PC Mag reviews Apple’s new Mac mini: The small-form-factor consumer desktop to beat; Editors’ Choice

“The Apple Mac mini ($499) is the least expensive new Macintosh computer you can buy. Like its previous iterations, it’s built into a sleek aluminum unibody chassis, and is one of the more compact desktop PCs on the market,” Joel Santo Domingo writes for PC Magazine. “It’s now less expensive, but still has all the quality and OS X integration we’ve come to expect. It’s the small-form-factor (SFF) consumer desktop to beat, thanks to a solid chassis, convenient wired and wireless connectivity, and an OS that hands off to the Apple devices in your pocket, all at a reasonable price.”

“It is better connected than the Acer Aspire AXC-604-UR11 and much more cost effective than the Polywell i2304-i5. It’s much less expensive than the gaming-oriented Maingear Spark and performs better on the multimedia benchmark tests as well,” Santo Domingo writes. “Its only true drawback is the lack of internal memory expansion, and that’s something that’s becoming commonplace among Macs and Windows PCs every day. For its combination of great build quality, connectivity, and sub-$500 price, we award the Apple Mac mini our Editors’ Choice for consumer-oriented SFF desktops.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related article:
Apple updates Mac mini; now starts at just $499 – October 16, 2014

34 Comments

  1. The new $499 Mac mini is $100 less expensive than its predecessor. It is significantly slower and also lost the capability for users to upgrade memory or disk storage. So the new Mac mini is like 50% of its predecessor at 80% of the price.

      1. pgoodwin1, I thought that I was clear when I “its predecessor.” Sorry that I wasn’t clear. The predecessor Mac mini, for $599 had a 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz) with 3MB L3 cache. The current Mac mini, for $499 has a 1.4GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost up to 2.7GHz).

        In my opinion a 1.4GHz Core i5 is about 1.1GHz slower than a 2.5GHz Core i5.

        Does that help you to understand my comment?

        1. This is typical Apple. The $499 is the entry level model and the goal is to up sell you to the next model.
          The 699 model is pretty good. 1GB drive, 2.6GHz CPU and faster graphics than the older model.
          I did get excited about the cheaper model but will probably opt for the 699 model when I replace my aging 5 year old mini.

          The entry level is for newbies who have basic computing needs. For heavier work the other models are better.

          1. That’s strange. I always thought that the goal behind having different tiers of performance/price (i.e., value) was to provide solutions to customers with different needs/requirements. The “goal” is to up-sell people? I don’t really think so. I think it’s to open the wonderful world of Apple to more buyers. You think the reason TV manufacturers make 13″ TVs is so they can convince people to buy the 26″ TVs? I think it’s because people have different needs.

    1. Bryan Blumberg wrote, “The new $499 Mac mini is $100 less expensive than its predecessor. It is significantly slower”

      Somebody better tell Ars Technica, because their speed tests show it’s faster than its predecessor:

      http://arstechnica.com/apple/2014/11/not-the-upgrade-we-were-hoping-for-the-2014-mac-mini-reviewed/

      “We’re looking at Intel Haswell CPUs instead of Ivy Bridge, which should reduce power consumption while improving CPU and GPU performance. 802.11ac Wi-Fi bumps the maximum theoretical link speed to 1.3Gbps, roughly three times the 450Mbps 802.11n in the 2012 model.”

      “Thunderbolt 2 raises transfer speeds to 20Gbps, and the included DisplayPort 1.2 spec brings 30Hz 4K display support to the Mac Mini.”

      “Of the other substantive improvements, the GPUs and the improved storage speeds are probably the biggest. “

  2. I’ve always been tempted to buy a mini but (to me) having to go to some other company for a decent reasonable sized and priced monitor makes me cringe. It just wouldn’t be right. I don’t need that huge monitor, and don’t want to put that much money into one.

    1. Uh, with the mini you could get the smallest, cheapest monitor on the market and go to town with it.

      Or is it that you don’t want a non-Apple monitor? Then you’re stuck with a pretty good-sized 20-inch monitor on an iMac. I guess a desktop computer just isn’t in the cards for you.

      1. Yes. But it would be nice to have the same screen as the smaller iMac as a monitor. I’ve had other brands of monitors over the years, and no matter who makes them, if you want one that’s truly as good as Apple makes, the cost is high. The iMac has always been the better choice for me.

    2. I quit buying monitors years ago. Pick a TV you like and connect via HDMI. (I have ended up with larger screens than I ever would have imagined because it is just so easy.) ‘Tis the season to find decent TVs at very modest prices. 🙂

    3. I’ve had about 8 Mac Minis since the first Intel ones came out. I use them as my desktop machine and colocated servers. I’ve attached ViewSonic and HP monitors (currently using a pair of HP ZR2440w’s) along the way. Great little systems with plenty of horsepower (especially the quad i7’s). My experience with Apple monitors hasn’t been great, but the ViewSonic and HP’s work nicely for me.

  3. No question I love Macs and won’t buy anything else. But if anyone complains about non-upgradeable RAM I do have a hard time defending that.

    This is a nice computer for $499. But it would also be nice to squeeze a couple more years of life out of it down the road when a jump to 8 or 16 gigs would be negligible with a quick and easy RAM upgrade.

    1. It’s only too slow for stuff that this machine isn’t really meant for. It’s a tiny desktop with the power of a laptop but the I/O of a full desktop. Pretty good design option for many.

      1. I know what it is, I have been using it for years. And just loading the OS is slow with the stock HDD. So my point is everything is slower, period. I added memory and an SSD, and it screams. But you will not get that for $499.

          1. What do you get when Apple doesn’t make what you need, and they actively prevent you from upgrading the commodity internals to get their stock machines closer to your needs? If Apple wants to keep the mini as a low-end consumer device, then it needs to offer a mid-range tower Mac with graphics able to run a pair of 4K or greater displays Oboard PCI card support and hot-swappable drives would be great too.

    2. I just updated my Mac mini with a Fusion Drive from OWC. I added a 480GB SSD to the pre-existing 750GB HDD, giving me 1.2TB FDD. With that and 16GB RAM on a 2011 model, it gets the work done. New iMac in 2011, AppleCare, Taxes: $900. Fusion Drive w/SSD & Bracket $390.00. Total $1290

      I’d love to have the new 5K iMac, or a PowerMac though. 3 to 5 thousand dollars for a system is big bucks. Like anything in life, you get what you pay for.

      1. I dropped in two OWC 6G 480 GB drives in my 2011 i7 dual core mini. I did a RAID 0 and put all my data and iTunes on external RAIDs via ROCKETSTOR 6328L. It’s absolutely wonderful.

  4. The Mac Mini needs a dedicated graphics processor as an option not Intel graphics only.
    I agree it needs more RAM too.
    Eventually SSDs will be cheap enough to add as an option.
    If Apple wants to sell a ton more Minis then they need to add the options.

  5. I wish there was a ‘mid tower’ between the mini and the mac pro.

    —-
    Last week i just upgraded my Cheese Grater Mac Pro with a new 3 GB video card, more ram and an extra 2 TB drive. PC Vid card only cost me $100+ and adds new lease of life to my machine so I’m quite keen on upgradeable machines.

    The cylindrical Mac Pro is wonderful but needing to add storage to it’s tiny flash storage (256 GB standard) easily pushes the price above 4000. There’s a giant gap between it and the mac mini.

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