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Mac mini features third-generation Intel Core processors, faster integrated graphics, Thunderbolt, and plenty of ports. Expect big things. With third-generation Intel Core processors, Mac mini keeps up with computers twice its size. You can choose a 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5. Or go for an even more powerful 2.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 for up to two times the performance of the previous-generation dual-core Mac mini. When you're using processor-intensive applications, Turbo Boost 2.0 increases the clock speed up to 3.6GHz. Hyper-Threading lets each core run two threads, so OS X multitasks even more efficiently. And an integrated memory controller connects fast 1600MHz memory directly to the processor, so it gets right to work on your data. In short, Mac mini is a little box of vroom. Intel HD Graphics 4000 delivers up to 65 percent more pixel-pushing performance than the previous generation of integrated graphics. So the video you watch and the games you play are smoother and more responsive. Flipping through photo albums is a breeze. And you've got all the power you need to edit your HD video into a film worthy of a red carpet premiere.
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First off, I'm a high school student. I'm using this computer for word processing, web browsing, some gaming, and I'm learning programming.
Design: Pros: -This computer looks excellent. The Mini's body hasn't changed since late 2010- and for a good reason. The desktop is tiny, fitting right under my monitor with room to spare. It's sleek and looks good anywhere. -It's very simple, it's just a box. The removable cover on the bottom is a soft rubber (the same as the panel with all the ports). Due to the removable cover's height and size, the computer appears to be floating about 1/3 an inch above the desk. -Looks great anywhere and feels nice as well. -Removable cover makes the RAM easy to upgrade and also gives you more access to the inside so you can clean it out.
Cons: -The ports on the back (i.e. headphones) are a bit difficult to access- you have to lean over to look behind the computer or move it. -The monitor does occasionally flicker during active use (about once a day), but Apple and Intel are aware of the problem and are releasing a fix. It's not very bad.
Performance: Pros: -The 2.5 GHz i5 is pretty speedy. I've had 15+ tabs running with music playing and a game running (Bastion) and it doesn't slow down. -Write speed for the HDD is pretty good. 5400 RPM isn't ideal, but it works well for the price.
Hardware: Pros: -Comes with a DVI to HDMI cable. Useful if you don't have an HDMI monitor available. -The computer feels very sturdy. -4 USB 3.0 ports and a SD card slot. -Bluetooth compatible.
Cons: -The power cable is a bit short. -No Thunderbolt cable.
Software: Pros: -Comes loaded with OS X 10.8.2 (Mountain Lion) which is a very sleek OS. -No bloating with things like antivirus programs, etc. -The software is all integrated with the company, so you're guaranteed support. -Comes with Bootcamp, so you can put Windows 7 on the computer (either dual boot or full switch). Cons: -Gatekeeper- you actually need to go into System Preferences and allow 3rd party programs to open (not downloaded from the app store).
Overall, the 2012 Mac Mini is a very good, reasonable priced (surprising from Apple) computer for any casual user. If you're looking for something a bit more powerful, consider the more expensive Mini or an iMac.
I purchased this computer along with a Chromebook S 550. They are a perfect compliment. I have wanted to buy a mac computer for a while because of the good things I have heard and my past experience with Apple products (ipods). But, they always seemed too expensive for me. But, with this comp, it was a perfect fit because I already had a keyboard, 19 inch digital display, and mouse. I did an extensive analysis on comps for several weeks and you know what, even when you compare the mac mini to several other desktops, it is NOT more expensive for what you get. I thought the price would be premium. That DOES seem to be the case the the imacs, but not the mac mini ($599 late 2012 edition).
My first impressions: Everything was so simple and user friendly from when I first booted it up and walked through registration. It seemed to run very quickly. I upgraded the ram when I first got it to 8gb from the standard 4gb, because of all the reviews on how easy it was to upgrade ram in this comp and the price being very inexpensive. I paid about $40 for 8gb of ram compared to $100 to upgrade through Apple. Installation was super easy.
Also, my wife is a performing artist and needed a quick demo video for a conference she was being considered for. Sadly, we have limited footage of the type we needed. But, one of the reasons we bought the mac was for ease of video editing. It was time to put the new mac to the test. The only footage I had was on a DVD. I had serious doubts about the mac and imovie being able to "rip" footage from a DVD to the comp easily without downloading some complicated software. All I did was insert the disc into the external DVD drive that I already owned. And an import bubble opened immediately to easy capture the footage into imovie! I was amazed! Plus, I was able to learn imovie pretty quick, even though I am used to premiere and final cut. Most things were intuitive and the rest I just Googled/youtubed the answer.
Finally, I was hesitant that my other devices would not be compatible with the mac: keyboard, mouse, screen, DVD drive, printer (3yrs old). Especially bc the people at the Apple store will not let you even test the devices out on the mac. I got different responses from the employees at the store. It seemed like I knew more than them.
But, to my delight, all the devices work great (with minor exceptions)!
Mouse: great keyboard: great 19 inch display: great: mac mini comes with a hdmi to DVI converted which is what my monitor has Printer: very good: I though this might be tricky bc it is about 3 years old and is one of those printers that has the special "windows specific" software. I read online that there was a mac driver for my printer, but one reviewer said it was incorrect, which made me nervous. I was willing to buy a new printer for about $120 if need be, but did not want to when I already have a great "all-in-one" laser printer.
Long story short, I downloaded the mac printer driver and it printed just fine, whether connected directly to the mac via usb or when the printer was connected to my router via Ethernet (printer has no wifi) The only issue came when I tried scanning to the mac. Since there is no fancy software for the mac for this printer, it is very basic and I discovered it only works consistently when the printer is connected directly to the mac via usb (which is fine for me). I did manage to print wirelessly to the printer while the printer was connected to router via Ethernet, but it did not work consistently.
DVD drive (HP): usually works, but sometimes the disc is not always read and I have to take it out and put it back in. The apple employees warned me that non-mac disc drives usually do not work, but it has managed to accomplish my goals.
This upgrade to the Mac Mini makes it sufficient for everyday computing. The only task that this computer would not be good enough for would be gaming, otherwise the integrated Intel 4000 graphics work well for other tasks. The addition of USB 3.0 is great for faster transfers with newer hard drives, and the Thunderbolt port can be used for a second display. I was able to play a Blu-ray and 1080p YouTube video on two different 1080p monitors simultaneously without any stutter or dropped frames.
It only comes with 4 GB of RAM, and I would recommend upgrading to at least 8 GB, which is a very easy upgrade (no tools required) and is only about $50 currently (I got 16 GB for $90). The one downside of this computer is the hard drive, because Apple uses a 5400 rpm Hitachi for this model. For basic web browsing and other everyday tasks this is fine, but upgrading mine to an SSD greatly increased performance for my more demanding use. Upgrading the hard drive is more difficult (and probably voids the warranty). I did add a second internal hard drive to this model, but this was a lot more difficult (basically everything has to be removed from the case) and requires the purchase of a hard drive cable and mounting hardware.
No major changes have been made from the previous version, but the internal upgrades make the Mac Mini a much more powerful computer that is powerful enough for most users, but professional applications and tasks like video encoding will be limited by the processor and integrated graphics.
Apple has finally released a firmware update that appears to have fixed the HDMI flickering issue that was experienced by many users, so there are no longer any major problems with this computer.