Apple Mac mini (preview)

The smallest of Macs gets a power boost, but still looks the same

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews
  • Buy Now
Apple Mac mini
  • Apple Mac mini
  • Apple Mac mini
  • Apple Mac mini
  • Expert Rating

    Not yet rated

Pros

  • Upgraded internals keep the mini up to date

Cons

  • It's no smaller or sleeker than the last model

Bottom Line

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.

Would you buy this?

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!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?