There was a glimmer of hope a year ago when Apple CEO Tim Cook reassured fans that Apple would still support the Mac Mini , and rumors had been mounting that we might see a Mac mini in And sure enough, Apple has revealed the Mac mini So how does it compare to the previous version, which was released way back in ?
The Mac mini kept the same compact design of the Mac minis that came before it, with a small, square-ish metal design that measures 7. Apple says the Mac mini is the biggest update ever for the Mac mini, and it certainly looks like that's the case.
This, Apple tells us, results in up to five times faster performance over the Mac mini Meanwhile, the Mac mini has had a number of hardware refreshes, and the most recent came with three hardware configurations. The base model features a 1. Graphics are handled by Intel HD Graphics That's quite a slow hard drive, these days — solid state drives SSDs are much faster and increasingly prevalent in machines, especially small form factor devices where the heat and sound of SSDs is practically nothing compared to standard hard drives.
The Mac mini ditches standard hard drives for SSDs, offering up to 2TB of super-fast storage space, which will make opening and editing large files and complex apps faster than ever.
Yes, I bought a Mac Mini (and here's how I spec'd it out) | ZDNet
The mid-range Mac mini comes with a 2. You can configure this Mac mini to have a 3.
The graphics are provided by integrated Intel Iris Graphics. The Mac mini has had the same dimensions for the better part of a decade, when the unibody Mac mini was introduced in , with its 7. It's kept those same dimensions in when it dropped the built-in optical drive and again in Now, in , the new Mac mini has the same dimensions, and weighs a svelte 2. That small size was impressive several years ago, but current mini PCs have drastically smaller sizes — the Azulle Access Plus is a svelte stick PC and the recently reviewed Zotac ZBox PI pico isn't much bigger than a credit card. The Mac mini's 7.
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But the littlest Mac has gotten a pretty stunning makeover, starting with the space-gray anodized finish. The darker finish makes the bare-metal design look much more modern — the bright aluminum of past Apple designs looks decidedly early now — and matches the finish found on the iMac Pro and Macbook Pro lines. It's also more environmentally responsible, with the entire aluminum body made from recycled material. The littlest Mac has gotten a pretty stunning makeover, starting with the space-gray anodized finish. To accommodate the updated hardware inside, Apple had to change some of the internal design, as well.
The design has larger vents and a bigger fan, doubling the airflow to better cool the processor. The power supply has been enlarged to provide the necessary power to the new components. On the bottom of the Mac mini's aluminum chassis is a black plastic disk, which does double duty as both the foot for the compact PC as well as a cover that opens to provide internal access.
Around the edges of the panel are cleverly concealed vents for air flow, and the simple black surface has "Mac mini" imprinted on it. This access panel has taken different forms over the last few iterations of the mini, with the model offering a simple twist-to-open design and the model requiring a special prying tool literally, a modified putty knife to open.
Unfortunately, the model still uses the less convenient design that requires a special tool. The Mac mini is being touted as more upgrade-friendly than the previous model, which had its RAM soldered directly to the motherboard. It also means you'll be better able to keep the Mac mini up to date if Apple takes another four-year break before introducing the next model.
Accessing the internals of the system is difficult. Apple has a well-deserved reputation for making its products hard to upgrade, and the Mac mini is no exception. In a discussion with Apple representatives, it was explained that the Mac mini was meant to be "service upgradable" — upgradable by professionals at a Genius Bar or other approved Apple service provider — rather than "user upgradable.
The access panel has to be removed with a special tool, likely the same modified putty knife used in the previous model we got a credit card to work. Once you open the access panel you will be faced with a metal grille secured with six Torx screws. Just to make things a little more irritating, a standard Torx driver set is not compatible with these screws, which feature a center pin inside the recessed driver slot of the screw. So, even if you have a set of tiny Torx drivers, you'll probably need to get a different screwdriver, one with a hole in the center to accommodate that pin.
Specifically, you'll need a driver for a TR6 Torx security screw. Additionally, while Apple has returned the upgradable RAM found on the and Mac mini, the upgradable storage is gone.
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In the model, you could remove the included Fusion drive Apple's hybrid SSD and hard-disk storage solution and replace it with an aftermarket SSD, boosting the performance of the machine and extending the life of the Mac mini — which many people found necessary in the long wait for this year's update. In the model, that option is gone.
The PCIe-connected SSD is soldered to the logic board, making the flash storage modules all but impossible to remove and replace. The good news is that, thanks to the bandwidth offered by the Thunderbolt 3 ports found on the rear panel of the system, you can connect external storage — even at jaw-dropping capacities — and use it without taking a hit on performance.
Similarly, while there's no configuration for the Mac mini that offers a discrete graphics card, you can also bump up the horsepower for gaming and other graphics-intensive uses by adding an external graphics card enclosure , also connected via Thunderbolt 3. Those Thunderbolt 3 ports offer a huge amount of connectivity, thanks to speeds of up to 40Gbps. It's enough to connect two 4K displays, and you can also use an external GPU, not to mention all manner of storage and peripherals.
If you need even more speed for connecting a local network or network-attached storage, the Ethernet port can actually be configured as a 10 Gigabit connection, instead. It's a very cool business-friendly feature that media pros will appreciate, but won't be much use to the average user. And, it wouldn't be Apple without dropping a connection or two. While you get more connectivity overall with the new Mac mini, you do lose the SDXC card slot from the model.source
Mac mini (Intel) Upgrades
Every configuration of the Mac mini is outfitted with quad-core Intel 8th-generation processors and all flash storage. Apple has been promoting the dramatic improvements in performance from the previous Mac mini, but those claims ring a little hollow when you consider that the last Mac mini update was in , and that the previous system was still rocking fourth-generation dual-core processors. During usage, I saw plenty to like. When web browsing, I could browse with 15 tabs open, while also streaming music and video. I never experienced any lag.
This chip serves as a co-processor, providing secure boot capability and full disk encryption. Apple also boasts that the T2 allows faster video transcoding, claiming up to 30 times faster HEVC video encoding than the model was able to offer. Whenever we test a Mac, we're limited because several of our standard tests are not Mac-OS-compatible.
However, in the tests we were able to run, we saw some excellent performance from the Core i3 Mac mini. File transfer speeds were fast enough that I did a double take. I took 2 seconds to copy over our 4. In fact, it's identical to another member of the Mac family, the workstation iMac Pro, which had the same 2 second, 2, MBps speeds.
Processing performance was nowhere near as dramatic, but it's still fairly impressive coming from an Intel Core i3 CPU.
Apple Mac Mini "Core i5" 2.7 Mid 2011 Specs
In Geekbench 4, the Mac Mini managed a score of 13, points. Running the JetStream 1. That's phenomenal for a Core i3-based system. If you plan to use the Mac mini as a home theater PC for streaming to a TV, or as a basic productivity machine that uses web apps heavily, you'll be set with one of the best mini PCs on the market, even in this basic configuration.
I was wrong. Even after I streamed video, ran benchmark tests and used the system to work on this review, the Mac mini never got warmer than 85 degrees Fahrenheit, which is only 15 degrees above the room temperature of our lab.