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Aluminum "Unibody" Mac mini Q&A - Updated November 11, 2012

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What type of video system is provided by the Aluminum "Unibody" Mac mini models? Which are integrated and which are dedicated? Can the video be upgraded?

The three different Aluminum "Unibody" Mac mini lines -- the "Mid-2010," "Mid-2011," and "Late 2012" models -- have an assortment of different video systems. Most have integrated memory, which is slower, but two have dedicated/discreet memory, which is considerably faster. All of the Aluminum Mac mini models, however, have a video processor that is soldered in place and cannot be removed or upgraded.

The details on the video processor for each Aluminum "Unibody" Mac mini model is provided on the specs page for the model of interest, as well as on this chart for your convenience:

Mac mini

Subfamily

Video System

Type

"Core 2 Duo" 2.4

Mid-2010

GeForce 320M

Integrated

"Core 2 Duo" 2.66

Mid-2010

GeForce 320M

Integrated

"Core 2 Duo" 2.66 (S)

Mid-2010

GeForce 320M

Integrated

"Core i5" 2.3

Mid-2011

HD Graphics 3000

Integrated

"Core i5" 2.5

Mid-2011

Radeon HD 6630M

Dedicated (GDDR5)

"Core i7" 2.7

Mid-2011

Radeon HD 6630M

Dedicated (GDDR5)

"Core i7" 2.0 Server

Mid-2011

HD Graphics 3000

Integrated

"Core i5" 2.5

Late 2012

HD Graphics 4000

Integrated

"Core i7" 2.3

Late 2012

HD Graphics 4000

Integrated

"Core i7" 2.6

Late 2012

HD Graphics 4000

Integrated

"Core i7" 2.3 Server

Late 2012

HD Graphics 4000

Integrated

"Core i7" 2.6 Server

Late 2012

HD Graphics 4000

Integrated


If you would like to have the possibility to upgrade your video card in the future, it would be wise to instead consider a Mac Pro model.

What is the largest display the Aluminum "Unibody" Mac mini models will support? What type of displays do they support? Do they support dual displays?

The Aluminum "Unibody" Mac mini models all simultaneously support 1920x1200 on an HDMI or a DVI display (using the included HDMI-to-DVI adapter) and at least one 2560x1600 display via either the Mini DisplayPort -- for the "Mid-2010" models -- or the "Thunderbolt" port -- for the "Mid-2011" or "Late 2012" models (Thunderbolt is backwards compatible with Mini DisplayPort).

The "Mid-2011" Mac mini models with dedicated AMD graphics -- the Mac mini "Core i5" 2.5 (Mid-2011) and Mac mini "Core i7" 2.7 (Mid-2011) -- even support two 2560x1600 displays via Thunderbolt.

All of these models can support an older VGA display as well with an optional adapter.

If a VGA display is dim when connected, please refer to "Reduced Brightness with Some VGA Displays and Mac mini" from the Apple Support Site to begin troubleshooting.

Also see:

  • How do I connect an Aluminum Mac mini to a television?
  • What is HDMI?
  • What is "Thunderbolt"? Is it an industry standard? What advantages does it offer? Are there any disadvantages?



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