Apple Releases New Sandy Bridge Mac Minis and Thunderbolt Display

macmini
Apple today released an update to its Mac mini line, bringing Intel's Sandy Bridge platform to the diminutive desktop computer along with new support for the Thunderbolt connectivity standard being pushed by Apple and Intel. The new Mac mini lineup consists of two standard stock configurations alongside a "server" model. Notably, all models drop the optical disc in favor of an optional external SuperDrive.

Standard models
- 2.3 GHz Intel Core i5, 500 GB hard drive, 2 GB RAM: $599
- 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5, 500 GB hard drive, 4 GB RAM: $799

Server model
- 2.0 GHz, dual 500 GB hard drives, 4 GB RAM: $999

Additional build-to-order options include an upgrade to 8 GB of RAM, up to 750 GB hard drives, and an external SuperDrive. The high-end standard model and the server model can also be configured with one (standard) or two (server) 256 GB solid-state drives.

The new Mac mini delivers up to twice the processor and graphics performance of the previous generation in the same amazingly compact and efficient aluminum design.* Starting at just $599 (US), the new Mac mini is available for order today and in stores tomorrow.

“Mac mini delivers the speed and expandability that makes it perfect for the desktop, living room or office,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “With faster processors, more powerful graphics and Thunderbolt in an incredibly compact, aluminum design, the new Mac mini is more versatile than ever.”

All Mac mini models ship with OS X Lion pre-installed.

mac mini tb display
Alongside the new Mac mini models, Apple also announced a new Apple Thunderbolt Display. Appearing nearly identical to the previous 27-inch LED Cinema Display, the primary upgrade to Apple's sole standalone display offering is Thunderbolt compatibility, enabling the device to be used within daisy-chained configurations of the new high-speed data and display connectivity standard. With the new standard, users can for the first time run two displays off of a single Thunderbolt port on Macs offering enough graphics horsepower to support the pixel load.

dock
The upgrade to Thunderbolt also allows Apple to turn the display into an "ultimate docking station", with the new display now offering a built-in FaceTime HD camera, 2.1 speaker system, three USB ports, one Firewire 800 port, one Gigabit Ethernet port, and a second Thunderbolt port to enable daisy chaining. An integrated MagSafe cable for powering connected notebook computers also continues to be offered.

“The Apple Thunderbolt Display is the ultimate docking station for your Mac notebook,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing.” With just one cable, users can dock with their new display and connect to high performance peripherals, network connections and audio devices.”

Images of the new Thunderbolt-enabled LED Cinema Display leaked on Apple's site late last week, foreshadowing their arrival alongside the Mac minis that do not ship with an included display. The new LED Cinema Display will be available within the next 60 days and is priced at $999.

Related Roundup: Mac mini
Buyer's Guide: Mac Mini (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

Vantage Point Avatar
125 months ago
It's 2011!!! I think Apple should pony an extra $10 and put 4GB of RAM in the Mini base model, not 2GB - that's is ridiculous and a bit of a insult to buyers that that much for computer
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SkippyThorson Avatar
125 months ago
Dropping the optical disc drive on the Mini is possibly the most bonehead move I've ever seen Apple do. I have to say, considering this is widely regarded as the "switcher machine", I don't understand the logic even more.

I don't know about you, but the Windows users I know are all about physical media consumption. Now I've gone from explaining "Macs don't do games because..." to "Macs don't have CD drives because..." Do you know how many people are going to laugh at that statement?

I feel that this is just Apple's price increase to the Mini without actually increasing the price of the Mini. It had a $100 price hike not too long ago, and now (something as primitive as) using CDs / DVDs will cost you an extra $100 for an external device. Absurd.

Furthermore, Apple is All about eliminating clutter - how is having to have an external drive eliminating clutter? If anything, the Mini is all about simplicity. Having one more thing on the desk is not a selling point. Having one built in is. Only a select few Mac lovers / longtime users won't mind the lack of a drive. Even some who aren't still won't mind. The majority however, will spring for an external optical drive. I now consider the Mini's base price to be $699...

Guess what that optical drive is coming out of next. That iMac sure looks like it could trim some fat. Now, I've actually wanted that to be horizontal since the death of the iMac G4. That, I'll welcome. It had just better accompany a $100 price drop or a free bundle into the box.

Quote from the Mac Mini's product page:

"Mac mini is designed without an optical disc drive. Because these days, you don’t need one. It’s easier than ever to download music and films from the iTunes Store. And you can download apps from the Mac App Store with a click."

LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL... Yeah, right Apple. The Mac Mini is a 'hub' with HDMI, yet it can't even play DVD's? Rip CD's? And whats the point of having Boot Camp when you can't use a Windows disc?

Epic. Fail.
Looks like most users don't agree, but I do. My thoughts exactly.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BCurry1 Avatar
125 months ago
They killed the MacBook.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NebulaClash Avatar
125 months ago
Quote from the Mac Mini's product page:

"Mac mini is designed without an optical disc drive. Because these days, you don’t need one. It’s easier than ever to download music and films from the iTunes Store. And you can download apps from the Mac App Store with a click."

LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL... Yeah, right Apple.

Epic. Fail.

Heh, if I had a dollar every time someone used the phrase "Epic Fail" to Apple on MacRumors, my bank account would be Too Big To Fail.

