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2018 Mac Mini pops up in Apple's refurbished store

Image via Apple
Image via Apple
Apple is now selling the 2018 Mac Mini desktop in its refurbished store. Prices start at US $599 for a Mini with a quad-core Core i3 CPU, 8 GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 128 GB PCIe SSD. While this might be more expensive than an equivalent Windows desktop, the value compared to other macOS computers may be enticing for some.

Looking for a macOS device on the cheap? As long as you have a mouse, keyboard, and monitor, the 2018 Mac Mini may be a good option for you. Even better, you can now score one at a discount through Apple’s refurbished store.

The 2018 Mac Mini was the first refresh of Apple’s plucky little desktop in over four years and is a notable bump over the older 2014 Mac Mini. In addition to the new PCIe SSDs and updated CPUs, the 2018 Mac Mini also has four Thunderbolt 3 ports, as well as two USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, an HDMI 2.0 port, a headphone jack, and a Gigabit Ethernet port.

While the Mini requires users to bring their own keyboard, mouse, and display, it is usually seen as the cheapest way to get into the macOS ecosystem. Case in point: you can now buy a 2018 Mac Mini with an 8th-gen quad-core Intel Core i3 clocked at 3.6 GHz, 8 GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 128 GB PCIe SSD for US $599 from Apple’s refurbished store, a $200 discount off the new 2019 Mac Minis (which are largely the same, albeit with double the base storage).

Yes, an equivalently-specced Windows desktop is likely cheaper, but comparing the Mini to other Apple laptops shows its value in the Apple ecosystem. The cheapest Macbook available in Apple’s refurbished store is the 2017 Macbook Air, which has a meager dual-core Core i5 clocked at 1.8 GHz, 8 GB of LPDDR3 RAM, and a 128 GB PCIe SSD. That model costs $759, or $160 more than a more powerful Mac Mini. You could find a great keyboard, mouse, and monitor for less than $160. Additionally, the Macbook Air is not upgradeable; users can upgrade the RAM in the 2018 Mac Mini. (Keep in mind that storage is soldered in both machines.)

Of course, the Mac Mini is not portable, so it’s not a great option if you need your computer to move from desk to anywhere else. Still, if you have a dedicated workspace and need a macOS device, the Mac Mini may be a decent option at a relatively affordable price.

What are your thoughts on the Mac Mini? Does a refurbished Mac Mini represent a good value? Let us know in the comments.

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Sam Medley, 2020-04-10 (Update: 2020-04-11)