Apple Mac mini (preview)
The smallest of Macs gets a power boost, but still looks the same
- Upgraded internals keep the mini up to date
- It's no smaller or sleeker than the last model
The updated Mac mini gets its makeover internally rather than externally, with Ivy Bridge processors and storage upgrades hidden inside the same cuboid chassis. We would have loved if it got even smaller than it already was, but we're not really going to complain about its size. It's now got the power to compete with other mini-PCs.
Price$ 699.00 (AUD)
It didn't even rate its own press release in Apple's end-of-year refresh for its notebooks, desktops and tablets, but the Mac mini deserves some attention: it gets the same Ivy Bridge processor refresh and Fusion Drive storage tech that went into the new iMac.
Apple Mac mini: the hardware
Since the exterior of the Mac mini remains the same — an aluminium unibody shell that has the company's recognisable rounded corners — you'll need to delve a little deeper to see what's changed in the latest iteration.
The Mac mini gets itself a 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 or 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 from the Ivy Bridge processor line-up , with an optional upgrade to a 2.6GHz quad-core i7 from the more expensive model. The default 4GB of DDR3 RAM can be upgraded to either 8GB or 16GB of RAM in any Mac Mini.
This update in processors also brings along a boost in graphics power — since the mini uses the graphics processor integrated into its CPU, Ivy Bridge's Intel HD Graphics 4000 means 65 per cent more power (according to Apple, at least). It's not going to run any modern games at high resolution but it'll handle any desktop computing task you throw at it.
The mini comes by default with a 500GB hard drive, with 1TB on the more expensive model. The 1TB unit can be upgraded to a 1TB Fusion drive for $300, adding a 128GB flash storage drive that transfers commonly used files from the 1TB spinning disk for fast access without any input needed from the user. A 256GB flash storage option is also available.
The switch to newer processor and motherboard means USB 3.0 is now natively supported, with the mini sporting four USB 3.0 ports alongside Thunderbolt, SDXC, audio in/out, FireWire 800, and Gigabit Ethernet. 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi is also built-in.
A Mac mini with OSX Server is also available; it has effectively the same specs as the high-end Mac mini, but has space for two hard drives, and comes with OSX Server installed on top of the standard OS X Mountain Lion. It can be upgraded with a 1TB Fusion drive, 3TB Fusion drive or up to 768GB of flash storage.
Apple Mac mini: Conclusion
The little Mac mini has always been one of our favourites from the Mac family — it's small and unobtrusive, good-looking, comparatively cheap, and more versatile than it gets credit for. The minor upgrade it gets in this cycle is enough to keep it competitive with other mini PCs from the Windows side of the market.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Gadgets & Things
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 2 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 3 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 4 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
- 5 Parrot Mambo Drone review
Latest News Articles
- Microsoft Surface Studio teardown reveals Intel and ARM chips inside
- You wear Zotac's new gaming PC on your back
- This may be the most expensive 'free' computer you've ever seen
- This jaw-dropping all-AMD custom gaming PC looks like an M134 minigun
- HP's power-packed Z2 Mini desktop takes on Apple's aging Mac Mini
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- Best phone of the year 2016
- TV of the year award 2016
- Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- CCBusiness Analyst - Reporting, Excel and AutoCAD experienceNSW
- CCBusiness AnalystNSW
- CCTechnical WriterACT
- FTSenior Project EngineerNSW
- TPProject Manager - SalesforceVIC
- FTSenior WebSphere Portal Technical LeadACT
- CCJava API DeveloperTAS
- CCActive Directory EngineerNSW
- FTInfrastructure AnalystQLD
- TPBusiness AnalystACT
- FTUX / UI DesignerVIC
- CCProject ManagerNSW
- FTInfrastructure Solutions EngineerVIC
- CCBusiness Analyst - SQLNSW
- CCPlatform Services EngineerNSW
- CCTechnology Specialist-AWS MigrationNSW
- CCPerformance Test AnalystVIC
- FTSAP Service Delivery ManagerACT
- CCSecurity Consultant (Perth CBD based)VIC
- CCHadoop Developer - Big DataNSW
- CCAEM DeveloperVIC
- CCSenior Web Content AuthorACT
- CCWeb Optimisation AnalystWA
- CCIteration Manager - DigitalNSW
- FTSenior Project ManagerNSW