Comments about New Apple Mac mini (3.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i3 processor, 128GB) - Space Gray (Latest Model)

New Apple Mac mini (3.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i3 processor, 128GB) - Space Gray (Latest Model)
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
Macos Mojave inspired by pros but designed for everyone, with dark mode, stacks, easier screenshots, new built-in apps, and more

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This review is for the i5 version with 256GB of storage. Before I get into my personal life story, I'll sum up the following. If you've never used a Mini before and are looking for a small, quiet, and powerful machine - I think that you'll love this. If you're considering updating from an older Mini like I was, I don't think that you'll be disappointed with the improvements (but there are some considerations).

Pros:
(*) 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

Considerations:
(*) 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

MORE INFO
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.

I was hungry for fruit when I ordered this Apple, but I learned it's not fruit, but a super fast i5 3GHz Mac Mini with 8GB RAM that will handle 4k MKV videos seamlessly through Kodi/Plex as well as handle resource-heavy Adobe software (Photoshop/Illustrator) painlessly.

Hope others don't make the same mistake I made!

I bought this because my old 2011 mini just could not keep up anymore. For the most part, I use PC. I build my own gaming rigs and I know just how overpriced and underpowered these Macs are. The reason I use Mac for some applications is their longevity, reliability, and the ecosystem. My old mini was in full service for 8 years. I’ve rebuilt my main PC 3 times in order to keep it performing the way I want it to.

As far as the mini itself, I’ll get the bad out of the way first. There is just no way most people will be satisfied with the stock GPU performance. It’s just unacceptable in a world where AMD is putting out very functional APUs that Apple can’t get decent graphics in the mini. I solved that problem with an external GPU at additional expense. The other bad is of course the lack of upgradability. Yes you can upgrade the RAM with some hassle, but to not have at least a SATA m.2 slot let alone nvme is lazy design. External SSD. Additional expense.

Ok now the good stuff. The thing is fast. OS boot is swift. Apps load in a couple seconds, and intense projects are a breeze (partially thanks to the eGPU). Video projects and music creation move along just as fast as I can go. I no longer have to wait on the Mac. It waits on me. I have seen thermal throttling in the i7 minis, but my i5 has not throttled yet. TB3 is a very noticible boost over TB2 and USB3. Now that I’m over the sticker shock and actually working, I really enjoy this Mac. It’s fast and responsive. If you will really make use of the advantages the Apple ecosystem can give you (and you’re willing to pay that premium) I think you’ll find this little machine a very positive experience.

The only problem I had with it was the wifi not working. For several weeks I couldn't figure it out. I used an ethernet cable connection for the time being. The wifi of the iMac that this mini replaced worked flawlessly. By chance I read about someone else complaining about the wifi not working on their mac mini. It was due to a usb hub that was interfering with the signal. I disconnected my usb hub and the wifi began working. I was using the exact usb hub previously on my iMac and never had problems. Other than the wifi problem I'm generally happy with the mini.

This small computer is more powerful than the imac Intel i5 Quad 3.4 Ghz. It is fantastic, soon I will do a Up - Date from Memory....

Needed a replacement for my MacBook Pro (mid-2010). Current MacBooks or iMac could not compare in horse power for the value. Set up was easy (recognized my almost 10 year old wireless printer/scanner immediately). Transferred my files and iTunes no problem. Already had an Apple bluetooth keypad, picked up a new Magic Mouse and paired it up with a Viewsonic monitor.

I had contemplated a Mini vs iMac for a while but held out, glad I waited.

Just another computer, and another device that is more of a subscription to the next update cycle than a coveted "must have", unique device. It's a Mac Mini, what more to expect?

Background:

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.

Value?

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.

Bought this because I wanted a multimedia player for my bedroom with computer capabilities. Pleasantly surprised at its speed and usability in such a small package, even with non-discrete graphics. Bought Parallels to run windows programs within the MacOS and it works really nicely. All around peppy little computer that's quiet and can be used just about anywhere.

I've been waiting for over three years for an update...and this update is a doozy. Four Thunderbolt 3 ports, OMG! I could not resist the i7-8700B CPU upgrade for an extra $200 (6 core/12 threads, 4.6 GHz turbo) - what a monster. I would recommend base RAM (8 GB SoDIMM). If you need more an upgrade is user installable for half Apple's price. Also, 256 GB SSD is adequate for the MacOS system and applications. If you work with huge files you may need an external Thunderbolt 3 SSD but it will cost a fraction of what Apple wants.
What's missing? Everything else. But if you have a monitor available (as I did) an extra keyboard and mouse then you are set.
The mini's built-in Intel UHD 630 Graphics is extremely good for normal use but not satisfying for extremely demanding video tasks such as playing cutting edge games, etc. For that you will need an external TB3 eGPU. I have a Sonnet 550 Breakaway Box that I bought for a 2017 Mac Book Pro. It works perfectly with the Mac mini and depending on what GPU card you use, it can do video anything.
You ask - why would I want a Mac mini if I had a perfectly good Mac Book Pro? Well, the laptop was only a temporary measure till Apple updated the Mac mini. I never use a laptop as a laptop - I have a tablet for that "away from home" function. And the Mac mini was almost free by taking advantage of the Apple GiveBack program. What they gave me for the Mac Book Pro was over half of the mini's cost.
I realize that not everybody is a reformed Windows system builder (like I am) that has a lot of computer stuff laying around. But if you are and you want an incredible Mac OS machine, this is the way to go. All you are purchasing is the guts of the machine...but ohhhh, what guts they are! If you need to buy a whole system, you want Mac OS, and you want something almost as good as the Mac mini i7 - will need to look at a iMac costing $1800.
Nobody ever said that Apple's were cheap.

It is really fast on boot up, about 10 seconds and on shutdown, about 8 seconds. It is quiet (solid state drive) and is a small unit. It is also fast running applications. I am very impressed.

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iPad mini 4:
7.9-inch Retina display with antireflective coating (diagonal)
A8 second-generation chip with 64-bit desktop-class architecture
Touch ID fingerprint sensor
8MP iSight camera with 1080p video
1.2MP FaceTime HD camera
802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO
LTE
iPad mini 4:
7.9-inch Retina display with antireflective coating (diagonal)
A8 second-generation chip with 64-bit desktop-class architecture
Touch ID fingerprint sensor
8MP iSight camera with 1080p video
1.2MP FaceTime HD camera
802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO
LTE
The iPad mini is incredibly powerful and capable, with advanced features like iSight and FaceTime HD cameras.
Wi‑Fi (802.11a/​b/​g/​n); dual channel (2.4GHz and 5GHz) and MIMO Bluetooth 4.0 technology UMTS/​HSPA/​HSPA+/​DC‑HSDPA (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz) CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B (800, 1900 MHz) LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 13, 17, 18,
A beautiful display, powerful A5 chip, FaceTime HD camera, iSight camera with 1080p HD video recording, ultrafast wireless, and over 275,000 apps ready to download from the App Store. iPad mini is an iPad in every way, shape, and slightly smaller form.
iPad mini features a beautiful 7.9-inch display, iSight and FaceTime cameras, the A5 chip, ultrafast wireless, and up to 10 hours of battery life. And over 275,000 apps on the App Store made for iPad also work with iPad mini. So it's an iPad in every way, shape, and slightly smaller form. Up to 10
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