The 2018 Mac mini: Here’s everything we know

It's been four years since the last Mac mini. Was the wait worth it?

Update: Our review is in, and the tiny Mac Mini is all the desktop you need. Here’s why.

Today at Apple’s second fall 2018 event in Brooklyn, New York, Apple finally announced an update to the Mac mini.

If you’re a little surprised at that, there’s good reason. It’s been several years since the Mac mini got an update, and Apple has rarely brought up the little desktop computer square.

The price and release date

The Mac mini has a new starting price of $800, which is a pretty big jump up in price from the former version’s $500. There will be an assortment of configuration options, including up to 16GB of RAM and 2TB of SSD storage. Also included are options for either a quad-core or six-core Intel processor.

The new Mac mini is available for order today through the Apple Store and will ship on November 7.

Refreshed design

mac mini 2018 features 23

The new Mac mini weighs 2.9 pounds and comes in a new Space Grey colorway to match the iMac Pro.

While we’d heard a few rumblings about what a new Mac mini could look like before the announcement, very little involving its actual physical appearance was known. The Mac mini is known for being small, though the definition of small has changed rather quickly over the past few years. Compact PCs that can attach to the back of monitors or fit on your keychain are everywhere you look, and a new Mac mini would have to address the changing context with its size and design.

Interestingly, Apple has been making new Mac minis all along, but only as limited releases. The company has been using purely recycled aluminum from iPhone cases to create Mac minis just for use inside Apple facilities. The company followed that up in its new Mac mini, which is now made from entirely recycled aluminum.

A new processor

mac mini 2018 features new processor macbook air

The base model of the new Mac mini comes with an 8th-gen four-core CPU from Intel, specifically, the Core i3-8109U. It can also be configured up to a six-core, Core i5-8500 or Core i7-8700. Apple says the CPU provides 60 percent better graphics, though that’s still using Intel’s integrated UHD graphics. Don’t expect to be gaming on this thing, unless you hook it up to an external GPU.

We’d speculated that the unit could have shipped with the Core i5-8305G and Core i7-8809G, though that clearly hasn’t happened. These are the Intel/AMD hybrid units that include AMD Radeon RX Vega graphics onboard a quad-core, Intel processor. It’s an expensive chip made for miniaturized PCs like the Intel NUC. It would have re-framed the Mac mini as a more capable gaming and content creation tool, but alas, what we’re getting is a bit more basic.

SSD hard drive

mac mini 2018 features 4

This one is practically a shoe-in.

The old Mac mini showed its age with options for an HDD, SSD, or fusion drive combination. That was a more common offering a few years ago, but now the market has shifted more fully toward SSD options. The new Mac mini launches with PCIe SSD storage, offering up to 2TB of capacity and starting at 128GB. It’s a simple, sensible move that many other Mac devices, including the iMac Pro and Mac Pro.

Updated ports

With its port selection, Apple has recognized the mini’s new role in the office and is focusing more on Pro users. The new model comes with additional ports, namely four USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports, an Ethernet port capable of 10 gigabit speeds, an HDMI 2.0 port, and two USB-A 3.0 ports.

The keeping of the HDMI port maintains the Mac mini’s status as an entertainment device. If Apple would have decided that the mini was more at home with just tasks in the workplace, it may had chosen to remove the HDMI in favor of other “Pro” connections. But if the mini still has a future as an entertainment device — perhaps like a versatile cousin to Apple TV — then no doubt HDMI will stay. Apple seems to have gone the route of giving the best of both worlds with a large variety of port options, which is just what you want to see in a desktop.


Tiny bezels and HDR rule our 5 best laptops of CES 2019

Dell, Asus, Huawei, and Lenovo have some new laptops coming soon that leverage tiny bezels and HDR to fit excellent displays into the smallest chassis. In fact, they've introduced the five best laptops at CES 2019.

From Chromebooks to MacBooks, here are the best laptop deals for January 2019

Whether you need a new laptop for school or work or you're just doing some post-holiday shopping, we've got you covered: These are the best laptop deals going right now, from discounted MacBooks to on-the-go gaming PCs.

Should you buy the affordable MacBook Air, or is the MacBook Pro worth the price?

Though they both share Retina Displays and similar keyboards, there are still some specs differences and other changes that differentiate the new 2018 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. In this guide, we stack the two up against each other.

From Air to Pro, here are the best MacBook deals for January 2019

If you’re in the market for a new Apple laptop, let us make your work a little easier: We hunted down the best up-to-date MacBook deals available online right now from various retailers.

The Asus ZenBook 13 offers more value and performance than Apple's MacBook Air

The Asus ZenBook 13 UX333 is the latest in that company's excellent "budget" laptop line, and it looks and feels better than ever. How does it compare to Apple's latest MacBook Air?

AMD Radeon VII will support DLSS-like upscaling developed by Microsoft

AMD's Radeon VII has shown promise with early tests of an open DLSS-like technology developed by Microsoft called DirectML. It would provide similar upscale features, but none of the locks on hardware choice.

You could be gaming on AMD’s Navi graphics card before the end of the summer

If you're waiting for a new graphics card from AMD that doesn't cost $700, you may have to wait for Navi. But that card may not be far away, with new rumors suggesting we could see a July launch.

Is AMD's Navi back on track for 2019? Here's everything you need to know

With a reported launch in 2019, AMD is focusing on the mid-range market with its next-generation Navi GPU. Billed as a successor to Polaris, Navi promises to deliver better performance to consoles, like Sony's PlayStation 5.

Cortana wants to be friends with Alexa and Google Assistant

Microsoft no longer wants to compete against Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant in the digital assistant space. Instead, it wants to transform Cortana into a skill that can be integrated into other digital assistants.

Microsoft leans on A.I. to resume safe delivery of Windows 10 Update

Microsoft is leaning on artificial intelligence as it resumes the automatic rollout of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update. You should start seeing the update soon now that Microsoft has resolved problems with the initial software.

Stop dragging windows on your Mac. Here's how to use Split View to multitask

The latest iterations of MacOS offer a native Split View feature that can automatically divide screen space between two applications. Here's how to use Split View on a Mac, adjust it as needed, and how it can help out.

It's not all free money. Here's what to know before you try to mine Bitcoin

Mining Bitcoin today is harder than it used to be, but if you have enough time, money, and cheap electricity, you can still turn a profit. Here's how to get started mining Bitcoin at home and in the cloud.

Need a free alternative to Adobe Illustrator? Here are our favorites

Photoshop and other commercial tools can be expensive, but drawing software doesn't need to be. This list of the best free drawing software is just as powerful as some of the more expensive offerings.

What is fixed wireless 5G? Here’s everything you need to know

Here's fixed wireless 5G explained! Learn what you need to know about this effective new wireless technology, when it's available, how much it costs, and more. If you're thinking about 5G, this guide can help!