One quirk still remains, though: the product's demographic leanings. Just who is the Mac mini for? Is it the go-anywhere, portable desktop best integrated in yachts, airports, automobiles and living rooms? Follow on to see which hat this not-quite-an- HTPC wears best. The new mini brings USB 3.
All told. Let's not beat around the bush here -- there's a reason Apple plays proud host to a knighted Head of ID : ridiculously gorgeous design.
Hoping for a small Mac mini revival
No matter your sworn brand allegiance, you'd be hard-pressed to deny the Mac mini's simple, refined build. It's the tech equivalent of an irresistibly cute baby; the kind of hardware that stops passers-by, prompting compliments. And we're not just saying that figuratively, either. Within our own office environment, we repeatedly entertained questions from nearby officemates who were intrigued by the design.
So fill up the comments below with the inevitable accusations of fanboyism, but know that we know that you know that we're right. It's alright, you can keep it to yourself if you like. Boiled down to its essence, the mini's brushed aluminum enclosure has a wallflower appeal that's at home in a variety of settings; a dash of modernism that should work in many environments.
Much of this is due to the unit's diminutive dimensions, which remain unchanged since the mini was redesigned back in It eschews hard angles for softly curved corners, enlivened by the occasional black accent e. Users interested in purchasing the optional Apple remote for home entertainment purposes will be glad to know this unit still features an IR receiver.
As much as things change, they seem to stay the same, and that's quite true of this Mac mini refresh. Though a quick glance at its back panel might mislead consumers into believing it's business as usual, there's actually a very significant change at play here -- namely, the addition of high-speed USB 3. Last year, we criticized the company for not including a Thunderbolt dongle in the box, but that critique apparently fell on deaf ears. Similarly, Apple remains unmoved in its determination to make just one aspect of the Mac mini swappable, and that would be the unit's expandable memory.
Despite the obvious pitfalls associated with HDDs i. The rest is inaccessible unless you're the DIY type, in which case, have at it!
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However, should you require monstrous amounts of RAM, the mini now supports up to 16GB -- so, there's that to smile about. Consumers with more basic computing needs can opt for the base unit with a dual-core i5 CPU and a GB hard drive. Since the model Apple shipped us for review is designated as the top-end consumer configuration -- what with its quad-core core i7 and hybrid FusionDrive -- we decided to stress it to the utmost and use it as our daily workstation. From a cold boot off the SSD, it took the system 12 seconds to reach the startup screen, which is on par with the MacBook Air last year's Sandy Bridge model, even.
What we were more keen to test out was its stamina when stressed with an Engadget editor's daily workload. On any given day, we keep roughly 10 applications running at all times e. Our jobs depend on this level of multitasking and we're pleased to say that the mini managed that processor strain with a graceful silence. In all instances but one, the unit remained relatively cool to the touch and surprisingly quiet.
The only time we ever heard a peep from it was when we added Steam and Blizzard game downloads to the active processes load. Even then, the sound of the whirring fan barely registered above a whisper. On the gaming front, it should go without saying that Macs aren't necessarily the go-to platform for the latest and greatest studio efforts. Indeed, we've noticed incompatibility with most newer titles thanks to Apple's choice of graphics chip, but for the sake of this review we fired up Diablo III to get a sense of how the Intel HD GPU fares.
With every quality option set to high Texture, Physics, Shadow, etc. Note, we didn't have the time to engage clusters of baddies about 50 to 60 onscreen at a time to truly tap out the system, but with more than a dozen characters onscreen, we observed a frame rate that peaked around 42 fps. Benchmark testing backed up our anecdotal assessment: the machine nearly doubles the model's scores.
As you can see in the table above, it yielded average overall Xbench scores of , with an average CPU score of and an average thread score of 1, In Geekbench, meanwhile, it delivered a result of 10, Don't call it an HTPC. Not because we disagree with that moniker, but because Apple vehemently denies its applicability here.
And, because it still lacks an optical drive and you know how we feel about that. Yet, regardless of what Apple says, we can't shake the feeling that this little box will inevitably make its way into users' living rooms at some point in its life cycle -- it was born this way, people.
