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Apple’s cheapest Mac is perfect for creators



One look at the Intel Core i3 spec and you might think: Holy crap, this thing is weak… and you’d be wrong. Intel’s labels are designed to confuse and in most computers an Intel Core i3 means you shouldn’t expect much power.

But for the Mac mini, it’s the opposite. While it does have Core i3 branding, the chip itself has quad-cores, which gives you a lot more performance to throw around when you need to.

Running Geekbench 4 to get a sense of how the Mac mini compares to other computers, it scored 4,594 for single-core performance and 12,695 for multi-core.

To put that into perspective, that makes the Mac mini’s chip faster than the quad-core Intel Core i5 silicon inside of Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 2 at least when it comes to single-core tasks. The Laptop 2 edges out the Mac mini in multi-core performance, but not by a whole lot. But less on the synthetic benchmarks and more on what the Mac mini can actually do in a little bit.

Maybe one of the most underrated things about the Mac mini is all of the ports on its backside. There’s a lot of I/O to work with for a such a small computer and they shouldn’t be overlooked. You get four Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports, two full-sized USB-A ports, an HDMI 2.0 port, gigabit Ethernet, and a headphone jack. The only other computer in a comparable size I can think of with more is Intel’s Hades Canyon NUC.

The Mac Mini doesn’t come with a display, keyboard, or mouse. You can use existing accessories or buy new ones, and connecting all of this stuff is dead simple.

Hooking up a monitor is straightforward and you can do so in two ways: plug it in via HDMI or Thunderbolt 3 USB-C. If your monitor outputs over HDMI and you want to connect it over USB-C, you’ll need to pick up an adapter. I hooked up two monitors using HDMI-to-USB-C adapters and then a third monitor directly over HDMI to create my epic triple-monitor setup.

Connecting a wired keyboard and mouse into any of the USB-A or USB-C ports is the fastest way to get started using the Mac mini, but connecting wireless ones is relatively pain-free as well. I tried connecting various wireless keyboards and mice made by Apple and third-party companies like Logitech and the Mac mini definitely favors Apple’s, identifying and connecting to them quicker.

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