We have had a Mac mini for over a year now and while it served us well, it is rather underpowered. Nah, underpowered is being too nice, the 1.4Ghz G4 model is slow as shit. The main culprit, in my opinion, is the 32MB ATI card that is in the PPC-based Mac mini. The slow performance is especially noticeable when hooked up to a 23-inch Cinema Display. I’d love to upgrade to a new Intel-based Mac mini, but it too is lacking in the video performance category, so I fear that I’d see similar issues. The Mac Pro’s are a bit too out of my price range and due to space issues, I don’t want to have another hulking tower in my home (my PC already fulfills that role). Since I already have a nice display (which is also being shared with my PC via the excellent Gefen 2×1 DVI KVM Switcher), the 24-inch iMac probably won’t be a good solution either.
In fantasy-land, what I’d love to see is something like a Mac mini Pro. A Mac mini Pro would have close to the same tech specs as the iMac (but with at least one FireWire 800 port) and sell for around $999 to $1,400. If the extra video and CPU power can’t be crammed into the current enclosure, the maybe it’s a double-height Mac mini, at which point you could then call it a Mac Cube Pro. With decent video & CPU performance and a minimum of 1GB RAM (expandable to at least 2GB, preferably 3GB+), I’d snatch one up in a second.This would be a great developer/photo-editing workstation for those of us who prefer the more space conscious design while being half the price of a Mac Pro and more flexible than the iMac. That’s what I want for Christmas, or at least for MacWorld 2007.