What’s Inside That New Mac Mini Anyway?

Mac Mini Teardown Late 2018

It’s been four long years since Apple has refreshed their entry-level desktop line. Those that have been waiting for a redesign of the Mac Mini can now collectively exhale as the Late 2018 edition has officially been released. Thanks to [iFixit] we have a clearer view of what’s changed in the new model as they posted a complete teardown of the Mac Mini over on their website.

Mac Mini Teardown Late 2018 RAM Slots

One of the most welcomed changes is that the DDR4 RAM is actually user upgradeable this time around. Previously RAM was soldered directly to the motherboard, and there were no SO-DIMM slots to speak of. The 2018 Mac Mini’s RAM has also been doubled to 8GB compared to the 4GB in the 2014 model. Storage capacity may have taken a hit in the redesign, but the inclusion of a 128GB PCIe SSD in the base model fairs better than the 500GB HDD of old. The number of ports were flip-flopped between the two model generations with the 2018 Mini featuring four Thunderbolt ports along with two USB 3.0 ports. Though the biggest upgrade lies with the CPU. The base 2018 Mac Mini comes with a 3.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i3 as compared to the 2014’s 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5.

Although Apple lacked “the courage” to drop the 3.5mm headphone jack this time around, they did retain the same footprint for Mac Mini redesign. It still provides HDMI as the default display out port, although the additional Thunderbolt ports provide additional options via an adapter. A quick overview of the spec differences between the 2018 and 2014 base Mac Mini models have been summarized below.

Model 2018 Mac Mini 2014 Mac Mini
CPU 3.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i3 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
Storage 128GB PCIe SSD 500GB HDD
RAM 8GB DDR4 @ 2666MHz 4GB DDR3 @ 1600MHz
Graphics Intel UHD 630 Intel HD 5000
Ports Thunderbolt 3 (x4), USB 3.0 (x2) Thunderbolt 2 (x2), USB 3.0 (x4)
Card Slot N/A SDXC
WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Audio 3.5mm Headphone Jack 3.5mm Headphone Jack
Price from $799 from $499

Source [MacWorld]

65 thoughts on “What’s Inside That New Mac Mini Anyway?

    1. I always thought a hack was using a technology in a way not intended by its original designers.

      The brain was generally designed (evolved, whatever.. that’s not the point) so that people could reason and think.

      The hack is by the Apple marketing department and then the brain is not fulfilling its usual purpose. Because anyone who thinks and reasons wouldn’t be buying something like this.

  1. Hm, not sure I really need consumer product launch announcements from HaD. Unless there is something of special interest for the community I don’t see much value in having such articles about a new iFixit teardown.

  2. I’m not usually one to complain but…why am I supposed to care, again? This reads like a press release.

    Worse, it’s an Apple product, who, in case you weren’t aware, are kind of a shitty company. See also: Their recent partnership with Amazon to ban third-party repair/refurb products from the site.

    Seriously, people, don’t buy products from corporations that don’t want to acknowledge that they no longer own it at that point.

  3. This really should never have made it on to Hackaday. While the articles that are not necessarily hacks, but are informative nonetheless, such as tutorials and history articles are welcome non-hacks, this kind of rubbish is not. If people want superficial information about computers, then they can find it on one of the many PC sites or even iFixit.

  4. Idk why there’s a fuss over how this is “not a hack.” This is a teardown. Teardowns are useful and interesting. I like it when people pull something expensive and new apart and show me how it works.

    1. Then go to the sites that do the teardown.

      Hackaday isn’t a teardown site, teardowns as a standalone aren’t a hack. There is nothing in this article that wouldn’t have been in the announcement… 8g memory… check. Low-capacity SSD… check. Intel graphics… fail.

      Typical Apple fandom… zomfg… Apple has a new gidget coming out.

      There’s no ‘seeing how it works’ here. It’s a computer. It works the same way as any other computer. Processor, memory, storage.

  5. I hear it won’t run linux at all. So now Apple isn’t content with merely overcharging for (pretty good) hardware, but unless they can also lock you into their monoply ecosystem ($->Apple as a service) they don’t even want your money.
    I’ll stick with my slightly lower quality Intel NUCs…You can afford a lot more goodness that way.

