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Intel NUC vs Mac Mini: Which One Wins the Hearts of All

December 27, 2021

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intel nuc vs mac mini

In the battle of compact PCs, both the Mac Mini and the Intel NUC are great devices, but which is better for your needs? We’ll compare the pros and cons of these two computers to find out which is best for you. Let’s get started!

Performance

First, let’s look at the processors, the Apple Mac mini has an Apple M1 chip, while the Intel NUC 11 of the same price has a quad-core Intel Core i5 chip. Both chips are powerful and capable of multitasking.

The differences between the two devices are largely in the graphics department. The Mac mini uses onboard graphics, while the NUC optional upgrade discrete GPUs.

Therefore, if you look for a machine that provides the right power and performance for your needs, the Mac mini’s onboard graphics may be adequate for everyday work, but the Mac mini is not ideal for professional video editing or gaming.

Upgradability

The NUC has other advantages over the Mac mini. For example, Mac mini has a memory that is integrated into the Apple M1 chip and can’t be upgraded. You can only configure the memory in your Mac mini when you purchase it.

In Intel’s Panther Canyon NUC, you’re restricted to just storage and RAM upgrades, but they’re very easy to do and don’t have rigid requirements on specs.

You get one M.2 PCIe SSD slot for SSD, and two SO-DIMM slots for RAM. You can enhance the NUC’s performance by installing up to 64GB of RAM across its two SO-DIMM slots.

The NUC is a better option for those who want a more flexible, customizable experience.

Portability

Next, let’s talk about portability. The Apple Mac mini has a distinctive flat shape, with neat edges and rounded corners. The distinctive flat shape could easily be placed on its side and stored wedged between books on a bookshelf.

While Apple’s Mac mini features a unique design, the Intel NUC is more straightforward and smaller. Because it requires less space, which makes it more versatile.

On the other hand, the Intel NUC 11 is just 4.6 inches wide and 2.0 inches tall (for the tall version), it can be easily placed on the table, and it is compact and compact, so you don’t have to worry about taking up a lot of space. If you don’t want to put it on the table, it can be attached to the back of the computer screen.

If you’re looking for a portable machine, the NUC has an advantage over the Mac.

Connectivity and Ports

When comparing the two, there is also a big difference between their ports.

The ‌M1‌ ‌Mac mini‌ features a decent number of ports, with two Thunderbolt, a single HDMI 2.0, two USB 3.0 Gen 1 (5Gbps) Type-A, 3.5mm headset jack, and gigabit ethernet (upgradable to 10Gb ethernet).

The NUC also offers more connectivity than the Mac Mini. Unlike the Mac Mini, it features one USB-A 3.0 port on the front and two on the back.

It also has two Thunderbolt 3 ports and a 3.5mm headset jack. Additionally, the NUC 11 also has a mini DisplayPort 1.4 ports and a microSD card reader.

The Panther Canyon NUC 11 also supports an I/O header that carries signals for two USB 3.0, Thunderbolt 2、HDMI、DVI, and VGA. In other words, if for some reason there are not already enough ports, you can expand their number.

External Display

When it comes to external displays, The ‌M1‌ ‌Mac mini‌ can support one display up to 6K and one display up to 4K, while the Intel ‌NUC 11 can support up to four 4K displays, or one 5K display and two 4K displays.

This means that to use a 6K display, you must choose the ‌M1‌ ‌Mac mini‌. However, if you want to use multiple 4K displays, you must have the Intel ‌NUC. You should therefore carefully consider their external display setup before deciding on either machine.

OS

In addition, we must keep in mind that, the Mac Mini uses MacOS and the Intel NUC is designed to use Windows.

Logically, macOS is the most advanced desktop operating system. Although the Windows 10 operating system is not the best, it is the most widely used.

Price

The price difference between the two machines also is the main factor in choosing which one is right for you.

Comparing the cost of both machines would be difficult, as it would have to be similar to hardware.

The Mac Mini comes in two standard configurations, with the Apple M1 chip version starting at $699 and the Intel Core i5 version starting at $899.

Since Intel NUC are so multiple versions, we can get configurations like the Mac Mini, with a Core i5 processor, 16 GB of RAM, and 512 GB SSD for about $750, with all the full equipment.

If you want to use it for everyday office work, both will provide you with everything you need without any problems, but Intel NUC will do it for you at a much lower price.

In addition to being cheaper, the NUC has many other benefits. A lot of users prefer its portability and small size.

Which one’s better?

For most people, an Intel NUC is the better option, but as always it will all depend on what you need.

While the Mac mini has superior performance, the Intel NUC is a more versatile machine that has a more affordable price. If you’re looking for an all-purpose computer, the Intel NUC is a better choice.

However, if you plan on doing a lot of professional audio and video editing, the Apple Mac mini is the best option.

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