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Impressions of the 2012 Mac mini (updated) | Macminicolo Blog - Tips, tutorials and reviews on running a Mac mini server

Impressions of the 2012 Mac mini (updated)


Apple introduced a new Mac mini today. For the first time in a few years, the mac mini actually had some stage time as well. (Usually, it's just updated on the web site.) The update looks great, and of course we have them listed at Macminicolo already.

Below are a few impressions of the new Mac mini. I'll add to this list and will also provide some benchmarks and as they start to arrive. To keep informed on updates, be sure to follow @macminicolo

Update: We've now been able to benchmark the Mac minis with the great Geekbench. Keep in mind these are the standard build minis, with the stock hard drives and RAM.  The "Late 2012 6,2 Loaded" machine is an upgraded 2.6GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 with 16GB of RAM and an SSD. (13,005. Wow. ) Here are the new minis compared to minis past:


  • Don't look now, but the new Mac minis are getting comparable to the last gen Xserve and 2010 Mac Pros as far as benchmarks. Tech progress marches on.

  • All Mac minis now come standard with 4GB of RAM. Thank goodness. As of last week, the base Mac mini had 2GB of RAM and that was brutal with Mountain Lion. 

  • The Mac mini can officially be upgraded to 16GB now. It's been possible for over a year, but it had to be done after ordering. Now, Apple offers the 16GB of RAM. 

  • The base mini is still i5, but the middle and high end minis are quad core i7 Ivy Bridge processors. That middle mini is the most interesting. Many customers prefer the quad core for things like an Xcode build server or for plenty of cores to spread between virtual machines. That $799 Mac mini is going to be very popular. 

  • The machines now come with 1600MHz DDR3 Memory. Seriously, 16GB of 1600MHz RAM in such a small machine. It's really quite amazing. 

  • The Fusion Drive is only available for the middle ($799) Mac mini. Again, going to be very popular. It's a $250 upgrade for the Fusion Drive. 

  • Speaking of drive speeds, too bad to see that the Server now comes with 5400 RPM drives. (This is partly due to the change from 2x500GB to 2x1000GB). This will actually do for many people, but if you have a very active database server, definitely look at the SSD upgrades. 

  • USB 3 is much appreciated

  • As I look at all the options on the machines, one things sticks out. They've decreased the number of components to build the minis. For instance, all machines come with 4GB now, so Apple no longer has to stock 1GB modules and 2GB modules. The middle and upper tier minis both have the same 5400RPM 1TB drives. Standardizing supply decreases inventory and decreases component pricing. 

  • In marketing the Mac mini server, Apple writes "And you get amazing hardware and software, with support for iOS devices like iPad and iPhone, right out of the box." People understimate this selling point. I've confirmed over and over that Mac minis are a big selling point for bringing a small business or school to iPads and iPhones. It's the perfect iOS management server, and that's important for SMB and education.

I'll update here as I find more impressions, and also as we benchmark and teardown the Mac minis. Be sure to follow


for updates. 


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