Since its launch, the Apple Mac mini has dominated the technological market with its outstanding features and compact size. However, as a competition of Mac mini, several other brands have launched their equivalent devices.
One of the most significant rivals of the Mac mini is Intel NUC. Intel NUC has similar processing power, compact size, and as compared to Mac mini, it is far more affordable.
Both Mac Mini and Intel NUC are created for work and entertainment purposes, but you cannot use them for playing games. If you also want to have a mini PC at your home, then both of these devices are pretty powerful, and they don’t take much space.
There are still some significant differences that both the devices have; therefore, below, we will be comparing technicalities of the Apple Mac Mini and Intel NUC so that the readers can have a clearer understanding of which one is better than the other.
Comparison Between Mac Mini and Intel NUC
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- Apple-designed M1 chip for a giant leap in CPU, GPU, and machine learning performance
- 8-core CPU packs up to 3x faster performance to fly through workflows quicker than ever*
- 8-core GPU with up to 6x faster graphics for graphics-intensive apps and games*
- 16-core Neural Engine for advanced machine learning
- 8GB of unified memory so everything you do is fast and fluid
The comparison between these two devices is made into various categories. We have compared those particular features of both the devices so that it becomes easier to understand which one is better in which field. So let’s start.
The first category of comparison is the performance in which we will discuss the CPU and GPU of Mac Mini and Intel NUC. Mac mini is equipped with i3 and i5 processors, which makes the performance of this device pretty powerful and diverse.
With such a strong core processor, Mac mini is more likely to outperform Intel NUC. Intel NUC is equal to with i7 processor, and because of the single-core processor, it will be hard for this device to beat Mac Mini in terms of providing raw speed.
The speed that you get in Mac mini is 3.0 GHz, but you can conveniently boost the speed up to 4.1 GHz. So when talking about the processor and the CPU, it is evident that Mac mini will render throttle performance than intel NUC.
Besides the strong performance, it is also essential that the device renders strong graphics and clear images. The speed at which Intel NUC core i5 works is 2.3 GHz, but it is boostable to 3.8 GHz.
You can see for yourself that the speed of Intel NUC is slower than Mac Mini; therefore, the entire performance of Intel NUC is lower than the overall performance of Apple Mac Mini.
Even though, in the category of CPU and strong performance, Mac mini to the lead, in strong GPU, it cannot beat Intel NUC. Mac mini does not have a discrete GPU even after having an upgradable feature.
On the other hand, Intel NUC offers outstanding graphics and high and picture quality, due to which the clear advantage in GPU goes 2 Intel NUC. The clarity of images you get with this device is so good that users could have a fantastic gaming experience if it were made for playing games.
But unfortunately, since it is not compatible with the games, you have to stick to entertainment and work purposes. Each visual you will see on the screen with Intel NUC will give the viewers an aesthetic and realistic experience.
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Design is the second category of comparison between Apple Mac Mini and Intel NUC. Mac mini is a square-shaped device that is 7.7 inches and 1.4 inches thick. Even after having a compact size, it is pretty broad, making it aesthetically good when placed with other devices.
The compact feature of the Mac mini allows it to be placed in small areas like on a bookshelf or below. The design of this device is distinctive and classic because of its neat edges. The rounded corners of this device give it a stylish look.
A purchaser looking at Mac Mini for the first time can instantly guess the design, and Apple creates the overall appearance of this device. As compared to Mac Mini, Intel NUC is smaller and takes up lesser space. The measurement of this compact device is 4.4 inches X 4.6 inches.
In height, it is taller than Mac Mini, but still, it takes smaller space. In the overall design of Intel NUC, there is not much to talk about because the design and the look are pretty traditional and straightforward. The simplicity of this device cannot match the stylish look of the Mac Mini.
Upgradability is one of the most critical factors. Therefore, we have added this category to the list of our comparisons. Let’s see which device has a better upgradability option.
Looking at the overall capacity of upgradability, both the devices Mac Mini and Intel NUC has limitations. However, the Mac mini still has better Upgradeability as it can be upgraded up to 64GB.
The primary storage capacity of Mac mini is 8GB, but you can conveniently configure it up to 16GB, 32GB and 64GB RAM. But Mac Mini undoubtedly requires you to invest more money in it.
On the other hand, Intel and its uses have a good speed at which it works; however, when it comes to the upgradability of the storage, it can only be upgraded up to 32GB.
Like MAC Mini, this device also has the primary storage of 8GB RAM; however, the memory up-gradation is not more than what you get on Mac Mini. Intel NUC has three slots for SSD, but we think it can be a little disappointing for some people with less upgradable compatibility.
Connectivity Options and Ports
The connectivity options and availability of the port matter to only a few people, but it is an essential category in the technical comparison that should be considered when comparing two perfect devices like Apple Mac Mini and Intel NUC.