Funny, one epic failure after another from Apple keeps leading to record sales.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
arn Avatar
125 months ago
Are we sure about this ? The tech specs say there's only 1 Thunderbolt port :



How can you daisy chain them if there's no second port ?
It also has a built in thunderbolt cable, plus the port.

arn
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
winston1236 Avatar
125 months ago
i couldnt ever buy a mini based on performance anyway but no optical drive? it makes me think how many college textbooks are out there with a cd in the back. kind of making it hard for anyone with serious work to buy one apple
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

jon prosser imac 2021colors

Prosser: 2021 iMac to Come in Five Colors, Apple Silicon Mac Pro to Resemble 'Stacked' Mac Minis

Wednesday February 24, 2021 7:26 am PST by
Hit-and-miss leaker Jon Prosser has today alleged that the upcoming 2021 iMac models will offer five color options, mirroring the colors of the fourth-generation iPad Air, and revealed a number of additional details about the Mac Pro with Apple Silicon. In a new video on YouTube channel FrontPageTech, Prosser explained that the redesigned iMacs will come featuring options for Silver, Space ...
2021 mbp sd slot feature2

Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models With HDMI Port and SD Card Reader to Launch Later This Year

Monday February 22, 2021 8:52 pm PST by
Apple plans to release two new MacBook Pro models equipped with an HDMI port and SD card reader in the second half of 2021, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who outlined his expectations in a research note obtained by MacRumors. The return of an SD card reader was first reported by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman last month. "We predict that Apple's two new MacBook Pro models in 2H21 will have...
m1 mac mini

M1 Mac Users Report Excessive SSD Wear

Tuesday February 23, 2021 7:07 am PST by
Over the past week, some M1 Mac users have been reporting alarming SSD health readings, suggesting that these devices are writing extraordinary amounts of data to their drives (via iMore). Across Twitter and the MacRumors forums, users are reporting that M1 Macs are experiencing extremely high drive writes over a short space of time. In what appear to be the most severe cases, M1 Macs are sai...
iphone 12 pro display video

BOE Rumored to Supply iPhone 13 Display Panels After iPhone 12 Failures

Monday February 22, 2021 9:54 am PST by
Display manufacturer BOE will be one of the main suppliers of OLED panels for iPhone 13 models, according to a new report today from Taiwan's Economic Daily News. BOE is said to be working with touch panel manufacturer General Interface Solution (GIS), part of the Hon Hai Group to develop OLED panels. Multiple iPhone 12 rumors suggested that BOE would supply some panels for the devices,...
flat mbp 14 inch feature yellow

Redesigned 14-Inch MacBook Pro Expected to Feature Brighter Mini-LED Display With Slimmer Bezels and More

Thursday February 25, 2021 7:48 am PST by
Apple plans to unveil new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with Mini-LED-backlit displays in the second half of this year, according to industry sources cited by Taiwanese supply chain publication DigiTimes. The report claims that Radiant Opto-Electronics will be the exclusive supplier of the Mini-LED backlight units, while Quanta Computer is said to be tasked with final assembly of the...
anker magsafe powercore battery pack

Anker Releases MagSafe-Compatible Battery Pack for iPhone 12 Lineup

Tuesday February 23, 2021 7:49 am PST by
Following rumors that Apple is working on a MagSafe battery pack for iPhone 12 models, popular accessory maker Anker has beaten Apple to the punch with the release of its PowerCore Magnetic 5K Wireless Power Bank. First previewed at CES 2021, the PowerCore battery pack magnetically attaches to the back of any iPhone 12 model and provides 5W of wireless charging. With a 5,000 mAh capacity,...
iPad Pro Mini LED

New iPad Pro and MacBook Models With Mini-LED Displays Again Rumored to Launch This Year

Monday February 22, 2021 9:32 pm PST by
Taiwanese company Ennostar will begin production of Mini-LED backlight units for an upcoming 12.9-inch iPad Pro in the late first quarter or second quarter of this year, according to industry sources cited by DigiTimes. Ennostar is a holding company that was jointly established in January 2021 by LED-related manufacturers Epistar and Lextar Electronics. Apple is expected to unveil the new ...
First Look Big Sur Feature2

Apple Releases macOS Big Sur 11.2.2 to Prevent MacBooks From Being Damaged by Third-Party Non-Compliant Docks

Thursday February 25, 2021 10:07 am PST by
Apple today released macOS Big Sur 11.2.2, the fourth update to the macOS Big Sur operating system that launched in November. macOS Big Sur 11.2.2 comes two weeks after the release of macOS Big Sur 11.2.1, a bug fix update. The new ‌‌‌‌macOS Big Sur‌‌‌ 11.2.2‌ update can be downloaded for free on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System Preferences....
steam apple logo

Valve Ordered to Give Apple Information on 436 Steam Games As Part of Epic Games Legal Case

Thursday February 25, 2021 1:50 am PST by
Valve, the makers behind popular game distribution platform Steam, will be forced to hand over aggregate historical sales, price, and other information on 436 games hosted on the store to Apple, as part of the Apple vs. Epic Games antitrust case. As reported in a paywalled report by Law360, during a virtual discovery hearing on Wednesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas S. Hixson ordered that...
scott forstall original iphone

Epic Games 'Attempting to Locate' Former iOS Chief Scott Forstall to Testify in Ongoing Legal Battle with Apple

Tuesday February 23, 2021 4:22 am PST by
As part of its ongoing legal battle, Epic Games is now seeking testimony from Apple's former iOS software chief, Scott Forstall. Forstall left Apple in 2013, in what was widely reported at the time to have been a forced exit, largely because of the botched early launch of Apple Maps. Since then, Forstall has kept a very low profile and has only made a few media appearances in the past few...