In the box you get the elegant aluminium square unit along with a power cable and nothing else. That's what's behind the affordability, because the idea is that you hook it up to your existing monitor and use existing accessories. If you're switching from an existing desktop PC, then it means you can pretty much plug right in. You might be ditching an existing Windows tower, or repurposing an existing display, like a TV. We've long been fans of the Magic Trackpad excusing the name because it replicates the silky interaction experience of the MacBook.
There was a time when we considered the Mac mini a great choice as a home entertainment computer, to sit in your lounge. With the increasing sophistication of Apple TV or simplicity of Chromecast, those days of needing a computer to access online TV services are behind us, but if it's the lounge you're targeting, the Mac mini's design is certainly fetching.
The current Mac mini design was introduced in and the only change from that earlier model has been in the connectivity on the rear in the latest device, along with the loss of access to the internals through a bottom panel. The aluminium enclosure measures mm square and is 36mm tall. The rear panel houses all the connections and ports, the aim being that you have this minimalist box on show and the wiring out of sight to the back.
Of course that leads to some impracticality, especially if you're prone to using the SD card port. Yes, it's not the prettiest of things, but having to reach around the back each time is terribly impractical - the same issue we found with the iMac 5K.
Otherwise, this design has stood the test of time. It still looks great with its slick and simple design, which should appeal to those looking for something elegant to side beside their monitor. Previously you could access the internals of the Mac mini so that you could perform some upgrades yourself - namely storage and RAM.
This carried the advantage that you could buy in cheaper and then bump up the amount of RAM at that time you felt things were starting to slow down. Previous Mac minis also offered a spare SATA port, so you could add an additional drive if you wanted to.
Sadly in those options are gone. There's no option to upgrade the RAM even if you do get into the casing, as it's soldered to the board, as revealed in an iFixit teardown. That's a blow for the budget conscious, meaning you'll have to opt for enough RAM to see your Mac mini through the entirety of its expected life.
This perhaps follows a growing trend in Apple devices, with fewer user upgrade options across the Mac family of late.
Perhaps that doesn't matter for the Mac mini's target audience, but previously it was such an incredibly simple upgrade it required no technical skill at all. We've been living with the 2. We'd most likely opt for the 2. Starting with the entry point at 1. There are no quad-core options in the line-up on offer, which there was in , which might be a disappointment for some.
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Perhaps this is Apple positioning the Mac mini more positively in its place: it's an affordable entry point into the world of Apple Mac computers. For your typical user, it will probably be all the computer they need.
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For those with a penchant for geekery, there may be a sense of disappointment. However, fire up the top-spec Mac mini we had in for review and it's difficult to be disappointed with the performance for the sort of daily tasks it's designed for. It's a very nice compact desktop and it's swift setting about productivity and internet tasks. Using Intel Iris graphics, this isn't designed to be a gamers' machine, nor is it aimed at those with heavy video editing loads, but it will take to iMovie editing or Handbrake encoding with enough expediency to keep the casual user happy, as well as being perfectly happy to play back high-resolution video content.
It also does so with getting excessive hot or noisy. It will sit quietly and get on with its work without disturbance. We didn't rebenchmark the Mac Mini for comparison, but Apple would have had to actively try to slow it down in order to deliver worse performance than those four-year-old components.
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So what's the drawback? For many pros, it may be hamstrung by Intel's integrated graphics processor. I'm not saying it needs a powerful gaming or rendering GPU. A Kaby Lake G CPU, for example, would be a nice alternative to the i3 simply to make the system low-end VR ready, to take some of the video decoding burden or to help reduce overhead in audio production.
Apple Updates Mac mini
With only four cores, that CPU may not match the performance of the i5 and i7 eighth-generation hexacore processors. Not all software supports the latter, but some notable digital audio editing software, such as Avid Pro Tools , at least take advantage to accelerate plug-ins. I've included benchmark results for a couple of Kaby Lake G laptops to give you a sense of performance and speed. But that also would require some internal redesign and -- gasp!
Apple really seems to be betting on external GPUs as a solution for much of its graphics woes. But one of the benefits of the Mini is that it's mini. Having to make space for a big eGPU just for better-than-basic graphics acceleration kind of defeats the purpose of a tiny system, especially when you're likely going to be hanging a multitude of external drives and other accessories off it as well.
And with that in mind, a couple of ports on the front would be nice.
Apple Mac Mini (2014) review: Everything you need to know
New components under the hood make for a faster iMac. Looks run in the family now, but the edition of the Envy Curved All-in-One 34 has With 10 speakers and a terrific display, this all-in-one offers a lot to appeal to the With super-premium parts, this is both the fastest, and most expensive, VR-ready PC we've The small form factor Mac Mini costs less than ever, but isn't as flexible as other Macs. Be respectful, keep it civil and stay on topic. We delete comments that violate our policy , which we encourage you to read. Discussion threads can be closed at any time at our discretion.
Don't show this again. Desktops Mac Mini teaches an old design new tricks After some time with the long-awaited update to Apple's mini PC, we're impressed overall -- but still have one big reservation. By Lori Grunin. Now playing: Watch this: Mac Mini: Apple's tiny desktop computer gets an all-new Mac Mini makes the most of its veteran design 14 Photos.
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