Comparing Mini and Pro: Evolution of Consumer Macs

Shelling out just under $2000 will get you a state-of-the-art Mac setup that includes a terabyte of storage space, a high-speed SSD for booting, 8 GB of memory, and a Quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU, not to mention Thunderbolt connectivity.

This isn’t about the Mac Pro, though. We’re talking about the Mac mini.

To put things into perspective, the most basic Mac Pro might outperform the most advanced Mac mini in raw processing power, but when considering the overall features, the gap narrows significantly: a 2.8 GHz Quad Core with 3 GB of RAM and 1 TB of storage versus a slightly less powerful 2.0 GHz Quad Core but with 8 GB of RAM and 1.5 TB of storage.

It seems the Mac mini has grown up, now playing in the same league as the bigger machines, perhaps not as the star player but definitely more than just a benchwarmer.

True, if you’re into heavy-duty video editing or 3D modeling, the latest Mac mini might not withstand the heat.

However, for those who aren’t pushing the graphical limits daily, the new mini models handle demanding software like Photoshop, Office, and Xcode quite capably, even with specs that are a few generations old.

The top-tier minis pack a punch with their impressive specs and user-friendly features such as HDMI output and an SDXC card slot. Although their graphics capabilities don’t rival those of the Mac Pro, the differences are increasingly marginal.

Consider the high-end $3,700 iMac, which boasts a 3.4 GHz Quad-Core i7, 16 GB of RAM, and a stunning 27″ display.

This setup makes even the basic Mac Pro models (excluding the exorbitantly priced 64 GB, dual 6-core Westmere version) seem underwhelming. Plus, the mini now includes Thunderbolt technology, something the Mac Pro has yet to adopt.

Finally, regarding the absence of a built-in Superdrive, as previously mentioned, disc is dead.


Mary is a dedicated writer for TUAW, your go-to source for all things Apple. With a deep love for technology, Mary brings insightful and engaging content to the blog. She has a knack for breaking down the latest updates on the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook, making them accessible to all readers. Mary’s expertise and enthusiasm for Apple products shine through in every article, helping readers stay informed and excited about the tech world.