The Mac mini just became even better value

Chris Davies - Mar 18, 2020, 9:03am CDT
2
The Mac mini just became even better value

The Mac mini just became better value for money, with Apple quietly doubling the standard storage in its smallest desktop computer. While most of the big Mac attention has been paid to the potent Mac Pro over the past twelve months, Apple’s powerhouse is out of reach of the average user. That’s why improving the value proposition for the Mac mini is arguably far more important.

Despite that, Apple’s Mac mini changes for early 2020 only warranted a footnote in the new MacBook Air announcement. Just as the updated ultraportable notebook now doubles up its minimum storage – going from 128GB to 256GB in the $999 version of the macOS laptop – so too the Mac mini is getting a storage bump.

The $799 Mac mini now comes with 256GB of storage as standard, twice what the old desktop was packing. Step up to the $1,099 version, and you’ll find your Mac mini now has 512GB inside, rather than 256GB. There are bigger options if you open your wallet a little more, of course.

At the top end, all configurations of Mac mini can be had with up to 2TB of SSD storage. That will set you back at least $1,599, the 2TB option being a $800 upgrade on the entry-level computer.

More storage, but the same CPUs

It’s worth noting that, while Apple may have changed the Mac mini’s storage, it hasn’t done the same for the diminutive desktop’s processors. They’re still the same 8th generation Intel CPUs. The entry-level model gets a 3.6GHz quad-core Core i3, while there’s a 6-core Core i7 available as an upgrade.

The reality is that, while the new MacBook Air switches to 10th generation Intel silicon, that family of chips aren’t ready with versions suitable for the Mac mini quite yet. Apple skipped the 9th gen chips, and is seemingly holding out for the 10th gen to be available.

Right now, however, the only 10th gen Core chips Intel has on the market are designed for mobile, not desktop. We’re expecting that to change later in 2020, and maybe Apple will even see fit to give us a Mac Pro mini at that point.

Despite the only partial upgrade, it’s tough to argue with the value proposition of the Mac mini. If there’s a reason to hold off and wait out a bigger update, it might be graphics. The Intel UHD Graphics 630 GPU inside the current machine tops out at supporting a single 5120 x 2880 display via Thunderbolt 3. In contrast, the Intel Iris Plus Graphics in the updated MacBook Air can drive a single 6K display at 6016 x 3384 resolution.


Must Read Bits & Bytes