A server version of the Mac mini, bundled with the Server edition of the OS X operating system,  was offered from to A small form factor computer had been widely speculated and requested long before the release of the Mac mini. Rumors predicted that the "headless iMac" would be extremely small, include no display, and would be positioned as Apple's entry-level desktop computer. The Mac mini is an entry-level computer intended for budget-minded customers. Until the release, the Mac mini had much less processing power than the other computers of the Macintosh lineup.
Unlike regular desktop computers, which use standard-sized components such as 3. It also had less storage and memory than comparable desktops. However, the upgrade addressed many of these previous complaints. In general, the Mac mini has been praised as a relatively affordable computer with a solid range of features.
However, many also agree that it is relatively costly for a computer aimed at the lower segment of the market.
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It is possible to buy small computers at the same price with faster processors, better graphics card, more memory, and more storage. In addition, its size and reliability has helped keep resale values high. On October 22, , Apple introduced a new server version of the Mac mini along with revisions of the computer. This model had a second hard drive instead of an optical drive, and was marketed as an affordable server for small businesses and schools.
On June 15, , Apple introduced the third-generation Mac mini. It also included an internal power supply. The Server model was upgraded to a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor.
Quad-core i7 CPUs were also used in the late desktop Mac mini computers. The only change to the body was the removal of the two holes used to open the case, as the RAM was no longer upgradable because it was soldered to the logic board; this idea is similar to the Retina MacBook Pro, the MacBook Air and the Mid On October 30, , after four years, the Mac mini got a refresh.
With this came major specification upgrades, new colors, and a switch to all-flash storage. This shows Apple's trend back toward user-upgrade-ability in their desktop models. The storage was changed to a baseline GB of flash storage, with a max of 2 TB. The Bluetooth was upgraded to the 5. The most notable feature of the Mac mini is its size. The original design measured only 2. The exterior of the original Mac mini was made of aluminum capped with polycarbonate plastic on the top and bottom. The original design had no visible screws and was not meant to be upgraded by the user.
It had an external power supply rated at 85W G4 models or W pre Intel models ; although they used the same connector, power supplies were not interchangeable between these models. The Mac mini, updated on June 15, , was fully redesigned,  being slimmer than the prior models at only 1. The weight rose from 2. The power supply is now internal as opposed to external. The chassis no longer has the polycarbonate plastic on the top or bottom.
The newer model, introduced July 20, has the same physical dimensions but is slightly lighter, at 2. The current Mac mini is designed to be opened using a round cover on the bottom of the computer. Prior versions of the Mac mini were much more difficult to open. Some Mac mini owners used a putty knife or a pizza cutter to pry open the cases of older models to gain access to the interior for installation of cheaper third party memory upgrades.
It's also possible to use wires to pull the white plastic bottom case out of the metal top case. They switched to a non-socketed CPU with the model that did not allow an easy upgrade. With the June revision, the case can be readily opened to add RAM except for the Late models. The Mac mini can be used for home cinema theater applications. The small footprint, multi-format video output, digital audio output, remote control IR receiver and the relatively powerful Intel CPUs make it easy to use the Mac mini as part of a home entertainment system.
Sound is provided by a combination jack that uses both mini- headphone analog and optical fiber cables digital. As of the July revision of the Mac mini, the computer sports an Intel HD graphics processor with an optional Radeon graphics processing unit available and Thunderbolt which makes decoding high-resolution video much quicker and efficient. The current Intel models of Mac mini can display video via the HDMI port at a maximum resolution of x and up to x via the Mini DisplayPort with a compatible monitor.
The chips in these models of Mac mini ran at either 1. This restricts both the maximum amount of available memory, which can greatly reduce performance by forcing the system to page to the hard disk, and, since the system is unable to take advantage of dual channels, maximum bandwidth. The Mac mini G4 uses a single 2. Because of its sealed enclosure, it is not possible to upgrade the hard drive without opening the enclosure and possibly voiding the warranty of the system.
The original Mac mini includes two USB 2. The modem was later omitted from the Mac mini, but an external modem remained an option. External displays are supported via a DVI port. In the last revision of the Mac mini G4, the internal mezzanine board was upgraded to accommodate the AirPort Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology onto one chip.
In prior models, the Mac mini included an AirPort Extreme card taped to the mezzanine board and a separate Bluetooth module. For example, on a 1. The product packaging also did not reflect the upgrade. Apple did not revise the official specifications on their web site. As of Mac OS X The specifications below are from Apple's "tech specs" page,  except where noted. The current non-server Mac mini is available in two versions, one with a mobile dual-core bit Intel Core i5 processor that runs at 2. The and Mac mini models that come standard with a bit Intel Core Solo processor can be changed to an Intel bit Core 2 Duo processor through a simple upgrade.
