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 PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
- 2 Sony Xperia XZ review: turbo-charged last-gen phone
- 3 Sony X9300D and X8500D UHD 4K TV review
- 4 Hisense Series 7 ULED 4K UHD TV review
- 5 Moto X Force review: Leading features from a mid-range phone
Latest News Articles
- Intel's revenue soars with help from the PC group
- Consumer PCs: Ailing, but not dead yet
- Meet Pixel, a gorgeous, much-needed visual overhaul for Raspberry Pi's main distro
- Make a Wi-Fi gadget with a $9.99 Orange Pi development board
- Mediatek's developer board features a 10-core chip and Android 6.0
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.
- Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: The new best Android phone
- Japan Robot, gadget and car expo slideshow
- Panasonic DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review: Best all-round TV ever?
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTWebSphere MQ Application SupportSA
- CCSenior Technical SpecialistVIC
- TPSoftware Engineer - C++QLD
- CCResident Engineer - Nexus 2K, 5K, 7K & 9KNSW
- FTTest ManagerNSW
- CCDesktop Support AnalystNSW
- CCAgile Iteration ManagerNSW
- TPTraining ManagerVIC
- TPSenior Business AnalystNSW
- TPSenior UI Front End DeveloperQLD
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (HTML/JAVA/J2EE) 161025/AP/862Asia
- CCBusiness Intelligence - DeveloperACT
- FTSoftware / Web Development ManagerNSW
- FTCRM Developer - MS Dynamics CRMNSW
- CCDevOps EngineerNSW
- FTBI Developer-Micro-strategyNSW
- CCSAP GRC ConsultantACT
- CCFull Stack Java DevelopersNSW
- FTUX/UI DesignerNSW
- CCContract Junior Programmer (Internet/ Intranet) 161025/JP/vhaAsia
- CCApplication Support DeveloperVIC
- CCWebpage DesignerACT
- FTNetwork Support SpecialistACT
- CCTechnical Consultant MS Dynamic AXQLD
- CCProject SchedulerVIC