The last time Apple updated Mac mini in October 2014. Over the past four years, users and experts have equally speculated if the Mini was left out and if Apple decided it was time to move from a small box and instead focus resources on other Mac products .
In many ways, it's the same story as the MacBook Air, another Apple computer that has been running for years without a significant update.
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Then rumors began that Apple would really upgrade the Mac mini, and this time they would have features that would be appreciated by professional users.
Just enough, during the Apple event in October – where the company not only refreshed the iPad Pro but also MacBook Air – the new Mac mini was discovered. The svelte enclosure contains the latest and greatest components, and the refresh shows that Apple is listening to some of its vocal users, and Mac mini has a place in its product line.
For the last few days I used Mac mini and I came far impressed with this small Mac.
The Mac mini looks like a bigger version of Apple TV. The square fence measures 7.7 x 7.7 x 1.4 inches and weighs 2.9 pounds. So, it's bigger than Apple TV, but the similarity is surely present.
The shell is made of 100 percent recycled aluminum and is one of the first two Apple products that carry such a claim. Another product is the new MacBook Air.
Above the Apple logo at the top and the indicator light at the front of the case, the Mini is a fairly undefined gray case. On the back, however, things are beginning to deal with. From left to right you will find the power button, power connector, Ethernet port, four Thunderbolt 3 connectors, HDMI 2.0, two USB 3.1 jacks and headphone sockets. Just below all the ports there is a hole for the new cooling system.
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At the bottom of the Mac mini there is a circular leg holding the unit from the table or table a bit.
For those who are not aware, the Mac mini is sold as a stand-alone product. Within the box is the Mini and the power cord; that's it. You will need to supply your own keyboard, mouse, podium and screen. Apple included the Magic Keyboard with a number pad, the Magic Trackpad 2 and the LG UltraFine 4K display.
But you can link any accessories you want. Do you want a mechanical keyboard with Razer, a Amazon based mouse, and a 1080p display? No problem.
It's a part of the Mac mini's appeal. It can be expensive to set up, additional wisdom, as much as you want. Or it can be too simple, and that's also okay.
There are several different configurations you can buy, ranging from $ 799 to $ 4,199 for a fully loaded Mini. Here are the 799 USD configurations I've sent and used:
- CPU: 3.6GHz Intel Core i3-8100B (quad-core, 6MB cache)
- Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 630
- working memory: 8 GB DDR4 (2666 MHz)
- storage: 128 GB PCIe SSD
- Luke: 2 x USB 3.1, 1 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x 3.5 mm audio jack, 4 Thunderbolt 3, 1 x Ethernet
- Linkage: 802.11 ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5
- Weight: 2.9 pounds
- Size: 7.7 x 7.7 x 1.4 inches
The Mini now accepts up to 64GB of memory and up to 2TB SSD for storage. Users can upgrade to 3.2GHz 6-core Intel Core i7 with TurboBoost up to 4.6GHz.
I used the Geekbench 4 comparison software several times. The Mac mini is an average single rating of 4.756 and a multiple score of 14.426. I also ran the Cinebench R15, and the Mac mini averaged 41 fps in the OpenGL test and achieved 588 in the CPU test.
What do these numbers mean? Well, these results put the basic model at a couple of 2017 iMac equipped with Intel Core i5-7500. As for multiplayer, the Mac mini works just as fast as the MacBook Pro 2015 with Intel Core i7-4980HQ.
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Nevertheless, these numbers do not mean much without seating and actually use them.
After connecting the monitor and connecting the keyboard and backplane Apple plugged into my preview kit, I used Mini as the main computer for about four days. I did this by writing this review, editing some photos, streaming music, and editing the video (more about it below). I used it for all the things that the computer normally uses, especially the one for work and personal use.
As Mini manually went from task to task, without any interference or trouble, I waited for the fan to kick. Even while I ran a video, streaming YouTube videos, and reading my Twitter timezone, I realized I still need to hear my fans.
