Been Way Too Long - 2014 Mac Mini
After 723 days from the release of the previous version, Apple has finally updated the one of my favorite computers the Mac Mini. This is a machine that many Mac enthusiasts have been long been waiting for. The USB 2.0 ports and the outdated 802.11 b/g/n card were due for an upgrade.
Many speculated on whether or not Apple would continue to keep this low-end computing device around or would let it fall to the wayside to be replaced by iMac's and MacBook Pro lines. The internals of the updated Mac Mini are very similar to those of Apple's laptop computers. The chipset and processor on the low-end Mac Mini ($499) are the same as found on the MacBook Air, while the higher-end Mac Minis ($699+) are the same as the 13" MacBook Pro with Retina Display. The Mac Mini along with the Mac Pro are the only two true desktop machines in which you don't have to also pay for the price of the screen to get the computer.
The new Mac Mini is a positive upgrade to the 2012 release, with two Thunderbolt 2.0 ports and four USB 3.0 ports this computer has the capability to be used by many as a fantastic home desktop or office workstation. The fourth-generation Intel ("Haswell") chipsets are powerful enough for any everyday user and very capable of pushing programs such as Photoshop and InDesign.
I use the Mac Mini as my everyday desktop computer in my home office and it drives my home entertainment library. The faster ports on the mini allow for more USB 3.0 drives that house my over 2TB media library.
802.11ac - I finally upgraded my Apple Airport Extreme to the newest version to support this latest wifi standard after getting my new iPhone 6. The speed increase inside my house on wifi is reminiscent of the first time I used LTE on my iPhone. The change is dramatic and adding that functionality to the Mac Mini and allowing for gigabit transfer speeds on the internal network is a great bonus. I only wish now that Apple would put out an updated Apple TV that would also support this 802.11 ac standard.
It is also the most affordable Mac on the market. Starting at just $499, it is a great entry into the Mac and OS X and OS X Yosemite is the best operating system on the market. If you already have a monitor, keyboard and mouse there is no smarter option to upgrade your home desktop than the 2014 Mac Mini.
My favorite thing about the previous Mac Mini was the ability to upgrade components and cost effectively make the computer more powerful. In my previous Mac Mini, I easily swapped out the RAM and boosted the machine to 16GB. I also, thanks to the great instructions from iFixit.com, was able to add a second SSD and drastically speed up the computer. Apple in this newest Mac Mini has made it nearly impossible to upgrade the hard drive and by soldering the Mac to the logic board you can no longer upgrade the RAM.
The new Mac Mini upgrade have been long anticipated and Apple hasn't disappointed in this new machine. While the computer is far less user serviceable, users need to think of it as a much cheaper laptop without the screen. In essence that is exactly what this machine is. I would recommend to anyone that has invested in USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt drives, looking for a more powerful desktop upgrade without spending the money for a iMac or the Mac Pro to pick up a new Mac Mini as soon as possible.