Mac clones are back and are cheaper, faster, than the Mac mini

Apple shut down its Mac clone program, which licensed its operating system to other hardware companies, ten years ago, but recently a company called Psystar announced that it would sell inexpensive Mac clones running OS X without Apple's approval. The computers are shipping now, and according to tests done by Apple guru Jason D. O’Grady, Psystar's $399 computer ($550 with Leopard pre-installed) "trounced" the $599 Mac mini, Apple's official budget option. It also compares favorably to Apple's portable options, like the MacBook and MacBook Air.

If this sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen to you, it is. Leopard's terms of use require that the user install it on a Macintosh. Psystar claims that Apple's rules violate monopoly laws. Apple will almost certainly sue Psystar, though since it hasn't responded yet some are speculating that the company will just issue a system update that just won't work on Psystar's computers. If Psystar prevails in this battle, however, it's possible that consumers everywhere could benefit by being able to run a great operating system without having to pay a premium for a fashionable exterior.

Psystar, via The New York Times