What a surprise yesterday, Steve Jobs unveiled the new Intel based mini’s. As I have two mini’s, one first generation and a second generation one, I immediately dove into the technical specs of the machine and got even more excited. The graphics capabilities of the new machine are somewhat less in the 3D arena than the G4 mac mini but the rest has improved. It’s now a machine you could use for your Home Theatre needs with the well known remote, Front Row and the digital audio out. That’s all very nice but my interest lie more in the usage as a server. For this purpose most of the improvements make the mini even better than it already was.
The Intel Core Duo version make it (Apple claims this) 4 to 5 times faster than the G4 version. This means that all the UNIX based server programs have two CPU’s they can use. This means that you can have Apache http daemons distributing themself over the two cores to even the load. If you got slashdotted it wouldn’t have to be such an issue anymore (I hope!). The mail server consists of many different inter-linked programs as well to really benefit from a multi CPU machine.
The extra memory slot allows you to increase the internal memory to 2 Gb which is wonderful. You could load your database, static pages or your images onto a RAM disk to really speed things up. The memory itself is faster kind as well. This means that the web server performance improvement can increase much more than just the speed increase of the CPU and I’m guessing here but it could be 10 times faster than the older mini.
To handle this performance increase this mini is outfitted with a gigabit ethernet port for blazing network speeds. If you have it running in a co-located environment you can access all that available bandwidth without any problem. Both models now come included with the Bluetooth and Airport Extreme wireless capabilities.
The only drawback I can see now is the increase in the price. The extra 100 or so dollars make it just that harder to justify. It’s still very beautiful, nothing changed there, and it’s still cheap to run as it’s energy efficient (but 15 watts less than the G4).
I hope when someone has bought one he/she will tell me how much faster it runs the web and mail environment and if everything still is as easy to compile and install as I described for the G4 version. I hope it will as most is compiled with the installed compiler but you never know if there are issues before you really try it. I would buy one myself but I just recently bought my second one and buying a third is a hard sell to the family.
What I can do is reserve all the donations you make and all the AdSense income generated by this site and double that myself. So for every dollar you give by donations or by clicking on the advertisements I will add a dollar out of my own pocket. I will buy a mini Core Duo from that money and happily document all differences and how to use it as your web and mail server and what is more to come.
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