As if we needed further confirmation of the rapidly closing gap between the Mac mini and what is supposed to be Apple's top-of-the-line offering -- the Mac Pro -- it looks like the latest mini refresh has brought the pint-sized PC's performance nearly in line with the previous generation of Apple's tower. According to benchmark tests by Macminiloco, the brand new minis are rapidly approaching the standards set by the 2010 Mac Pro.
Apple gave the Pro an extremely modest update in June 2012, adding just a small processor and RAM upgrade. The current Mac Pro is still without features like Thunderbolt or even USB 3.0 support. Meanwhile, the Mac mini -- which starts at $599 -- now comes with 4GB of 1600MHz RAM standard (with the option of 16GB right from Apple), Thunderbolt, four USB 3.0 ports and an optional 2.6GHz quad-core i7 Ivy Bridge processor.
The Mac Pro should be getting a full update in 2013, but until then the much pricier Pro will remain a difficult value proposition for many would-be buyers.