Mac mini isn’t so mini anymore. $799 to get started, $4,199 if you want the full on mini experience. Mac mini is more Maxi than mini; not exactly a Mac Pro or an iMac Pro but with more power that lives in a sexy new space gray case.
Not So Mini
If ever there was a reason for Apple to sell their own branded 4K or 5K Retina display, the Mac mini and the entire Mac notebook line is it. Mac mini might start at $799 but what you get isn’t exactly mini.
The entry-level model features a quad-core 8th generation Intel Inside with 8GB of RAM and 128GB PCIe-based SSD. That’s not slouch machine and should be able to hold its own with the 13-inch quad-core MacBook Pro.
What intrigues me most about the 2018 Mac mini is how different it is to the underpowered and aging Mac mini it replaced; itself far more powerful than the original mini models. The image above displays connections options, including Ethernet, options for dual 4K displays (or, a 5K display), four Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports, dual standard USB-3 ports (Legacy Lives!), and HDMI.
Other that the price tag, there is much to like about the new Mac mini– if power and flexibility is what you’re after and you don’t mind paying the piper the price that is due. Mac mini has a Maxi price tag but far more options that in the past.
The base model is a lightweight deserving of a lighter price. Quad-core, but Intel Core i3 (whatever the hell that is), but options to 6-Core i5 or i7. RAM? Up to 64GB. This is no slouch machine. Faster, faster, and faster everywhere, but you pay for the privilege.
Space gray alone is worth $100 more, right?
In the absence of a true and modular Mac Pro, Mac mini might be what Mac professionals want. More power. Smaller package. It’s not modular, of course– Apple builds what you want so order carefully– but truly a capable machine if not quite as affordable as a cheese grater Mac Pro from yesteryear.
I can see the mini remaining popular among the budget restricted, but also attractive among those who need big power in a small space. This is the Maxi mini.