Apple hasn’t forgotten about its older products like the Mac mini, which has been sitting in a drawer for years without an upgrade. The company surprised us on October 30 with a renewed Mac mini 2018, which is without a doubt the entry-level computer to the Mac world par excellence, although with the increase in power it has received and the possibility of having 64GB of expandable RAM, it is also a very attractive product for professionals, although remains behind the MacBook Pro or iMac Pro.
Design: Apple maintains the line of four years ago
If you’re an Apple lover, you’ll be familiar with this design because it’s virtually the same design as the previous-generation Mac mini. This product is notable for its small size. Specifically, its dimensions are 19.7 x 19.7 x 3.6 cm and it weighs 1.3 kg , slightly more than its predecessor, which weighed 1.19 kg.
One of the most notable differences we found in the design from the 2014 model is undoubtedly the new space grey which is identical to the new iMac Pro and looks spectacular. In addition, with this darker color you can see much less dirt and for me personally it has been more elegant. In addition, is made from 100% recycled aluminum, a material that prevents it from overheating.
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On the back of Mac mini there are four Thunderbolt 3 ports , one HDMI 2.0 port, two USB-A ports, one 3.5mm jack and one 10/100/1000BASE-T Ethernet connection via RJ-45 connector. This connection can be upgraded when you customise your Mac mini to a 10 Gigabit Ethernet connection with a transfer capacity of up to 10GB via an RJ-45 connector , although this will cost you an additional £120.
Source: Mac mini
In addition, the power button stands out because it is also on the back and not on the front. With this, Apple manages to have a totally clean and much more elegant device.
Performance: Apple goes for eighth-generation Intel
Apple has chosen to incorporate the latest Intel processors , the eighth generation of four or six cores, into this new Mac . Apple offers the following processor configurations:
- Eighth-generation 3.6 GHz Intel Core i3 quad-core.
- Eighth-generation 3 GHz six-core Intel Core i5 with Turbo Boost up to 4.1 GHz.
- Eighth-generation 3.2 GHz six-core Intel Core i7 with Turbo Boost up to 4.6 GHz.
Cupertino’s company wanted to give all user profiles options. With my Mac mini, which has an Intel Core i7 processor , I haven’t had any problems in my daily work, surfing the internet, playing multimedia content, checking emails and doing office tasks. Also, it has behaved really well when rendering video although that is responsible for the RAM, but if it fails in its integrated graphics card.
If you are a more basic user who is not looking to render any kind of video and wants a computer for very basic tasks you can go for an Intel Core i3, although we have already advanced that it will age worse and as you want to perform some minimally demanding task it will fall short.
For me, the Intel Core i5 processor would be the most viable option if you are not a professional who is going to use editing programs. Even if you spend more money, you will have a better user experience in the long run with this computer that the Intel Core i3 may not give you.
About the RAM I can’t have any complaint since Apple has decided to give us many possibilities of customization when configuring this computer. We can get to install up to 64 GB of RAM something that will be very useful, and recommended, for all video and image editing professionals since editing programs have a bad habit of pulling a lot of RAM. Here’s how Mac mini can be a pro computer . But MacBook Pro and iMac Pro are still the best choices for demanding professionals.
The built-in graphics is the Intel UHD 630 , which can come up a bit short if you do creative work or high quality video editing. Here you might find a little bottleneck that you can solve by going through the box and buying an external GPU, in particular we can find in the Apple Store the eGPU that has a price of 695, but it will give us a pretty good graphics performance. This is a must have accessory if you work with virtual reality.
And if we have to make quite intense projects, we can always s cluster with the Mac mini as we saw in last month’s Keynote. In this Apple I announce the possibility of connecting several Mac mini in columns in order to take advantage of the performance of all in one. This obviously is not something that all users will use but it is interesting to know that it is present.
One thing I must point out is that hardly gets hot even though we see a small box with many components inside it is amazing how the fan and cooling system work perfectly.
Forget about upgrading your Mac mini
One thing that many users won’t like is that they won’t be able to rip apart Mac mini and replace its internal components to extend its life. The only thing we can do is update the RAM which is relatively simple even though we have the T2 chip.
This Mac mini, like the new MacBook Pro and iMac Pro, comes with a T2 chip that provides added security but also makes it harder to upgrade your Mac. Apple has already confirmed that this chip is an obstacle for third parties to perform repairs on their devices forcing us to go to the official technical service always. If we don’t do this we will have to run the risk of the computer being totally blocked.
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Price and final opinion
The price obviously will depend on the customization we make being the most expensive section the storage. Mac mini comes with an SSD storage disk that can be of four capacities: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB or 2TB.
Mac mini stands out because it’s priced lower than other Macs like Mac mini or the entry-level MacBook Pro. To give you an idea, the most basic configuration of the Mac mini with an i3 processor and the 8GB of RAM comes out at $899.
But as I mentioned before for me the best configuration in the long run would be the one that incorporates an Intel Core i5 processor, going to cost 1249, 100 euros cheaper than the most basic configuration of MacBook Air.
If we go to the best configuration that we can have with a processor Intel Core i7 64 GB of RAM, 2 TB of SSD storage , and Ethernet connector of better quality we would place the Mac mini in 4,969 Euros This configuration is only for those professionals of the sector and remember that of this price almost 2000 Euros is for the increase of the capacity of the SSD.
For me this is a team that has surprised me with its incredible performance compared to the 2014 model. We were all waiting for an update of this small computer that is good that goes unnoticed on our desktop but that gives us a very good performance. It’s amazing that in such a small space Apple has achieved such performance.
For the experience to be total, you must have a good monitor that we can connect both by HDMI and Thunderbolt 3. This equipment supports up to 2 4K monitors by Thunderbolt 3 connection, and I can recommend the BenQ EW3270U that performs beautifully and incorporates Thunderbolt 3 connection. As a peripheral my recommendation is to buy the Logitech MX Master 2S mouse which I think is better than the Magic Mouse . And in terms of keyboards, it depends on the taste of each one, if you like membrane or mechanical, although in the market we find a great variety of models and prices.
This competitively priced Mac mini can serve many industry professionals looking for an unobtrusive desktop computer that’s both affordable and powerful. If it is true that I find limitations at the hardware level, especially the integrated graphics and the Intel Core i3 processor that for me is left over from the initial configuration.
For me, if you’re looking for a Mac desktop and they don’t call it an iMac, this is an interesting option that I recommend you to buy because you will have Mac mini for many years as it is with the previous generation.