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This is the best time to buy an M1 Mac Mini -- unless a new one is announced on Monday

Prices for Apple's current Mac Mini models are at all-time lows right now at Amazon, but Apple could release an updated Mac Mini in a few days.

The Mac Mini, along with its more mobile cousins the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, was one of the first Apple computers to ditch Intel silicon in favor of Apple's impressive M1 processor. And it could be among the first Macs to receive an M1X update. Apple is expected to announce new Macs on Monday.

The Mac Mini is Apple's least expensive MacOS computer, and it's selling at lowest prices we've seen yet right now on Amazon. The baseline model of the M1 Mac Mini costs $699 from Apple and features 8GB of RAM and a 256GB solid-state drive. The step-up model costs $899 from Apple and doubles the storage capacity to 512GB. Amazon is currently offering a $99 discount on the baseline model and $149 discount on the more useful step-up model with twice the storage capacity. (For both discounts, you'll see an initial discount plus additional savings at checkout.) These price breaks match the biggest we've seen for either model, but it's still probably best to wait until Monday to see what updates Apple might bring to the Mac Mini.

One benefit of paying full price and buying from Apple is you can customize the machine and add more RAM or a higher-capacity SSD, whereas the models sold on Amazon and other retailers are fixed configurations. And unlike in most other desktops, the Mac Mini's RAM is not user-upgradable. Apple's M1 system-on-a-chip integrates the CPU, GPU, RAM and other components for greater power and efficiency, but the downside of this integration is the lack of DIMM slots that would allow you to add additional RAM after purchase.

It's worth noting that the Apple Store offers students an educational discount, but you'll save only $20 on the price of a new Mac Mini, though some upgrades are discounted, too. For example, doubling the RAM to 16GB costs $180 with the education discount instead of the usual charge of $200. 

Also at Apple, you might find a refurbished M1 Mac Mini. Apple has started selling refurbs of the M1 Mac Mini at its Certified Refurbished Mac page. Currently, you can get a refurbished M1 Mac Mini with a 256GB SSD for $589 with a $110 discount, or the step-up model with 512GB SSD for $759 with a $140 discount. Refurb inventory changes rapidly so you may not always find an M1 Mac Mini listed. It's worth keeping an eye out, however, because you can lock in substantial savings. Rick Broida, CNET's Cheapskate emeritus, is a big fan of refurbs -- particularly Apple's, which are often as good as new.

Keep reading to see the best US prices currently available for Apple's Mac Mini. We update this page regularly and give prices that are accurate at time of publication, but note that they fluctuate.

Mac Mini discounts, compared

Model w/ CPU and storage capacity List price Best price (current) Best price (all-time)
Mac Mini w/ M1 chip, 256GB SSD $699 $600 $600
Mac Mini w/ M1 chip, 512GB SSD $899 $750 $750

Note that "all-time" means the best price that we've seen at an Apple-authorized retailer in the product's lifetime.

The baseline Mac Mini features Apple's new M1 chip, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. Amazon is selling it for $99 less than its $699 list price. There's an initial $40 discount, and you can save an additional $59 at checkout.

Dan Ackerman/CNET

The step-up Mac Mini with a 512GB SSD is $149 off at Amazon right now to match the biggest price break we've seen yet  for it. You save $100 up front, plus an additional $49 at checkout. Most users will benefit from the added storage space; 512GB is the smallest SSD we'd recommend for any desktop. It still might be worth waiting to see what Apple unveils on Monday before pulling the trigger on a Mac Mini purchase.

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