In June 2010 the prices for the Mac mini started from $ 699, contrary to tradition – and the speed was sacrificed graphics performance. Now everything has changed, in the year of Thunderbolt and the unearthly love between Apple and Intel could not think of such trifles as “special price” (Apple bought Core and Core 2 for almost a third of the price). I heard that the conditions on which Apple bought Sandy Bridge if it were even cheaper…

In the old days, before the era of the iPhone, even much more minor changes in one of the lineups of the company was the occasion for brilliant productions of the theater from Cupertino. In the era of the iPhone, Mac and sold as good as ever, their sales grew, but their share in the profits of the company declined in 2010 they brought the third part of the proceeds to the accounts of the company in 2011 is only the fifth.

Details about one of the most radical updates to the Mac mini for their history could be learned only from press releases in the Configurator online store or from flyers.

In none of the three new models of Mac mini had the optical drive (external can be bought in the online store, for $ 79). Processors Sandy Bridge, the best processors for laptops(!) at the time. In the server model, even a 4-core. Bays for two drives (SSD), two tyres SATA III (6 Gbps), Thunderbolt.

In promotional materials, and argued that the new Mac mini is two times higher than previous performance. The buyers did not take these statements seriously, life has taught –this time they were true. “Once you done lied”…

Thirteen months from the previous update

July 20, 2011, simultaneously with the release of OS X Lion was released a lot of different things. Among them were three models of the Mac mini, with identifiers Macmini5,1, Macmini5,2 and Macmini5,3. Minimum Mac mini for $ 599, normal for 799 and a Mac mini Server for 999.

In June 2010 the lineup of the smallest desktop computers in the world had changed in appearance, and incredibly beautiful. Now he, too, was Split and carved from a single block of aircraft aluminum alloy. In 2011, his appearance is almost unchanged.

In 2010, on the front wall of buildings all the Mac mini (except for servers) is the most remarkable feature was the slot for the optical drive. Now it was neither one of the models.

In online shop there were three initial configurations, 599, 799 and 999 dollars. Two of them (“economy” and “server”) used integrated graphics Intel HD Graphics 3000, in a “normal” discrete graphics from AMD, AMD Radeon HD 6630M.

Intel HD Graphics 3000 have tried to use for resource hungry games, in some cases, the result was quite satisfactory. But in real life the difference is between HD Graphics 3000 and AMD Radeon HD 6630M was obvious: the Mac mini c HD Graphics 3000 was able to “pull” one Thunderbolt display, while the “middling” c Radeon HD 6630M cope with two.

All Mac mini (Mid 2011) RAM PC3-10600 (1 333 MHz) DDR3 SO-DIMMs in the online store, its volume can be increased to 8 Gigabytes (and beyond up to 16 Gigabytes, with all the 2011 model worked fine). Performance DMI (Direct Media Interface) in all models, from “economy” to “server” – 5 Gigatransfer per second.

Ports and communications

All models had the same experience with the outside world: the same connectors, same controllers, and chips for wireless communications.

The rear panel of the Mac mini (Mid 2011):

Four USB 2.0 ports, one Ethernet 10/100/1000Base-T, Firewire 800, Thunderbolt and HDMI. The SDXC slot, and an infrared sensor for the Apple Remote. Remote package was not included, was purchased for an additional cost of 19 dollars. The power supply unit is housed inside a tiny body (and no dusty bricks of the unit under the feet).

Depending on the type of GPU, the Mac mini could work with two or three displays.

To HDMI you can connect one DVI or VGA display with a resolution of up to 1920×1200 pixels. Package included the adapter HDMI to DVI adapter HDMI to VGA, you had to purchase in the online store for an additional fee.

To a Thunderbolt port you can connect a display with a Mini DisplayPort (only one, regardless of the type of graphics processor), one Thunderbolt display on a Mac mini with integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000 or two on the Mac mini with discrete graphics. In all these cases, each display support resolution up to 2560 x 1600.

WiFi 802.11 n (450 Mbps), compatible with 802.11 a/b/g.

And Bluetooth 4.0. Regarding the latter it was possible to uncork a bottle of champagne, but in 2011 this event has passed by me.


