The best Thunderbolt 3 eGPU cases for the 2018 Mac mini and MacBook Air. By Mike Wuerthele Thursday, August 02, 2018, 09:27 am PT (12:27 pm ET) We've been talking about external GPUs for a while. Apple fans are used to free gaming for the iPhone and iPad, but tend not to think so much about free games for macOS. This is a shame, because the Mac is a great games platform with plenty of.

The Mac Mini has had a rough few years. Its last update,, was disappointing. After offering quad-core CPUs on the 2011 and 2012 editions, the 2014 model was stuck with a dual-core CPU. This meant it was actually slower at some tasks than the computer it was supposed to replace. Add in the fact that aside from storage, and you had a computer that left a lot of users unhappy.

Amazingly, until last month the 2014 Mini was still available on Apple's web store for $500. The lack of updates over the past four years left a lot of us wondering if we'd ever see a new model. Fortunately, Apple has rectified the situation with. This new model retains the unibody design that we loved on the 2014 edition but sports a sleek space-gray color -- a first for the Mini line.

(It's also now made entirely from recycled aluminum, as is the new MacBook Air.) With vastly improved components, the Mini is now a viable competitor in the compact-desktop market. And it does have competition. In the past four years, micro PCs have vastly improved, and most of the major manufacturers now offer a tiny Windows machine. Still, I was impressed with the Mini's performance, and it's the cheapest way to get a macOS machine. Despite this, the 2018 Mini has a few flaws that will probably keep it from being the best choice for most people.

Summary The 2018 Mac Mini is the first new compact computer we’ve seen from Apple in four years. With an eighth-generation Intel processor and abundant connectivity, including four Thunderbolt 3 and two USB Type-A ports, the Mini is designed to be fast and flexible. Apple is positioning the new Mini as a “pro” machine, but we found that the lack of a dedicated GPU holds this system back. Still, if you don’t need particularly powerful graphics and are looking for a speedy desktop, the Mini has a lot to offer for both the size and the price. Hardware The most impressive thing about the new Mini is its selection of ports. There's Ethernet, a headphone jack and four USB-C connections (supporting Thunderbolt 3). It also sports a full-size HDMI port and two old-school USB-3 Type-A ports.

Apple has been so aggressive about removing useful ports I was worried we'd see a box with nothing but a pair of USB-C inputs. The connectivity options make the new Mini easy to customize, with the option to add external SSDs, external GPUS or whatever else you might need. Unfortunately, shared controllers mean those Thunderbolt ports can only support two displays but add in the HDMI and you can run three 4K monitors from the Mini (or one 5K and one 4K display). Compared to previous Minis, you do lose the analog microphone input, but considering USB-based digital-analog converters are plentiful and effective, that's not a huge loss.

I tested the entry-level $799 model, which comes with a quad-core, 3.6GHz Intel Core ii3-8100b processor, Intel UHD 630 graphics, 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. Intel's b-series processors are soldered/integrated versions of their full desktop chips, and this one was pretty impressive, though the i3 model in my test unit doesn't support either hyperthreading or turbo boost speeds, in case those things are important to you. Unlike the 2014 Mini, you can upgrade the RAM in the new model yourself, though it's challenging enough that Apple recommends you have the work done at a service center. If you don't want to pay Apple's price for RAM (frequently two to three times market rate) you can do it yourself, but it'll take a set of Torx drivers and you can. Performance Previous Mac Minis were positioned as low-cost computers for the home or office, and the new model excels at those tasks. Its i3 chip is more than up to handling word processing, multiple browser tabs, video streaming and music playback. Cycling training software.