Apple Mac mini (2012) : Powerful Desktop Minus Optical Drive and Not For Gaming

mac-mini-2012The new Apple Mac Mini got an upgraded processor, extra boost to the RAM and a new 3.0 USB port.

Hardware

The Apple Mac mini has a refined build with a simple design. The body is made out of brushed aluminum. The dimensions are the same 7.7 x 7.7 x 1.4 inches as the old model. The hard angles of the old model have been removed with soft curved corners.  The Apple Mac mini still features the IR receiver so you can still use the Apple remote. The Gigabit Ethernet, full size HDMI, Fire Wire 800, Thunder Bolt, SDXC slot, 3.5mm headphone jack and the new 3.0 USB port are still aligned the same as they were on the older model.  Apart from these the Apple Mac mini has a Wi-Fi radio, AirPort Extreme 802.11n and a 4.0 Bluetooth antenna under its hood.

Unlike the old Apple Mac mine that used Sandy Bridge processor, the new Apple Mac mini now comes with an Intel Third generation Ivy Bridge Core i7 or i5 CPU. Both units are clocked at 2.3 GHz. The i7 unit comes with an optimal 1 TB Fusion Drive and Intel HD 4000 graphics card and 4GB RAM.  The RAM can be upgraded up to 16GB. The i5 setup comes with 500GB hard drive with same graphics and memory configurations. The i5 setup is for the people who have basic computing needs. There even is a unit for power users which has also the same specs as the i7 but with dual 1TB SATA drives.

Usage

The quad core i7 unit takes up to 12 seconds to boot up to the start screen which is almost the same as Mac Book Air that ran on Sandy Bridge. The Apple Mac Mini comes with OS X Mountain Lion and iLife suite preinstalled. While multi tasking different programs like Tweet Desk, Photoshop, Skitch, Evernote, Spotify, IRC client, Chrome and Firefox, the Apple Mac mini manages the process with ease and does not make any extra noise.

As we know, Apple Macs are not the go to platform when it comes to studio work. Since Apple has added the Intel HD 4000 GPU you will note that you are able to do minor graphics work and even run some games. Games like Diablo III run wonderfully well with all the quality options set to max, you will still get up to 50 fps.

Even though the Apple Mini lacks an optical drive you can still hook it up to a projector by using the HDMI port. You can enjoy 1080p TV shows and movies, even streaming contents of Netflix, Hulu and Youtube. Plus the Apple remote support makes Apple Mac mini an excellent home entertainment unit.

Apple is quite happy with the Mini’s latest feature called the Fusion Drive. The Fusion Drive contains pairs of 128GB flash storage with 1TB HDD storage. The moment you start using Mac mini, it will run and save files on the flash storage, as with time the 128GB flash storage starts to fill up, the Fusion Drive will kick in and analyze the usage level of the saved files and determine which files need to be moved to the slower 1TB HDD. All this is done while the Apple Mac mini sits idle and you will hardly notice any change.

Conclusion

To sum it all up, the new Apple Mac mini has a nice and compact design, high speed ports like the new 3.0 USB port and the Thunderbolt port, a wonderful and intelligent Fusion Drive. Even though it lacks an optical drive and the Intel HD 400 GPU is not ideal for desktop gaming, the Apple Mac mini is still a powerful desktop unit.