Home » Apple Buying Guide » Mac Mini 2018 vs 2020 specs and comparison [UPDATED]

Mac Mini 2018 vs 2020 specs and comparison [UPDATED]

Mac Mini 2018 vs 2020
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Apple Mac Mini is a different beast. It is much more powerful — it is, without hyperbole, a miniature Mac Pro — and as a result, it is no longer all that cheap. In fact, Apple’s cheapest Mac has moved from a sub-$500 purchase to a $799 one, and much more if you want a larger solid state drive, a faster processor, or more memory. You can spec out a lowly Mac mini all the way up to $4,199 if you really desire. But which one is a good fit for you – Mac Mini 2018 vs 2020?

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Mac Mini 2018 vs 2020 specs and comparison
Mac Mini 2018 vs 2020 specs and comparison

Compare Mac Mini 2018 vs 2020 – summary

Apple Mac mini 2108 (3.0GHz 6-core Intel Core i5)Apple Mac mini 2020 (3.0GHz 6-core Intel Core i5)
Operating SystemMacOS MojaveMac OS X Cheetah
Voice commandTouchscreen
BrandAppleApple
Hardware InterfaceUSB Type C, Ethernet, HDMI, USB 3.0, ThunderboltUSB Type C, Ethernet, HDMI, USB 3.0, Thunderbolt
Wireless Communication TechnologyWi-FiWiFi
Model NameMac MiniMac Mini
Type of productMini/Compact
ModelMRTT2LL/AMXNG2LL/A
ColorSpace Gray
Computer Memory TypeDDR4 SDRAMDDR4 SDRAM
Resolution4K4K
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 630Intel UHD Graphics 630

Dimension – Mac Mini 2018 vs 2020

Apple Mac mini 2108 (3.0GHz 6-core Intel Core i5)Apple Mac mini 2020 (3.0GHz 6-core Intel Core i5)
Height1.4 inches (3.6 cm)1.4 inches (3.6 cm)
Width7.7 inches (19.7 cm)7.7 inches (19.7 cm)
Depth7.7 inches (19.7 cm)7.7 inches (19.7 cm)
Weight2.9 pounds (1.3 kg)2.9 pounds (1.3 kg)
Release Date11/7/201803/18/2020

Technical details – Mac Mini 2018 vs 2020

Apple Mac mini 2108 (3.0GHz 6-core Intel Core i5)Apple Mac mini 2020 (3.0GHz 6-core Intel Core i5)
Processor3.0GHz 6-core Intel Core i5; Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz; 9MB shared L3 cache3.0GHz 6-core Intel Core i5; Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz; 9MB shared L3 cache
Connections and ExpansionFour Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports with support for: DisplayPort, Thunderbolt (up to 40 Gbps), USB 3.1 Gen 2 (up to 10 Gbps), Thunderbolt 2, HDMI, DVI, and VGA supported using adapters (sold separately), Two USB 3 ports (up to 5 Gbps), HDMI 2.0 port, Gigabit Ethernet port (configurable to 10Gb Ethernet), 3.5 mm headphone jackFour Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports with support for: DisplayPort, Thunderbolt (up to 40 Gbps), USB 3.1 Gen 2 (up to 10 Gbps), Thunderbolt 2, HDMI, DVI, and VGA supported using adapters (sold separately), Two USB 3 ports (up to 5 Gbps), HDMI 2.0 port, Gigabit Ethernet port (configurable to 10Gb Ethernet), 3.5 mm headphone jack
Wireless802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless networking IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n compatible, Bluetooth 5.0 wireless technology802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless networking IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n compatible, Bluetooth 5.0 wireless technology
In the BoxMac mini, Power cordMac mini, Power cord

Any differences in key features – Mac Mini 2018 vs 2020?

Cool story.
Packing this much power into the same enclosure required an all-new thermal architecture – including all-flash storage, a bigger fan, expanded vents, and a redesigned power supply.
• 70% more MSP (maximum sustained power)
• 2X increased airflow

Processors
Part racehorse. All workhorse.
In addition to being a great desktop computer, Mac mini powers everything from home automation to giant render farms. And now with eighth-generation Intel 6-core processor and Intel UHD Graphics 630, Mac mini has even more compute power for industrial-grade tasks. So whether you’re running a live concert sound engine or testing your latest iOS or iPadOS app, Mac mini is the shortest distance between a great idea and a great result.

Memory
Climb in. Geek out.
Mac mini features high-performance 2666MHz DDR4 SO-DIMM memory for faster rendering, working with massive files, or running multiple virtual machines. And now you can configure even more memory – up to 8GB – to run even heavier workloads.

Storage
Haul apps.
Mac mini now includes all-flash PCIe-based storage, with up to four times the read speeds of previous flash options. So you can load giant files and launch apps faster than ever – and with the available 512GB SSD, you’ll have twice the space for all of them.

Apple T2 Security Chip
Mac mini features the Apple T2 Security Chip – second-generation custom Mac silicon designed by Apple to make Mac mini even more secure. The T2 Security Chip consolidates several controllers into one, and includes a Secure Enclave coprocessor that provides the foundation for encrypted storage and secure boot capabilities.

Strength in numbers.
Mac mini is optimized for performance across the board. Here’s how it compares to the previous generation.

Connections and Expansion
I/O, I/O, it’s off to work you go.
With a variety of ports, Mac mini is ready for a variety of workflow configurations. Thunderbolt 3 is our most powerful and versatile port ever – and Mac mini has four of them. The new HDMI 2.0 port delivers more bandwidth than its predecessor, so you can enjoy faster frame rates. And now Mac mini can be configured with 10Gb Ethernet so it’s ready to move mountainous files and monstrous data up to 10 times faster.

