Apple Updates The Mac Mini: Intel Sandy Bridge CPUs, Thunderbolt, And Even A OS X Lion Server Model

Apple’s Mac Mini was in need of a refresh in the worst way. The model that debuted last June was the same model sold up until today. The outer casing remains from the previous generation, but Apple finally ditched the Core 2 Duo chipset in favor for a Sandy Bridge CPU. Of course Thunderbolt made the cut in a big way. Three Thunderbolt ports are now a standard feature on the Mac Mini.

The base model hits with a 2.3 GHz Core i5, 2GB of RAM, and a 500GB HDD. The top-tier model however uses a 2.5GHz Core i5, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB HDD with an optional Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RM and a 750GB HDD. If that’s not enough, Apple is keeping the server model around and it now rocks a 2.0GHz Core i7, 4GB of RAM and instead of an optical drive, two 500GB HDDs — or if you have the cash, 8GB of RAM and dual 256GB SSD.

The whole line is available starting today and of course comes loaded OS X Lion. The price points are slightly different with the base model running $599, the upgrade costing $699 with the server costing $999.