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New Mac mini, still flat and faster than ever

Continuing the lightning-fast transition to Intel chips, Apple rolled back the curtain today for a new version of the Mac mini, powered by Intel’s Core Duo processor.

Apple chief guru Steve Jobs made the announcement in a keynote address. He also unveiled the iPod Hi-Fi.

The new mini runs at four times the speed of its nearest ancestor. (A Core Solo version is also available, which has just one processor but still runs at twice the speed of its predecessors.) The front-side bus is 667 MHz, and the memory is 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM, with expansion possible up to 2GB. The new little baby also has a jaw-dropping four USB ports and built-in 10/100/1000 BAST-T Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11g WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities.

Every one of these new minis comes with tons of software installed, including Apple’s iLife suite of Web and information-sharing applications (such as iTunes, iDVD, iPhoto, and iMovie), the data assimilation powerhouse Front Row, and GarageBand, an award-winning music-mixing application. The mini is unique in that it doesn’t come standard with a monitor, opting for two audio ports, one in and one out, each one supporting digital and analog, and a DVI-out port for hookup to a standard computer monitor, home stereo, or new-definition television screen.

Initial price of the new Mac mini is US$599 for the Core Solo and US$799 for the Core Duo.

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