Mac mini 2018 Review: Apple's mightiest mini yet

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  • Reply 21 of 151
    Memory is always less expensive to add afterward than to get through Apple.

    And adding an external SSD is a *lot* less expensive than upgrading it through Apple. Apple charges $600 or $800 for a 1TB SSD (depending on which of the two minis you buy). From Amazon, a 1TB NVMe SSD is $228 (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BN217QG/) and a USB 3.1 enclosure for it is $76 (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07F9VQ4XC/), bringing the total to just over $300 - plus you keep the original SSD that Apple provided inside the Mac.

    edited November 6 williamlondon
  • Reply 22 of 151
    mike54mike54 Posts: 265member
    It took Apple 4 years to upgrade the internals, no design work done on the case or design. Apple did the min amount of work they could to update this. Ok the internals are new, but why the crappy graphics? It should have at least have the Intel Iris Pro graphics. I didn't expect this behaviour from Apple. How can people say this is a premium product when Apple does stuff like this.
    sflocalboboliciouslewchenkowilliamlondon
  • Reply 23 of 151
    mike54 said:
    It took Apple 4 years to upgrade the internals, no design work done on the case or design. Apple did the min amount of work they could to update this. Ok the internals are new, but why the crappy graphics? It should have at least have the Intel Iris Pro graphics. I didn't expect this behaviour from Apple. How can people say this is a premium product when Apple does stuff like this.
    I'm not too concerned with them saving money by leaving out dedicated graphics. Anyone who needs it can get an eGPU, and that can be upgraded whenever you like without having to replace the whole computer.
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 24 of 151
    FatmanFatman Posts: 174member
    I really don't get why Apple refuses to change the external design of their products for years - the internals are completely redesigned on this mini, but it looks identical to models of past. The same can be said for the iMac, Macbook Air. Maybe they need to hire a new enclosure designer to freshen things up?
  • Reply 25 of 151
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,352member
    Fatman said:
    I really don't get why Apple refuses to change the external design of their products for years - the internals are completely redesigned on this mini, but it looks identical to models of past. The same can be said for the iMac, Macbook Air. Maybe they need to hire a new enclosure designer to freshen things up?

    Because, as shown in the keynote, there are customers using thousands of these in rack mounts. Changing the design of the case would cause serious headaches.
    retrogustodewmeroundaboutnowlarz2112razorpitnetmageargonaut
  • Reply 26 of 151
    YP101YP101 Posts: 39member
    I would say most bang for the buck is base model upgrade to i7 6 core = $1099 which same as i5 6 core model. Only 128 SSD compare to 256.
    The 4 thunderbolt 3 ports should some what good enough external UCB-C 1TB 2.5' SSD.

    NVME speed is good but compare to 2.5' SSD, The price is too much for now. The SSD speed is concern then I rather buy dual bay with raid 0 as 2 1TB 2.5' SSD.
    I think this year black Friday sale should show 2.5' SSD price drop(1TB around $100 mark.)


  • Reply 27 of 151
    It seems like Mac Mini has become a mix between datacenter product and personal computer. While I realise that requirements can be unified in this way, certainly there are disadvantages connected (no pun intended) to creating hybrid products (e.g. high cost of hardware makes this product unsuitable for entry-level applications like paper office work).

    It is still nice to see Apple noticed there is still a market for datacenter Macintosh products (which honestly surprises me after killing Xserve).

    I dearly hope that Apple products can return to the datacenter in a more targeted design (e.g. for rack mounting with places for PCI-Express expansion cards for extension with graphics processors and other hardware). I wouldn't be surprised if that doesn't happen though, as Apple has dropped its 'Computer' part of the name a long time ago.

    Certainly, if - as it sounds - Mac Pro will not be modular, what else of a truly 'General Purpose' computer can Apple offer?
    edited November 6
  • Reply 28 of 151
    seanjseanj Posts: 23member
    Now I need a mac-mini-shaped hard drive enclosure to put a 6tb hard drive with my media files in there, and stack it under the actual mac mini. My life will be complete. 
    LaCie used to make a drive like for the original format Mac Mini...
  • Reply 29 of 151
    While I like this product marginally better than the revised MacBook Air, I feel that Apple is still missing the mark with its price point on the Mini. An existing Windows user should be able to unplug their existing box and plug in a Mac mini at a price that doesn't break the bank. You can get a powerful PC desktop for this price.

