Apple has given its smallest desktop computer the first major update in two years. The new Mac Mini is more powerful than the 2012 model… and it’s also cheaper.

The new Mac Mini has a starting price of $499 and features a faster processor, faster WiFi, faster storage, and other improvements.

mac mini_02

Apple’s new models feature 4th-gen Intel Core “Haswell” dual-core processors with Intel HD or Intel Iris graphics, 802.11ac WiFi, and two Thunderbolt 2 ports.

The new models also feature an option for faster PCIe-based flash storage instead of a hard drive, although entry-level models still pack hard drives.

The company also calls the new Mac Mini the most energy efficient desktop computer… but clearly Apple hasn’t seen the Zotac ZBOX PI320 Pico with its Intel Atom Z3735F processor or any number of ARM-based mini PCs with chips that use even less power.

Still, it’s nice to see Apple’s smallest desktop PC getting a price cut and a performance boost on the same day.

An entry-level model with a 1.4 GHz Intel Core i5 dual-core CPU, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drives sells for $499 and up.

If you want a faster processor, more RAM, solid sate storage, or other premium features, you’ll have to pay extra. A souped up Mac Mini with a 3 GHz Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of solid state storage sells for nearly $2200.

Update: If you want more than 4GB of RAM, you’d better opt for it when you first configure the Mac Mini, because while you can upgrade or change the storage yourself, the RAM is not accessible.

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16 replies on “Apple’s new Mac Mini has Intel Haswell CPU, $499 starting price”

  1. What a disgrace for Apple! in 2006 I built my own PC tower with dual Athlon processor at about the same speed and 512MB GeForce Video card… that cost me back then about $900. In 2008 I switched to Apple and was happy with it until 2012 when Apple started too create weaker models with less flexibility to do-it-yourself upgrades.I am sorry, but I don’t see anything “revolutionary” in base model iMac that by specs matches Apple’s junkiest line of production, Mac Book Air for $200 discount, but still cost $1000.
    Bending in the back pocket of jeans iPhone 6+ doesn’t look too promising either. And now this.
    Clearly, Apple wants to avoid any bypass of “genius fee” in order to charge triple to quadruple for mediocre 8GB “revolutionary” RAM modules.
    I am thinking to come back to PC where I chose what to install in it and how much to pay for components.
    Linux Ubuntu will do just fine. As for apple, after death of Steve Jobbs it is heading with increasing “revolutionary” speed towards the junkyard of history.Too sad.

  2. I don’t understand how this counts as a desktop. Don’t they just take laptop parts and put them in a small case?

  3. Dear Brad: Energy efficiency and power draw are not directly comparable. It is perf/Watt compared to Watt. Feel free to compare perf/W for the above mentioned systems and make a correct statement. We are listening…

  4. In what respect is the new version “more powerful”, exactly? The graphics are improved (though still integrated only) but the CPU is significantly slower. The machine has also lost ALL of its previous end-user upgradeability. You gain a second Thunderbolt port, but lose Firewire.

  5. Is this a good deal or is PC equivalent (like zotac / gigabyte / nuc) cheaper?

    1. You can build an i5 NUC (and it will be a more powerful i5 than the Mac has), and you could even fit it with an SSD, and it would still come out around the $500 price point.

  6. I don’t know. They have to do it sometime and of course there is a period of planning/design and all that before we ever see it. Still, part of me feels like at this late date, why not just wait for Broadwell? Probably could have gone fanless with better graphics.

  7. Doesn’t look that bad of a deal. i3 chromebox sells for $350. Intel laughs all the way to the bank.

  8. Apple is sure taking their time getting on the fanless bandwagon. It’s prolly because they refuse to put low end CPUs in their products. Nothing slower than a i5 will do.

  9. Not quite.. Just checked their page. The $499 and even $799 option still feature the old 500GB/1TB (5400-rpm) hard drive.

    Flash based storage is an upgrade that costs $200 more on the $799 option. THe CPU is also clocked down to 1.4Ghz on base model…

    I dont think I’ll upgrade my current iMac Mini (2011) with 2.3Ghz Core i5. I’ll just upgrade it with a Samsung SSD and will have a much faster iMac Mini.

    1. sounds like the base model is a 2957u or something like that.

      Considering apple’s upcharge i wouldn’t be surprised.

      1. Through a method of deduction, I have decided it is the i5-4260U. Apple says it has 3mb of L3 Cache, and it turbos to 2.7ghz. This is the only chip with those specs.

        If this is correct, the new CPU is a DOWNGRADE from the past i5.

        The old i5 was the 3210M. It benchmarks just slightly higher than the 4260U

        1. Now I don’t feel quite as bad for buying a Mac Mini i5 2012 model, a month or two ago. I’m happy with it. I really didn’t want to wait any longer and I wanted to test the Mac waters before buying something more powerful, and more expensive.

        2. You’re right. It’s a dog. The spread is even wider when you move to the i7s.

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