The following processors are compatible: The more recent and later Mac mini models have the processors soldered onto the logic board and thus are not upgradable. Geekbench scores have shown that the 2. While the Mac mini G4 contained a separate graphics processor, all revisions of the Intel-based Mac mini contain integrated GPUs, except in the version where the 2. Unlike the Mac mini G4, the Intel-based Mac mini uses a dual-channel architecture for memory. While all versions of the Mac mini up to and including the revision supports user upgradeable memory after purchase, the current model does not,  because the memory is soldered to the logic board.
Since the integrated graphics processor does not have its own dedicated memory, the system shares some of the main system memory with it. All models continue to use 2. A Combo drive was initially offered as standard, with the SuperDrive being an option, but through the models, all models that have an optical drive contain the SuperDrive as standard. Networking is supported with a built-in Gigabit Ethernet port and an integrated Bluetooth was also made standard.
External displays are supported through a DVI port. A fifth USB 2. The AirPort card was upgraded to Bluetooth was also upgraded from 2. As of this revision, the Apple Remote is no longer included with the Mac mini. The Mac mini model gave access to 3 different USB busses on the back. Upgradable up to an Intel Core 2 Duo 2. Starting from the mid revision, there is a removable panel on the bottom, enabling the user to upgrade the RAM.
Lab Tested: The ramifications of additional memory on a Mac | Macworld
The new Mac mini has an all-aluminium enclosure, called unibody. The unibody manufacturing process was originally developed for the MacBook Air  and later also used in the MacBook and MacBook Pro , and the iMac before being introduced into the Mac mini range. The built-in power supply negates the need for an external power supply "brick" used on earlier models. There have been other changes in the revision. They include the elimination of the Kensington Security Slot ,  as well as the optical drive. While the fifth USB 2.
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Mac mini models released in late used dual-core processors, which perform worse in multi-threaded workloads compared to the quad-core processors from the model. Meanwhile, single-threaded workload performance increased.
Mac mini (Mid 2011): Memory specifications and upgrades
PCIe-based flash storage is standard with no option of a hard disk drive. The chassis is mostly a carryover from the previous generation, measuring the same dimensions, though is only available in a darker "space gray" finish. Memory can again be replaced, unlike the models that soldered it to the logic board. Apple has offered a Server configuration of the Mac mini. Later on, Apple released the OS X Server packaged app as a single purchase from the Mac App Store , containing all the separate components apps, so that any model of Mac computer could download and use them.
The Mid Server model was initially the only Mac mini to entirely remove the optical drive, replacing it with a second hard drive in its place. However, from the Mid models onwards, all models of Mac mini had the optical drive removed. The Mac mini Server was discontinued with the Late model. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Desktop computer by Apple. Apple Inc. The named reference spec was invoked but never defined see the help page. Archived from the original on September 24, Retrieved November 3, The Economist.
Archived from the original on December 9, Retrieved December 9, New Mac mini offers an attractive bang for the buck". Archived from the original on June 8, Retrieved October 30, How to identify external power adapters on Mac mini models released before , Apple Inc. Archived from the original on February 22, Archived from the original on March 12, Archived from the original on July 6, Retrieved April 17, Mac mini PowerPC G4 , kmuto.
Archived from the original on January 7, As the test results show, the effect of additional RAM on performance depends on the file sizes you typically work with. Photoshop is a perfect example of an app that can take advantage of having a large amount of RAM available. It even lets you specify a maximum allowable amount of RAM for the app to use. Otherwise, Photoshop might eat your entire RAM pie, leaving just the crumbs for your other applications.
We ran Windows 7 using VMware with a relatively light set of tests. Virtual machines can require a lot of RAM, but not always. Mathematica was the only other test that saw a speed boost of greater than than 5 percent—but the overall increase on this test was only about 6 percent. After quadrupling it from 4GB to 16GB, we saw a 6 percent increase.
Of our 15 test results, 12 failed to show at least a 5 percent increase in speed when we upgraded our test systems from 4GB to 8GB or 16GB. Below, we list the results for the 12 tests where our systems showed minor or no improvement after we added RAM. Some test results even seemed to get slightly worse after the RAM upgrades, although this effect is probably due to randomness. If you tend to leave apps open instead of closing them, or if you keep several browser windows open with dozens of tabs in each, adding RAM will probably help your computer run more smoothly.
If you use an app that handles large files, it helps to have a lot of RAM. Try not to get carried away, though, as adding fistfuls of RAM that your Mac will never or rarely use is throwing money away. Even if you can think of a few scenarios where you might use all of the RAM that your system can handle, consider how often they are likely to happen and whether buying RAM to handle them is worth your money.
Editor's note: Albert likes to dabble in Web development in his free time. Check him out on Dribbble , or see some of his work on CodePen.
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