Apple Mac Mini (3.0GHz 6-core Intel Core i5 Processor, 256GB) - Space Gray (Previous Model)
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|Specific Uses For Product||Video editing|
|Operating System||Mac OS|
|Memory Storage Capacity||256 GB|
|Screen Size||0.01 Inches|
|Ram Memory Installed Size||8 GB|
|Model Name||Mac mini|
|Included Components||Power cord, Mac mini|
|CPU Model||Core i5|
About this item
- Quad-core i3 8th-Generation Intel Core Processor
- Intel UHD Graphics 630
- 8GB 2666MHz DDR4
- Ultrafast SSD storage
- Four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports, one HDMI 2. 0 port, and two USB 3 ports
- Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11AC Wi-Fi
- The latest version of macOS
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Compare Apple Mac products
|Price||From: -||From: -||From: -|
|Display||N/A||21.5-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit Retina 4K display||21.5-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit display|
|Processor||3.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i3 processor or 3.0GHz 6-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz||3.6GHz quad‑core Intel Core i3 or 3.0GHz 6-core Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz)||2.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor; Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz|
|Graphics||Intel UHD Graphics 630||Radeon Pro 555X with 2GB of VRAM or Radeon Pro 560X with 4GB of VRAM||Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640|
|Storage||128GB or 256GB SSD||1TB (5400-rpm) hard drive or 1TB Fusion Drive||1TB (5400-rpm) hard drive|
|Keyboard and Mouse||N/A||Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse 2||Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse 2|
Apple Mac mini (3.0GHz 6-core Intel Core i5)
3.0GHz 6-core Intel Core i5; Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz; 9MB shared L3 cache
Connections and Expansion
Four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports with support for: DisplayPort, Thunderbolt (up to 40 Gbps), USB 3.1 Gen 2 (up to 10 Gbps), Thunderbolt 2, HDMI, DVI, and VGA supported using adapters (sold separately), Two USB 3 ports (up to 5 Gbps), HDMI 2.0 port, Gigabit Ethernet port (configurable to 10Gb Ethernet), 3.5 mm headphone jack
802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless networking IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n compatible, Bluetooth 5.0 wireless technology
In the Box
Mac mini, Power cord
1.4 inches (3.6 cm)
7.7 inches (19.7 cm)
7.7 inches (19.7 cm)
2.9 pounds (1.3 kg)
What's in the box
Reviewed in the United States on November 8, 2018
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Purchased this as a replacement for a Mac Mini that was upgraded from its stock hard disk to an SSD. At the same time, I purchased an Intel i7 NUC with both an M.2 drive and a large SSD, and a few other generic computer parts to update the fleet a bit. I also bought a pretty high spec iMac with its glorious display that is not available for the Mac Mini and a really nice 27" 4K LG photo monitor with USB-C / Thunderbolt connectivity.
Aside from updating for "security" purposes and staying with the times, I wanted to slim down and sort through tens of thousands of very large photographs and data collections spread across many arrays. Not a gamer here.
For nearly twice what the previous Mac Mini cost me, including upgrading its RAM and SSD, this new Mac Mini has half the RAM and one quarter the storage space, and little real world performance or convenience to offer in the typical daily driver surfing and email type uses. It is more capable for basic 3D modeling and drafting in Rhino than the old unit, and a bit more peppy on image opening, but not much. By the time all the needed adapters and external devices were ordered and hooked up, the desk area looked like a junk yard science lab, a functional but expensive and messy collection of gadgets.
When the new Mac Mini needs new storage due to wear, it becomes an expensive piece of eWaste.
Our old iMac and Mac Mini got to go Linux because Apple doesn't supply security updates for them now. The Intel NUC went straight to Linux Mint (18.04 LTS Bionic) because the experience was so nice upgrading from MacOS to Linux on the other machines. I can't believe I just said that -- the toss pot outshining the silver dinner service. Linux initial installation to the old Apple machines was painless.
By this time, I was having some buyer's remorse until I started transferring files between external USB-C Gen 2. capable devices, or in some cases directly manipulating files on the external media. At last external drives are very useful for most photo type uses. Fast. Really fast compared to USB-C 3.0 devices. As fast as USB-C Gen. 2 is, the Thunderbolt 3 ports are really a sort of PCI-Ex that is up to four times faster still. At last, a truly worthwhile feature.
Updating from Old to New, and Apple Support?
Migrating from an older (High Sierra) MacOS to the Mojave using the Migration Assistant over ethernet seemed to work well until I had issues with system files that were not properly installed. Apple was very patient, responsive and supportive but the staff supplied by Apple were technically unable to resolve the matter except to eventually suggest just starting over. Apple support was less skilled than expected but quickly available. They spent hours with me. The Apple people had me typing console commands for everything. Turns out that doing a fresh install and then using Migration Assistant and a Time Machine backup of the old Mac Mini stored on an external hard disk to transfer settings worked out great.
