The Good A strong core of components and the speedy Fusion hybrid hard drive design make this the most competitive Mac Mini yet.
The Bad Fusion is an expensive upgrade, especially for users without demanding data transfer requirements.
The Bottom Line With or without its new Fusion hybrid drive, Apple finally has a Mac Mini that competes well against mainstream Windows PCs in the same price range.
A strong, new Mac Mini, with or without Fusion
The new Apple Mac Mini, updated with Intel's third-generation Core CPUs and a new Fusion hybrid hard-drive option, brings improved value and welcome speediness to the most affordable Mac. The Core i7 chip and 1TB standard hard drive in our review model are both useful upgrades over the previous-generation Mac Mini, and the $250 Fusion Drive, while turning our $799 review unit into a $1,049 purchase, offers a mostly noticeable performance improvement.
The Fusion option puts the Mac Mini outside its familiar sub-$1,000 territory, making it either an indulgence, or an appropriate upgrade for those with serious storage needs. Without the drive, the stock $799 model offers a newly invigorated Mac Mini that finally gives Apple a serious competitor to Windows PCs in the same sub-$1,000 price range.
Three versions, plus customized options
The current edition of the Mac Mini is available in three versions: