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Tuesday, September 27, 2005, 08:00 am PT (11:00 am ET)

Apple readying significant Mac mini update

Apple Computer has begun to inform service providers of a revision to its Mac mini desktop computer that is now expected to quietly make its debut in a matter of days.

According to documents shown to AppleInsider, the revision, which will bump the low-end Mac mini from 1.25GHz to 1.33GHz and the two higher-end models from 1.42GHz to 1.5GHz, was originally slated for release last Tuesday.

Sources say Apple will continue to market the three new Mac mini configurations at the current price points of $499, $599, and $699. All three models will ship standard with Mac OS X 10.4.2 and include faster hard drives operating at 5400-rpm. The current Mac minis include 4200-rpm drives.

In the graphics department, both the mid-range and high-end 1.5GHz Mac mini configurations will see their video memory doubled via ATI's Radeon 9200 64MB graphics card with AGP 4X support. The low-end 1.33GHz Mac mini will continue to ship with 32MB version of the card, sources said.

Updates to the Mac mini's wireless technologies are also expected in the revision. Sources say Apple has redesigned the Mac mini's mezzanine board to accommodate a revised AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth combo card, which will ship on the 1.5GHz models and include Bluetooth 2.0+EDR technology. While remaining backwards-compatible with Bluetooth 1.x, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR is up to three times faster, offering a maximum data rate of 3Mbps.

Finally, sources say the high-end 1.5GHz Mac mini configuration will also gain an 8x double-layer SuperDrive capable of double-layer DVD burning.

All models will continue to ship with MPC7447A PowerPC G4 processors from Freescale and 512MB of PC2700 (333MHz) DDR SDRAM.