Hands-On With Apple's New 2018 Mac Mini

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Nov 13, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple in late October unveiled a refreshed version of the Mac mini, marking the first update to the company's smallest desktop machine in four years.

    We managed to get our hands on one of the new Mac mini models, and in our latest video, we unbox it and share our first impressions on the revamped machine.

    The Mac mini's design hasn't changed, and it's still a 7.7-inch square box that's 1.4 inches thick, but it is available in a new Space Gray color rather than the traditional silver.

    It's otherwise the same, but with the exception of a new selection of ports. The Mac mini is outfitted with four Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports, two USB-A ports, an HDMI 2.0 port, an Ethernet port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.


    While the design is largely the same, the internals of the Mac mini have been entirely overhauled. There are new, more powerful components, which necessitated a bigger internal fan with twice as much airflow, expanded vents, and a revamped power supply that offers 70 percent more maximum sustained power.

    The base Mac mini ships with a 3.6GHz quad-core 8th-generation Intel Core i3 processor, and this is actually the first time that all Mac minis have had at least quad-core processors. A higher-end 3.2GHz 6-core Core i7 processor is also available as an upgrade option.


    In our testing of the entry-level Mac mini, it earned a single-core score of 4452 and a multi-core score of 12391. That puts the base model on par with lower-end 13 and 15-inch MacBook Pro models from 2017 and 2018.

    All 2018 Mac mini models ship with an included T2 chip, which makes sure all of the data on the SSD is encrypted using dedicated AES hardware, and offers a secure boot to ensure your software isn't tampered with and only OS software trusted by Apple loads at startup.

    The Mac mini uses Intel integrated UHD Graphics 630, but with the Thunderbolt 3 ports, it's able to connect to an eGPU for workflows that require more graphics power. Thunderbolt 3 also lets the Mac mini connect to two 4K displays at 60Hz or one 5K display at 60Hz.


    8GB of RAM comes standard in the Mac mini, but it can handle up to 64GB, with Apple offering an option to customize the machine with additional RAM when placing an order.

    Likewise, the base machine also ships with a 128GB SSD, but it can be upgraded to 2TB of storage in total.

    None of these new features in the Mac mini come cheap, and the base level model now starts at $799, up from the $499 starting price of the 2014 model.

    Apple sells the Mac mini in two configurations: $799 for 3.6GHz quad-core 8th-generation Intel Core i3 chip, 8GB RAM, Intel UHD Graphics 630, and a 128GB SSD, and $1,099 for a 3.0GHz 6-core 8th-generation Intel core i5 chip, 8GB RAM, Intel UHD Graphics 630, and a 256GB SSD.


    Unfortunately, as with many Apple products, the Mac mini is not really user upgradeable. You can upgrade the RAM, but you need to take the entire machine apart, which is tricky. The CPU and SSD, meanwhile, are soldered in place and can't be upgraded after purchase.

    What do you think of Apple's new 2018 Mac mini? Was it worth the four-year wait? Let us know in the comments.

    Article Link: Hands-On With Apple's New 2018 Mac Mini
  2. doboy, Nov 13, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2018

    doboy macrumors 68020

    Jul 6, 2007
    Usual $200 for additional 128GB SSD storage, haha. What a money grab. $150 for 64GB to 256GB on the iPhone looks like a deal compare to this (NOT!).
  3. max.ine macrumors regular


    Aug 16, 2016
    I realise this is a stupid question, but does a Mac mini work with, say, a Surface laptop, provided you have cables to connect them? I might be wildly off, but I assume that would be the easiest way for a PC user like me to access macOS.
  4. zorinlynx macrumors 603


    May 31, 2007
    Florida, USA
    Are there any good 5K monitors that will work with this besides the beleaguered LG one that Apple sells?
  5. Hodar1 macrumors member


    Nov 30, 2011
    In the middle of the Rocky Mountains, for now.
    Played with one at the Apple Store. Remarkably fast, a very noticeable performance bump in ordinary, daily jobs. I think the SSD prices are pretty outragous - with USB C bandwidth, it would make sense to get the base i7 with 256GB internal; then drop $~300 to bump it to 32 GB SoDIMM and then add an external SSD/HDD.

    USB C has a bandwidth of about 5-10 Gbps (depending upon Generation); which is more than adequate for external drive speeds.
  6. lagunab macrumors newbie

    Sep 14, 2009
    I got the impression from the website that I could power my old 27" Thunderbolt display and 34" LG 4k display from the TB3 (with adapter) plus a third display from the HDMI port without additional graphics card. Also, it is not small savings to use industry DRAM upgrades to the full 64GB instead of the ludicrously priced Apple DRAM. I can't see needing that mush SSD with fast external ports allowing them to be outside. So this seems like a much more owner friendly Apple product than most from the past 5 years.
  7. Candlelight macrumors 6502a


    Oct 12, 2011
    New Zealand
    That should read "that's 1.4 inches thin".
  8. Hodar1 macrumors member


    Nov 30, 2011
    In the middle of the Rocky Mountains, for now.
    No such thing as a stupid question.
    The Mac format is HFS+ or APFS; while your Surface will be NTFS, or some version of FAT32. Thus, unless you have the software to read/write across these formats, you are done right there. I'm sure that someone makes an application that will allow this to happen; but I have no idea who would do it for the Surface.

