Mac mini pros and cons 2013

And again, nary a peep from the Mac Pro itself. For the super nerdy, you can check out the Geekbench scores of the new Mac Pro we tested here and here. One final subtle but very nice feature is the auto-illumination of the ports that happens when you move the Mac tower itself. The Mac Pro is almost absurd in terms of its abilities. Well Apple has finally seen the light. They wanted internal expansion options. I hope Apple will seriously reconsider the pros and cons of the original Mac Pro design and the current design in coming up with something uniquely Apple that will immediately be seen as a pro level computer.

For those who work with discs or burn them, something with one or two drive bays for a Blu-ray or DVD writer would be a real blessing. For others, having room for a RAID hard drive array with perhaps four 3. Then there is the original Cube , the one from NeXT. One other Cube comes to mind, and it was not designed for the pro market.

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It was a work of art, but it lacked the drive bays and expansion slots that pros need. On the plus side, it was virtually silent with its passive cooling system — all you heard was the hum of the hard drive. Replace that with an SSD, and you have silent computing, but also very dated technology. The Cube was 7. The computer part was indeed a cube, but there were too many design compromises. One optical bay. One hard drive bay. One AGP slot for a video card. No other expansion slots. And to add insult to injury, all of the ports were on the bottom of the computer, so you had to pick up or tip over the Cube to plug in or unplug a USB or FireWire device.

There are certain applications where hard drives are superior to SSDs, busy databases being one of them.

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While reads and writes are faster with an SSD, they have a limited number of write cycles before data corruption sets in. Hard drives have an almost limitless number of write cycles, making them a much better choice for databases and other programs that are constantly writing to the drive.

At the same time, hard drives are getting physically smaller. When Apple introduced the Mac II in early — 30 years ago — it used a 5.


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Future desktop Macs standardized on the 3. Every Mac mini since then has used a 2. Even using proxies low-res temporary files in a format that should be easier for the program to read barely helped the situation. When exporting the footage, a task that generally doesn't rely heavily on the GPU, the Mini performed better. Despite the effects and color correction, Engadget Today came out with no glitches, though it took nearly three times as long as it does on the iMac Pro.

The lack of a dedicated graphics processor really seems to be the weak point here, and unfortunately, there's no easy way to rectify that. There are only three processors available for the Mini, and no option to add a discrete GPU. That's probably enough speed to leave the MacBook Pro in the dust, and should give the Mini some serious CPU processing power, but it won't improve the graphics performance at all.

For a sense of how poor the graphics performance is, I tried one more test, Unigine's Valley benchmark. This is the most recent test available for macOS, and while Unigine's benchmarks are intended as extreme stress tests for gaming graphics performance, Valley is from , so it's not exactly cutting-edge.

Even so, on the lowest "basic" settings, at 1, x resolution, the Mini could only manage 20 frames per second. Switching to "Extreme" at x, that dropped to a pitiful four. Four frames per second.

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This is definitely not a system for gaming. Beyond the processor, there are a few other components you can upgrade. What it does have is one of Intel's new Kaby Lake G chips. They pack a remarkable amount of performance into a small SoC, and it's frankly odd this chip isn't an option in the Mac Mini, considering AMD graphics are already used in the higher-end iMac and MacBook Pros. If you're in the market for a new system and are committed to macOS, the Mini does have a few selling points.

Apple Mac mini - 2012

Aside from 3D modeling and video editing, Apple mentions XCode and Music production on their website, and these actually seem like compelling use-cases for the Mini. CPU-dependent tasks like coding and audio engineering make sense for this system and wouldn't be held back by its specs. When Apple unveiled the Mini, it floated the idea of chaining multiple Minis together into a "Mini" server, and for serious CPU-based number crunching, that's actually an intriguing idea.


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  • You would need a pretty specific workload to take advantage of a setup like this office server? Code compiler? Render farm? Apple's own marketing materials refer to the new mini as "part racehorse, all workhorse," and though they didn't go as far as branding this the "Mac Mini Pro" Apple is clearly positioning it as a high-performance computer. This makes the lack of a reasonable GPU all the more confounding. These types of GPU-driven number crunching are increasingly useful for scientific computing and data analysis tasks like encryption, image recognition, optimization and machine learning.

    For music producers and people writing apps in Xcode, maybe the new Mini makes sense, but I don't imagine most other "pro" users will be happy with this level of performance.

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    I can't help but shake my head at Apple's charts and graphics showing off how much faster the new Mini is than the model. Four years later, I'd certainly hope the new model would be faster. Maybe this highlights the best professional use case for the new mini. A rendering machine that can handle CPU intensive tasks like compiling code and rendering graphics, but that you wouldn't actually want to do your daily work on. For general consumers, the Mini seems to fill the role of the family computer in the living room; a small, reliable desktop that should feel speedy and take care of basic work.

    But with many people having laptops or tablets, how essential is that any more? If performance doesn't matter to you at all, then the new MacBook Air or even an entry-level MacBook Pro might be a better choice. All of those caveats aside, I actually like this machine. The design is terrific, and I love the options for add-ons and expandable storage, but I wouldn't want to have to work on it.

    It's possible that there's a cohort of people out there who are looking for an inexpensive macOS desktop with a ton of useful ports, who don't care about GPU performance and have been waiting for the past four years for a new computer. For them, the Mac Mini is the perfect fit.

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