The New Apple Mac Mini is a very accomplished little machine that boasts some brilliant new features and components for a level of performance that many other small form-factor PCs will take years to achieve.
- Four Thunderbolt 3 ports
- Healthy 4K display support
- Impressive performance
- Premium, compact design
- Uses integrated graphics
- Can get pricey
The last time we got a new Apple Mac Mini was around four years ago, or thereabout. The last year, Apple released a new model to confirm that the company hadn’t forgotten about its smallest Mac, and this overdue refresh is enough evidence. For the Apple faithfuls, our favorite has been refreshed for the modern age, and it’s sleek, powerful and better than ever.
Going by Apple’s keynote during launch, the new version of its diminutive desktop computer is modest, basically a storage bump: The base model we’re reviewing now come with twice the solid-state capacity – 256GB, up from 128GB – and, you have an option of 512GB as well.
New Apple Mac Mini Design
Fans of the previous-gen, compact, silver designs of the older Mac Minis will be happy to learn nothing has changed here. The New Apple Mac Mini inherits the same, small, square-shaped metal design, measuring 7.7 x 7.7 x 1.4 inches, though this one weighs slightly heavier than the last Mac Mini at 2.9 pounds, compared to the older Mac Mini’s weight of 2.6 pounds.
Even with the same dimensions, the new Mac Mini manages to run more powerful hardware than ever before, thanks to a refreshed thermal architecture that features a bigger fan, bigger vents and an overhauled power supply.
As for ports, the new Apple Mac Mini comes with four Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports, an HDMI 2.0 port, a pair of USB-A ports, an audio jack and Gigabit Ethernet, and a 10Gb Ethernet option. The back corner holds a power button, as well as the increasingly rare (especially for Apple gadgets) 3.5mm headphone jack. Wireless connectivity comes via 802.11a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 5.0.
The single HDMI port gives you only two options if you want to connect more than one monitor: Either upgrade to a Thunderbolt 3 monitor or get an adapter. Since the Mac mini is designed for professional creators, multiple monitors are sometimes a must, and many users will definitely have to buy additional peripherals.
On the upside, you’ll be able to run two 4K displays on the Mac mini and still have two ports to spare – you can maybe use one for the external graphics card (eGPU) solution, which the Apple Mac Mini supports. As always, Apple doesn’t include a mouse and keyboard, so there are other accessories to factor into your budget.
Apple Mac Mini Performance
The new Apple Mac Mini is powerful. This tiny Mac has a desktop-grade 8th-generation Intel Coffee Lake processor, that comes in quad-and- hexa-core variants, so we were assured of high computing power. Our review unit of the square-shaped desktop delivers up to five times the amount of performance you’d squeeze from its predecessor, at least according to Apple.
Since the Mac Mini is aimed at pro-creatives who typically count on processor- and graphics-intensive applications and editing large files, the new Mac needs to be able to deliver a punch, much better than any previous version.
Our review unit is the base model, powered by a quad-core Intel Core i3 processor – you can as well choose the hexa-core Intel Core i5 model – 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD storage with a 512GB model also available. These are strong components to definitely keep the Mac mini fast and responsive for most demanding tasks, and will allow you handle multiple tasks at once, thanks to the solid amount of memory on offer. However, competing Windows-based mini-PCs like the Intel NUC Kit NUC6i7KYK pack superior components but they appear anywhere in design and versatility.
Another feature worth mentioning on the latest Mac mini is the Apple T2 security chip, that comes with an SSD controller with on-the-fly data encryption for “industry-leading-security.” The T2 chip also supports HEVC video transcoding that’s up to 30 times faster, which is more reason for news and video editors to buy this Apple Mac Mini for their creative work.
Perhaps the only let down on the Mac mini’s spec sheet is the Intel UHD 630 integrated graphics card. We would much appreciate a discrete graphics card here. If you’ll be utilizing the Mac mini for graphically-intensive creative work, such as video editing and 3D modelling, an integrated card may turn out limiting and time-consuming. If you need a boost, you can always plug in an eGPU.
Overall, we’re really impressed about this new Mac mini that Apple has created to be a powerful and versatile mini PC that’s surprisingly compact for effortless transport on daily commute, or can be hidden out of view behind a display.
The New Apple Mac Mini is a very accomplished little machine that boasts some brilliant new features and components for a level of performance that many other small form-factor PCs will take years to achieve. And, with the rise of laptops and the entry-level MacBook acting as crossover devices, Apple correctly pitched the Mac mini towards creatives and professionals.
Surprisingly, it works as designed, and that might puzzle some heavy-hitters in the industry. This is an excellent machine in its own right, but pair it with an eGPU, and you’ve got yourself a powerful dynamo for heavy-duty tasks. It’s also competitively priced next to other small form factor computer, but the all-metallic, premium design makes the new Apple Mac Mini an excellent buy.