    I do appreciate that this device continues to have the ports that people need. A transition to a new technology like USB-C *should* have some legacy ports, differentiated power, etc.
  • Reply 30 of 151
    ... does the render farm reference explain the high end configurations for those willing to pay a premium for 6 core compactness, along with the lack of a discrete GPU ...?

    The HP Z2 has a P1000 GPU as a proof of concept at $1,529US
    https://store.hp.com/us/en/pdp/hp-z2-mini-g4-workstation-p-5ee62ut-abc-1

    I don’t think I understand your question fully? Is there a question?
    I'm curious to understand why Apple would not offer a discrete GPU (BTO?) and why the pricing seems so high, especially given the Z2 as proof of concept vs any technical limitation...
    edited November 6
  • Reply 31 of 151
    thttht Posts: 2,933member
    Now I need a mac-mini-shaped hard drive enclosure to put a 6tb hard drive with my media files in there, and stack it under the actual mac mini. My life will be complete. 
    Let’s hope OWC updates this product:
    http://https//www.owcdigital.com/products/ministack

    They need to update it to USBC, make it exactly the same height, both the toe and the thickness of the cases. No external power needed for a 3.5” drive needed if it is <10 W. Just a really really short 4” cable. Theretically, they can put 4 2.5” drives in there, a mini RAID of either HDD or SATA SSDs, but a 3.5” drive comes in 4, 6, 8, 10 TB capacities. 4 2.5” drives only buys you redundancy, and there’s like a bazillion backup options these days.
    razorpitbryanusalbertodlh
  • Reply 32 of 151
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 51member
    blastdoor said:
    dewme said:
    This is a worthy upgrade that predictably builds on Apple's reputation of delivering premium products at a premium price. It is now safe to say the Mini is  not going to be Apple's budget or entry level product that some folks were hoping for. It's one thing for us to say "the ecosystem could use a less expensive one, at a $499 or $599 price-point" but quite another to identify what we're willing to give up on the lowest end configuration to hit that price point. By the way, Apple accepting a lower margin is not a viable answer and is not going to happen. This is still a premium engineered, amazingly industrialized, and thoughtfully sourced product that Apple put a tremendous amount of resources into to preserve what Apple values in a product it is proud to present to customers. They are not simply slapping a bunch of off-the-shelf components into an ugly white box that's stuffed with whatever they can get cheapest this week.

    I'm still hopeful that Apple can find a way to justify delivering a true entry level machine. To do this they will need to approach the problem from a different angle. For example, if Apple decided to significantly ramp up its investment in keeping newbie programmers on the professional development path they could consider something like a Mac "Coding Machine" that consisted of a what is basically a scaled down and spec'd down Mac Mini, perhaps in a poly-carbonate case, that is priced say at $299. Perhaps it only has i3 and fewer ports. I'm thinking something that is in the same sphere of focus as the Raspberry Pi but a full Mac OS machine (with XCode) that is more akin to what professional programmers are using compared to an iPad with Swift Playgrounds, which I as more like Lego Mindstorm for early exposure to programming. Apple needs to create an easy and natural path from Playgrounds to XCode, so having an educational focus coupled with an entry level product relieves Apple from having to have the "premium" wick turned up quite so high as what we see with the new Mini. Apple can do it, but needs to redefine the rationale that's driving their engineering and product development machine to make it happen. Education, STEM, robotics, and "everyone can code" may be exactly the rationale they need.

    Of course an entry level Mini won't please the current crowd here at AI, but Apple can't please everyone all of the time and they still have a business to run. We CAN pay for premium, even though we like to complain about it from our thousand dollar phones.

