Convergence has been the order of the day in the PC world for years as desktops have become smaller and laptops have become more powerful

Most manufacturers, however, struggled to achieve what Apple had done in one fell swoop when it introduced its own proprietary chipsets: making desktops and laptops functionally identical

The new Mac mini is technically a desktop, but it has the same processing and graphics hardware as its brothers MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. It’s small enough and light enough to take with you anywhere as long as you connect it to one Being able to connect a keyboard, mouse and monitor Where are the limits at all?

The Apple Silicon Mac mini doesn’t know many limits.It will most appeal to those who need (or want) those additional peripherals and the flexibility they offer – not to mention the dongle-free access to classic USB ports – and those for whom perfect portability is not a primary concern

There are a lot of these (um, us) people out there, so the Mac mini will likely please both its built-in user base and the Apple curious with its feature-rich design and powerful performance, and it will surprise them all again Applications take advantage of the dazzling new capabilities of Apple Silicon

Like previous entries in its product line, the 2020 Mac mini is by no means bulky.Like its youngest predecessor, which can be seen in our review of the Apple Mac mini (2018), it measures 77 cm long and wide, 14 cm high and weighs 26 Pounds, which makes it light and easy to carry

The rounded corners, the matte metal (“silver” in Apple language) and the glossy black Apple logo above and the tiny on / off switch in the back corner give it an elegant, but inconspicuous look, that of its small ones The exact white light in the front corner, which lights up when the system is switched on, remains the only additional decoration

The black disk on the underside, etched with the name of the system, serves as a cooling vent, vertical foot, and access door to access the internal hardware (you probably won’t want to do this as disassembly is far more cumbersome than the most PCs and you have a narrow upgrade path, but the potential is there)

The CPU for all of Apple’s current Mac versions is the eight-core M1.It is divided into four performance cores and four efficiency cores, with the former doing things faster and the latter doing them while using less power (Obviously less a problem with a desktop, but no matter)

Apple has coupled this CPU with an integrated GPU As with the top-of-the-range MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, the Mac mini’s GPU also offers eight processor cores with graphics performance (the lower-end MacBook Air is slightly affected by its 7-core GPU, and the lack of a fan on both Airs leads to the Possibility of limited performance with demanding programs)

The M1 Mac mini comes in two standard configurations, each with 8GB of RAM: one with 256GB of solid-state storage for $ 699, and one with 512GB for $ 899, in either case, you can get an additional 8GB of RAM for $ 200 add and / or increase the storage to 1TB for $ 200 or to 2TB for $ 600

A fully charged Mac mini costs 1$ 699 before adding any additional software besides the usual gimmies like Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iMovie, and GarageBand However, Apple gives you the option to add Final Cut Pro ($ 299 ($ ​​299) 99) and Logic Pro ($ 199) (99) to your cart before you check out

The Intel Mac mini, which will be available from 1$ 099, with a variety of upgrade options (including up to 64GB of RAM and 10 Gigabit Ethernet), is also still on sale

If the Mac mini doesn’t promise a massive performance advantage, why might you want it instead of one of the more convenient laptops?

On the one hand, more screen space The Mac mini, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro offer support for an external 60 Hz 6K display (6144 x 3160) However, you can also use a 4K (3rd generation) monitor with the Mac mini840 x 2160) while the built-in The screens of the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro are 2560 x 1600 or 2880 x 1800

The port selection of the Mac mini in general is also a big plus – after all, it actually offers space for ports and then it is enough to accommodate two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports and a headphone jack (as on both models of the M1 laptop) Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI 2, add 0 (a must for an external display) and two USB Type-A ports

On the laptops you need dongles for everything that cannot be connected to Thunderbolt These can get expensive here, Thunderbolt is a hookup option of many, and if you’re a keyboard and mouse snob (like you really are) and Apple’s unique designs in these areas don’t suit you, you’ll find this one enormous, productivity-increasing advantage is

It’s worth noting, however, that this is a result of the previous Mac mini – you lose two Thunderbolt ports – and there is a chance it could affect your workflow, Apple may think it’s worth getting two ports for give up the extended monitor room Personally I would agree, but your Mac mileage may vary

In addition, there is pioneering support for Bluetooth 50 and 80211ax (also known as WiFi 6) which offers more features and speed for your wireless adventures In any case, you still need to be plugged into a wall socket with the typical sleek power cord from Apple, that connects to a port on the back

