It's beginning to feel like Groundhog Day. The same model number A has graced the and minis. A simple twist of the bottom cover and we're in. That is plus one for repairability. Upgradeable RAM!! Oh, how we've missed you! Easily accessible fans mean soot sprites better run for cover, because cleaning dirty fans is no problem.
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Need to clean your fan? Directions can be found here. We are really starting to suspect that Dr. Emmett Brown had something to do with this mini as the antenna board and grille look identical to the last two renditions. Here we find the legendary Mac mini logic board removal tool in its natural habitat. Note the ease of use as the tool swoops in to release the logic board of the mini. The speaker cable was arranged in a twisted pair , probably to reduce EMI that could distort the sweet, iconic tones of the Apple startup sound.
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Apple has really keyed in on their boomerang-style heat sink abilities—and for that, we applaud them. We know boomerangs can be tough to master. Similar, again!
We have not tried installing old mini parts in the mini, but we are certainly not ruling out the possibility! A few twists of our precision aluminum driver with a T6 Torx bit and some cable de-routing is all it takes to remove the shield. The mini is one of the Macs launched with the Fusion Drive. It is beginning to feel repetitive to say how repetitive Apple is in the design of the mini; nonetheless, the power supply appears identical to last year's model.
In this case, we have to say that repetition is a good thing, as the mini continues to be one of the most repairable devices that Apple produces. Just like last year, the power supply provides 85 watts to the Mac mini—that's the same kind of electric juice as the AC adapter for a 15" or 17" MacBook Pro. We were especially curious to see if this new Mac mini is still compatible with our dual hard drive upgrade kit , so we got to testing it! Following along with our own guide for the model was a snap, and everything fit perfectly.
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Mac mini Mid Repairability: 8 out of 10 10 is easiest to repair. You can easily upgrade your RAM and hard drive, as well as add a secondary drive. There's no glue anywhere inside that needs to be removed while disassembling the mini.go site
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While not difficult to do, you still have to remove almost all the internals in order to replace the power supply. Can you confirm that you can add a second hard drive if you choose the fusion drive option? Thank you very much for all the outstanding articles. I am trying to get a very neat and clean HTPC and I wander if the Mac Mini logical board and ac adapter will fit in the Mac Mini case in order to have Core i5 or Core i7 with an optical drive. So fill up the comments below with the inevitable accusations of fanboyism, but know that we know that you know that we're right.
It's alright, you can keep it to yourself if you like. Boiled down to its essence, the mini's brushed aluminum enclosure has a wallflower appeal that's at home in a variety of settings; a dash of modernism that should work in many environments. Much of this is due to the unit's diminutive dimensions, which remain unchanged since the mini was redesigned back in It eschews hard angles for softly curved corners, enlivened by the occasional black accent e. Users interested in purchasing the optional Apple remote for home entertainment purposes will be glad to know this unit still features an IR receiver.
As much as things change, they seem to stay the same, and that's quite true of this Mac mini refresh. Though a quick glance at its back panel might mislead consumers into believing it's business as usual, there's actually a very significant change at play here -- namely, the addition of high-speed USB 3. Last year, we criticized the company for not including a Thunderbolt dongle in the box, but that critique apparently fell on deaf ears.
Similarly, Apple remains unmoved in its determination to make just one aspect of the Mac mini swappable, and that would be the unit's expandable memory. Despite the obvious pitfalls associated with HDDs i. The rest is inaccessible unless you're the DIY type, in which case, have at it! However, should you require monstrous amounts of RAM, the mini now supports up to 16GB -- so, there's that to smile about. Consumers with more basic computing needs can opt for the base unit with a dual-core i5 CPU and a GB hard drive. Since the model Apple shipped us for review is designated as the top-end consumer configuration -- what with its quad-core core i7 and hybrid FusionDrive -- we decided to stress it to the utmost and use it as our daily workstation.
From a cold boot off the SSD, it took the system 12 seconds to reach the startup screen, which is on par with the MacBook Air last year's Sandy Bridge model, even. What we were more keen to test out was its stamina when stressed with an Engadget editor's daily workload.
On any given day, we keep roughly 10 applications running at all times e. Our jobs depend on this level of multitasking and we're pleased to say that the mini managed that processor strain with a graceful silence. In all instances but one, the unit remained relatively cool to the touch and surprisingly quiet. The only time we ever heard a peep from it was when we added Steam and Blizzard game downloads to the active processes load. Even then, the sound of the whirring fan barely registered above a whisper. On the gaming front, it should go without saying that Macs aren't necessarily the go-to platform for the latest and greatest studio efforts.
Indeed, we've noticed incompatibility with most newer titles thanks to Apple's choice of graphics chip, but for the sake of this review we fired up Diablo III to get a sense of how the Intel HD GPU fares.
2014 Mac Mini CPU performance specs
With every quality option set to high Texture, Physics, Shadow, etc. Note, we didn't have the time to engage clusters of baddies about 50 to 60 onscreen at a time to truly tap out the system, but with more than a dozen characters onscreen, we observed a frame rate that peaked around 42 fps. Benchmark testing backed up our anecdotal assessment: the machine nearly doubles the model's scores.
As you can see in the table above, it yielded average overall Xbench scores of , with an average CPU score of and an average thread score of 1, In Geekbench, meanwhile, it delivered a result of 10, Don't call it an HTPC. Not because we disagree with that moniker, but because Apple vehemently denies its applicability here. And, because it still lacks an optical drive and you know how we feel about that. Yet, regardless of what Apple says, we can't shake the feeling that this little box will inevitably make its way into users' living rooms at some point in its life cycle -- it was born this way, people.
In fact, this editor couldn't resist the urge to take the mini chez lui and hook it up to a palm-sized 3M projector. Using the easily accessible HDMI port, we had no trouble connecting the device to the projector, and mirroring the contents of our external Thunderbolt display. We did, however, encounter Bluetooth audio sync issues with our Jambox, forcing us to depend on the mini's able, but far-from-powerful internal speaker. Of course, you can always go the more traditional route and attach it to your HDTV, but if you're aching to make use of that vast DVD library sorry, Blu-ray owners , then prepare to spring for a SuperDrive.
At that point, though, you may as well just enter the MacBook fray. Apple's quite pleased with the mini's newest feature, the FusionDrive, even though hybrid storage solutions have been in use for quite some time now. So, what is it exactly? It works like this: from the moment you take it out of the box and start it up, your Mac mini will boot, run and store files using this volume, lending every action that surface speediness. But as time progresses and your storage begins to spill past the SSD's GB limit, the FusionDrive kicks in, analyzing user-level actions based on algorithms to determine commonly used files and then allocating them accordingly.
Say, for example, you're a photo editor who makes heavy use of Aperture, but rarely bothers with iPhoto. Well, over time, the system will acknowledge this usage pattern and relegate iPhoto to the hard disk's slower volume, so Aperture will continue to launch and run quickly from flash. What's more, all of this is done behind-the-scenes when the mini is idle, so users won't notice any changes taking place.
In fact, there's no real way to monitor or edit how the system arranges the storage -- it's made to appear as one unified volume. It's fair to say the Mac mini occupies a special place on the consumer spectrum. Consider it a 3 on our appropriated Kinsey scale of tech-to-consumer affiliations. It's the perfect bridge to all things Apple.
Designed, initially, to help make Windows users feel at home within the Mac ecosystem, the mini was offered up as an elegant solution -- a compact desktop that would play nice with people's existing peripherals. But as time wore on, this "appliance Mac" as one rep put it took on other uses in enterprise and among power users.