It Lives! Apple Announces Pro-Focused Mac mini


(Julio Ojeda-Zapata) #1

Originally published at: https://tidbits.com/2018/10/30/it-lives-apple-announces-pro-focused-mac-mini/

The Mac mini, long believed to be on death’s door, has received an overhaul that brings it up to date and offers configuration options that will please professional users.


(John Burt) #2

“Annoyingly for a machine that professionals are going to be stuffing in racks, the Mac mini still has no ports on the front.”

I always install my Mini’s backwards to have easy access to the ports. I just wish they were not black on black which makes them almost invisible. I keep a flashlight handy. :wink:


(deemery) #3

The prices for more RAM and storage are -outrageous-. I just hope this box is user-upgradeable with 3rd party parts. If not, I’m not buying it. (I’ve owned at least 8 Minis starting with the first model, with 3 currently running here.)


(James R Cutler) #4

One quibble with the article – many of us want an upgraded Mini so we can continue to use (not add) the display we have chosen.

We should not have to discard a perfectly function display because the OS vendor no longer supports a particular CPU box.

Also, OWC is already selling RAM upgrades.


(Adam Engst) #5

That’s why we said in relation to the alternative of the 21.5-inch iMac “If you don’t already have a monitor, keyboard, and mouse…” Though at this point, I have to admit that the only displays I have kicking around are old, small, and crufty.

Thanks for the pointer to OWC. Their prices are indeed a lot lower:

https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/memory/owc/apple-mac-mini/2018


(James R Cutler) #6

I do like modular component systems –

An Apple 21" Aluminum Framed Cinema Display purchased with a Dual-G5 tower is still in use as the CPU box has been upgraded, first to a Macmini3,1, then a Macmini6,2. It now is the secondary screen to a Dell U2412 which joined the Apple screen early in this sequence.

I guess I picked up the habit years ago when I upgraded individual sound system components as budget allowed. Only now it is CPUs and Storage instead of turntables, amplifiers, and speakers.


(John Beare) #7

Unfortunately, a fusion drive is no longer available for the mini. It was a good compromise between SSD speed and regular HDD capacity.


(Paul Chernoff) #8

For one use of a Mac mini is our office using existing monitors is important. We must use an approved calibrated monitor with the Kodak InSite proofing system. This means no iMac So we would like to continue using our expensive calibrated monitors that we use with our current Mac minis. Of course this isn’t the scenario of buying a Mac mini so as to save a few dollars on a monitor. Buying an iMac is less expensive than a Mac mini plus an approved monitor.

If Apple didn’t release a new Mac mini we would eventually have to replace our color proofing stations with Windows computers.

PAUL CHERNOFF
Director of Information Technology
Washingtonian Media


(Alan Forkosh) #9

It would take a bunch of space, but why couldn’t you plug your calibrated monitor via an adapter into the iMac? So, you would have an elegant 2-monitor system.


(James R Cutler) #10

I can’t answer for Paul, but in my case, I would not have space for another display, especially one as difficult to VESA mount as most iMacs are.


(Paul Chernoff) #11

There is no space. The area the Macs are in, which is a room where we have tight control over the lighting is too small.


(Simon) #12

I like the Mac mini update. The mini is again an attractive little Mac. Lots of potential applications.

It’s true the price hike is a bit of a bummer. And paying $200 for +8 GB RAM is annoying. But if that is the price to pay to get an up-to-date powerful versatile little Mac, at least I personally will be ok with that. Thanks, Apple, for recommitting to the Mac mini. :slight_smile:


(Simon Woodward) #13

We finally gave up waiting for Mac mini upgrades about 18 months ago as the graphics cards in our 2012 (?) models didn’t have the grunt to run Vectorworks so we jumped platforms to PC.

Even now it seems that the video cards in these new minis rely on accessing the main ram rather than dedicated vram. No inspiration there to revert back from the PCs we built.


(Diane D) #14

The price bump really is depressing! I always feel the Mini was a nice affordable unit for someone who didn’t need a ton of power and it was definitely on my list for the inevitable time that my G4 stops working. The ones up to 2012 were user upgradeable. I now have a craigslist search setup to see if I can find one locally.

Back in the day, I always bought the best machine I could afford even if the RAM and hard drive were a little less than I wanted. But within a couple of years I’d be able to upgrade the rest at more reasonable prices. I wish Apple would go back to that model.

Diane


(Curtis Wilcox) #15

I don’t think the mini was ever meant to be for running professional software like Vectorworks. However, graphics cards sharing the main RAM is much less of a big deal now because the main RAM is much faster and it’s easier to have more RAM. Now that the mini has Thunderbolt 3, an external graphics card can be added but you’d definitely be paying a lot more for the whole package compared to a PC built for the job.

The new mini’s RAM is still user-replaceable, I definitely would pay less and install 3rd party RAM myself. The internal drive is fixed but with Thunderbolt, it’s easy to add more storage without compromising performance, if that’s what’s important. That was true of the 2014 Mac mini as well but I think USB-C storage will have a larger market and will be more affordable.


(Doug Miller) #16

Other World Computing has a couple left: https://eshop.macsales.com/configure-my-mac/mac-mini

I bought a more recent used one from them last year; it’s still going strong.


(Simon) #17

While you are absolutely correct that fast storage can be added for cheap later thanks to TB3, it is indeed a somewhat inelegant solution to then have some external drive (that can be accidentally disconnected) dangling off what would otherwise be a svelte solid unit with lots of horsepower.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the new mini and despite its high price tag I think it makes for a great Mac. But considering we were able to retain SO-DIMMs and access to them for later upgrades, it does feel like a bit of a bummer that the internal SSD had to be soldered rather than placing it on a card that could be swapped ensuring this little Mac remains usable for many years. (not saying I’m surprised, Apple does like soldering)


(Simon) #18

Apple’s RAM option pricing is a pain, there’s no sugar coating it. Unfortunately, that’s been going on for a long time and like others have pointed out, that isn’t likely to change for the better at all.

That said, it’s great the Mac mini can be ordered from Apple with minimum RAM and then upgraded for much less to a decent amount of RAM in simple DIY manner, no electronics skills required. That’s really nice on the Mac mini. What I also really like is that unlike on the 13" portables, the new Mac mini allows for lots of RAM headroom. 16GB seems too tight to me (heck that’s how my MBP arrived in 2013). So I’d probably go for 32 GB now. Good to know there’s a simple path to 64 GB later on. :slight_smile:


(Ryoichi Morita) #19

A new Mini with the configuration similar to the one I have, 2012 Mini, will cost around $1,500. Apple’s trade-in offer for my old computer is measly $95. I guess the era of an inexpensive and affordable computer is over.


(Frans Moquette) #20

I am looking to replace my late 2009 mini in which I upgraded my RAM to 8 GB and replaced the HDD with a 1 TB SSD. A similar configuration 2018 mini at Apple prices is just over the top! So what to do?

Go for a second hand 2012 quad core I can upgrade myself for far less? But how long will Apple still support that with OS upgrades?

Buy the basic 6 core 2018 mini, upgrade the RAM myself and add a 1 TB external SSD over Thunderbolt? But what will that do for performance?