I felt the tip of Mini, and it was warm. So he turned off all the sounds and leaned very close to the fence. Only then did I hear buzzing from fans. They are incredibly silent, something that the company has been pursuing. Often times, Mini is used in music studios or on movie sets where loud fans are not welcome.
Let me say another way: the external hard drive I used for Time Machine on my iMac is louder than the Mac mini cooling system.
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The internal speakers on the Mac mini are not very loud. If you are going to use this streaming music device or watch many videos, I suggest you download some external speakers or headphones. The internal speakers are designed for minimal use. Think about system alerts and occasional poems.
Ideally, the basic model would drop 128 GB of storage space. Most users can beat half of that amount on phones and tablets, but 128 GB on the computer is not enough. I did not install everything I had on my iMac, because in the end, Mini has to go back to Apple and because I currently have about 500 GB of storage space in use. The Mac mini should start with 256 GB of storage space and allow the user upgrade from there.
Mac mini uses Apple's new T2 security chip for secure booting, encrypted storage, and tasks such as system controllers, audio controllers, and SSD controllers.
Although I've been testing the base model Mini for the past few days, I'm somewhat hypnotized by the device. In the past, when I buy for Mac, I've only considered my MacBook or iMac. I've always looked at the Mac mini as a device that is better designed for use as a home server or really powerful Pi.
As my load passed back and forth between editing and running a video or taking some time in Photoshop editing photos, I guess the Mac mini just was not able to track it. A few years ago I was probably right. The Mini was a solid computer, but not for intensive resources.
With this year's update and my own rudimentary tests, I have no doubt that the Mac mini is more than capable of tracking my workload and a more intense load.
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I've taken a handful of videos, plugged them into an iMovie project where I merged, added effects, transitions, and even some slow-moving magic, and then exported my fast. The first video lasted about two minutes and exported full 1080p with the best quality view in 1 minute and 20 seconds. Then I extended the clip for more than 17 minutes and exported with the highest possible settings, which was almost five minutes and the size was 17.5 GB.
Then I took that file and used QuickTime Player to convert it to HEVC format, dropping to 1.75 GB. The process lasted five minutes.
Indeed, using more in-depth programs such as Final Cut Pro or Logic Pro would push the system much harder than I did, but my experience left me impressed.
With four Thunderbolt 3 connectors you can connect monitors, external GPUs, external hard drives, and countless other peripheral devices that benefit from fast connectivity and the ability to upgrade to a 10 GB Ethernet port, which can be used to share loads on multiple Mac mini , it's hard to imagine that a professional photographer, video editor, or developer will be left behind by a Mac mini.
Any criticism of a new price point – about $ 200 more than what the Mac mini had previously started – has to take into account the amount of modern technology built into Mini. It's not just built for now, it's built for use in the future.
Pro users often appreciate the upgradeability of the computer, whether it is added to storage or more memory. The Mac mini can accept up to 64 GB of RAM, and technically, the user is upgradable. Although the process of entering the mini, you will not be easy. When I asked Apple about upgrade users, they told me that the company saw Mini as a service upgrade device – meaning that users should use an authorized technician (or Apple himself) for any upgrades. That said, I would suggest waiting to see how difficult the upgrade will be once iFixit announces its teardown and then decide which path you want to take.
Still, the option is technical there. It just depends on how comfortable you are with removing the base, cooling the fence, and digging through Mini's cuts.
Between the number of connectors, the type of plugins that these ports also provide for customization options, the Mac mini is a computer that no longer serves the niche market. It is designed for all types of users, regardless of whether you want to use it as a server in your home and set up more than one Minia as a set of video encoding and encoding server encoders.
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Over the past four years, Mac mini users wanted more than a desktop computer like a laptop. And with model 2018, Apple delivered it. Even the basic model is something I could see every day, and when I really look at my use, I'm not a Pro user. I am an average user who is entertaining in professional features.
If I needed a new desktop now, my search will start – and it's quite possible to finish – the Mac mini, unlike the iMac. The versatility it offers, combined with its performance, is just too convincing.