2018 i3 good enough to replace my 2014 i5?

dmk1974

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Original poster
Sep 16, 2008
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I currently have a 2014 Mac Mini i5 2.6/8gb that I mainly use as my family server machine, but also use a fair amount for browsing and MS Office apps. I have a 240gb SSD inside for apps (only use about 55-60gb space) and an external USB 3.0 2TB drive that houses all of my family media.

I was thinking of passing the 2014 Mac Mini to my daughter (should be good enough for her) and getting myself the 2018 Mac Mini. Trying to keep cost down, I'm looking at the base i3/8gb/128gb model since I'll be attaching that external drive to it anyway.

I looked at the i5/256gb model, but for for an extra $300, I'm just not seeing the value for my use. Of course I like more speed, but from the benchmarks I've seen, the i3 seems a ton faster than my 2014 anyway. And the increase from 128gb to 256gb internal SSD is always good, I definitely don't need it since I have the external drive for media.

Anyway, for those that have the i3 and depending on your use, have you been happy with it and will it be a noticeable improvement for me coming from my 2014 Mac Mini? Thanks!
 

mcnallym

macrumors 6502a
Oct 28, 2008
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The 2018 i3 will still be a big improvement over your 2014.

With external data drive the 128gb ssd really not a problem.

More then happy with mine, which use as dvr system and iTunes server with external drobo 5c for data storage. Great box for what I use it for
 

WilliamG

macrumors G3
Mar 29, 2008
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If you’re running a Plex server - the speed difference for this use case is actually pretty disappointing, coming from a 2014 2.6/8GB as I did.

Combination of reasons, some Apple’s fault and some Plex’s. Either way, my 2018 i5 (right, not even the slower i3) isn’t even twice as fast transcoding media as the 2014 mini. It’s not even twice as fast as my 2012 i5.

Maybe in the future when the power of the T2 chip can be harnessed. But for now, I’m definitely disappointed at transcoding speeds.
 

brentsg

macrumors 68040
Oct 15, 2008
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If you’re running a Plex server - the speed difference for this use case is actually pretty disappointing, coming from a 2014 2.6/8GB as I did.

Combination of reasons, some Apple’s fault and some Plex’s. Either way, my 2018 i5 (right, not even the slower i3) isn’t even twice as fast transcoding media as the 2014 mini. It’s not even twice as fast as my 2012 i5.

Maybe in the future when the power of the T2 chip can be harnessed. But for now, I’m definitely disappointed at transcoding speeds.
People should be using Windows for Plex servers anyways. As-is, OSX can't make use of the iGPU's hardware transcoding.. let alone the T2.
 

F-Train

macrumors 65816
Apr 22, 2015
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People should be using Windows for Plex servers anyways. As-is, OSX can't make use of the iGPU's hardware transcoding.. let alone the T2.
Which app are you talking about? The new 64-bit version of Compressor is lightning fast, and appears to use only the CPU. We’ll see whether future updates incorporate use of a GPU, internal or external.
 

WilliamG

macrumors G3
Mar 29, 2008
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People should be using Windows for Plex servers anyways. As-is, OSX can't make use of the iGPU's hardware transcoding.. let alone the T2.
I don’t want to use Windows because I have a lot of hardware tied into the SoftRAID software, I don’t like Windows all that much, and if I’m *not* transcoding (which is often), then there’s no difference when direct-playing.
 

dmk1974

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Original poster
Sep 16, 2008
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Interesting regarding Plex. I do run Plex server on my current 2014 Mac Mini and for me I haven't had any issues. Assume it will run at least as well on even the base 2018 model since the i3 processor is actually better (per benchmarks).
 

brentsg

macrumors 68040
Oct 15, 2008
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I don’t want to use Windows because I have a lot of hardware tied into the SoftRAID software, I don’t like Windows all that much, and if I’m *not* transcoding (which is often), then there’s no difference when direct-playing.
I certainly understand that a lot of people don't like Windows, or have other reasons like yours. Just stating that Windows is technically objectively better for a Plex server because some people are not aware. Hopefully this will change at some point.

