Apple on Tuesday introduced its first new small form-factor PC in four years. The new Mac mini is based on Intel’s latest Coffee Lake processors with up to six cores and improves the SFF system in almost all ways possible, making the miniature PC almost as capable as regular desktops. With that said, the considerably higher performance enabled by the new Mac mini also comes at higher price points when compared to the predecessors.

Apple’s Mac mini desktops are designed for SOHO market segment as well as everyday workloads that normally do not require very capable hardware. Meanwhile, historically Apple used mobile processors for its Mac mini, which the company found good enough for the market segment. With its 2018 SFF desktops Apple is changing the game here: the company now calls its Mac mini a “workhorse” and therefore uses Intel’s custom 8th Gen Core CPUs with four or six cores operating at 4.6 GHz Turbo Boost frequency. In a bid to cool the processor down, Apple uses a brand-new cooling system featuring a blower.

To bring the Mac mini even closer to fully-fledged desktop workstations, the new PCs are outfitted with up to 64 GB of DDR4-2666 memory, up to 2 TB SSD, four Thunderbolt 3 ports to connect an external graphics adapter, a storage system, or an Ultra-HD display, as well as an optional 10 GbE NIC that we expect is based on Aquantia AQtion AQC107 silicon (since there are no other suitable controllers on the market). In addition, the new Apple Mac mini has the company’s T2 security chip for encrypted storage and secure boot. Meanwhile the system also has regular USB 3.0 Type-A ports, an HDMI 2.0 header, and a 3.5-mm audio connector for headphones.

Apple’s new Mac mini systems start at $799 for a quad-core Core i3-based model outfitted with 8 GB of DRAM, and 128 GB of storage. Previously Apple’s entry-level Mac mini used to cost $499 - $599, enabling people in budget to tap into Apple’s Mac ecosystem. Meanwhile, once configuration of the new Mac mini is maxed out with 64 GB of DRAM, 2TB of storage, and a hex-core processor, its price skyrockets to $4,199.

Apple Mac mini Brief Specifications
  Mac mini 2018
CPU Intel Core i3
3.6 GHz
6 MB L3
Intel Core i5
3.0/4.1 GHz
9 MB L3
Intel Core i7
3.2/4.6 GHz
12 MB L3
Graphics Intel UHD Graphics 630
Memory 8 GB DDR4-2666
Configurable to 16 GB, 32 GB or 64 GB DDR4-2666
Storage 128 GB PCIe SSD
Configuratble to 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB, or 2 TB SSD
Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11ac Wi-Fi + BT 5
Ethernet 1 GbE or 10 GbE
Display Outputs 4 × Thunderbolt 3
Audio 1 × 3.5mm audio out
USB 2 × USB 3.0 Type-A (5 Gbps)
4 × USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C (via TB3)
Other I/O HDMI 2.0
Dimensions Width 19.7 cm | 7.7"
Height 3.6 cm | 1.4"
Depth 19.7 cm | 7.7"
PSU ~ 150 W (internal)
OS Apple MacOS Mojave
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  • tipoo - Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - link

    Yeah but 3/4ths of that is RAM and storage.

    The RAM is upgradable, we'll just have to see how hard it is to get to, which would save hundreds off that. And TB3 storage could be just as fast as internal, or much larger for cheaper.
  • GruenSein - Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - link

    Overall, an overdue upgrade. I am just disappointed that there is no real GPU option. If you can fit the newly announced Vega mobile into a MacBook Pro, it must be possible to put it in the mini.
  • MikhailT - Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - link

    I agree. However, you do have four TB3 ports there that you can connect a few eGPUs to.
  • GruenSein - Wednesday, October 31, 2018 - link

    From my point of view, this is hardly desirable. It defeats the purpose of having a very compact device. Also, it way more expensive than a comparable GPU alone. Check out the eGPU they presented. It is a Vega 56 for $1200.
  • corinthos - Saturday, November 3, 2018 - link

    You don't have to use blackmagic egpu. Also for some the point is lower cost to entry desktop that allows choice of display and 6 cores. So it could be better than 5k imac quadcore in performance, with the right egpu. And cheaper than imac pro. Plus you're not stuck with a 5k display you can't reuse later due to no more support for using imac displays as monitors for other systems. Form factor is nice because you could do things like stick it in a bag and take on a trip with just a wireless keyboard, mouse and iPad pro 2018 as display, for example. For those who want to get into apple.. say for video editing with final cut pro.. but want desktop class power, not notebook class, and expandable.. this new Mac mini provides that nore affordable entry point if properly configured.
  • taisingera - Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - link

    If they soldered the storage, why didn't they just solder in the RAM also? The old Mac mini starts (on Apple) for $499. So basically a $300 increase in base price. Apple seems to be raising base prices on all products, iPads, iPhones, Mac Mini and laptops.
  • tipoo - Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - link

    Because you can get an external hard drive but not external RAM?

    Quite grateful for their reversal, even if soldering on a desktop was stupid in the first place.
  • AdditionalPylons - Wednesday, October 31, 2018 - link

    Exactly. The soldered RAM was one of the major complaints about the 2014 model (that and the axing of quad-core options). Now we're almost back to 2012-levels.
    An m.2 slot would be nice, but I'm thinking there might actually be some security advantage using encryption and the T2 chip. Does anybody know anything else about that?
    Personally I've gotten quite used to Windows by now and I love the upgradability and modularity in building my own machines. Really difficult to make something this compact though. And of course the Mac mini is very stylish too.
  • TheinsanegamerN - Wednesday, October 31, 2018 - link

    As long as your drive doesnt die, because when it does, you are royally screwed, as there is no way to remove the drive or erase the data.

    The best security is being able to entirely remove the drive itself.
  • AdditionalPylons - Wednesday, October 31, 2018 - link

    I'm by no means defending Apple's decision. I would very much prefer an m.2 slot. I was just trying to think of if there were any technical advantages to having it integrated, other than greed.

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