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Lini vs. Mini Round 2: Haswell Mac Mini vs. Skylake Lini 1S

Reviews

Lini 1S

 

About a year ago when the Haswell 2014 Mac Mini was released we posted a comparison Lini vs. Mini: New Haswell Mac Mini Reviewed.

At that time Lini PC had been shipping Haswell processors for a year. Now with the Lini 1S we are shipping Skylake processors, which are a two generation leap over Haswell.

Unlike Apple, Lenovo, Dell, and other big PC manufacturers, Lini PC builds every PC to order, so we can always offer the latest components as soon as they are released. We don't have big inventories that we have to sell off before we can release new products, so we are always first to market with the latest technology.

A year ago the Mac Mini had one slight advantage over the Lini One, which was a slight edge in 3D graphics and gaming due to using CPUs with Intel Iris Graphics.

Now that the Lini 1S is shipping with Intel's latest HD Graphics 530 we will see if Lini PC can close the gap and dominate the Mac Mini in every category.

 

CPU Performance

Lini 1S Skylake vs. Mac Mini Haswell PassMark CPU Performance

The new Lini 1S featuring Intel Skylake 6th Generation desktop processors delivers a devastating blow to the Mac Mini's 4th Generation Haswell laptop processors.

The slowest Lini 1S is faster than the fastest Mac Mini and the performance gap only widens as you move up the range of CPUs that Lini PC has to offer.

The story here is mostly the same as with the Lini One which also trounced the Mac Mini. The pummeling is only getting more severe as we continue to upgrade the Lini PC line with the latest parts.

 

Gaming & 3D Graphics Performance

Where the Haswell Mac Mini had an edge over the old Lini One in gaming and 3D graphics now the tables have turned and the new Lini 1S shows a significant advantage in the industry standard 3DMark Fire Strike gaming benchmark.

Don't forget that Lini PC also offers Lini Zero Gaming Systems with Intel Iris Pro Graphics that offer performance that is 50% higher than the Lini 1S.

 

4K UHD Display Support

The new Lini 1S supports up to 3 monitors at 4K UHD resolutions with 2X HDMI and 1X DisplayPort outputs. The Lini 1S can drive 2 4K UHD monitors at 60hz with 1 more at 30hz.

The Mac Mini supports only 2 displays at 2560x1600 and supports only a single 4K UHD display over HDMI at 30hz. The Mac Mini does not support 4K UHD at 60hz at all.

 

USB 3.1 Type-C Support

USB 3.1 Type-C is the new standard for mobile devices.

The Lini 1S supports USB 3.1 Type-C now, so your PC will be able to connect with the rest of your devices for years to come.

The old Mac Mini doesn't support USB 3.1 Type-C and is now obsolete when it comes to attaching to next generation devices.

 

Components

The Lini 1S uses a top of the line ASRock Z170 Gaming-ITX/ac motherboard with an 8 layer PCB and Nichicon 12K Platinum Capacitors. This is a motherboard designed for extreme overclocking and should have a very long lifespan when used under normal operating conditions.

The Lini 1S uses industry standard components that can be easily upgraded and replaced.

The Mac Mini uses a custom motherboard, most likely manufactured by Foxconn, which is essentially the lowest bidder offering the cheapest components available.

It is not possible to buy a replacement motherboard for the Mac Mini, and since the RAM and CPU are soldered on, it would not make much of a difference anyway.

When any component of the Mac Mini fails the entire unit is toast and there is little of value that can be salvaged from it.

 

Storage

The Mac Mini offers a range of storage options from 5400RPM Hard Drives to a "Fusion Drive" (5400RPM Hard Drive with 16GB SSD Cache) to Solid State Drives (SSD).

The fact that Apple uses 5400RPM drives is a prime example of how they cut corners to save every last penny on their systems and purposefully cripple their low end systems to force buyers into expensive upgrades. A 7200RPM hard drive only costs about another $5 and offers significantly better performance, but Apple still uses the cheapest components possible.

The "Fusion Drive" which costs about an extra $20 is a $200 dollar upgrade. The 256GB, 512GB and 1TB SSD options go for $200, $300 and $800 respectively, all about double their actual cost.

All Lini 1S systems feature 100% SSD storage using Samsung 850 EVO SSDs. A 1TB SSD is a $400 upgrade while a 2TB SSD is an $800 upgrade.

 

Memory

The Lini 1S features DDR4 2400 memory which offers 50% higher speed than the DDR3 1600 memory used by the Mac Mini.

The maximum memory supported by the Mac Mini is 16GB while the Lini 1S supports up to 32GB of memory.

The Lini 1S uses standard 288-pin desktop memory modules which can be easily upgraded or replaced. The Mac Mini has its memory soldered onto the motherboard and it cannot be upgraded or replaced.

 

Price & Value

The Lini 1S delivers superior performance across the board, supports far more advanced display options, and features next generation USB 3.1 Type-C support that the Mac Mini lacks.

The Lini 1S can be easily upgraded and repaired while the Mac Mini is essentially impossible to upgrade or repair.

While it is difficult to compare the Lini 1S to the Mac Mini, on account of the fact that the lowest end Lini 1S significantly outperforms the highest end Mac Mini, we will do our best to illustrate how similar Mac Mini and Lini 1S configurations price out.

 

 System CPU PassMark RAM SSD Price
Mac Mini i5-4278U 4342 8GB DDR3 256GB 899.00
Lini 1S i3-6100 5534 8GB DDR4 250GB 699.00
Mac Mini i5-4308U 4652 16GB DDR3 512GB 1499.00
Lini 1S i5-6500 6994 16GB DDR4 500GB 1149.00
Mac Mini i7-4578U  5087 16GB DDR3 1TB 2199.00
Lini 1S i7-6700 9906 16GB DDR4 1TB 1499.00

 

Conclusion

While the Mac Mini held a slight advantage over the Lini One on graphics a year ago the new Lini 1S is superior to the Mac Mini in every way.

A top of the line Mac Mini with all of the options will set you back $2199.99. For $1000 less you can get a higher performing Lini 1S system with a similar storage and memory configuration. For $100 less you can get a Lini 1S with an i7-6700 that is almost twice as fast and comes with 32GB RAM and a 2TB SSD, options that Apple does not even offer.

Not only does the Lini 1S offer superior performance and features, it does so at a lower price point that delivers a far greater value.



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