The smallest, most affordable Mac in Apple’s range got a refresh in October 2012, which actually saw the prices fall a little. The entry-level Mac mini, which boasts a 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 Ivy Bridge processor, is now £499 (down from £529), and the highend 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 model costs £679 (previously £699).
The 2012 refresh retained the outward appearance of the previous generation, with the upgrades all under the hood. The four USB ports are now high-speed USB 3, and both models have 4GB of RAM as standard, up from 2GB. Unfortunately, the high-end model’s discrete graphics chip has gone, but the Ivy Bridge processors offer more powerful integrated graphics chipsets than their Sandy Bridge predecessors. Thankfully, the FireWire 800 port is retained.
The Mac mini is incredibly versatile. It’s small and light enough to carry around in your work bag. You can use the same computer at home and in the office just by unplugging it and taking it with you. It’s also ideal for under your living room TV. Connect using its integrated HDMI port and install a media app such as Plex; it’s free, and ideal for putting the mini at the centre of your digital lifestyle.