The Whole Point Here is to Stay in the MacOS Ecosystem, Right?
Sure, which is why I just spent six grand for a couple of new Apple desktops to replace two non-supported but fully functional Apple desktops.
After a while, while tweaking the Linux installations on the older Apple and Intel NUC, and also sorting photos and data with them, I started to see how old and tired, scattered and neglected the UI of the venerable MacOS felt. Sorting data and photo files on Linux after loading a bunch of nice free goodies is so much faster, less error-prone, and straight-forward (no trash can or scripts needed to disable it, paths displayed in plain view, properties and utilities at the ready, and a way better experience when the terminal needs some entries). Of course one can buy basic tools to move data and work with images, or subscribe to that photo software with the red clay name, but Linux offers many tools that don't require purchase of new versions all the time.
The chipset of the Mac Mini doesn't offer much to help thwart Spectre or Meltdown. It seems that everything from Siri to spell check and that darned "Faces" feature wants to slice and dice user data and user experience for the benefit of corporate AI and others so it is tough to digest the touted security features onboard this Mac Mini, much less find much useful information about them. Although solutions to some of the big security issues of today seem unresolved, at least Apple does offer a lot more concentrated and directed efforts than Linux, but I am left to wonder whether those efforts are really for my benefit. It isn't even possible to search one's own computer without involving some of Siri's long tendrils in some way.
With MacOS, the most bitter taste comes from finally getting 4k and 5k color-accurate, full (or nearly full) SRGB color and darned nice IO and processor BUT then being saddled with the MacOS inability to scale font and UI interface elements independent of overall display resolution. PC and Linux have had font scaling ability for years, as well as alternate color schemes and eye-saving features. It is sad to have to either settle for microscopic UI elements and type with full and correct display of images, or zoom then entire display to a more comfortable type size but then have lower than native resolution pictures on the display. Who wants to operate their 5k display at 2560x1440? Various UI tinkering tools don't solve the problem. MacOS 10.14.3 is the operating system to get for security updates, but otherwise, nothing to love.
The Mini Comes Up Short to The Underdogs for Moving Data and Editing Photos
The brightness control for the screen on the iMac is built-in. With the Mac Mini, it is a separate function provided by a third party piece of software.
The Intel NUC machine amazed me. It is just crazy fast running Linux and working with photos. Many people would probably do a "Hackintosh" on the Intel NUC or something like that, but not me. I'm not going to anger the elephant in the room, but that doesn't mean I have to keep giving it peanuts in the future. A gaming user would not find much joy in the Intel NUC or Mac Mini without an external GPU.
So, I put the new and expensive LG monitor and Mac Mini to use in the accounting office, and then when for the combination of 27" iMac as a mostly "smart thin client" with more of the fleet upgraded on Linux and the NUC as a faster and much more capable alternative to the Mac Mini (except of course MacOS). Remote desktop to the rescue of course. A great day for accounting, but not so much for the art department. Accounting says that the new computer works but the type is too small and the screen is a bit fuzzier than the old Mac Mini.
Summary? Impossible, but here's a try:
If one needs MacOS and fast IO in a general purpose desktop, this Mac Mini is a very nice computer that will do Photoshop, business computing, typical programming and data processing, Rhino 3D modeling and a lot more without complaint. The Thunderbolt 3 connection for monitors, storage and accessories is not fantasy, it is really excellent.
But everything needed is an order, money, adapter, or wall wart away. The Mini is in some ways the true money pit of computing.
The display and graphics quality for Photo editing and sorting are just fine, perhaps even amazing to see scans of large format photography and large professional digital files on a monitor load so quickly and accurately. There is plenty of processing power for Capture One and other photo editing software even though the processor is an i5, it is good. I don't plan to try video editing on this device, although it would be pretty nice for small projects using external storage (to avoid clobbering the internal storage).
Between the lack of upgradability, the flimsy little connectors, aging and kludgy operating system that seems to less handy each release, I'm not feeling the big excitement. More and more, we need the console to get things done in MacOS.
Apple should strive more to create a smooth and capable, user-centric operating system, and also do more to reduce the amount of eWaste caused by non-upgradable, unsupported, non-repairable devices. This time, Apple gets a pass. Next time, we'll see.
This Mac Mini would be much more appealing if it had replaceable internal storage, dual 10 gb/s LAN and better built-in graphics.
For now, I'm sticking to my new iMac and a nice collection of Linux machines even though the iMac is also hobbled by MacOS. The money spent on the Mac Mini, plus upgrades, especially when coupled with the rest of the Apple tax for phones, laptops, tablets and the rest is really starting to sting compared to the benefits.
