I brought home the $599 2012 Mac Mini
a few days ago. It's going to replace my mom's 2006 Mac Mini with Core Solo CPU.
A long overdue replacement - not so much for the additional processing power, as for apps obsoleting due to the lack of OS upgradability. I'll leave benchmarking to the people that get paid to do it and just discuss noise and power use here (oddly missing from the Ars and other reviews). Power use:
(measured at the wall with a Kill-a-Watt)
Sleep - less than 0.5W (shows 0W and 3VA)
Boot - 11 to 16W
Idle - 7 to 8W
Running (downloading) s/w update - 12 to 13W
Netflix (Silverlight) - 21 to 22W
Hulu (Flash) - 16 to 18W
Gaming - tbd
I am impressed. Noise:
It's not silent, but it's pretty quiet. In my silent house in a suburban/rural area (very little outside noise leaking in) I can hear the fans whirring softly. Character/level didn't change in any of the 7 to 22W load cases above. Disk drive (Hitachi 500GB 5400rpm) spun up is comparable to the fan noise level and seek is noticable but not loud. There were a couple of times during a GB download when the HDD clicked loud enough to make me look. The Mac is sitting on my wooden desk maybe 2.5-3ft away. Haven't had a chance to stress it to see how loud the fans get, yet.
To put the noise level in perspective, it's slightly quieter than my idling Solo build below except an octave or two higher in frequency (~2k rpm fans vs the loudest fan in my system - 725 rpm CPU fan).
There is an ongoing issue with some users
having the video out blank for a second or two every once and a while. I haven't seen it using the included HDMI-DVI adapter and my Dell G2410 monitor. Update
: I just had the video blank bug happen twice over a 10 min period. Monitor goes black (as if no signal) for about 2-3 seconds and then it's working again. I'll see how it progresses for the next few weeks.
I loaded Guild Wars 2 and it draws 40-45W at 1920x1080 full screen. I'm suprised by the playability of HD4000 in low population areas, granted with most of the features dialed down. After a few minutes, fans may have increased rpm a bit, but barely noticable with audio off. Not noticable at all with audio on. Played for ~15 minutes for a nice heat soak and top of case is mildly warm.Update 2
- Video blanking: Intel has acknowledged the problem exists, but no timeframe for fix. I haven't seen it occur again using the HDMI->DVI adapter->Dell monitor. Have also used Mini Displayport->DVI->Dell monitor and Mini Displayport->HDMI->Samsung TV without problem.
- I enjoyed using it as a browser for Hulu/network TV content. Certainly can't hear the little bit of fan whir from the couch Update 3
- Noise: The fan definately ramps up during extended game play (GW2) and can be heard in a quiet room without the audio track playing
. Nice whoosh without tonality.
- Display Firmware update: Apple released a fix
for the HDMI blanking issue. Unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to install it before I said goodbye to the Mini.