Mac mini: New $699 and $899 Mac mini with Apple's M1 chip now available

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The Mac mini is Apple’s smallest desktop Mac. It may not be as fast as Apple’s other desktop computers—the iMac and the Mac Pro—but it remains fast enough for general-purpose use, and even for pro apps.

The Mac mini not only appeals to first-time Mac users, but longtime Mac users like the price and use the Mac mini as a server or an entertainment Mac connected to a TV. Its small footprint allows it to be used it unique situations.

This article provides the information you need to know about the Mac mini. Read on to learn more about Apple’s smallest desktop Mac.

Editor’s note: Updated 11/12/20 with information about the new Mac mini.

The latest: Apple introduces M1-based Mac mini

At its “One more thing” event in November, Apple unveiled its M1 processor, a chip the company makes and is the heart of the new Mac mini, as well as a new MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro.

There are two standard configurations with M1 available, priced at $699 and $899. Apple still offers a Mac mini with an Intel processor, priced at $1,099. The specifications for these Macs are listed below.

Mac mini: Models and specifications

Apple sells three Mac mini standard configuration models.

$699: Apple 8-core M1 CPU, 8GB of memory, 256GB SSD storage, integrated Apple 8-core GPU, two Thunderbolt 3/USB 4 ports, up to 6K video resolution with one display via Thunderbolt

$899: Apple 8-core M1 CPU, 8GB of memory, 512GB SSD storage, integrated Apple 8-core GPU, two Thunderbolt 3/USB 4 ports, up to 6K video resolution with one display via Thunderbolt

$1,099: 3.0GHz 6-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory, 512GB SSD storage, integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630 GPU, four Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports, up to 5K video resolution with one display via Thunderbolt

The Mac mini doesn't use a hard drive, or even a Fusion Drive. Instead, Apple uses solid-state drives (SSDs) to provide fast performance. The company says that the SSDs are four times faster than the drives in the old Mac mini.

Mac mini: Ports

The M1 Mac mini and the Intel Mac mini have different port configurations. Here’s what you get.

$699 and $899 M1 Mac mini

  • gigabit ethernet (with an option to upgrade to 10 gigabit ethernet)
  • Two Thunderbolt 3/USB 4 ports
  • HDMI
  • Two USB-A ports
  • Headphone jack/audio out
mac mini m1 ports 2020 Apple

The ports on the M1 Mac mini.

$1,099 Intel Mac mini

  • gigabit ethernet (with an option to upgrade to 10 gigabit ethernet)
  • Four Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports
  • HDMI
  • Two USB-A ports
  • Headphone jack/audio out
mac mini 2018 ports Apple

The ports on the $1,099 Intel-based Mac mini.

You get more Thunderbolt/USB ports on the more expensive Intel Mac mini. You might need to buy a Thunderbolt/USB hub if you are considering the lower-priced models.

Mac mini: Display, keyboard, and mouse

The Mac mini does not include a display, keyboard, or mouse, so you’ll have to provide your own. Or you can customize your order to include these devices as extra-cost options. Apple sells the Magic Keyboard with Numeric KeypadMagic Mouse 2, and Magic Trackpad 2.

Since the Mac mini lacks an optical drive, you need to buy an external USB optical drive if you want to read or burn CDs and DVDs.

AppleCare+ is available for the Mac mini for $99, which extends the standard one-year warranty to three years.

Mac mini: Connectivity

The Mac mini has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It also has a gigabit ethernet port, in case you want to connect to a wired network. There are also Thunderbolt/USB ports (see the Mac mini: Ports section above).

To connect a display, you can use the HDMI port or a Thunderbolt 3 port. You might have to buy an adapter in order to connect your display. You can consult our Thunderbolt 3 adapter guide to see what you need to connect to DVI, DisplayPort/mini DisplayPort, or VGA.

Mac mini: Speed

At the time of this writing, we have not had a chance to test the M1 Mac mini. According to Apple, the M1 model is up to three times faster in processing speed than the standard configurations they replace. Graphics performance can be up to six times faster. And machine learning is up to 15 times faster.

The fact that the M1 Mac mini supports a maximum of 16GB may be a concern for some customers, especially those who use high-end software for professional purposes. You may cosinder the Intel Mac mini Apple comes with a 3.0GHz 6-core Core i5 CPU and can be configured with up to 64GB of memory.

Apple has stated that its Apple silicon rollout is a two-year effort. It starts with the "consumer" level M1. Apple has not revealed its roadmap, but we can safely assume that the company is working on chips that are faster, capable of using more memory, support more than two Thunderbolt ports, and even work with a discrete GPU. If that's the Mac mini you want, you need to wait.

Macworld’s buying advice

For new Mac users switching from a PC, the Mac mini is an excellent machine. It’s a great choice for shoppers on a budget and it handles everyday usage well. The Mac mini is also an ideal Mac for a household looking to install a second or third computer. And it is a very good machine to use as a server, either for your network, for watching media, or for a situation where you need desktop power in a small footprint.

Ready to buy a Mac mini? Go to the Apple Store

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At a Glance
  • Apple Mac mini 3.0GHz 6‑core Core i5 (Late 2018)

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