It seems that the engineers over at PC manufacturer AOpen have been studiously reading the reviews of the first generation of their Mac mini ripoff homage, the miniPC, as the latest version is promising to eliminate the loud whine that made its predecessor almost unusable. The company has just formally announced the Core Duo-powered version of what is now called the MiniPC (with the capital “M” presumably meant to further differentiate the box from its Apple counterpart), which is essentially the same machine that was being shown off at CeBIT 2006, except with a black case that makes it look less like an external DVD burner.
I’ve always been dubious as to the utility of this system and Dan Ackerman’s review at CNET confirms my doubts:
The good: Not much bigger than a Mac Mini; speedy Core Duo CPU; multiple video output options.
The bad: More expensive than the Mac Mini; BYOKMM (bring your own keyboard, mouse, and monitor); only two USB ports; no remote control; not much in the way of bundled software.
The bottom line: The clone that comes closest to the nearly flawless Mac Mini, AOpen’s MiniPC Duo MP945-V would be easier to recommend if it hit the same price point as Apple’s pocket-size box.
That price point is variously reported as $955 or $899 and the model number is sometimes reported as MP945-VXR.
Let me be clear: there’s nothing wrong with a compact form factor machine since there are a number of places where it would be useful such as among home entertainment components, for portability, or just to reduce desk space consumption. But slavish imitation of the Mac mini serves no particular purpose.