Apple launched the new generation Mac Mini in the October 2014 Event. Some say the old Mac Mini is way overdue for replacement. But we would rather get the previous generation Mac Mini than the new. Why? Read on.
Why a Mac Mini 2012 instead of the new Mac Mini 2014
Our reasons are as follow:
1. Upgradeable vs non-upgradeable
With the previous generation Mac Mini 2012, you can buy up to 16GB of memory and replace the meager 4GB memory (depending on the model) all by yourself. You can’t do this with the new one. Apple has removed end user access to the memory modules in the new model.
More memory improves the system’s performance and lets you load more application and handle bigger files e.g. graphics and video. With the new Mac Mini, you can only get more memory if you pay for the upgrade at the point of purchase.
The new entry level model comes with a slow 1.4GHz (Turbo Boost to 2.7GHz) dual-core Intel Core i5 processor while with nearly the same money, you can get a Mac Mini with 2.5GHz (Turbo Boost to 3.1GHz) dual-core Intel Core i5 processor.
If you want the same level of CPU performance of the previous generation’s entry level system, you would need to fork out for a mid-tier model in the new generation.
3. Quad-Core vs Dual-Core only
Now is your chance to get your hands on a Mac Mini 2012 with Quad-Core i7 2.3GHz if you want a beefy Mac Mini for all your heavy lifting. The best CPU you can get with the new generation Mac Mini is a 2.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i5.
Granted that at that price it also comes with 8GB memory and 1TB Fusion Drive, but did we say you can upgrade the previous generation Mac Mini. If you want more processing power in the new Mac Mini, you would need to upgrade this at point of purchase to a 3.0GHz Dual Core Intel Core i7 with a premium price pushing the price even higher.
Yes, there is no denying that the entry level new generation Mac Mini based on the 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 is the entry level Mac you can buy from Apple but we like the previous generation Mac Mini better with 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor. The small price difference is worth every penny given that it is upgradeable and runs on higher clock speed.
5. Not Missing Much
As you will learn from the second part of this article, almost everything else on both models are the same. So, you won’t be missing much going with a late 2012 model.
*While stock lasts, price based on the online retailer, Amazon and is correct at time of writing.
Mac Mini 2014 vs 2012: What are the differences
So what are we talking here, what will I miss out if I go with the previous generation Mac Mini. Apart from the processor and graphics chip, not much.
It certainly looks the same, 19.7cm x 19.7cm x 3.6cm and it weights the same too at around 1.2kg.
The only tell tale signs are when you turn the units around.
1. Thunderbolt port
Mac Mini 2012 has 1 Thunderbolt port but the Mac Mini 2014 has 2 Thunderbolt 2 (up to 20 Gbps)
2. Firewire 800
Mac Mini 2012 has 1 Firewire 800 port while this is absent in the 2014 model.
Mac Mini 2012 has 802.11n Wi-Fi wireless networking and is backward compatible with IEEE 802.11a/b/g. Mac Mini 2014 has 802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless networking; IEEE 802.11a/g/b/n compatible
So if you are in the market for an entry level Mac for school, college or university, have a limited budget and would prefer the option of being able to upgrade your system in the future then the Mac Mini 2012 version is your best choice. With OSX upgrade now available for free, you can easily upgrade OS X Mountain Lion to the latest OS X Yosemite and enjoy all the features in the software so HURRY. GO and GRAB one before they are all gone. Here is a support page from Apple breaking down the different Mac Mini models and How to identify Mac Mini model you are about to buy.
See below for the technical specifications of the previous generation Mac Mini details.
Mac mini (Late 2012) – Technical Specifications
Size and Weight
- Height: 1.4 inches (3.6 cm)
- Width: 7.7 inches (19.7 cm)
- Depth: 7.7 inches (19.7 cm)
- Weight: 2.7 lb (1.22 kg)
2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz) with 3MB L3 cache
2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz) with 6MB L3 cache
- Configurable to 2.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz).
500GB (5400-rpm) hard drive2
1TB (5400-rpm) hard drive2
- Configurable to a 256GB solid-state drive or 1TB Fusion Drive.
- Intel HD Graphics 4000
- 4GB (two 2GB) of 1600MHz DDR3 memory
- Configurable to 8GB or 16GB.
Thunderbolt digital video output
- Native Mini DisplayPort output
- DVI output using Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter (sold separately)
- VGA output using Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter (sold separately)
- Dual-link DVI output using Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter (sold separately)
- Audio line in minijack (digital/analog)
- Audio line out/headphone minijack (digital/analog)
- HDMI port supports multichannel audio output
- Support for Apple iPhone headset with microphone
- Built-in speaker
Connections and Expansion
- Thunderbolt port (up to 10 Gbps)
- FireWire 800 port (up to 800 Mbps)
- Four USB 3 ports (up to 5 Gbps)
- HDMI port
- SDXC card slot
- Gigabit Ethernet port
- Audio in/out
- IR receiver
802.11n Wi-Fi wireless networking;3 IEEE 802.11a/b/g compatible
Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology
10/100/1000BASE-T Ethernet (RJ-45 connector)
Electrical and Operating Requirements
- Line voltage: 100-240V AC
- Frequency: 50Hz to 60Hz, single phase
- Maximum continuous power: 85W
- Operating temperature: 50° to 95° F (10° to 35° C)
- Storage temperature: -40° to 116° F (-40° to 47° C)
- Relative humidity: 5% to 95% noncondensing
- Operating altitude: tested up to 10,000 feet
- Typical acoustical performance, sound pressure level (operator position):4
- Dual-core model: 12 dBA at idle
- Quad-core model: 15 dBA at idle
Limited Warranty and Service
Your Mac mini comes with 90 days of free telephone support and a one-year limited warranty. Purchase the AppleCare Protection Plan to extend your service and support to three years from your computer’s purchase date. Only the AppleCare Protection Plan provides you with direct telephone support from Apple technical experts and the assurance that repairs will be handled by Apple-authorized technicians using genuine Apple parts. For more information, visit Apple Support or call 800-823-2775.
In the Box
- Mac mini
- HDMI to DVI Adapter
- Power cord
- OS X Mountain Lion: The world’s most advanced desktop operating system. Learn more
- Mac App Store
- Time Machine
- Photo Booth
- Game Center
- iLife: iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand. Learn more