Mac mini Review Roundup: “A No-Brainer”

Apple’s latest upgrade to the Mac mini desktop computer releases tomorrow, and a number of media outlets today released reviews of the computer in anticipation.

Mac mini pre-orders began last Tuesday after they were unveiled at Apple’s event, while the first deliveries to customers and in-store availability will begin tomorrow, November 7. The computer features 4- and 6-core 8th-Generation Intel Core processors, four Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports, support for up to 64GB RAM, up to 2TB of solid-state storage, and includes Apple’s T2 chip for added security.

Macworld‘s Roman Loyola praises the Mac mini’s multi-core performance as well as its price point:

Because Apple has changed the marketing message with the new Mac mini, its multi-core performance will draw more attention than before. The $799 [USD] Mac mini has four processing cores, two more than in the previous models. So the newer CPU and extra processing cores combine to make the $799 Mac mini a mighty machine for apps that can use multiple cores (pro-level video and image editors, as well as developer tools, for example).

Developer Marco Arment was very impressed by the Mac mini’s performance compared to other Macs:

The big story to me is how incredibly fast this thing is. Granted, I’m testing the fastest CPU offered, but damn. 

Geekbench results are very strong. The i7 Mac Mini scored better on single-core performance than every other Mac today (!) at 5912, and its multi-core score of nearly 24,740 beats every Mac to date except the iMac Pro and the old 12-core 2013 Mac Pro. 

“Performance-competitive with pro Macs” was not high on my prediction list for a Mac Mini update, but here we are.

TechCrunch‘s Brian Heater is happy with Apple’s decision to include four Thunderbolt 3 ports:

The biggest turn on the I/O side of things, however, is the inclusion of an impressive four Thunderbolt 3 ports. That’s the same number found on the iMac Pro and twice as many as you get on the 2017 standard iMac. It opens things up to a lot more computing versatility. As far as my own desk is concerned, I welcome the ability to power the LG 4K monitor Apple sent along for testing purposes.

In regards to the Mac mini’s looks, Six Colors‘ Jason Snell notes that it’s somewhat uninspired:

In the last few years, Intel has pushed the idea of extremely small desktop PCs, leading people like me to speculate that perhaps the next Mac mini would be even more mini. That didn’t happen. Instead, Apple has decided to use the existing Mac mini design, a low-lying slab of machined aluminum with curved edges. The only real difference is that now it’s darker, the old silver look replaced with a new space gray finish.

Lori Grunen of CNET notes that while the new Mac mini’s price point has risen, it’s still quite competitive when compared to similar Windows configurations:

Though the price of entry has gone up from $500 to $800, much faster than the pace of inflation over the same period, it’s still not out of line. The comparable Windows configurations in a compact design — and there really aren’t many — are actually pretty expensive in comparison. Examples include the HP Z2 Mini G4 workstation (about $1,000 for an i3-8100, 8GB and 256GB SSD) or the HP EliteDesk 800 G4 (almost $1,300 for an i3-8100T, 8GB of RAM and 128GB SSD).

Macworld concludes by stating that if your thinking of upgrading from the previous Mac mini to the new model, you should do it:

Whether you should upgrade from the previous Mac mini is a no-brainer: Do it. If you use apps that can take advantage of multiple cores, you’ll see a huge improvement that’s well worth the cost. Even if you don’t use multi-core apps and use only consumer-level software, you’ll see a marked improvement in speed. You may have to buy a USB hub and a video adapter, but it’s worth it.

Pricing on the all-new Mac mini starts at $999 CAD for 128GB of storage, a 3.6GHz quad-core 8th-generation Intel Core i3 processor, and 8GB 2666MHz DDR4 memory.