|Courtesy of apple.com
There was one "surprise" for me, I was not expecting the demise of the optical drive. While this does cause me to alter my design, it really is not a big deal for me. That said, I am somewhat disappointed in the decision. The reason I say that is because it decreases the versatility of the machine. Plenty of people viewed this as an ideal and elegant HTPC, many of those people have DVD collections, instead of an iTunes movie library. For the Macbook Air - the initial decision to loose the optical drive allowed the chassis to become even thinner. In the case of the mac mini there is an empty bay. The design hasn't gotten smaller and unless you have two storage drives there is simply empty space. Even if a drive wasn't included in the base model, an option for a Build to Order one would have been nice. Optical media may not be the future but for many people it is the present and as small as it is, the mini is still a desktop computer. Obviously, Apple can do what they want and as a huge media digital distributor they have a vested interest in seeing optical media disappear as soon as possible. But, I thought they could have waited another generation as the people I know who waited for this machine as a living room computer have not decided to go digital, but have instead gone in a different direction.
This does open up some design potential for my setup which uses a converted iMac G4 and iMac G5:
For there to be only "1 plug" I obviously have to split power off somewhere. I can do this on the "AC side" before the power brick or on the "DC side" after the power brick. I have an old 5.25" external drive enclosure that I have no further use for. This includes a small power supply and onboard SATA to USB.
Using the Cinema Display's on-board USB ports will allow me to connect the drive and replace the "used" USB port with one that will be on the back of the iMac G4s base. In addition I will add either the rocker switch or a push button on/off to the back of the iMac G4 for the drive. I do have the option of Firewire 400 ports but will probably not hook these up. Although there is not currently any reliable support for it, I do have a full side 5.25" tray loading bluray drive which has already been modified to fit in the iMac, so I will probably be using this.
|Courtesy of CNET
|PicoPSU by Mini-box.com
Using this and a SATA to USB I can again use the onboard USB slots of the cinema display. And as I am already connecting the Cinema Displays cable to the computer, I may hook up the firewire 400 ports and connect them to the back of the monitor where they were designed to hook up to the iMac G5.
|Back Panel Thunderbolt - Courtesy Apple.com