(*) A definite upgrade from older Minis in speed, ports (in general), and graphics (not hard to pull off)
(*) While not an updated form factor, it's still a fantastic size and why I love Minis
(*) Quiet. I love how quiet these are
(*) Four Thunderbolt 3 ports, so adding on fast external storage drives is easy
(*) You can once again upgrade the RAM yourself to save some serious cash, but it will void the warranty
(*) Base configurations aren't unreasonably priced (more below)
(*) Personal preference, but I think that the new Space Gray looks super slick, and I'm a big fan of the original aluminum look
(*) Pricing aside, the only real design drawback that I see is the integrated graphics. They could have (and should have) included a better internal graphics option, as even low-power GPUs will trounce the Intel graphics. Yes, you can add an eGPU, but that'll more than double the size and increase the noise...and cost hundreds of dollars. That said, this newer version of the Intel graphics is a noticeable step up from my late-2012 Mini
(*) I hadn't thought about this before buying, but the new Mini requires an adapter (not included) to connect to Thunderbolt 1/2 devices. The cheapest that I can find right now is $50 for the Apple adapter, and reviews are mixed
(*) No dedicated digital audio output (such as optical) that I use on my older Mini every day, adding one more adapter to the shopping list if you also use it
My first Mini was a late-2012 model ( MD388LL/A with the quad-core i7). I absolutely LOVE the form factor and how quiet it is. Those are the reasons that I switched back to a Mac at home after years of using Windows boxes. It still works really well, but I've been itching for an upgrade. Like many folks, I waited (and waited...and waited) for a new Mini to come out. I hated the 2014 refresh that didn't allow us to replace the RAM, so I held out. When this generation finally got revealed this Fall, I found myself initially...underwhelmed. Now there is no user-replaceable drive, difficult (but thankfully once again possible) user-replaceable RAM, still integrated graphics, and a starting price of $800. I was pretty disappointed, until I actually looked back on what I spent on and did to my Mini years ago.
Back in 2012, I spent about $800 for the quad-core i7 version with 4GB of RAM. I then spent about $200 and a couple of hours to upgrade to 16GB of RAM and put in a 256GB SSD (for faster and quieter operation compared to the 1TB platter drive). So, a bit over $1000 for a system with 256GB of drive space and 16GB of RAM. Well, outside of having 8GB of RAM and not 16, I now have a much faster Mini with upgraded ports for that amount of money. That's why I no longer think that the base configurations are unreasonably priced, versus how I felt when I first saw them announced.
Yes, having Apple add more drive space or RAM is (as it has always been) obnoxiously overpriced compared to third party solutions. If you're new to shopping for Macs, the gut-wrenching cost of upgrading via Apple is not new, which is why most people choose to do it themselves. Thankfully, Thunderbolt 3 drives are pretty darn fast, and this Mini has four T3 ports - so hard drive space shouldn't be a big concern for most people. Plus, the internal SSD is fast. As for RAM, while not nearly as easy as adding RAM to a late-2012 model, you can add RAM to this one (but void the warranty) with less work than it was to swap out or add a second hard drive to the late-2012 model.
Transferring data and settings from my older Mini was pretty straight forward (if you do it, you'll want both hooked to a monitor and keyboard/mouse because you need to set up the older computer to do the transfer). This was my first time doing a comprehensive transfer, and I was amazed that the new Mini is set up exactly like my older one - same desktop image, same data on the desktop, same Firefox tabs opened up, same...everything. It was awesome to have such a smooth transfer over!
As I expected and hoped, this new Mini is very quiet. I actually can hear the electronics making a quiet buzzing noise when I'm doing tasks, but I have to be close to it to hear that. If this is sitting on your desk in a quiet room, you might also hear that. The fan is essentially silent unless the CPU is working hard.
I do wish it had some other ports (like Thunderbolt 2 and optical audio), but I can understand why Apple choose to move on to the newer connections. You can only keep legacy connectors for so long.
Okay, now for the elephant in the room (at least for me) - the integrated graphics. Apple could have included better graphics in this without much more (if any) size or heat load, such as using AMD’s integrated Vega M graphics. Sure, you can use an eGPU, and it's great that you have that option on Macs now, but that significantly increases the size and noise of the system. I buy Minis for the compact size and quiet operation, so an eGPU doesn't make sense for me, but it will for some of you. It's probably an option now so I'll do more research, but if I can use a fanless graphics card for a silent (but still larger) eGPU, I might just do that.
In conclusion, I wish they'd gone with better graphics, and I wish that some of the older connections were still included, but overall - I love it. If this was my first ever Mini, I'd love it even more because I wouldn't already be used to the fantastically small and quiet computer that it is. I balked at the price of these newer models given the harder to replace RAM and integrated graphics, but I don't regret my purchase at all. At all. Highly recommended now that I've actually used one.