Thursday, March 19, 2020

Mac mini 2020

Tim Hardwick (Hacker News, Apple):

Apple today updated the Mac mini so that standard configurations now come with double the storage capacity.

The $799 configuration now comes with 256GB of PCIe-based SSD storage, while the $1,099 configuration features 512GB of storage as standard.

It’s great to see 256 GB SSDs move through the line—maybe iMac will finally get an SSD soon—but are there no new processors to use?


Update (2020-03-27): Brian Stucki:

Confirmed: the updated Mac mini will still identify as “Late 2018” in software, etc.

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Sören Nils Kuklau

>are there no new processors to use?


The Mac mini 2018 uses the "B" series of CPUs. These are like S (desktop) CPUs, but in a mobile form factor. Or, to go from the other direction, like H (high-end laptop) CPUs, but 65W instead of 45.

Intel made those for Coffee Lake, but didn't for Coffee Lake Refresh. Comet Lake is coming any week now, but given that Apple has released this update, they seem to believe or know that Intel once again isn't planning a B series. It's probably one of those cases where Apple was the biggest customer, and Intel lost interest.

Which means Apple needs to redesign the Mac mini yet again to fit a different CPU — either by downgrading it (slightly) to an H series, which would also make it significantly more expensive, or by upgrading it to an S series, which would make the device thicker (but leave the thermals the same).

(I'm not putting the blame entirely on Intel here. It's partially a self-inflicted wound on Apple's part. Nobody forced them to go for this form factor.)

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