In terms of ports, the Apple Mac mini has an HDMI 2.1 port to USB 3.1 type A port, four thunderbolts, three ports, Gigabit Ethernet and a 3.5 mm headphone jack. These ports are located extremely strategically, and their positioning allows the user to access them from one location.
Thunderbolt 3 ports and HDMI 2.1 port can conveniently support 4096 X 2304 and 4096 X 2160 at a 60 Hz refresh rate. Undoubtedly, in the Apple Mac mini, you get plenty of connectivity options and sports that can increase the overall experience quality.
In Mac mini, you get all the ports on the one side on the back, but on Intel NUC, the ports’ positioning and connectivity options are divided. You will find some ports on the front, some on the side, and some on the back.
The reason for such positioning is that users can have easy access to the ports at their convenience. In Intel NUC, HDMI 2.0 A port gigabit Ethernet to USB 3.1 type a ports solitary Thunderbolt 3 port can be found on the back of the device.
You can find a USB 3.1 type port and a 3.5 mm headphone jack in the front. One of the bonuses you get in NUC is the availability of a micro SD card slot given on the side of the device that you can use to expand storage or additional media cards.
Relate: Mac Mini i5 VS i7
One of the best features that make money has is the incorporation of the T2 security chip. This security chip is a type of module that gives proper protection to the storage drive encryption and protects your device from tampering.
Because of this security option, your Apple Mac mini remains perfectly safe in any case. On the other hand, in Intel NUC, the security option might not be this straight because you have to install Windows in the device to take advantage of the security system that comes with it.
For greater security, you might also have to install an SSD card so that your hardware remains encrypted, and you can also install management software.
In comparing straightforward security options, the Mac mini has the upper hand because its straight-up comes with the proper protection, but that is not true with Intel NUC.
High-end Professional Work
Since both Apple Mac Mini and Intel NUC is used for work and entertainment purposes, we must see which one of these two devices render better features for professional work.
Intel NUC can render power-efficient performance reasonably when it comes to professional work because of the QuickSync feature.
QuickSync feature is available in Mac Mini and NUC; therefore, we believe that both devices can render good professional work performance.
Use this device for the proper software and graphic work; we believe that Apple’s Mac mini is a better option because it has an inbuilt software-based solution that can simplify the entire visual-oriented process.
The last category of comparison is the price because it is one of the decisive factors. Mac mini is available in two versions, core i3 and core i5, and both versions cost different. Mac mini core i3 is priced at $800. However, core i5 starts from $1000.
Both the versions are similar in DDR4 RAM. However, the latter version has better SSD storage which is 256 GB SSD. On the other hand, the introductory price of Intel NUC is $800; for an extra upgrade, you will have to invest more money.
With all the upgrades in Intel NUC, you can get this device for $980, which is cheaper than the Core i5 version of Mac Mini.
So this was the end of the comparison categories, and by the end, you must have understood which one of these two devices render better performance in which type. But now let’s see which one you should buy if you want to have an outstanding overall performance.
Which One Should You Buy: Mac Mini or Intel NUC?
In recent times Apple has launched many versions of the Mac Mini, and because of its compact size, several people have gone crazy over this device.
Mac Mini and Intel NUC both render robust performance and can be upgraded to some extent. However, we believe that NUC is a better device than the Mac mini because of its ultimate features and affordability when it comes to overall performance.
Even if you do not want to have a design for work purposes, Intel NUC can be an excellent option for entertainment purposes. When you configure this device correctly, you can browse through the internet, run iTunes and watch your favourite shows.
Intel NUC is equipped with an impressive GPU which is better than Mac Mini, and the thunderbolt ports can make it the more powerful device.
The best thing about Intel NUC is that most of the devices come without any storage restriction or GPU that allows you to configure your device as per your requirements and spend only what you want.
Intel NUC’s overall integration and configuration are outstanding, and you can get a fantastic performance and entertainment experience at a lower price than what you will spend to buy Apple Mac Mini.
Undoubtedly if you have heavy and work, you should go for the Apple Mac mini because the hardware of this device is designed for professional work. Still, if your requirement is normal browsing and entertainment, Intel NUC will do just fine.
Summing it Up
So this was the entire comparison between Mac mini and Intel NUC, and from what we have mentioned, you can understand that if your requirements are just standard, Intel NUC will be an excellent option for you. You can also use it for a good level of professional work.
However, if your interests lie in the heavy workload, Intel NUC can be a little disappointing in that area. The configuration of Intel NUC is done with the purpose of entertainment.
On the other hand, the Mac mini is developed for both purposes, but the price of this device can be highly shocking for some people. We hope that this comparison will help you make your decision and understand which of these two most popular devices is better than the other.