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Mac mini versus MacBook Pro, why the Mac mini might be the best Mac you can get for your money

Karen Haslam | July 23, 2015
If you are looking for the best Mac you can get for your money there are a couple of contenders that might surprise you.

Latest Updates: New MacBook Pro

The Mac mini and the MacBook Pro used to have even more in common, until the MacBook Pro was updated earlier in 2015. The £1,199 MacBook Pro previously had the same 2.6GHz dual-core processor as the 549 Mac mini, but when the MacBook Pro was updated in spring 2015, it gained a slightly faster Broadwell processor. The two Macs also previously shared the same integrated graphics card - the Intel Iris Graphics, but now the MacBook Pro offers the Intel HD Graphics 6100.

We do think that Apple will soon update the Mac mini, however. 

MacBook Pro versus Mac mini: specs compared

There are three standard Mac mini models and four MacBook Airs to choose from, plus number of build to order options available. Below we will weigh up the differences between each of the different models.

MacBook Pro spec

The 13in MacBook Pro comes in three different specifications. Between the first two there is little difference other than the capacity of the storage and the price.

The mid-range 13in MacBook Pro offers the same processor as the entry level model, but offer more storage, while the top of the range 13in MacBook Pro has an even faster processor and even more storage.

Each 13in MacBook Pro offers the Intel Iris Graphics 6100 integrated graphics and 8GB RAM. There is also the new Force Touch trackpad to add to the features.

There are also a number of build to order options. You can choose to configure your MacBook Pro with 16GB RAM at point of sale for an additional £160. You can also swap out the 2.7GHz chip for a 2.9GHz i5 chip (an extra £80), or a 3.1GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 chip (for an extra £250). If you think you might need 1TB of flash storage then that will cost you £400 extra on the price of the 512GB model.

Mac mini specs

Apple last updated the Mac mini range at the end of 2014. This box is sold in three configurations. The cheapest Mac mini has the same 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor and integrated graphics chip (the Intel HD Graphics 5000) and 500GB hard drive as the entry-level iMac. It is essentially the same specs as the £899 iMac, but costs just £399, that's a saving of £500, more than enough to buy a separate monitor and keyboard and mouse.

The other Mac mini models offer quite a boost from the entry-level model, although they lag behind the now discontinued 2012 Mac mini.

The 2.6GHz dual-core i5 Mac mini, offers 8GB RAM, a 1TB hard disk, and Intel Iris Graphics. It costs £569. It is possible to upgrade the RAM to 16GB at point of purchase. There are also options for configuring the Mac mini with flash storage or a faster i7 processor.


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