Apple Mac Mini Vs. Samsung Chromebox (comparison)

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Chromebox vs Mac Mini_featured

Shawn loves gadgets, literature, history and games. For 10yrs+ he's straddled both the comic book & video game industries, as a writer, editor, marketing officer & producer. Shawn got his start in tech & games as an editor & Hardware Director for GameRevolution.com. More notable accomplishments include Executive Producer on mobile games Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved & The Shroud.

15 Comments to Apple Mac Mini Vs. Samsung Chromebox (comparison)

  1. It’s a cool comparison n’ all, but both units is targeted in two different directions. The Chromebox’s soul purpose is to browse the web and satisfy your basic computer needs (documents, youtube, spotify etc.) not install software or run video editing tools like the Mactini. To see which of them actually browses the web faster, smoother, better experience etc. would be a “better” comparison.

  2. Shawn, there are a few errors in this article.
    yes, the Mac Mini has a SD card port but you cannot write new data to it. It is read only.
    Both are upgradable by a semi-competent hacker.
    RAM CAN be increased in the Samsung to 8gb per other online articles, as can the SSD (but it can only hold one SSD).
    Chrome OS will not boot with certain larger SSDs so this is an ongoing issue.
    But if one loads Ubuntu, the Samsung works fine with its new innards.
    Yes, one can upgrade the Mac Mini with more memory and SSD and/or HDD but by the time you have done that you have a $1000 machine.
    Not so with the Samsung Chromebox. (yes, you have perhaps doubled your investment, but it still equals about half the cost of the Apple box.)

  3. This was EXACTLY the sort of article I was looking for, Thanks!

    I know little about each device and don’t have the time to look up tech specs and compare them manually. Sure, they might be very different to each other but that’s what this article explains! How they’re different, why they’re different, and what each would be best suited for.

    Isn’t that EXACTLY the purpose of a comparison? If they were too similar to one another then a comparison wouldn’t really be needed, as they’d be the same!

    Thanks Shawn

  4. The Mac Mini destroys the chrome box for obvious reasons, however your left out several details that really over kill the situation. The Mac Mini that supports the Radeon GPU is up gradable to 16gb of ram not your stated max of 8gb, and this model can house 2 hard drives the extra hook up floats inside the body housing completely unused. The Mac Mini with Radeon “fully” loaded with the duel core i7 and 16gigs of ram with 2x 500 gb SSD drives just dumps all over the relative competition. Granted you need to have a bit of computer hardware smarts but none the less… :D

  5. Mac mini is indeed a great product. However, it goes without saying how lightweight chrome os really is. 1.9 ghz for chrome os is like 3.5 ghz for mac os. So, we have to rethink this in whole. chromebox is a thin client with a pc capacity. it’s gotta be huge.

  6. chellspecker

    I found it a useful comparison. I have a MacBook Pro which I now use for everything, ferrying it back and forth from desk to couch where I hook it up to my TV for watching movies and playing music. I use a Mini-Display Port to HDMI adapter and cords running everywhere. I am considering doing what Charlie Pinker did with a dedicated media computer, even though I will need to use additional external hard drives. I was wondering if there was anything cheaper that would fit the bill. Apple TV is $100 but I’m not sure it can play media from my MBP or just stream via iTunes, Netflix and other paid services. The Mac Mini would tuck away inside my media cabinet, with a up to four 3TB external USB HDs, and I could have a wireless keyboard and trackpad on the coffee table. My vintage Marantz amplifier hooked up with audio mini to double RCA, PS3 in the same cabinet with another HDMI input to my TV. And I could use a hidden hard-wired Ethernet connection to my router, as I do with the internet TV and PS3. It’s worth it just to get rid of all the cords. Laptop as laptop, Mini as media centre. Now I just have to start saving money. It appears from this comparison that the Chromebox wouldn’t meet my requirements.

  7. Been a Mac freak since the early-90’s. Several years ago I cleared my desk of the old, trusty, Mac tower and two CRT monitor system, replaced it all with a (1st generation) Mac Mini and a 22″ flat-panel monitor – and I’ve not looked back. It’s an amazing little machine.

    Now I have two (less than 1-year old) Mac Mini’s, with the main machine connected to a 27″ flat-panel. They have never let me down and always do what I ask. I run FormZ, rendering software, design apps, you name it… and everything always works – and these are just basic, nothing added, machines.

    I keep saying that I don’t know why Apple isn’t marketing the heck out of them.

  8. alsosavagemike

    Why would you compare them? Because they come in similar sized boxes?
    This may as well have been sugared donuts vs dried pasta.
    They too come in similar type boxes and are both foodstuffs after all.
    One is about twice the price of the other of course and they are not really meant for the same purpose at all really.
    So – very much like the items in your review.
    And why are they meant for a ‘pedantic penny-pinching’ market?

  9. Thunderbolt port can be used for DisplayPort which you can get 2560×1600 res using a DisplayPort adapter of your choice… DVI, VGA, or HDMI.

  10. Shawn Sanders

    To anyone curious as why these two were pitted against each other… It’s simple. People are curious. Sure the Mac Mini is much more powerful and is decidedly the winner in a head to head showcase. But if you read the article entirely you will notice this was stated. It was also stated that they are targeting completely different customers. This is a valid comparison as some uneducated will opt to go with the cheaper Chromebox and not necessarily understand the stark contrast between the two devices and who the target is for each. 
    Thank you. That is all!

  11. Shawn, I appreciate your obvious enthusiasm here but I think you’ve missed the point!

    These two computers are completely different! The Mac is a traditional local-storage-based computer while the Chromebox runs a fairly immature web-based OS that relies on cloud storage and has limited local application support (you said yourself it only comes with 16GB local storage). This is a major difference. If you look past the hardware and specs, you’ll see these computers serve completely different purposes. My Mac Mini is my media centre hooked up to my TV, which I use to download and watch TV shows, movies etc, as well as being the hub for all my photos and music. I doubt the software is available to allow the Chromebox to compete with those sort of functions.The only thing these computers are competing in is aesthetical design. If you are looking to buy a computer for any other reason, I can’t see how these two would ever appear in the same comparison list (one is twice the price of the other for a start!).

  12. why was a 2011 Mac Mini reviewed against a new chromeOS computer? Everybody knows the new Mac mini doesn’t have and optical drive and can have as much as 16 gigs of ram installed. FAIL article.

    • gadgetreview

      Tim, this was just an oversight on my behalf. I used the wrong pic. The comparison is still accurate.

  13. This review is good so far as it goes, but it ignores the operating systems and the user experience.  Obviously MacOS X is gorgeous and versatile, better overall.  But ChromeOS has strengths too – even better security and stability, automatic updating (easy/low maintenance for your elderly parents), and best of all everything is “backed up” to the web so you can seamlessly resume the exact same experience on a Chromebook with ALL your files, photos etc synced automatically, and getting a new machine or replacing a broken one couldn’t be easier – just crank in your user name and password and everything’s there as you left it.

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