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.
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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.
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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. Meanwhile, the high-end Mac mini comes with a 3. 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.
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.
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During usage, I saw plenty to like. When web browsing, I could browse with 15 tabs open, while also streaming music and video.
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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.
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.
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That's barely enough heat for it to feel warm to the touch. It's well below the degree comfort threshold we hold laptops to, and it's significantly cooler than the HP Z2 Mini G4 94 degrees. Compared with smaller, less powerful mini PCs, like the Zotac Zbox PI pico, which hit degrees during testing, and there's no comparison.
The Mac mini is one cool customer. 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. It's also quiet. The Mac mini's larger fan lets it run slowly and silently, while still providing enough airflow for cooling. That's good news for audio pros and home-theater users alike, since it means you won't have to contend with a noisy computer when you're trying to get clear audio.
The Mac mini ships with macOS version See our full review of Mac OS Mojave for a more detailed look at the operating system, but suffice it to say, it's a decent step forward for the much loved Mac OS.
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You'll also get Siri, but without the built-in microphones found on other Macs, you won't be able to use the "Hey, Siri" functionality you may be used to from other Apple devices. The Mac mini is covered with a one-year warranty, which includes hardware repairs through authorized Apple service providers. Included with the new Mac is 90 days of free phone support. With our top rating for tech support , it's hard to complain. You can also get AppleCare for an extended three-year warranty, which gives you both repair service and technical support.
But it should be noted that, if the previous model is any indicator, those three years of coverage may not stretch far enough to keep you covered until a new model comes along. If you bought a Mac mini in the first few months after release, you would also have spent up to a year with no warranty coverage while waiting for this model to be announced.