Apple's diminutive desktop computing slab had given up hope of ever getting a replacement. But Apple's delivered a great upgrade with its 2018 models. And there's only one possible drawback., fans of
In addition to modernizing the connection options with USB-C/Thunderbolt ports, updating to HDMI 2.0 and offering a 10-gigabit Ethernet option, Apple fixed one of the big complaints about the 2014 model: soldered memory. Upgradable memory is back, and it takes two industry-standard DDR4 SO-DIMMs.
But like most Apple products, you can't upgrade it at home. Instead you'll have to take Mini again, then every little bit of upgradability helps.This undercuts one of upgradeable memory's perks: The option to buy less expensive memory elsewhere. But if it's going to be another four years until Apple updates the
We tested the "cheap" entry-level model, equipped with an Intel Core i3-8100B, 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. There isn't much to say about how it feels to use. It's similar to the old model. It drove a display via Thunderbolt without any unexpected issues (and at the monitor's maximum 75Hz refresh rate). The speakers are still kind of tinny, but the system still has the quaint 3.5mm headphone jack that Apple's dropped from its other products.
The B series of the Core processors are recent low-profile, thermally capped versions of their desktop counterparts designed for embedded systems and mini PCs. This is how Apple was able to switch from the last generation's mobile processors while keeping essentially the same design and without increasing its fan noise or noticeable heat. The i3 wouldn't really stress the small box's cooling system so we can't speak to how it would handle a more demanding processor.
But the new generation of the Core i3 delivers performance almost on par with the previous generation's i5. This Mini's processor fares well against last year's, though that uses a mobile version of the processor with very low power. Apple will probably switch the to the new generation of CPUs for the iMac in 2019, so the Mini won't necessarily remain comparable. (We didn't retest the 2014 Mac Mini for comparison, but Apple would have had to actively try to slow it down in order to deliver worse performance than those four-year-old components.)