When many Apple users thought that the Mac mini was about to disappear due to the neglect of Apple with the renewal of a very popular team in its ecosystem, a few weeks ago the new Mac mini 2018 arrived on the market , a model greatly improved inside and that also brings something recurrent in the company’s apple products this year: a higher price than the models it renews.
We have been testing it for a few weeks and this is our complete analysis of the new Mac mini 2018.
Mac mini 2018: Technical Specifications
The expected renewal of Mac mini (2018) first brings a renewal of the family of Intel processors, which are now four and six cores of the eighth generation. The RAM, DDR4 at 2666 Mhz, as well as storage, which now happens to be exclusively SSD, also suffer improvements.
|MAC MINI 2018|
|Processor||Intel Core i3 quad-core at 3.6 GHz eighth generation (expandable to i7)|
|RAM||8 GB DDR4 to 2666 MHz (expandable up to 64 GB)|
|Storage||PCIe SSD 128 GB (up to 2 TB)|
|Graphics||Intel UHD Graphics 630|
|Ports||Four ports Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C), two USB-A, Gigabit Ethernet (expandable to 10 Gigabit Ethernet), HDMI 2.0, 3.5 mm audio jack|
|Wireless connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0|
|Weight and measurements||1.3 kg. 19.7 cm x 19.7 cm x 3.6 cm|
The configuration of the technical sheet that we show you is what we have been able to prove. Its price is 899 euros, and it is the entry and most affordable model of the whole range, counting on a Core i3 quad-core and in which we have neither hyperthreading nor Turbo Boost option.
Jumping to a Core i5 and its six cores as well as doubling the SSD up to 256 GB already makes the purchase up to 1249 euros, but since it is no longer an entry team and the profile is more professional, it is an improvement that deserves Worth it if you need internal space and especially hard work with multitasking.
The price increase is greatly accelerated as we improve the team, which can quickly reach 5000 euros opting for the version with 2 TB of SSD, Core i7 and 64 GB of RAM, too much difference from the base model.
Of all these components, the only one that in theory can be exchanged by the user is RAM, but it is not something direct or simple as you would expect in this desktop model.
Large number of ports: the cut does not reach the desktop
In recent times Apple has been characterized by offering portable solutions where the cutting of ports was evident. That cut of “physical connectivity”has not been transferred to desktops and in fact, one of the strengths of the new Mac mini 2018 is its arsenal of ports, yes, all of them in the back. This situation, in case you have the equipment little accessible, can present disadvantages for some users.
On the back of the Mac Mini 2018 there are four USB-C (Thunderbolt 3) ports, two USB-A 3.0 ports, an Ethernet port and an HDMI 2.0 output. We also have a 3.5mm headphone port.
This amount of output and input elements is important especially for the connection of external screens . In total we can place three monitors 4K, or if we prefer, one 5K and another 4K (via HDMI).
That number of ports is possible in part by the maintenance of the design and size of the Mac Mini by Apple. At that point there is no novelty, which on the other hand we do not believe that the original design needed. The Mac mini 2018 is still a very attractive compact desktop that we can take from one place to another without difficulty.
In addition, as we told the manufacturer, the park of companies and educational centers that have shelves, specific racks and accessories for Mac mini had some weight in the “no change” design.
The Mac Mini in operation
The arrival of the new eighth-generation processors from Intel to the Mac mini after hand a renewal of Apple’s compact desktop cooling system. Despite this, the null operating noise of the Mac mini is still amazing .
It is really nonexistent the vast majority of the time and in any case, when by really demanding tasks the refrigeration starts up, barely appreciable except in very silent environments.
The cooling system expels the air both from the back and from the bottom, which is just where the access to the interior of this Mac mini is, where, as we have said, the user could modify the amount of RAM memory but not simple or direct way because it is necessary to virtually disassemble the entire equipment, removing among other elements the fan and the base plate.
The model that we tested part of a Core i3 at 3.6 GHz with four cores and 6 MB of L3 cache (65 W). In the graphical part we have the omnipresent Intel UHD Graphics 630, without any option to mount a dedicated graphic solution no matter how much we want to stretch the budget in the purchase of our Mac Mini 2018.
For RAM we start with 8 GB DDR4 2666 MHz, reaching 64 GB in the most expensive models.
With this basic configuration we have been able to maintain work sessions very satisfactory and fully fluid networking tasks, navigation with many tabs open, photo editing and even test with 4K video that only slowed down at critical moments where a good GPU required to apply effects or adjustments in real time and export.
That good performance of the processors is always supported by the excellent performance of the SSD drives mounted by Apple. The model that we have been able to analyze, with a 128 GB SSD (NVMe) that seems to us very little capacity for a professional desktop and even at the user level, marked in the tests with BlackMagic 2.633 MB / s and 1.340 MB / s in reading and writing mode respectively.
Part of the merit is in the controller that Apple integrates into the T2 chip that debuts this Mac mini. In addition to basic security tasks, the co-processor has encryption functions of the SSD storage used by the computer.
In terms of power, the weak point of the Mac Mini is on the side of the graphic section if you are a player or you need maximum speed of video processing.
Here Apple has not taken into account this niche market and if you have thought of using the Mac Mini as a gaming device at a considerable level or eminently for 4K video tasks, better look for alternatives because there are no configuration options that include graphic cards dedicated. Apple gives everything to an external solution via Thunderbolt 3, especially supporting the Blackmagic solution.
The recent movements of Apple in the renovations of their most popular and affordable equipment within the Mac range (Mac mini and MacBook Air), with a considerable rise in price that take them far from the entry model that until now had had a role within of the Apple product family, seems to indicate a step forward towards a greater differentiation of products between consumption and professional.
In that first category, for basic tasks of office automation, navigation and simple entertainment, Apple barely leaves its basic iPad and input models of the iPad Pro right now. Everything else is already (quite) above the prices of the previous generations. And despite everything, this Mac Mini 2018 is the most affordable Mac that the user who decides to enter this ecosystem has at his disposal.