Model ID Macmini5,1 in the initial configuration cost $ 599, and even worked, in spite of the pre-installed OS X Lion require at least two Gigabytes of RAM.

The basic kit it was 2 Gigabytes, but the integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000 taken for their needs at least 288 MB of it. If the amount of RAM increased to 8 GB, HD Graphics 3000 was no longer ashamed and blocked yourself have up to 512 Megabytes.

I am aware that the requirements written for customers. But a Mac mini with 2 Gigabytes of RAM I never saw its size increased to at least 4 Gigabytes of almost all who had this “mini”.

Intel Core i5 2.3 GHz (i5-2415M), cache third level 3 MB. In Turbo Boost the clock frequency up to 2.9 GHz.

The basic kit included the drive capacity of 500 GB (5 400 rpm), which could be replaced by disk 750 GB (7 200 rpm) for an extra $ 150. About the second compartment for storage and about the ability to install two drives or SSD, Apple was silent.


Base configuration cost $ 799. The model ID Macmini5,2.

Intel Core i5 2.5 GHz (i5-2520M), cache third level 3 MB. In Turbo Boost the clock frequency up to 3.2 GHz.

In the Configurator you can choose 2 Core i7, Intel Core i7 2.7 GHz (i5-2620M), cache in the third level 4 MB. In Turbo Boost its clock speed was increased to 3.4 GHz. Upgrade cost $ 100.

The basic kit – 4 gigabytes of RAM and a drive capacity of 500 GB (5 400 rpm).

Drives can be configured according to needs and opportunities:

to replace a disk from basic storage configuration to disk 750 GB (7 200 rpm), for $ 150;
replace the SSD disk capacity 256 Gigabytes, for $ 600;
install disk 750 GB (7 200 rpm) and SSD capacity of 256 Gigabytes, for $ 750.

Discrete graphics, AMD Radeon HD 6630M with its own 256 MB of GDDR5 RAM.


Is it possible in the official specs to distort reality? If you consider Apple a role model, the answer is Yes.

The specs of the Mac mini Server 2011 as its operating system specified OS X Lion Server. Such a system was not. There was an app for $ 50 in the Mac App Store and a huge software package which is an application loaded on the drive. Install this app on any Mac capable of running OS X Lion, even on a MacBook Air with minimal configuration.

In the base configuration Mac mini server cost $ 999, the model ID Macmini5,3.

Processor – 4-core Intel Core i7 2.0 GHz (i7-2635QM), cache third level 6 MB. In Turbo Boost clock speed was increased to 2.9 GHz.

4 Gigabytes of RAM and two disks on 500 GB (7 200 rpm). As with all Macmini5,* size of RAM can be increased up to 16 Gigabytes that would not be superfluous, but in online store you can purchase a maximum of 8 Gigabytes. Support independent producers?

The Configurator is Sparky of the two disks on 500 GB can be ordered:

two disks of 750 GB (7 200 rpm), for $ 100;
one SSD of 256 GB for $ 400;
drive 750 GB (7 200 rpm) and SSD 256 GB for $ 550;
two SSD 256 GB each for $ 1,000.


Stating that the performance of the new Mac mini and in fact was exceeded twice the previous models, I shall confirm his words. The results of the tests. If you are not interested, just don’t read it.

Geekbench 2 (32) and (64) is a 32 and 64 bit tests.
Geekbench 4 (SC) tests of the performance of one core, (MC) – all cores.

The subjects are indicated like this: “year”/“clock frequency”.

2011/2,3: (32)= 5839 (64)= 6400 (SC)= 2619 (MC)= 4992
2011/2,5: (32)= 6472 (64)= 7224 (SC)= 2883 (MC)= 5496
2011/2.7: (32)= 6980 (64)= 7758 (SC)= 3088 (MC)= 5945
2011/2,0: (32)= 8573 (64)= 9456 (SC)= 2770 (MC)= 8445
2010/2,4: (32)= 3307 (64)= 3635 (SC)= 1516 (MC)= 2485
2010/2,66: (32)= 3627 (64)= 4003 (SC)= 1633 (MC)= 2649

That is, all versions with Core i7 processors outperform the Core 2 is approximately two times that Apple was telling the truth.

To be continued