A welcome upgrade, Apple's latest Mac mini lives for the moment

The Mac's programs don't require a paid subscription after a year, so it is better equipped than Windows PCs that come with a free 1-year subscription to Microsoft Office Performance Inside, there's a fourth-generation 1. It performed adequately on our multimedia benchmark tests, including Handbrake 3 minutes 13 seconds and Adobe Photoshop CS6 The integrated graphics are good enough to help the system score 17 frames per second fps on the Heaven test and 18fps on the Valley test, both at medium quality. You'll be able to play browser-based 3D games and older titles, but you may have trouble running Grand Theft Auto V if it's ever released for the Mac.

The Mac mini is a whole lot quieter, though. The latest Apple Mac mini has more competition to contend with than its predecessor did, but it still manages to hold its own, and then some. It's much less expensive than the gaming-oriented Maingear Spark and performs better on the multimedia benchmark tests as well.

Its only true drawback is the lack of internal memory expansion, and that's something that's becoming commonplace among Macs and Windows PCs every day. Bottom Line: Apple's latest tiny desktop computer, the Mac mini, is in top form thanks to its excellent build quality, scads of connectivity options, good selection of preloaded software, and a really nice price.

Apple Mac mini (Late 2014) review: Updated, if not upgraded

Dell Inspiron Small Desktop Series His background includes managing mobile, desktop and network infrastructure on both the Macintosh and Windows platforms. Joel is proof that you can escape the retail grind: he wore a yellow polo shirt early in his tech career. Along the way Joel e See Full Bio.

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PCMag reviews products independently , but we may earn affiliate commissions from buying links on this page. Terms of use. Pros The least expensive Mac you can buy. Cons Not upgradable. Bottom Line Apple's latest tiny desktop computer, the Mac mini, is in top form thanks to its excellent build quality, scads of connectivity options, good selection of preloaded software, and a really nice price. Similar Products. Apple Mac mini Late Maingear Spark. See How We Test Desktops. Other Apple Desktops.

An easy choice for Windows migrants

Apple Mac mini 1. It weighs just 1. Only at the rear do the symptoms of modernisation appear. The SD card slot is gone, which is a shame, but the mini still has a 3.

2014 Mac Mini in 2019

Image 3 of 8. Even though this is the most modest specification offered, it showed a surprising turn of speed. The SSD is a rare performer, too. That ensures that macOS feels perfectly snappy, with apps opening up quickly and smoothly.

Mac mini (late ) Review

Image 2 of 8. Even as it stands, the Core i3-based Mac mini is perfectly capable of performing most things a reasonably demanding desktop PC user is likely to ask of it. That said, this lowest-spec model will still likely start to struggle if you throw complex 4K video-editing projects at it. The original Mac mini was something of a gateway drug — a simple, cheap way of enticing customers into the Mac ecosystem.

Removed features and Intel's convoluted CPU lineup make the Mini less versatile.

Even so, doubling the price in four years? Intel's NUC has matured significantly since it first appeared way back in from a hobbyists mini-PC to something you can run as a full-on gaming machine today. That gives this tiny PC a surprising amount of oomph and although it's a tiny bit slower overall than the Mac Mini we've reviewed here for general tasks, it's a far more competent machine for gaming.

  1. Not the upgrade we were hoping for: The 2014 Mac Mini reviewed.
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  3. Apple Mac mini (2018) review: In pictures!
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If that's what you want, the Intel NUC is a decent alternative choice. Just bear in mind you'll have to add your own RAM, storage and operating system software so the overall cost will increase from the base price shown here. Apple Mac mini : A welcome upgrade. Mac Mini review. The Mac Mini is a good upgrade for what was already an excellent entry-level Mac system but comes at the expense of easy upgrades.