Not the upgrade we were hoping for: The 2014 Mac Mini reviewed

it is smooth to experience sorry for the Mac Mini. Apple went through all of its Macs closingwireless 12 months, updating them with new Intel Haswell CPUs and 802.11ac c084d04ddacadd4b971ae3d98fecfb2a adapters and quicker SSDs and (sometimes) Thunderbolt 2, even as the Mini sat and waited for an upgrade that in no way got here.

Apple quickly announced a brand new Mini at its media occasion in October, years after the 2012 Mac Mini become introduced. desktops and laptops have not superior a lot in the closingwireless year, so for the maximum part the Mini is simply getting 2013’s improvements a 12 months overdue. If that became all that turned into happening, the Mac Mini would be a welcome-if-overdue replace to the laptop. The 2014 Mac Mini is greater exciting than that however lamentably for people who’ve been waiting for this refresh, it’s greater extremely good for the stuff it is missing than its improvements.

We typically like to check the base models of computers when viable, but in the Mac Mini’s case the upgraded $699 conwirelessguration is more interesting, and it’s the only you ought to get in case you care about performance (greater on that later). we’re going to offer benchmarks consultant of the $499 Mini, too, however known in advance of time that it makes use of the same guts because the base-model MacBook Airs and the $1,099 iMac. to evaluate the pc‘s SSD overall performance, we have additionally equipped our review unit with a 1TB Fusion pressure, a $200 improve—we won’t be recapping how this option works, however our deep dive is over right here.

 

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Visually, the Mac Mini seems similar to it has considering the fact that Apple stopped delivery SuperDrive-equipped models back in 2011. it’s an unadorned, flattened aluminum box with sharp edges and rounded corners. The front face is broken up by way of a small white strength LED and an IR receiver, and the edges are perfectly smooth. A separate piece of black plastic on the again of the unit houses the fan vent and a fairly brilliant supplement of ports, which has modiwiwireless most effective a bit from last 12 months.
The FireWire 800 port has wi-fi been jettisoned (the 2012 Mini was the wiwireless of the Macs to consist of the getting old interface, though Thunderbolt-to-FireWire dongles still exist), and there’s a second Thunderbolt 2 port in its location. coming back from remaining yr are the gigabit Ethernet jack, HDMI port, 4 USB 3.zero ports, an SD card reader, and audio in and headphone jacks. it is nonetheless stressful that Apple insists on placing all the ports for its computer systems on the again of the computers. it is no marvel at all for longtime Mac customers, but pc switchers (a collection the Mini mainlywireless goals) may want to trade their behavior.

wi-fi, the new Mini is exactly the same size and weight as the antique one. in case, you had been hoping for a few types of discount here, hold hoping.
Delays to excessive-quit Intel CPUs based on the new Broadwell structure mean that maximum of the 2014 Mini’s enhancements got here to each other Mac within the lineup in 2013, so the box’s insides do little to wonder. we’re looking at Intel Haswell CPUs as opposed to Ivy Bridge, which need to reduce electricity intake even as improving CPU and GPU performance. 802.11ac c084d04ddacadd4b971ae3d98fecfb2a bumps the maximum theoretical hyperlink pace to 1.3Gbps, kind of 3 instances the 450Mbps 802.11n in the 2012 version.

Thunderbolt 2 raises transfer speeds to 20Gbps, and the included DisplayPort 1.2 spec brings 30Hz 4K display support to the Mac Mini. The HDMI port also can pressure 3840×2160 presentations at 30Hz and 4096×2160 shows at 24Hz. This Apple wi-filewireless has extra records on outside show assist, but the maximum critical factor you should realize is that the Mini does no longer help multi-move delivery (MST) displays, meaning that 4K output at 60Hz is impossible. The forthcoming DisplayPort 1.3 wellknown is essential to drive 60Hz displays the usage of a single connector, and Thunderbolt 2 simplest includes support for DisplayPort 1.2. replace: loss of 60Hz 4K guide on the 2014 Mini is truelywireless an Intel GPU drawback, no longer a DisplayPort trouble. This report outlines the resolutions and refresh quotes supported through various Intel GPUs.

Of the alternative important upgrades, the GPUs and the advanced storage speeds are likely the most important. 2012’s Minis all included Intel’s HD 4000 GPU, the quality included GPU that shipped with Ivy Bridge processors. The GPU you get in the 2014 Mini relies upon on the conwi-figuration you spring for—the $499 base version consists of the Intel HD 5000, the same one you’ll get within the 2013 MacBook or the $1,099 iMac. The $699 and $999 models consist of the Iris 5100, a particularly faster included GPU like what you’ll see in a thirteen-inch Retina MacBook seasoned. not like the Iris pro 5200, the 5100 does not include any devoted eDRAM, which limits its speeds. it is nonetheless likely really worth the extra cash in case you need the fastest Mini you could get.

A brief word about those charts: the HD 5000 results come from a 2013 MacBook Air with a 1.7GHz center i5-3317U in it, due to the fact that we don’t have numbers for the 1.4GHz model accessible. the base Mini will score a bit otherwise, but the numbers should be greater-or-less the same.
Neither of those new included GPUs will flip the Mac Mini into a gaming system, but they bring the sort of improvements we would assume in a generational leap. The HD 5000 improves at the HD 4000 by way of about 50 percentage in the GFXBench T-Rex check and about 25 percent faster within the Cinebench R15 GPU test. The Iris 5100 in addition improves those numbers, beating the HD 4000 by ninety-eight percent in the T-Rex test and about wi-fivewireless percentage within the Cinebench take a look at. rankings within the heavier GFXBench big apple test improve as well, though by using a much smaller margin—manifestly the amount you stand to wi-fit will range from game to sport and task to undertaking.

The soar from SATA III to PCI speciwiwireless-based strong-nation drives presents a nice generational performance boost too, the same one we saw when the numerous iMacs and MacBooks made the identical bounce in 2013. both our 2012 and 2014 Minis are equipped with 128GB SSDs from Samsung. the brand new Mini has forty-eight percent better write speeds and sixty-two.2 percentage better read speeds. these numbers may additionally vary fairly from unit to unit, for the reason that Apple sources SSDs from a ramiwiwireless of producers.

the base model Mini nonetheless comes with a spinning 5400RP