The Mac mini is Apple's smallest desktop computer. It measures a scant 7.7 inches square and about 1.4 inches high, weighing less than three pounds. It runs OS X Mavericks and comes with the latest suite of Apple's standard software for all new Macs, including iLife and iWork.
The Mac mini is also Apple's least expensive Macintosh computer. At $599, it's hundreds less than the cheapest MacBook Air. One of the reasons for that is it's a BYODKM system - you need to Bring Your Own Display, Keyboard and Mouse. That makes the Mac mini a popular option for Mac users who are new to the fold and want to reuse the peripherals they've already bought for their Windows PC.
Mac mini: Under the hood
Under the hood of the Mac mini is a 2.5 GHz Intel dual-core i5 "Ivy Bridge" processor. It comes standard with 4 GB of RAM (user-upgradable to 16 GB), Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics and a 500 GB hard disk drive. The Mac mini's specs are identical to Apple's 2012 13-inch MacBook Pro.
The Mac mini also includes 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, Gigabit Ethernet, FireWire 800, HDMI and Thunderbolt, as well as an SDXC card slot to accommodate digital cameras and other devices.
Mac mini: Other configurations
A $799 configuration ups the processor to a 2.3 GHz quad-core i7 and 1 TB hard disk drive. Apple also sells the Mac mini is OS X Server trim, with two 1 TB hard drives and OS X Server pre-installed for $999, an affordable option for small businesses and enterprise workgroups looking for a versatile server for e-mail and web service, media sharing, file sharing and more.
Configurable options let you speed up the processor even further to 2.6 GHz, add memory and replace the standard Serial ATA hard disk drive with either a 1 TB "Fusion" drive or a 256 GB Solid State Drive.