Hands-On With Apple's New 2018 Mac Mini

Apple in late October unveiled a refreshed version of the Mac mini, marking the first update to the company's smallest desktop machine in four years.

We managed to get our hands on one of the new Mac mini models, and in our latest video, we unbox it and share our first impressions on the revamped machine.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

The Mac mini's design hasn't changed, and it's still a 7.7-inch square box that's 1.4 inches thick, but it is available in a new Space Gray color rather than the traditional silver.

It's otherwise the same, but with the exception of a new selection of ports. The Mac mini is outfitted with four Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports, two USB-A ports, an HDMI 2.0 port, an Ethernet port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.


While the design is largely the same, the internals of the Mac mini have been entirely overhauled. There are new, more powerful components, which necessitated a bigger internal fan with twice as much airflow, expanded vents, and a revamped power supply that offers 70 percent more maximum sustained power.

The base Mac mini ships with a 3.6GHz quad-core 8th-generation Intel Core i3 processor, and this is actually the first time that all Mac minis have had at least quad-core processors. A higher-end 3.2GHz 6-core Core i7 processor is also available as an upgrade option.


In our testing of the entry-level Mac mini, it earned a single-core score of 4452 and a multi-core score of 12391. That puts the base model on par with lower-end 13 and 15-inch MacBook Pro models from 2017 and 2018.

All 2018 Mac mini models ship with an included T2 chip, which makes sure all of the data on the SSD is encrypted using dedicated AES hardware, and offers a secure boot to ensure your software isn't tampered with and only OS software trusted by Apple loads at startup.

The Mac mini uses Intel integrated UHD Graphics 630, but with the Thunderbolt 3 ports, it's able to connect to an eGPU for workflows that require more graphics power. Thunderbolt 3 also lets the Mac mini connect to two 4K displays at 60Hz or one 5K display at 60Hz.


8GB of RAM comes standard in the Mac mini, but it can handle up to 64GB, with Apple offering an option to customize the machine with additional RAM when placing an order.

Likewise, the base machine also ships with a 128GB SSD, but it can be upgraded to 2TB of storage in total.

None of these new features in the Mac mini come cheap, and the base level model now starts at $799, up from the $499 starting price of the 2014 model.

Apple sells the Mac mini in two configurations: $799 for 3.6GHz quad-core 8th-generation Intel Core i3 chip, 8GB RAM, Intel UHD Graphics 630, and a 128GB SSD, and $1,099 for a 3.0GHz 6-core 8th-generation Intel core i5 chip, 8GB RAM, Intel UHD Graphics 630, and a 256GB SSD.


Unfortunately, as with many Apple products, the Mac mini is not really user upgradeable. You can upgrade the RAM, but you need to take the entire machine apart, which is tricky. The CPU and SSD, meanwhile, are soldered in place and can't be upgraded after purchase.

What do you think of Apple's new 2018 Mac mini? Was it worth the four-year wait? Let us know in the comments.

Related Roundup: Mac mini
Buyer's Guide: Mac Mini (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
18 months ago
There's no reason except ineptness, poor design, and greed for the Mac Mini to not be user upgradeable. Period.

Prediction: After slow sales, Apple will eventually discontinue this if not get out of the modular desktop or pro market completely. They just don't care enough nor do they want to listen to real desktop or pro users. I hope I'm wrong, but it seems as if Apple is incurably infected with the iPhone thinness, lightness, shiny things disease. My near 10 year old Cheese Grater Pro is still a more capable machine than this on several levels.
Score: 67 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 months ago
I like your videos guys, but this one is click bait at its finest. Lol...”here’s our hands on first impressions of the Mac mini” ..proceeds to rattle off some specs, “it’s a square aluminum box”.....then at 2:10: “we’ll, as it’s difficult to give you a first impression without diving into the Mac mini, please wait until our next video”. Lol. Oh well, I appreciate the effort.
Score: 38 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 months ago
"Was it worth the wait?"

No. We were expecting better. There's really no excuse for this. It will work for some, but the obvious lack of upgradability is intended to put screwdriver kiddies off until the Mac Pro comes out. And that is likely to disappoint all except the rich tinkerers.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 months ago
Usual $200 for additional 128GB SSD storage, haha. What a money grab. $150 for 64GB to 256GB on the iPhone looks like a deal compare to this (NOT!).
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 months ago
was going to give one a shot.... went in to buy at the apple store, and took a couple of mid size work files with me to test out. just as my theory went... this thing throttles like crazy. i was never able to see the cpu hit the max turbo speed (except for maybe a split second at the beginning of a crunching run)

gauging from the reaction im seeing online... apple (once again) has a massive heat dissipation issue. the longevity of this machine is going to be NIL due to excessive heat.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 months ago
The purpose of the original mini, as I understood it, was to create an affordable MacOS machine that would spread the adoption of Macs. With the 60% price hike, it no longer serves that function. Speaking as someone who was in that original demographic and was interested in buying a new Mac in that same price range, no, it was definitely not worth the four-year wait.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Seemingly Unreleased Version of Logic Pro X With Live Loops Appears on Apple's Education Site [Updated]

Sunday March 29, 2020 7:23 am PDT by Hartley Charlton
Update: Apple has replaced the Logic Pro X image with an older version. Original story follows. A seemingly unreleased version of Logic Pro X has appeared on Apple's education site, as spotted by a Reddit user. The image from Apple's education products page shows a 16-inch MacBook Pro running Logic Pro X, but with a familiar interface that looks extremely similar to GarageBand's Live Loops ...

