We are comparing the Skull Canyon NUC vs the 2014 Mac Mini.

The Skull Canyon is a barebones NUC (New Unit of Computing) where one has to add the memory and storage themselves. Fortunately, this is very easy with the Skull Canyon.

The Mac Mini has a top option of 16GB RAM, so we will use that RAM for comparison, even though the Skull Canyon has a top option of 32GB RAM. The Mac Mini has a top option of an i7 (albeit only 2-core); but the SKULL CANYON NUC only has a 4 core option. This is what we will compare.

Storage options can vary, but we will use a 500GB storage SSD as our option to compare.

Be Aware: Both these computers are using low power laptop CPUs. They are essentially laptops without the monitor.

The High End Mac Minia Skull Canyon (nuc6i7kyk)
CPU 4th generation Haswell
6th generation Skylake
Cores/Threads 2 cores / 4 threads 4 cores / 8 threads
Frequency 3 GHz 2.6 GHz
Turbo Boost 3.5 GHz 3.5 GHz
Mobile/Desktop Mobile CPU Mobile CPU
Graphics Iris 5100 Iris Pro 580c
Internal Speaker Yes No
RAM 16GBd (soldered on)
1600 MHz
16GB GHze(You can add 32GB)
2133 MHz
No HDD, but one can use 2 SSD (either SATA III or NVMe).
CONNECTIVITY – Gigabit Ethernet port
– Bluetooth 4.0
– HDMI port
– 2x Thunderbolt 2 ports (up to 20 Gbps)
– 4x USB 3 ports (up to 5 Gbps)
– Audio in port
– 3.5 mm headphone jack
– SDXC card slot
– IR receiver
– 1 Ethernet
– Bluetooth 4.2 (2×2)
– 1x HDMI* 2.0 (4K 60 Hz)
– 1x Mini DisplayPort* 1.2 (4K 60 Hz)
– 1x DisplayPort* 1.2 via Type-C
– 1x Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps)/USB 3.1 Gen2 (10 Gbps) via USB Type C connector
– 2x front USB 3.0 (one for charging)
– 2x rear USB 3.0
– 3.5mm front headset jack,
– 3.5mm rear speaker/TOSLINK combo jack
– SDXC slot with UHS-I support
– IR receiver
SERVICEABLE RAM – No – soldered on!
Storage – difficult!
RAM and Storage are
both serviceable.
WEIGHT 2.7 pounds (1.22 kg) ~1.6 lb (~1 kg)
COST $1599.00 $992 (after discount)h
WARRANTY $99 for Apple Care 3 year limited warranty for
barebones NUC included.
Extra for RAM and Memory
with Amazon
a Not the absolute highest, one can get a 1TB SSD.
b For comparison’s sake, we are assuming the high end i7-4578U (dual-core) option.
c The Skull Canyon’s i7-6770HQ’s Iris Pro 580 far outperforms the Iris 5100 on the Mac Mini.
d Assuming, you order the MacMini with 16GB RAM. RAM is soldered on and cannot be changed later.
e The Skull Canyon can take up to 32GB RAM.
f We assume the 500 GB SSD (PCIe) option for comparison. Lesser options can be ordered.
gTechnically, SKULL CANYON offers a host of options from SSD to the faster NVMe, with the option of two drives (SSD or NVMe). However, we wanted to make a comparison of similar options.
hThis price may change with time, and the options you choose to install.

One can see that for far, far less money, the Skull Canyon can wipe the floor with the Mac Mini.

Some Strengths.

– The Skull Canyon has a quad-core processor.
– The Skull Canyon takes DDR4 RAM at a faster frequency.
– The Skull Canyon allows for two (2) SSD drives (SSD or NVMe).
– The Skull Canyon weighs less than the Mac Mini.
– The Skull Canyon is easily serviceable in RAM and Storage.
– The Skull Canyon has more connections that are more up-to-date.
– The Skull Canyon costs less and is still more powerful.

Some Drawbacks.

– You have to install RAM and Storage yourself … Fortunately, very easy.
– You will have to purchase the RAM and Storage separately.
– Reports of some fan & sound issues with the Skull Canyon.
– Reports of some heat issues with the Skull Canyon.
– The Skull Canyon has an external power brick.

Conclusions: This is a good replacement for a Mac Mini. Smaller, more powerful, and far cheaper. However, for the same price, you could get a larger PC which is better. One is paying for size.

In theory, the Skull Canyon can be max’d out to 32 GB of RAM with 2 separate 1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe storage drives, but why would anyone want to do that?

For a almost totally max’ed out pre-built and configured for you Skull Canyon with

– 32 GB RAM – SODIMM 2133MHz
– 512 GB NVMe Drive
– 1TB SSD Drive

If this seems like a lot, remember it has 2x the Max RAM of the High End 2014 MacMini, faster memory, more Storage, and a quad-core processor. And, this is only for about $70 more. You can build it yourself for less. I figured it at $1554–. However, if you want to go with Windows 10 Home Edition, instead of Pro, you can save another $70 more.

You can read User Reviews HERE.

Disclaimer: We strive to be as accurate as possible in our data. You are responsible to check yourself, before buying.