Thunderbolt 3 gives you some seriously productive possibilities. Transfer data at up to 40Gb/s. Charge and power external devices. Connect up to two 4K displays – and even a third with HDMI 2.0 – or one 5K display. Or pair Mac mini with an eGPU for desktop-class graphics performance.

• Transfer data up to 40Gb/s
• Charge and provide power from any port
• Connect with eGPU
• Run up to two 4K displays

Versatility
To the desktop. And beyond.
Because of its size, performance, and wide array of ports, Mac mini goes where no Mac has gone before. And now with even more cores packed into its 7.7-inch-square frame, you never know where you’ll find a Mac mini – or dozens of them – hard at work.

• Xcode Server
Up to six CPU cores and superfast I/O make Mac mini the perfect Xcode companion to build your apps at top speed while running automated tests in the background.

• Build and Render Farms
With up to 6-core processors and faster 2666MHz memory, Mac mini is ideal for batching out massive Xcode builds or rendering and encoding video.

• Live Performance
With its lightning-quick SSD, ripping-fast performance, and small footprint, Mac mini becomes a live musical instrument with MainStage on some of the world’s largest concert tours.

macOS Catalina
The power of Mac. Taken further.
Featuring all-new, dedicated apps for music, TV, and podcasts, smart new features in the apps you use every day, and Sidecar, which lets you use iPad as a second Mac display.

• Digital Art and Signage
From jaw-dropping performance art to giant immersive digital billboards, Mac mini drives some of the biggest and brightest digital displays with its powerful processors, high-performance memory, and fast, versatile I/O.

Is it worth buying iMac by adding extra bucks?

The iMac contrasts to the Mac mini since it is an all-in-one computing solution. The base 21.5-inch iMac model ends up at 17.7 inches tall, and 20.8 inches in width, but a 27-inch model is also available.

It also packs a 21.5-inch display with 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, whereas the Retina 4K model come with a display with a 4,096 x 2,304 resolution. There’s also a separate 27-inch model with a Retina 5K display, which works out at 5,120 x 2,880 pixels. Apple even includes both a Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse 2 in the box, keeping you from separate purchases (Mac Mini 2018 vs 2020).

Some professionals might prefer the iMac for its display and all-in-one design, but the Mac mini will be more appealing to someone who already has a monitor.

Performance

Apple revamped the Mac mini with new internals to make it a better buy against the iMac. The base $799 Mac mini model ships with an 8th-gen Intel Core i3 quad-core processor clocked at 3.6 GHz. It also comes with 8GB of RAM and a 256 GB PCIe-based SSD. The drive is super fast and hits a read speed of 2,753MB/s and a write speed of 1,238MB/s in our file transfer testing. That is double the speeds on similar SSDs in the other desktops which we have tested before — barring the iMac, of course, which we’ll get to in due course.

In all models of the Mac mini, up to 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB RAM can also be added, and there are options for configurations for 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB of SSD storage. Unsurprisingly, given its size, there is no dedicated graphics option. All Mac mini models ship with Intel UHD Graphics 630.

For more processing power, a Mac mini model with a six-core 8th-gen Intel Core i5 processor clocked at 3.0GHz is also available for $1,099. This is the model we reviewed, which is right where the Mac mini crosses into iMac territory. It’s a seriously powerful machine — especially for its size.

27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display (2019)

Though it looks overly familiar, the new components options make the 5K iMac feel new again.

When you compare the Mac mini to the higher end iMac models, though, it gets trickier. A separate 4K iMac with a slightly more powerful 8th-generation six-core Intel Core i5 processor clocked at 3.0 GHz is also available, but that pushes prices well into the $1,499 range. For even more processing power, Apple offers the 27-inch 5K iMac with an option for the newer 9th-generation Intel Core i5 processor. You can even go all the way up to an eight-core Core i9 if you need some real horsepower. That puts it way out of the little Mac mini’s league, though.

As for the iMac, the entry-level 4K model features the same 8th-gen Intel Core i3 processor and 8GB RAM found in the base Mac mini. Unfortunately, the base model (with the 1080p display) still comes with a 1TB mechanical hard drive and older 7th-generation processor. Its pricing starts at $1,099 — a full $300 more than the base Mac Mini. If we’re only comparing those two options, the Mac mini wins by a mile.

There are a wealth of dedicated graphics options for the iMac, something the Mac mini doesn’t offer at all. The 21.5-inch iMac comes with either a Radeon Pro 555X or 560X with 2GB or 4GB of video memory. Higher end 5K iMacs come with either the Radeon Pro 570X, the 575X, or the 580X for graphics. You can even upgrade to the Radeon Vega 48 or Vega 20 for extra graphics power.

Connectivity

It is hard to choose between them since all these ports are modern, but the win might just have to go to the iMac for its ports. Creatives are known for using Macs, and the lack of the SDXC card slot on the Mac mini means that many might have to turn to a dongle to transfer photos and other content. It is a slight inconvenience that might be a deciding factor for some.

Apple has embraced USB-C, and the ports on board both the Mac mini and the iMac continue that trend. On the Mac mini are four Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports, two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI 2.0 port, Ethernet port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The iMac keeps a similar range of ports, including four USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt 3 USB ports, an Ethernet port, and an SDXC card slot.

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