Zoom Updates iOS App to Stop Sending Data to Facebook

Friday March 27, 2020 5:35 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Zoom, a video conferencing app that many people are using at the current time to keep in touch with coworkers while working from home, was sending data to Facebook without disclosing the data sharing to customers. As of today, Zoom has updated its iOS app to remove the SDK that was providing data to Facebook through the Login with Facebook feature, according to Motherboard, the site that...

Apple Suppliers Worried About iPhone Demand, Production Ramp-Up for New iPhones Reportedly Postponed

Friday March 27, 2020 5:56 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Most of the factories in China that supply devices and components to Apple are back to churning out products, but Apple suppliers are said to be worried about how much demand there will be for the current iPhone models and the new iPhones expected in the fall. According to Reuters, a senior official at one of Apple's major supply companies said that orders for quarter ending in March are...

2020 iPad Pro Teardown Provides Closer Look at LiDAR Scanner and Confirms Incremental Update

Saturday March 28, 2020 9:56 am PDT by Hartley Charlton
iFixit today shared a video teardown of the new iPad Pro, which Apple unveiled earlier this month. iFixit found that most of the internals of the 2020 iPad Pro are the same as the 2018 model, confirming that the device is a relatively incremental update. The most notable new feature seen inside the new iPad Pro was the LiDAR scanner, which measures the distance to surrounding objects up...

Apple Watch Series 6 Could Feature Touch ID Fingerprint Sensor, Pulse Oximetry and Sleep Tracking Support

Friday March 27, 2020 11:28 am PDT by Juli Clover
The upcoming Apple Watch Series 6 set to be released this fall could include a Touch ID fingerprint sensor built into the crown of the device, according to Israeli site The Verifier, which cites "senior sources" who have worked with its staff for a "number of years" as the source of the rumor. It's not clear how the alleged Touch ID fingerprint sensor would be implemented, as the Digital...

Bloomberg: Apple's 5G iPhone Still on Schedule for Fall Launch, But Future Products Could Be Delayed

Monday March 30, 2020 2:40 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Apple's 5G iPhone is still on track to launch within the company's typical annual fall release schedule, according to a new Bloomberg report on filed on Monday. Signs are that Apple's Chinese-centric manufacturing -- of which Hon Hai is the linchpin -- is slowly getting back on track. The next iPhones with 5G wireless capabilities remain on schedule to launch in the fall, partly because mass...

Kuo: Apple to Launch Several Macs With Arm-Based Processors in 2021, USB4 Support Coming to Macs in 2022

Thursday March 26, 2020 8:19 pm PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple plans to launch several Mac notebooks and desktop computers with its own custom designed Arm-based processors in 2021, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a research note obtained by MacRumors. Kuo believes that Arm-based processors will significantly enhance the competitive advantage of the Mac lineup, allow Apple to refresh its Mac models without relying on Intel's processor roadmap,...

Top Stories: Hands-On With 2020 iPad Pro and MacBook Air, iOS and iPadOS 13.4 Released, iPhone 12 Delay?

Saturday March 28, 2020 6:00 am PDT by MacRumors Staff
After last week's flurry of product launches, Apple's new iPad Pro and MacBook Air have started to make their way into consumers' hands, and we've gone hands-on with both of them this week. Apple this week also released iOS and iPadOS 13.4 (as well as macOS, watchOS, and tvOS updates) with a number of new features and improvements. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. ...

Deals: Huge Refurbished iPhone Sale Discounts iPhone 7, 8, X, XR, and XS (From $120)

Friday March 27, 2020 5:47 am PDT by Mitchel Broussard
Woot is back today with a big sale on refurbished iPhones, including markdowns on the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Woot. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. As with every Woot purchase, those...

Apple Releases ProRes RAW Beta for Windows

Monday March 30, 2020 9:33 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today released ProRes RAW for Windows in a beta capacity (via Mark Gurman), with the software designed to allow ProRes RAW and ProRes RAW HQ video files to be watched in compatible applications on Windows machines. According to Apple, the software will let the files be played within several Adobe apps: Adobe After Effects (Beta) Adobe Media Encocder (Beta) Adobe Premiere...