October 31, 2018
Perhaps it’s fitting that just in time for Halloween, Apple would resurrect the dead and update its Mac Mini range for 2018.
Ok, maybe the Mini wasn’t actually dead, but it sure felt like it, having not seen an update since 2014 – an ice age in computing terms. In that time, Apple has decided to update the processor to a current generation model, as well as make other changes such as faster Ram and speedier storage.
As well as a specs bump, it’s also seen a considerable price rise, and now sits at a few hundred dollars more than the previous model. So, is the Mac Mini worth picking up?
See all the announcements from yesterday’s Apple launch event
The Mac Mini Redesign
The Mac Mini has been given a more measured redesign than the new 2018 MacBook Air, with a new dark gray colour being the only visual change. In fact, it’s exactly the same size as its predecessor, standing at 1.4-inches tall, 7.7-inches deep and 7.7-inches wide.
One change, however, is the material of the casing. Yes, it’s still aluminum, and it still looks stylish, but Apple has moved to recycled materials for the 2018 model.
In terms of ports, the Mac Mini is stacked, with four USB-C ports, one HDMI, two USB, an ethernet port and a headphone jack. The power button remains on the back of the unit, which still doesn’t seem the best place for it.
The New Mac Mini Specs
While little has changed on the outside, internally the Mini has seen a complete revision.
There’s a selection of eighth-generation Intel Core processors available, ranging from a 3.6GHz quad-core i3, to a 3.2GHz 6-core i7. It also features 8GB RAM as standard, but is configurable up to 64GB.
Storage starts with a 128GB solid state drive (SSD) but it can be specced-up to a 2TB SSD. Apple claims that the memory has seen an overhaul, and the all-flash PCIe is now four times faster than previous models.
Is all that jargon a mystery? See our simple guide to Computer Specs Explained
Given the increase in raw power that the Mini boasts, Apple has also managed to cram a bigger fan into that diminutive chassis, as well as redesigning the power supply.
How Much is the Mac Mini?
Prices start from $799 — a big increase from the old Mac Mini, which started from closer to $500.
For this price, you’ll get a quad-core i3 processor, 8GB Ram and a 128GB SSD.
Should this not be sufficient for your needs, you can opt for the more expensive version with a six-core i5 processor, 8GB Ram and a 256GB SSD — it’ll set you back $1,099.
You can order the new Mac Mini today, and it should be with you by next week.
Should You Buy the Mac Mini?
Despite the price increase from the previous model, the Mac Mini is still the cheapest Mac out there, although don’t forget that you’ll need to a mouse, keyboard and monitor to actually use it. When you consider that the cheapest iMac costs $1,099, you might be hard-pressed to find all these peripherals for under $300.
If you throw in Apple’s Magic Mouse 2, Magic Keyboard and the recommended LG UltraFine 4K display, and your bill will run to nearly $1,700.
The Mac Mini was long overdue an update, and in isolation there’s no doubt it’s an appealing machine. But, pitched against an iMac, which comes with everything you need in one package, the Mac Mini becomes a slightly harder sell.
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