Mac mini (Late 2012)

“Way more power” is Apple’s claim for the Late 2012 Mac mini, and that’s certainly true for the top-end quad-core i7-based model. It has the highest Geekbench score yet for a Mini at 10642 (vs. 6741 for last year’s 2.7 GHz dual-core i7 model), which is an impressive 58% better. However, at the entry level, the dual-core 2.5 GHz i5 earns a 6638 score, just 5% faster than the 2.5 GHz 2011 model. “A bit more power” might be a more realistic claim there.

2012 Mac miniThe 2012 Mac mini uses Intel HD Graphics 4000, which is a step up from the Intel 3000 in last year’s entry-level Mini – but a step down from the AMD Radeon HD 6630M GPU with 256 MB of dedicated video memory in last year’s top-end model. Benchmarks will tell….

Introducing Fusion Drive

If you want way more performance, look to the $300 256 GB SSD or the new $250 1 TB Fusion Drive, which combines a 1 TB hard drive with 128 GB SSD. Fusion Drive treats the hard drive and SSD as a single 1.125 TB volume, storing the operating system and all included software on the SSD and initially putting everything else on the hard drive. It also reserves 4 GB of space on the SSD for use as a hard drive cache.

The brilliance of Fusion Drive is that the operating system keeps track of your work patterns and will move files, data, and applications to the SSD or back to the hard drive based on that information. Best of all, this is totally transparent to the end user. To revive a phrase Apple has used for a long, long time, it just works.

Maybe because this is brand new, unproven technology for Apple, there is no Fusion Drive option for the Server version.

Other Details

rear panel of the 2012 Mac mini

This is the first time, the Mac mini has USB 3, which is up to 10x as fast as USB 2.0. The Mac mini uses the same USB SuperDrive as the MacBook Air and Retina MacBook models. There are four USB 3 ports, along with Thunderbolt, FireWire 800 (FireWire 400 devices can be used with a FireWire 800-to-400 cable or adapter), ethernet, HDMI, and SDXC for memory cards.

This is the last Mac mini to include built-in FireWire support.

4 GB of memory is standard, expandable to 16 GB. For power users, the i7 model can be ordered with a 2.6 GHz CPU for $100 additional.

A server version of the 2.3 GHz quad-core i7 model is available with two 5400 rpm 1 TB hard drives and the server version of OS X 10.8.2 Mountain Lion.

The Mac mini doesn’t include a keyboard or mouse. Apple says buyers can plug in their favorite USB keyboard and mouse – or buy Apple’s offerings. Mac OS X includes support for remapping the Windows alt and option keys to option and cmd respectively.


  • Introduced 2012.10.23 at US$599 (dual-core 2.5 GHz i5) and US$799 (quad-core 2.3 GHz i7), 2.6 GHz i7 build-to-order option adds $100 to i7 model. Replaced by Haswell-base Late 2014 Mac mini on 2014.10.16.
  • Part no.: MD387, MD388
  • Model Identifier: Macmini6,1 (2.5 GHz i5), Macmini6,2 (2.3 GHz i7)

Mac OS

  • Requires Mac OS X 10.8.2 or later
  • Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion compatibility
    • AirPlay Mirroring is supported.
    • AirDrop is supported.
    • Power Nap is not supported.

Core System

  • CPU: 2.5 GHz dual-core Intel i5; 2.3/2.6 GHz quad-core i7
  • L2 cache: 3 MB on i5 CPU, 6 MB on i7
  • Bus: 1600 MHz
  • RAM: 4 GB, expandable to 16 GB using two 1600 MHz DDR3 SO-DIMMs
  • Performance, Geekbench 3:
    • 32-bit single core: 2471 (2.5 GHz i5), 2685 (2.3 GHz), 2908 (2.6 GHz)
    • 32-bit multicore: 5084 (2.5 GHz i5), 10394 (2.3 GHz), 11293 (2.6 GHz)
    • 64-bit single core: 2748 (2.5 GHz i5), 3004 (2.3 GHz), 3258 (2.6 GHz)
    • 64-bit multicore: 5745 (2.5 GHz i5), 11692 (2.3 GHz), 12688 (2.6 GHz)


  • GPU: Intel HD 4000 Graphics
  • VRAM: 288 MB DDR3 SDRAM (shared with main memory)
  • Video out: Thunderbolt with resolution to 2560 x 1600, HDMI with resolution to and 1920 x 1200. HDMI-to-DVI adapter included.


  • drive bus: 6 Gbps SATA
  • Hard drive: 2.5″ 500 GB 5400 rpm SATA with i5, 1 TB with i7
  • SSD: uses same SSD modules as MacBook Air
  • SuperDrive: optional external USB drive


  • Thunderbolt: 1 port
  • USB 3: 4 ports
  • FireWire 400 ports: 0
  • FireWire 800 ports: 1
  • Ethernet: 10/100/gigabit
  • WiFi: 802.11n AirPort Extreme built in
  • Bluetooth: BT 4.0 built in
  • SD Card slot: yes
  • IR receiver: supports Apple Remote (optional)
  • no internal modem; external USB modem available
  • Microphone: none


  • size: 1.4 x 7.7 x 7.7 in/36 x 197 x 197 mm
  • Weight: 2.7 lb./1.22 kg
  • Power supply: 85W internal power supply
  • PRAM battery: 3V CR2032 lithium


  • Soldered CPU, upgrades not possible.

Online Resources

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