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Ina Fried

Staff Writer, CNET

Apple Computer has quietly cut the cost of souping up its new Mac Mini.

When Apple introduced the Mac Mini earlier this month, it was the lowest-price Mac ever. However, customers at Apple’s online store noted that adding extra memory or wireless abilities could quickly add several hundred dollars to the $499 price tag.

As of Tuesday, though, many of those build-to-order options are a little less expensive. Upgrading the diminutive desktop to 1GB of memory initially cost $475–almost as much as the computer. It now costs $325. Apple also reduced the price for adding Bluetooth and AirPort Extreme to $99, a $30 drop, and it cut the price for upgrading to an 80GB hard drive to $50.

Apple declined to comment for this report.

The Mac maker has received strong interest in the Mini, which went on sale last Saturday. There is already a backlog of several weeks for those ordering from Apple’s online store.

Although it is positioned as an ideal Mac for Windows users who have shied from Apple’s generally higher prices, many people are finding other uses for the Mini, some of which benefit from the beefier hardware that can be added through Apple’s online store.

“I feel that this is a smart move by Apple, especially since the low price-point of the Mac Mini could previously be brought up by a few upgrades,” said Justin Hyatt, a real-estate worker in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Hyatt praised the moves. “I would love to purchase a Mac Mini and plan to in the near future,” he said.