In fact, this editor couldn't resist the urge to take the mini chez lui and hook it up to a palm-sized 3M projector. Using the easily accessible HDMI port, we had no trouble connecting the device to the projector, and mirroring the contents of our external Thunderbolt display. We did, however, encounter Bluetooth audio sync issues with our Jambox, forcing us to depend on the mini's able, but far-from-powerful internal speaker.
Of course, you can always go the more traditional route and attach it to your HDTV, but if you're aching to make use of that vast DVD library sorry, Blu-ray owners , then prepare to spring for a SuperDrive. At that point, though, you may as well just enter the MacBook fray. Apple's quite pleased with the mini's newest feature, the FusionDrive, even though hybrid storage solutions have been in use for quite some time now.
So, what is it exactly? It also had less storage and memory than comparable desktops. However, the upgrade addressed many of these previous complaints. In general, the Mac mini has been praised as a relatively affordable computer with a solid range of features. However, many also agree that it is relatively costly for a computer aimed at the lower segment of the market.
It is possible to buy small computers at the same price with faster processors, better graphics card, more memory, and more storage. In addition, its size and reliability has helped keep resale values high. On October 22, , Apple introduced a new server version of the Mac mini along with revisions of the computer. This model had a second hard drive instead of an optical drive, and was marketed as an affordable server for small businesses and schools. On June 15, , Apple introduced the third-generation Mac mini.
It also included an internal power supply. The Server model was upgraded to a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor. Quad-core i7 CPUs were also used in the late desktop Mac mini computers. The only change to the body was the removal of the two holes used to open the case, as the RAM was no longer upgradable because it was soldered to the logic board; this idea is similar to the Retina MacBook Pro, the MacBook Air and the Mid On October 30, , after four years, the Mac mini got a refresh.
Mac Mini - Wikipedia
With this came major specification upgrades, new colors, and a switch to all-flash storage. This shows Apple's trend back toward user-upgrade-ability in their desktop models. The storage was changed to a baseline GB of flash storage, with a max of 2 TB. The Bluetooth was upgraded to the 5.
The most notable feature of the Mac mini is its size. The original design measured only 2. The exterior of the original Mac mini was made of aluminum capped with polycarbonate plastic on the top and bottom. The original design had no visible screws and was not meant to be upgraded by the user. It had an external power supply rated at 85W G4 models or W pre Intel models ; although they used the same connector, power supplies were not interchangeable between these models.
The Mac mini, updated on June 15, , was fully redesigned,  being slimmer than the prior models at only 1. The weight rose from 2. The power supply is now internal as opposed to external. The chassis no longer has the polycarbonate plastic on the top or bottom. The newer model, introduced July 20, has the same physical dimensions but is slightly lighter, at 2. The model Mac mini was redesigned to be opened using a round cover on the bottom of the computer. Prior versions of the Mac mini were much more difficult to open. Some Mac mini owners used a putty knife or a pizza cutter to pry open the cases of older models to gain access to the interior for installation of cheaper third party memory upgrades.
It's also possible to use wires to pull the white plastic bottom case out of the metal top case. They switched to a non-socketed CPU with the model that did not allow an easy upgrade. With the June revision, the case can be readily opened to add RAM except for the Late models.
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The Mac mini can be used for home cinema theater applications. The small footprint, multi-format video output, digital audio output, remote control IR receiver and the relatively powerful Intel CPUs make it easy to use the Mac mini as part of a home entertainment system. Sound is provided by a combination jack that uses both mini- headphone analog and optical fiber cables digital. As of the July revision of the Mac mini, the computer sports an Intel HD graphics processor with an optional Radeon graphics processing unit available and Thunderbolt which makes decoding high-resolution video much quicker and efficient.
The current Intel models of Mac mini can display video via the HDMI port at a maximum resolution of x and up to x via the Mini DisplayPort with a compatible monitor. The chips in these models of Mac mini ran at either 1. This restricts both the maximum amount of available memory, which can greatly reduce performance by forcing the system to page to the hard disk, and, since the system is unable to take advantage of dual channels, maximum bandwidth.
The Mac mini G4 uses a single 2. Because of its sealed enclosure, it is not possible to upgrade the hard drive without opening the enclosure and possibly voiding the warranty of the system. The original Mac mini includes two USB 2. The modem was later omitted from the Mac mini, but an external modem remained an option. External displays are supported via a DVI port.
