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What makes the Mac Mini a great computer?


Added 08-16-19 11:09:02am EST - “Is the Mac Mini amazing or just meh? Our user reviewers dish on Apple's ultraportable.” - Engadget.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Engadget.com: “What makes the Mac Mini a great computer?”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

When Apple released a refreshed Mac Mini last year, it had been four years since the last iteration. The 2018 update kept the same sleek unibody but included significant spec boots like an eighth-gen Intel processor and a variety of ports (ethernet, 3.5mm headphone jack, full-size HDMI, four USB-C and two USB-3.0 Type-A). The Mac Mini performs tasks quickly and is easy to customize, but also expensive to upgrade and it also lacks a dedicated GPU. Reviewer Christopher Schodt "liked the machine" but admitted that its drawbacks make it useful for only a limited number of people. He handed the 2018 model a respectable score of 80; users gave it an average score of 76.

User Luuthian said "the form factor is great" and the Mini was also "discrete, quiet and didn't need a massive power cable." Like Chris, James approved of the CPU upgrade, explaining that the "desktop class CPU allows it to support 64GB of RAM and makes this model a massive upgrade over not only my MacBook Pro but also prior generations of Minis." Chinito77 said they "really can't imagine anyone not getting the i7 model."

Interestingly, given that it was one of Chris's cons, none of the user reviews mention being displeased at the lack of a GPU. Luuthian noted that "Yes, it doesn't have a GPU but it ran the Sims 4 on a 4K monitor at 30FPS on medium settings. That's all I really need in a device like this." Luuthian also felt that the available USB ports "make this really expandable if you want an eGPU or the like." Many other users agreed that the array of available ports on the Mac Mini really improved the machine's potential, with Darrell easily plugging his Mini into external storage and a 4K monitor via the Thunderbolt 3 ports.

Users reported different experiences with regards to the Mini's performance: Darrell found it to be a "great little computer with plenty of power for Photoshop and Lightroom." James said his Mini is "noticeably faster than my MacBook Pro while doing more things at the same time." Mike had no problem running Windows in Parallels, web browsing, checking emails, using creative software or doing some app development on his Mac Mini. Luuthian, who admittedly doesn't do heavy professional work, still found theirs to be "extremely zippy with anything I've thrown at it from emulation to web surfing and minor gaming."

However, other users had less than smooth performance from the machine. Chinito77 found that "things like VMware and video editing can slow it down a bit and cause the system to really heat up." Chinito77 also said that sometimes their Mac Mini "forces itself into a power save mode, especially if I watch 4K videos at 60FPS on YouTube." Even Luuthian said that while doing "something really intense, like gaming, it can heat up a fair amount before those fans kick in so just be mindful that you may want to use Fan Control to change temperature thresholds for the fans."

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