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The little engine that could

Introducing the Mac Mini: the college student’s new best friend. Advertised primarily online, this tiny Mac packs a serious punch. Don’t let its small stature fool you; the Mac Mini is powered by Apple’s powerful PowerPC G4 processor, of which Apple offers two versions — 1.24 GHz and 1.42 GHz.

It also comes with the latest version of Apple’s Mac OS, Mac OS 10.4, called Tiger. Mac OS X Tiger is an astounding operating system. The interface is very user friendly, making it comfortable and easy to learn for a non-Mac user.

Great things come in small packages, and as with traditional Mac desktops, the Mini is completely customizable, with options including RAM upgrades, Bluetooth connectivity and the Airport, Apple’s wireless hub. There’s also an option for a SuperDrive, Mac’s CD-R/DVD+R combo drive. Hard drive options range in space from 40 to 80 GB.

Another nice perk about the Mini is — obviously — its size. At 6.5 inches wide and 6.5 inches long, you can finally reclaim your desk.

One concern voiced by those thinking about making the switch to a Mac is that they won’t be able to run their windows programs on their new PC. However, if you need to run those essential Microsoft programs such as Excel or Word, never fear: They make Mac versions of such programs. Gamers, however, may want to stick with Windows.

The Mac Mini’s starting prices for the two available models range from $499.00 to $599.00, making it the most affordable Mac ever. There is no doubt that everyone will be seeing more of this little guy in the future.