Refreshed Mac mini could launch next month

Despite past rumors of the Mac mini's demise, Apple could finally update its smallest and cheapest computer before too long. Wired says it has learned from a source inside the company that Steve Jobs should launch a new-and-improved Mac mini at the Macworld show next month.

The refreshed system will have an aluminum enclosure, Wired says, and it will come in two variants: a $500 model with a 2GHz Core 2 Duo and Intel integrated graphics, and a $700 version with a 2.3GHz Core 2 Duo and a GeForce GPU (perhaps the same Nvidia chipset that powers current MacBooks). Apple will offer 2GB of memory as standard (upgradeable to 4GB), along with 160GB of mechanical storage, a slot-loading DVD drive, and a DisplayPort video connector.

Wired rightfully notes that such an upgrade would be long overdue. The current Mac mini starts at $599 and has a 1.83GHz Core 2 Duo, Intel graphics, 1GB of RAM, and a 80GB hard drive—and that price doesn't include a monitor, keyboard, or mouse. Dell's slim Inspiron 530s desktop has better specs overall and sells for less than half the price.

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