Mac Mini 2018 Review

Finally, the new Mac Mini has arrived, here is the Mac Mini 2018 review.

The last version of Mac Mini was released in late 2014, which is already four years ago.

Though I do not really blame Apple if they took a while to refresh the Mac Mini lineup. I do see that they got a lot of other products in their website and probably the other products are more on demand.

This is why the Apple community got really excited when the news came out that the Mac Mini lineup will finally get a refresh this year.

Though it’s been a long time coming. We really think that the new Mac Mini 2018 is worth the wait.

Here is the Mac Mini 2018 Review.

1. Performance

The first thing that you would notice when you look at the specifications of the new Mac Mini 2018. Is how much more powerful the current specifications are compared to the previous version.

Basically, Apple is gearing the new Mac Mini 2018 towards the creators market.

The new Mac Mini 2018 is packed with desktop-grade 8th generation Intel Core processors. You can either choose a 3.6GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i3 or a 6-Core Intel Core i7.

The 8th generation 6-Core Intel Core i7 can Turbo Boost up to 4.6GHz. And since the new Mac Mini 2018 is designed to have two times increased airflow. Then you can rest assure that the new Mac Mini 2018 can maintain this Turbo Boost effectively.

These processors are mainly the reason why Apple claims that the new Mac Mini 2018 is fives times faster than its predecessor.

The 8th generation Intel Core processors also has the integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630 which offers 60% increased in graphical performance.

Honestly, this integrated graphics only helps when you are navigating the graphically beautiful macOS. And in some non-heavily graphical demanding application that needs some GPU power.

If you are really interested in boosting the graphical performance for faster gaming performance, video editing, video encoding or 3D modelling. Then Apple highly recommends that you pair your Mac Mini 2018 with the BlackMagic eGPU Pro. Or any other external eGPU for this matter.

Furthermore, the new Mac Mini 2018 now packs blazing-fast all-flash PCIe-based storage.

This storage provides four times increased in read speeds compared to the previous flash options.

2. Design

The new Mac Mini 2018 still retains the square design with subtle rounded edges which the community has always loved.

It is 7.7 inches (19.7cm) on each sides and 1.4 inches (3.6cm) thick. And it weighs at 2.9 pounds (1.3 kg).

Currently it only comes with a Space Gray color option. Which is currently one of the most common color option on Apple products.

It matched perfectly with the space grey Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse 2 and Magic Trackpad 2 as well.

It will still sport the iconic Apple logo at the top with a black shade. And all the I/O are all placed at the back edge of the device.

The only other stuff that you would see in the front edge is a mini light indicator on its lower left side.

3. Security

If you are concern about security. Then worry no more as the new Mac Mini 2018 will also come with the Apple T2 Security Chip.

The same T2 Security Chip that they also now include in the new MacBook Air 2018.

With the Apple T2 Security Chip, you Mac Mini 2018 will have consolidated controllers, secure boot-up, encrypted storage capability and will include Secure Enclave coprocessor.

Apparently, aside from security, the T2 Security Chip can also provide 30 times faster HEVC video encoding for your new Mac Mini 2018.

4. I/O

Unlike on its portable notebook products, Apple didn’t cheap out on I/Os in the new Mac Mini 2018.

It comes with 4 – Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports, 1 – Gigabit Ethernet port, 1 – HDMI 2.0 port, 2 – USB 3 ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The 4 Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports supports DisplayPort, Thunderbolt with up to 40Gbps transfer rate and USB 3.1 Gen 2 with up to 10Gbps transfer rate.

They can also support Thunderbolt 2, HDMI, DVI, and VGA using adapters which are sold separately.

With these ports you can run up to three displays.

Two displays with 4096-by-2304 resolution at 60Hz connected via Thunderbolt 3 ports plus one display with 4096-by-2160 resolution at 60Hz connected via HDMI 2.0 port.

Or if you want to have a higher resolution display then you can run up to two displays.

One display with 5120-by-2880 resolution at 60Hz connected via Thunderbolt 3 port plus one display with 4096-by-2160 resolution at 60Hz connected via HDMI 2.0 port.

5. Pricing

The new Mac Mini 2018 has two base versions which are both highly configurable and upgradable.

The first base version is priced at $799 which has:

  • 3.6GHz Quad-Core 8th-Generation Intel Core i3 Processor
  • 8GB 2666MHz DDR4 Memory
  • Intel UHD Graphics 630
  • 128GB PCIe-Based SSD Storage
  • Gigabit Ethernet

And can be upgraded to:

  • 3.2GHz 6-Core Intel Core i7 with Turbo Boost Up To 4.6GHz
  • 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB DDR4 Memory
  • 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB SSD Storage
  • 10Gb Ethernet

The second base version is priced at $1,099 which has:

  • 3.0GHz 6-Core 8th-Generation Intel Core i5 Processor Turbo Boost Up To 4.1GHz
  • 8GB 2666MHz DDR4 Memory
  • Intel UHD Graphics 630
  • 256GB PCIe-Based SSD Storage
  • Gigabit Ethernet

And can be upgraded to:

  • 3.2GHz 6-Core Intel Core i7 Turbo Boost Up To 4.6GHz
  • 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB DDR4 Memory
  • Intel UHD Graphics 630
  • 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB SSD
  • 10Gb Ethernet

If ever you decide to go top-of-the-line hardware-wise on the new Mac Mini 2018. You would basically need to cough up $4,199.

And if you decide to purchase your new Mac Mini 2018 with Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro X pre-installed. Then that would cost you a total of $4,698.

As usual it is so painful to see that a jump from a 128GB SSD storage to a 256GB SSD storage would costs you $200.

It would cost you the same when you upgrade from 256GB to 512GB which is more understandable.

6. Competition

So how does the new Mac Mini 2018 stack up against its competition?

If you are currently in the in the market for a mini PC then you might come across another highly popular mini PC from Intel. Namely the Hades Canyon NUC.

So can the new Mac Mini 2018 compete with the Hades Canyon NUC?

In terms of pricing the cheapest Hades Canyon NUC is priced at $954. So the Mac Mini 2018 might look more attractive in terms of pricing as its cheapest price is only at $799.

Both has powerful processors with highly configurable RAM and SSD storage. And both sport a lot of I/Os so they are on par with each other on these categories.

Where Hades Canyon NUC really shines though is its graphical performance. Basically the Hades Canyon NUC comes with a more powerful Radeon RX Vega M GL Graphics. So this is where you will draw the line.

In terms of design, it is really an acquired taste. The Hades Canyon NUC sports a more gamer design so it will probably appeal to gamers. While the Mac Mini 2018 sports a more professional design.

For me honestly, the Mac Mini 2018 wins hand down.

Conclusion

For me the new Mac Mini 2018 is a very welcome upgrade for a lineup that has long been waiting for a refresh.

It is indeed worth the wait. If you are a creator who travels a lot and prefer a mini PC instead of a portable notebook then the new Mac Mini 2018 is perfect for you.

I do agree that editing contents on a much bigger screen is a lot more preferable than a small screen of a portable notebook.

Also the inclusion of multiple Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports means that you can connect external devices like eGPU which will boosts the performance of your new Mac Mini 2018 exponentially.

If you are interested in reading more reviews. Then you might want to read my iPad Pro 2018 review.

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