    The "easy" path to an entry level Mac at a lower price point is to dump Intel. Intel's gross margins are over 60%; TSMC's gross margins are just under 50%. Every time Apple ships a product with a processor fabbed by Intel rather than TSMC they are paying an "Intel tax" of sorts. An A12-based Mini would be a very strong entry level machine at a lower price point. An A12X could be offered as a BTO option for higher performance. 
    You have no idea what you are talking about nor any reference point for OS X performance on an A12 or A12X versus that of an Intel processor. Intel's and TSMC's gross margins mean nothing unless you know how much Apple is paying for each processor and that would only be true if they were 100% compatible and exchangeable.
    dewmeurashid
  • Reply 33 of 151
    mike54 said:
    It took Apple 4 years to upgrade the internals, no design work done on the case or design. Apple did the min amount of work they could to update this. Ok the internals are new, but why the crappy graphics? It should have at least have the Intel Iris Pro graphics. I didn't expect this behaviour from Apple. How can people say this is a premium product when Apple does stuff like this.
    I too have such questions...
    Why I drilled down on the HP Z2 as proof of concept as at least a middle ground, with a geekbench OpenCL benchmark of over 61k, at a much lower cost...
    While an eGPU can offer top performance, ia it a whack of dough, overkill for less than top tier pro needs and anything but 'mini'...?
    edited November 6
  • Reply 34 of 151
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 1,647member
    mike54 said:
    It took Apple 4 years to upgrade the internals, no design work done on the case or design. Apple did the min amount of work they could to update this. Ok the internals are new, but why the crappy graphics? It should have at least have the Intel Iris Pro graphics. I didn't expect this behaviour from Apple. How can people say this is a premium product when Apple does stuff like this.
    For Apple to use Intel Iris graphics it would have to use the 28W mobile parts because those are the CPUs available with that specific GPU.  The Mac mini is using desktop parts.  There are no Iris graphics available on Intel's desktop processors.
    vulpinedewmejdb8167
  • Reply 35 of 151
    Note to the author, current versions of Xcode do not include the Distributed Build feature. I believe it was removed in XCode 5 and replaced with XCode Server which does not really do distributed anything. Using a stack of Mac Minis with XCode Server to build or run auto tests will be cumbersome as it cannot do any load distribution.
    ElCapitanargonaut
  • Reply 36 of 151
    Fatman said:
    I really don't get why Apple refuses to change the external design of their products for years - the internals are completely redesigned on this mini, but it looks identical to models of past. The same can be said for the iMac, Macbook Air. Maybe they need to hire a new enclosure designer to freshen things up?
    Ive has already spoken to this many times, you just weren't paying attention. 

    “It starts with the determination not to fall into the trap of just making things different. Because when a product has been highly regarded there is often a desire from people to see it redesigned. I think one of the most important things is that you change something not to make it different but to make it better.”

    https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/features/jony-ive-interview-apple-ipad-new-macbook-air-mac-tim-cook-event-a8614421.html
    dewmeroundaboutnowwilliamlondonrazorpitnetmage
  • Reply 37 of 151

    While I like this product marginally better than the revised MacBook Air, I feel that Apple is still missing the mark with its price point on the Mini. An existing Windows user should be able to unplug their existing box and plug in a Mac mini at a price that doesn't break the bank. You can get a powerful PC desktop for this price.
    When Apple produced a very-cheap mini for switchers, the complainers said it wasn't powerful enough. Now they've gone more powerful, and the complainers say it costs too much. Do you see the catch-22 here? Anyway, I'd argue the mini is no longer a cheap intro product designed for switchers -- that job was fulfilled by iPods, iPads, and iPhones. This is a small Mac.
    stompywilliamlondonrazorpitnetmageargonaut
  • Reply 38 of 151
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,195member
    Thanks for the review. What monitor did you test it on? A TB3 monitor? 
  • Reply 39 of 151

    ... does the render farm reference explain the high end configurations for those willing to pay a premium for 6 core compactness, along with the lack of a discrete GPU ...?

    The HP Z2 has a P1000 GPU as a proof of concept at $1,529US
    https://store.hp.com/us/en/pdp/hp-z2-mini-g4-workstation-p-5ee62ut-abc-1

    I don’t think I understand your question fully? Is there a question?
    I'm curious to understand why Apple would not offer a discrete GPU (BTO?) and why the pricing seems so high, especially given the Z2 as proof of concept vs any technical limitation...
    The price isn't high. The mini launched at $500 in 2005. With inflation that's at least $650 today...so this new mini is $150 more than it was thirteen years ago, and for that $150 they ditched the laptop components and you get high performing desktop components and controllers. Then we have the documented lower TCO of Macs over PCs. If you can't afford 150 bucks, what can one say? 
    dewmewilliamlondonnetmageargonaut
  • Reply 40 of 151
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,609administrator
    eightzero said:
    Thanks for the review. What monitor did you test it on? A TB3 monitor? 
    So far, Apple's Thunderbolt display. More are coming.
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