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Late 2018 Mac Mini


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Late 2018 Mac Mini
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PB PM
Sneaky Punk
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Vancouver, BC
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2019-01-05, 16:42

Thought I'd put together a separate post for the 2018 Mac Mini, since I know a few people were showing interest in this machine. Comments here are based on the mid-range 3.0Ghz Core i5 model with BTO, 512GB SSD and 16GB RAM, and Gbit Ethernet, that I purchased ($1,879.00 Cdn, before 12% GST+PST and environmental fees = $2107Cdn). For my use this seemed like a good combination of CPU power, storage and RAM, which I can upgrade later. We already have keyboards, mice, 1440p monitors etc, so an iMac just doesn't make sense. I wish Apple would offer a dedicated or hybrid GPU like the Macbook Pro though. Didn't opt for Applecare, haven't needed it for a desktop for a long time.

Impressions are based on use against my most recent machines; 2012 Mac Mini, 2.5Ghz Core i5 (dual core) 256GB Samsung 850 Pro /1TB WD Blue SSD with 8GB of RAM, and 2011 iMac (retired former work machine, specter and meltdown patches killed this machine for work, way too slow)2.7Ghz Core i5, 16GB RAM , 480GB Sandisk SSD + 1TB WD Black HDD, and finally a 2016 self built custom Windows 10 PC, 6600k 3.5Ghz Core i5 (overclocked and water cooled), 32GB RAM, EVGA GTX 1080 FTW2, 256GB Samsung EVO, 500GB Samsung EVOx2 and 3x3TB HDD.

Vs the windows tower, it's not really comparable, since the machines are used for different activities (PC used for video editing in Resolve, Photo editing in LR/PS and some gaming), it's not really a contest, thanks mostly to the dedicated GPU. In terms of raw CPU power the Mac Mini has more compute power thanks to the two extra cores, but I haven't put it to the test just yet. I suspect thermal throttling and the weak Intel IGP will hold the Mini back compared to the tower PC. Still worth having both, since I still want to have a real Mac around, rather than a hack one.

The new Mini is faster than both the 2012 Mac Mini and 2011 iMac. In terms of boot time the two Minis are about the same though, even with it being a SATA SSD vs PCI-E SSD. The 2011 iMac is slower than both in boot times. Program launches, particularly larger ones, is where the 2018 Mini shines, and having double the RAM helps a lot. Not really a big deal since the Mini will mostly be used for media and editing work training videos (iMovie level stuff) for new employees that are come on this year. Might even classify it as overkill, but it should last a long time for these tasks, which the 2012 Mac Mini couldn't really handle anymore (the video editing).

I don't have any USB-C gear and only TB Gen.1 stuff, so I am not able to test USB-C or TB3 aspects at this time. I will post more once I've had time to do some work with the new machine.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2019-01-06, 16:37

I'm glad you posted something. I'm still contemplating getting one of these for myself. It would seem to be a real step down from my current hackintosh that's running an i7 and 32GB of RAM but it wouldn't have the glitches I deal with on a regular basis either.

The fact that I can buy aftermarket RAM is a big deal for me. I would want to get the larger CPU on it too since I know me and I'd kill it. Really, I need a Mac Pro, but not a trashcan model. I need a real Mac Pro.

sigh

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PB PM
Sneaky Punk
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Vancouver, BC
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2019-01-06, 18:27

Yes, in an ideal world a compact micro ATX sized tower Mac with consumer i3/i5/i7/i9 chips would be my ideal as well, then I could just dual boot for when I need windows or Mac OS, but sadly this does not, and likely won’t exist ever. Legacy of the G4 era is long behind us, and the G5 and Mac Pro sysytems were never ideal price wise for semi-pro workloads. The iMac Pro is supposed to fill the void, but lacks any meaningful internal upgrades and is wildly overpriced. Even these Minis are hard to justify, I could have built a far more powerful PC for the same price, I even have a spare GTX 1070 lying around to put in another machine, but then again it wouldn’t fit where this machine will be used and I honestly prefer using Apple’s video editing software.

I need to shoot some test videos this week and put the new Mini to work, will update more then

Last edited by PB PM : 2019-01-06 at 19:18.
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PB PM
Sneaky Punk
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Vancouver, BC
Send a message via Skype™ to PB PM 
2019-01-08, 14:17

Just finished rendering the same test video on the late 2012 Mac Mini and the 2018 Mac Mini and the difference was larger than I thought it would be. The test video was 3m and 55 seconds, 1080P 60FPS, recorded at 20mbit/s and the original file was 1.09GB. I corrected white balance, added saturation, made some audio adjustments, added some transitions and that was all.

The files were all edited in the current version of iMovie, both running Mac OS 10.14.2.

Late 2012 Mac Mini = 13m 17s
Late 2018 Mac Mini = 6m 7s

Some additional notes:
The 2018 Mac Mini only seemed to be using 5 of the six cores, none of which appeared to be fully loaded, while rendering the video, leading me to believe that iMovie is taking advantage of Intel Quick Sync technology, that puts a good deal of the load onto the IGP. This must be done to save power, or heat buildup, otherwise it's an odd choice. The app quickly sucked up all 16GB of RAM, as expected. The temperatures remained stable at around 50ºC on the CPU core, but not sure how accurate that is, since the monitoring software I use has not been updated since before the new Mini was release. The 2012 Mini was using both cores, and took full advantage of hyper-threading that the older dual core i5s had.

I did not test the video on my desktop PC, since I cannot use the same software, which would skew the results. No testing on the old iMac either, since a) I gave it to a family member, b) cannot run the same OS. based on previous experience it would have been in the same ballpark as the 2018 Mac Mini though, liking coming in around 7-8 minutes.

Last edited by PB PM : 2019-01-08 at 16:06.
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