You are correct that if you can avoid transcoding then it's moot. I started to care more when dealing with UHD content.
 

WilliamG

macrumors G3
Mar 29, 2008
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Seattle
I certainly understand that a lot of people don't like Windows, or have other reasons like yours. Just stating that Windows is technically objectively better for a Plex server because some people are not aware. Hopefully this will change at some point.

You are correct that if you can avoid transcoding then it's moot. I started to care more when dealing with UHD content.
I deal with a lot of UHDs. Direct Play is just fine, thankfully.
 

mcnallym

macrumors 6502a
Oct 28, 2008
713
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Macxdvd uses quicksync on the iGPU form encoding to h.264 and h.265 on OS X so not sure why others cannot.

Handbrake mac devs apparently don’t own suitable mac’s so handbrake doesn’t use quicksync on Mac.

Not sure why DVDFab haven’t got it working yet. Only on windows.
 

open0

macrumors member
Dec 29, 2018
40
14
Core i3 2018 much better than your old mini 2014: core i3 gen 8th equals to core i5 gen 7th, DDR-4 RAM much faster than DDR3, .... Core i3 2018 Mac mini supports 4K and 5K monitors :D
 
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dmk1974

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Sep 16, 2008
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Anyone run BlackMagic benchmark on the 128gb SSD drive to see the read/write rates? Thanks!
 

dmk1974

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Original poster
Sep 16, 2008
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i3 base model

650 write
2551 read

I decided (Monday) to return the base, and opted for the i7 256gb with 16 GB RAM. Should be here at the end of the week
Thank you! Should be good for my use (much faster than the PNY SSD that is in my current 2014).

I actually picked up the 2018 i3 at my local Best Buy at lunch (had them PM MicroCenter plus had $50 in BB reward). Should be able to start the transfer from my 2014 tonight or tomorrow.

I usually just use my TM backup to an external drive to backup and restore. Never had any issues. Is that still the preferred method or to use Migration Assistant? Or does it really not matter much?
 

BasicGreatGuy

Contributor
Sep 21, 2012
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In the middle of several books.
Thank you! Should be good for my use (much faster than the PNY SSD that is in my current 2014).

I actually picked up the 2018 i3 at my local Best Buy at lunch (had them PM MicroCenter plus had $50 in BB reward). Should be able to start the transfer from my 2014 tonight or tomorrow.

I usually just use my TM backup to an external drive to backup and restore. Never had any issues. Is that still the preferred method or to use Migration Assistant? Or does it really not matter much?
If you use TimeMachine to restore with the new mini, make sure to turn off the security boot feature first. Otherwise it won't work and you could end up bricking your mini. CCC won't even work to a external clone without the secure boot feature turned off.

http://kb.mit.edu/confluence/display/istcontrib/Imaging+2018+Macbooks+with+the+T2+chip

Here is a link to some benchmarks with the mini

http://barefeats.com/mac-mini-2018-versus-other-macs.html

Congrats on the new mini.
 

dmk1974

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Sep 16, 2008
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Migration went fine and so far so good! Noticeably faster than the 2014. Only strange app openings are when I launch Excel and PowerPoint they stall a bit when opening up for the first time after a reboot (Word seems fine though).
 

dmk1974

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Sep 16, 2008
2,163
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After almost a week, most programs seems snappier on this 2018 i3 vs my old 2014 i5. However, while the setting and everything are the same, same drives plugged in, same location on my desk, I am getting a lot of stalls and buffering while using Plex.

The Apple TV I watch from is Ethernet wired and the Mac Mini is wireless with a great signal (same as the 2014 was). I never had any buffering issues with the old Mini and it had the same exact USB 3.0 drive attached that was pulling the videos from. I know Ethernet to the Mini would be preferred, but would be a real pain to run that and never had the issue for a couple years before.

While the 2018 benchmarks faster, is this due to something else with this newer machine vs the 2014? Thanks!