    1. Except it’s Intel. …who wouldn’t be so bad if they’d actually support their products with… I dunno… things like driver updates so *your* hardware doesn’t become obsolete when *they* say it is.

  6. “Previously RAM was soldered directly to the motherboard, ”
    What? Weird. I just popped a 4GB DIMM from my recently cold, dead new-ish Mini (might not be a 2014 though). From one of its two DIMM slots.
    (Then I popped that DIMM into my Thinkpad, and it works great there.)

  7. “See also: Their recent partnership with Amazon to ban third-party repair/refurb products from the site.”

    Thanks Tomo…

    I call for a complwte boycott of Apple.
    HackADay… pending…

  8. Built my own puter a few tines iver annnnd tauhht it ro brow-beaten houseqives who made stellar puters, rhen taught themselves (!) html, made a website and a business, when dady lost his job.


    Amazon now knows, Prime account not withstanding, no Apple products until this reverses. THAT is the Hack. No Apple this Christmas. Period. MY hack, done. Do your hack.

  9. Cool machine, has specs of 6 years old Lenovo/Dell/HP/Toshiba/… laptop you can buy for 150 bucks today. But then you’d have to live without Apple logo, so it’s probably a no-go for some people.

    1. I need a new laptop. Show me the 8 GByte at 2666MHz, 3.6GHz quad core HP’s for $150! Please! (Don’t forget multiple thunderbolt and USB3, and SSD with bullet proof UNIX installed. Or Linux – I can go either way.)

    2. You could buy 8th gen Core i series CPUs with DDR4 memory and Thundebolt 3 (over USB C ports) 6 years ago. Please, do tell, where can I find one of these mythical machines?

      They’re more directly comparable with the latest generation of Intel NUC machines, and even they are a long way from $150 for anything like comparable configurations.

      1. While OP exaggerated you are being dishonest. 10 years ago you could buy a 8GiB quad core 2.5GHz with external PCIe (x1 though) and yes one can probably find that kind of machine for $150 today.

        1. Who’s being dishonest? Your 8GiB quad core at 2.5GHz from 10 years ago (a Core2 Quad Q8300 for example) couldn’t compete with a 4 core Core i3 running at 3.6GHz today. Ignoring the extra 1.1GHz of clock speed, and at least double the memory bandwidth, Intel have improved the IPC significantly also, while reducing the power draw. If the PC Mark benchmark is to be believed then its over 2.5 x faster.
          IO bandwidth has also improved a long way. USB 3.1 vs USB 2. Support for up to 3 x 4K monitors. PCIe has gone from 500MB/sec per lane to 1980MB/sec per lane etc.
          The point was that, even on paper, your 7-10 year old machine gets nowhere close to a modern design.

  10. Use to be one of the nice things about a Mini was that you could stick two hard drives in it. Now, not only can you fit in zero, but you can’t even change out what’s there by any simple means. Who is this computer for?

  11. I never really understood teardowns, why would you go to the trouble to take something apart only to find out that it contains the stuff that was mentioned in the specs of the machine? Anyway, this is not a hack, it more feels like a hidden advert.

    Looking forward for some serious hackaday projects, projects that are really creative or projects we can really learn something useful from or perhaps projects that inspire people. Taking something apart (that isn’t at least 30 years old) and then over analyzing it isn’t something that you would expect from hackaday.

      1. If you don’t like it exit?!?!
        That’s a strange response?

        So if you are in a bar… nice nothing wrong with it, you come here fore years and years. Then the bartender starts to burp and fart, completely unexpected, never did that before. It simply makes no sense. Then what do you do:

        A: leave and exit and never come back again
        B: notify the bartender that this behavior isn’t what you expected

  12. It’s like these people who are moaning “it’s not a hack” are paying for this content. They are not. Note to moaners, If you see an article you don’t think is of interest, just move on, stop dropping hate everywhere.

      1. That is a good point. They knew standards are always premature and hold you back. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. The insane number of phone calls I get from spoofed numbers is a case in point.

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