Apple’s Mightiest Mini Yet? Read This Before You Buy the Mac Mini 2018

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The Apple Mac mini 2018 is a long time coming, getting a much-awaited refresh after four long years. But it might as well be worth the wait, touted as the brand’s mightiest mini to date.

Let’s delve into Mac mini 2018 price and specs in this review – and if you should get your hands on this fresh, new model right away.

Apple Mac mini: A quick history

The first-generation Mac mini was launched in 2005, and it’s the first low-cost, consumer-level Mac desktop to ship without a display, keyboard, or mouse since the birth of iMac G3 represented Apple’s return to the top. It was an opportunity to expand the simultaneous success of the iBook, iPod, and iTunes Store, especially in luring Windows users into jumping to Mac.

The Mac mini is built on the concept of Bring Your Own Display, Keyboard and Mouse (BYODKM). In early 2006, the Mac mini started to be powered by more potent Intel chips, which was aligned with Apple’s decision to move all its computers away from PowerPC processors.

The early 2006 Mac mini also came with the staggering price tag of $799, which was an increase from the $499 to $699 of the previous G4 model. It delivered, however, on its promise of a much faster machine.

The Mac mini is deemed a crucial part of Apple’s overall digital hub strategy. In some ways, for instance, it prefigured the Apple TV, serving as a superb entertainment center apart from being useful as a conventional Mac. It could connect to a TV and serve as a reliable media server, allowing music, photo, and video sharing over local networks.

Apple Mac mini 2018 review

The new Mac mini’s pros are its hugely improved specs, four USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports, good value for money, and the same small design Mac users adore. On the downside, this mini has a higher starting cost, and its integrated graphics could still be widely improved.

While not exactly cheap, this new machine is priced competitively compared to small PCs of its kind.

  • What’s in the boxSame as its predecessors, this new model ships only with the device along with a color-coordinated black power cord. You would have to provide for yourself the display, keyboard, mouse, and other necessities. The box also contains the usual user’s guide.
  • Mac mini 2018 specsHere’s the minimum configuration:
    • CPU:6GHz Intel Core i3-8100 (quad-core, 4 threads, 6MB cache)
    • Graphics:Intel UHD Graphics 630
    • Storage:128GB PCIe SSD
    • RAM:8GB (2,666 MHz DDR4)
    • Connectivity:11ac Wi-F, Bluetooth 5.0
    • Ports:4x Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C), 3.5mm headphone jack, 2x USB 3, HDMI 2.0, Gigabit Ethernet
    • Size:7 x 7.7 x 1.4 inches (19.7 x 19.7 x 3.6cm; W x D x H)
    • Weight:9 pounds (1.3kg)
  • Design and appearanceThis fresh model maintains the square, compact, no-nonsense designs of previous Mac minis while boasting of a good-looking metal quality. Apple made sure, for instance, that its enclosure is made from 100-percent recycled aluminum like that of the MacBook Air. Fans will also celebrate the fact that it now comes in Space Gray to match the iMac Pro.

The machine weighs slightly heavier than the last Mac mini at 2.9 pounds, compared to the previous one’s 2.6 pounds. The cooling system and the external vent on the back both underwent redesign as well. 

  • Performance Apple claims that the Mac mini this year has five times the speed of the previous model, and this performance is ramped up by several spec enhancements, including a maximum RAM limit of 64GB as well as up to a six-core processor. The new Mac mini is powered by a 3.6Ghz quad-core 8th-generation Intel Core i3 processor at a minimum, an improvement from the previous ones.

It is also favored as a tool for creators, with its maker claiming that it’s 30 times speedier at encoding HEVC video. This enhances its reputation as a good fit for creatives, but also sets high expectations over how it will fare with intensive software apps and large files for editing. (You can also count on safe, dependable tools like Tweakbit MacRepair to expertly clean and optimize your Mac for top performance.)

The new Mac mini also has a roster of ports on the back (four Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports compensating for the sole HDMI 2.0 port), along with two USB-A ports, auxiliary audio out, and Gigabit or 10-Gig Ethernet based on configuration.

  • Upgrade potential While the base model comes with 8GB of RAM, it can go all the way up to 64GB. With the chips slotted and not soldered into the board, users can open up the bottom and then upgrade the RAM on their own. Note, though, that while you won’t void the warranty if you decide to upgrade the RAM yourself, you should be very careful not to damage the machine in the process. 
  • Price and availabilityThis year’s Apple Mac mini release starts at $799 (an increase of $300) and tops out at $1,099 with the preset configurations. Of course, the price changes along with any change to the components, and this is a mark of flexibility in balancing power and budget.

Final thoughts

The prices of the Apple Mac mini 2018 don’t appeal to everyone, but Mac mini remains the cheapest Mac that you can cop – and it’s at its most powerful to boot. This brilliant little powerhouse is available for preorder and surely looks like a gem that is worth the significant wait.

Does the Apple Mac mini 2018 live up to your expectations? Are you keen on getting one for yourself? Let us know your thoughts!

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