In the last revision of the Mac mini G4, the internal mezzanine board was upgraded to accommodate the AirPort Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology onto one chip. In prior models, the Mac mini included an AirPort Extreme card taped to the mezzanine board and a separate Bluetooth module. Notes: 1 The serial number and specifications sticker on the underside of the latest revision do not carry the actual specs of the upgrade.
For example, on a 1. The product packaging also did not reflect the upgrade. Apple did not revise the official specifications on their web site. As of Mac OS X The specifications below are from Apple's "tech specs" page,  except where noted. The current [ clarification needed ] non-server Mac mini is available in two versions, one with a mobile dual-core bit Intel Core i5 processor that runs at 2. The and Mac mini models that come standard with a bit Intel Core Solo processor can be changed to an Intel bit Core 2 Duo processor through a simple upgrade. The following processors are compatible: 2.
The more recent and later Mac mini models have the processors soldered onto the logic board and thus are not upgradable. Geekbench scores have shown that the 2. While the Mac mini G4 contained a separate graphics processor, all revisions of the Intel-based Mac mini contain integrated GPUs, except in the version where the 2.
Unlike the Mac mini G4, the Intel-based Mac mini uses a dual-channel architecture for memory. While all versions of the Mac mini up to and including the revision supports user upgradeable memory after purchase, the model does not,  because the memory is soldered to the logic board. Since the integrated graphics processor does not have its own dedicated memory, the system shares some of the main system memory with it.
All models continue to use 2.
Removed features and Intel's convoluted CPU lineup make the Mini less versatile.
A Combo drive was initially offered as standard, with the SuperDrive being an option, but through the models, all models that have an optical drive contain the SuperDrive as standard. Networking is supported with a built-in Gigabit Ethernet port and an integrated Bluetooth was also made standard. External displays are supported through a DVI port. A fifth USB 2. The AirPort card was upgraded to Bluetooth was also upgraded from 2. As of this revision, the Apple Remote is no longer included with the Mac mini.
The Mac mini model gave access to 3 different USB busses on the back. Upgradable up to an Intel Core 2 Duo 2. Starting from the mid revision, there is a removable panel on the bottom, enabling the user to upgrade the RAM. The new Mac mini has an all-aluminium enclosure, called unibody. The unibody manufacturing process was originally developed for the MacBook Air  and later also used in the MacBook and MacBook Pro , and the iMac before being introduced into the Mac mini range.
The built-in power supply negates the need for an external power supply "brick" used on earlier models. There have been other changes in the revision. They include the elimination of the Kensington Security Slot ,  as well as the optical drive. While the fifth USB 2. Mac mini models released in late used dual-core processors, which perform worse in multi-threaded workloads compared to the quad-core processors from the model. Meanwhile, single-threaded workload performance increased.
PCIe-based flash storage is standard with no option of a hard disk drive. The chassis is mostly a carryover from the previous generation, measuring the same dimensions, though is only available in a darker "space gray" finish. Memory can again be replaced, unlike the models that soldered it to the logic board. Apple has offered a Server configuration of the Mac mini.
Later on, Apple released the OS X Server packaged app as a single purchase from the Mac App Store , containing all the separate components apps, so that any model of Mac computer could download and use them. The Mid Server model was initially the only Mac mini to entirely remove the optical drive, replacing it with a second hard drive in its place.
However, from the Mid models onwards, all models of Mac mini had the optical drive removed. The Mac mini Server hardware was discontinued with the Late model. Apple states that customers are able to receive support for these services directly from open-source providers. Other Apple-proprietary services, such as Airport, Calendar, Contacts, Messages, and Netboot were also removed, with no corresponding open source options.
Alternatives for Mac users include running Linux or Windows virtualized, or installing third-party Unix packages via open source package managers such as Conda, Fink, Homebrew, MacPorts, Nix, pkgsrc, and Rudix . The only services remaining in macOS Server 5. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Desktop computer by Apple. Apple Inc. The Economist. Archived from the original on December 9, Retrieved December 9, Archived from the original on June 8, Retrieved November 3, Retrieved October 30, Archived from the original on February 22, Archived from the original on March 12, Archived from the original on July 6, Retrieved April 17, Archived from the original on January 7, Retrieved September 2,