    Then, as long as your applications on the Mac side, save the file in a format that can be read by the Windows side (ie. *.doc, *.pdf, *.xlsm, etc) you should be good to go.
  9. aardwolf macrumors 6502

    May 30, 2007
  10. Mikkis macrumors member

    Jan 30, 2010
    Apple should build a clustering interface for mac mini where you could link them together as many as you want and that way get more powerful machine = Mac Pro.
  11. BaltimoreMediaBlog macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2015
    DC / Baltimore / Northeast
    There's no reason except ineptness, poor design, and greed for the Mac Mini to not be user upgradeable. Period.

    Prediction: After slow sales, Apple will eventually discontinue this if not get out of the modular desktop or pro market completely. They just don't care enough nor do they want to listen to real desktop or pro users. I hope I'm wrong, but it seems as if Apple is incurably infected with the iPhone thinness, lightness, shiny things disease. My near 10 year old Cheese Grater Pro is still a more capable machine than this on several levels.
  12. WBRacing macrumors 65816


    Nov 19, 2012
    It depends on exactly what you mean by "work with". Can you give an example of what you are looking to do?
    You can certainly access files from one machine to the other by mounting drives / shared folders.
  13. drumcat macrumors 6502a


    Feb 28, 2008
    Otautahi, Aotearoa
    "Was it worth the wait?"

    No. We were expecting better. There's really no excuse for this. It will work for some, but the obvious lack of upgradability is intended to put screwdriver kiddies off until the Mac Pro comes out. And that is likely to disappoint all except the rich tinkerers.
  14. aardwolf macrumors 6502

    May 30, 2007
    I have an older 5k monitor that should work, but it uses the hack of using TWO mini displayport cables. Unfortunately, the Mac Mini only supports a single 5k monitor... so I'm now using two 4ks.
  15. Hodar1 macrumors member


    Nov 30, 2011
    In the middle of the Rocky Mountains, for now.
    Have you found 32GB SoDimms?
    I have had no problem finding dual 16 GB SoDIMMS to get to 32 GB; but have not found anything larger. And I fully agree with your statment, you can save substantially by buying dual 16 GB SoDIMMs DDR4 at 2666 for ~$300 at Amazon or Newegg.
  16. Lacasse macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2006
    I like your videos guys, but this one is click bait at its finest. Lol...”here’s our hands on first impressions of the Mac mini” ..proceeds to rattle off some specs, “it’s a square aluminum box”.....then at 2:10: “we’ll, as it’s difficult to give you a first impression without diving into the Mac mini, please wait until our next video”. Lol. Oh well, I appreciate the effort.
  17. marclondon macrumors 6502

    Aug 14, 2009
    What model 4ks?
  18. max.ine macrumors regular


    Aug 16, 2016
    Could you connect a Mac mini directly to a Surface with no third-party display, or would that be a bad idea?

    I suppose I might go the complete opposite route and buy a MBP to occasionally run Windows, but people seem to be really mixed on the latest MBPs.
  19. FasterQuieter macrumors 6502


    Feb 21, 2008
    I swapped out my 2012 i7 for the i5 256gb over the weekend. Seeing the benchmarks for the i7 I didn't think it justified an extra $200. Those extra 2 cores make a huge difference even without hyper-threading. I am hoping this thing will sit quietly in its spot and not trouble me until 2024. I may treat it to a GPU in 2020 if it behaves itself.
  20. Zdigital2015 macrumors 65816

    Jul 14, 2015
    East Coast, United States
    Crucial.com and OWC (macsales.com) are your go to for 32GB SO-DIMMS right now.
  21. thawk9455 macrumors newbie

    May 2, 2013
    Yes, and No. What do you mean by, "work with"? The mini is a computer, the Surface is also a computer. You could turn file sharing on with either machine and access files on the other. You can open files, websites, email, etc. on either machine as long as you have an equivalent application.

    Can you use the Surface as a screen for the mini, well, technically yes, but you probably don't want to (you would be remoting into another computer).
  22. lec0rsaire macrumors 65816

    Feb 23, 2017
    What do I think? I think space gray is gorgeous. That's the best looking Mac mini Apple has ever made. Crazy the difference a different color makes.
  23. D.T. macrumors G3


    Sep 15, 2011
    Vilano Beach, FL
    It's tricky if you have a hard time using a toaster ... :D

    Will definitely be moving to one of these from my '15 MBP 15" :) i7, 512GB storage, 8GB RAM that I'll upgrade myself to 32GB. Interested to knock around with an eGPU!
  24. DLPc macrumors newbie


    Apr 30, 2018
    was going to give one a shot.... went in to buy at the apple store, and took a couple of mid size work files with me to test out. just as my theory went... this thing throttles like crazy. i was never able to see the cpu hit the max turbo speed (except for maybe a split second at the beginning of a crunching run)

    gauging from the reaction im seeing online... apple (once again) has a massive heat dissipation issue. the longevity of this machine is going to be NIL due to excessive heat.
  25. Freida macrumors 68000

    Oct 22, 2010
    mac mini, keyboard + lg 5k monitor is $1000 more than 27 iMac.

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435 November 13, 2018