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Wednesday, December 31, 2008, 08:00 am PT (11:00 am ET)

More versatile Mac mini expected at Macworld

A much anticipated update to Apple's tiny Mac mini desktop computer is believed to be a lock for next week's Macworld Expo, according to some last minute reports.

TUAW is citing its own sources who say the new models will sport a revised enclosure that more closely conforms to materials used throughout the better part of Apple's product line, namely aluminum and black plastic. Legacy Mac minis have employed a mixture of grey and white plastic.

The report also corroborate some details published by AppleInsider in October regarding a move towards SATA optical drives and hard drives. It was reported that this change would be accompanied by build-to-order options that will allow customers to swap out the optical drive for a second hard drive — a move that will cater those who intent to use the systems as mini servers.

Other expected changes have included a move towards NVIDIA chipsets, the addition of a Mini DisplayPort, and the ability of the diminutive desktops to address 4GB of RAM, up from the 2GB maximum of today's models.

For what it's worth, AppleInsider has also received a couple of reliable reports in recent weeks that suggest the long-awaited Mac mini makeover is slated to arrive at next week's trade show. We've been following the Mac mini story for some time. Earlier reports on the matter can be reviewed below:

Eating our words: Apple's Mac mini to rock on

Apple Enterprise sending thousands of Macs into hotels, cruise ships

Informed players say Apple's Mac mini still kickin'

Apple tells Mac mini fan to hang in there

Mac mini makeover considered likely for Macworld

New iMacs and Mac minis confirmed to use NVIDIA chipsets