resolution), an acceptable weight (9 kg), a 1 To 7200 rpm hard drive, 8 Gb ram option (4 Gb by default) priced 180 euros only, a wireless keyboard and Magic Mouse. The power consumption is 241 W (70 W for the Radeon HD4760).
We can expect that next iMac update will feature lower features/price ratio. A mini tower quad mac pro (Core i5 or i7) around 1500 would be better, as any problem with the iMac (display, etc.) requires to replace the whole computer.