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Mac mini gets a speedy internet upgrade - but there's a catch

Apple Mac mini with M1
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

When Apple launched the updated M1 Mac Mini, there was some grumbling from fans of the Intel-based model around the lack of 10 gigabit Ethernet option. The standard Mac Mini just included basic one gigabit connectivity via Ethernet, with no option even for 2.5 gigabit, which is making an appearance on some PCs now. 

The good news is that a 10 gigabit Ethernet option is now available, with the slight catch that it costs an additional $100. While that might give some people pause, those who actually need faster speeds for their Mac Mini will jump at the chance to include it in their new computer. Perhaps the bigger issue is that for anyone who already owns the new M1 Mac Mini you’ll have to sell it and buy the updated model. 

This upgrade was spotted by Macrumors, and follows on from a previous discovery that revealed Apple part numbers for Mac Mini logic boards with support for up to 10 gigabit ethernet. Why Apple didn’t include this option at launch is unclear, especially when there is a market for it among certain groups.  

It might also appear that this is an expensive upgrade, but in fairness to Apple, it really isn’t. There are very few 10 gigabit Ethernet cards available as add-in adaptors that cost less than this, and some cost considerably more. And the pricing difference won’t matter so much to the target audience, which isn’t really home users. 

Apple store page for the Mac Mini

(Image credit: Apple)

If you are lucky enough to enjoy fiber broadband that runs at over one gigabit, then this could be an important update for you. It's the best way to get the fastest possible speeds out of your Mac. 

This is still something of a niche option though. Ethernet won’t generally run at 10 gigabit speeds unless you’re using Cat 6A or Cat 8 or are using very short runs of cable. For reliable 10 gigabit you need to use high quality cable which costs more than $100 for a 100m spool. 

The other interesting thing about this is that it means the M1 Macs can have 10 gigabit Ethernet, which might lend some speculation to an upcoming M1 iMac Pro. Perhaps borrowing from Apple’s new iMac design, but with 10 gigabit ethernet and perhaps an update processor and RAM configuration.