As expected, the performance of our Mac mini device (standard configuration with 8 GB Apple Unified Memory and 256 GB storage) hardly differed from similarly equipped MacBook Air and MacBook Pro devices

The Mac mini multi-core score on the general purpose Geekbench 53 benchmark test (optimized for Apple Silicon) was 7683 – light, statistically insignificant before the 8 GB MacBook Air (7581) and MacBook Pro (7571)

There were slightly more variations in our video encoding test in the Apple Silicon-friendly Handbrake 1.4 The Mac mini took 8 minutes and 11 seconds to complete the transcode, while the MacBook Pro just before 7:46 a.m. and the MacBook Air around 9:08 a.m. was a little behind

Applications that are not yet running natively on Apple’s chips gave similar results, as we saw in our tests with PugetBench for Adobe CC, a series of benchmarks that expose systems to intense, real world workloads from key productivity programs

The Mac mini scores 566 in a 30-minute Photoshop Challenge, on par with the MacBook Air (579) and MacBook Pro (577)

We saw similar things with Premiere Pro, although the news there is less encouraging.The Mac mini won the day with a score of 366, but neither this nor the competition results (329 for the MacBook Air, 336 for the MacBook Pro) were particularly good

We also ran our benchmark tests on 16GB models of the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, and found that the performance was little different from the 8GB versions, with the main exception being Photoshop on both results – 6527 for the MacBook Air, 6493 for the MacBook Pro – were noticeably better, if not annoying

Gaming skills are harder to compare as the Mac mini lets us run better tests at more standard resolutions than laptops.But for the record, its frame rates of 315fps and 173fps in Civilization VI: Gathering Storm at 1080p and 4K offer one pretty solid playability for this mid-range game

The frame rates in Rise of the Tomb Raider at very high settings, 202 fps at 1080p and 57fps at 4K show that more serious 3D gaming is not ideal for this device

The laptops had slightly higher frame rates at their generally lower resolutions (at 1440 x 900, about 36-38 fps for Civilization VI and 25-29 fps for Rise of the Tomb Raider, at 2880 x 1800, about 8-9 fps for Rise of the Tomb Raider), but there was little left to write home about

When the Mac mini is rated by itself based on PCs or its previous version, how does history change?

Again, it depends. The limitation built in here goes back to the M1 chip, and benchmarks that currently use it cannot be easily compared to those that run on Intel processors that load Rosetta 2 however, provides us with a general, if incomplete, basis of comparison

The latest Lenovo ThinkCentre M90N, for example, achieved a multicore value of 3 in Geekbench 5265 opposite 6005 in the Mac mini Plowing through HandBrake took 20 minutes and 23 seconds, a task the Rosetta-filtered Mac mini had done in 12:38, Lenovo’s Photoshop score and Civilization VI frame rate (136 fps at 1080p) also lower (390)

Compared to the Xeon Quadro version of the Intel NUC 9 Pro Kit, the Mac mini stalled more visibly and was rated in Geekbench 5 (7986), Handbrake (8:23) and Photoshop (849) beaten by it7) and Civilization VI (10013fps)

No, Macs with M1 equipment aren’t always a blast – they offer dizzying punches for both processing and graphics in the lower range, but the versions we’ve seen aren’t yet fully competitive with, for example, high-end Intel – Offered and moderate or better discrete graphics systems

That might change in the not-too-distant future – rumors are already spreading about how Apple will adjust its chips for the next version of the 16-inch MacBook Pro – but for now some of the old rules still apply to the price of the Mac mini is undoubtedly attractive for what you get, but you still have to spend a little extra cash if you want a more impressive performance

But if the Mac mini has never been a major feature, these updates bring it a lot closer to the field. For a system that can run two large monitors, there are few equals on the PC side The port-forward desktop setup lets you use much of the hardware you already own and love This is not an out-of-the-box option from Apple Laptops

If your computer rarely has to go anywhere, the Mac mini makes a lot of sense, and even its more expensive configurations will still cost you hundreds of dollars less than an equivalent MacBook Air or Pro if you already have a monitor (or two), Keyboard and mouse to use.This is why this Mac mini could be a great entry point or extension of the Apple ecosystem

It will be a while before you see the speed Apple has promised of programs running natively on its own silicon, but what we’ve seen so far is a tantalizing glimpse into what could be possible, if Companies write everything Apple Silicon instead of Intel It might be worth waiting to see how impressive the deceptively small Mac mini already is

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