2018 Mac Mini Questions

Tom80112

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 14, 2010
67
36
I am trying to decide which version of the 2018 Mini to buy.
Could someone help me with some questions?

1. Would the 3.6 ghz 4-Core feel more snappy than the 3.0ghz 6-core if I never
use more than 4 cores?

2. Is the SSD user upgradable? Apple wants $400 to upgrade to the 512GB SSD
on the 4-Core. Very high price.

3. If I got the 4-Core, could I just add a Crucial 16GB RAM SIMM for $145 to make
24GB or do I need to take out the Apple 8GB SIMM? Apple is more expensive for
less Ram. ($200 for 16GB total)

4. Is it fair to say the 4-Core will run quieter with less fan noise than the 6-core?
The last time Apple put a 4-Core in a mini it couldn't handle the heat and the fans
were always at full speed.

5. Which I-Mac model matches the 4-Core Mini in terms of CPU/GPU performance

6. Which I-Mac model matches the 3.0ghz 6-core in terms of CPU/GPU performance

You could spend $1700 bumping up a 2018 Mini out so I am trying to control the cost.
Right now I have a 2017 MacBook Pro Retina 15" with 16GB Ram and 512GB SSD
so I would like to match the Ram and SSD in the Mini then sell the MacBook Pro.

Thanks..
 

Glmnet1

macrumors 6502a
Oct 21, 2017
953
1,054
I am trying to decide which version of the 2018 Mini to buy.
Could someone help me with some questions?

1. Would the 3.6 ghz 4-Core feel more snappy than the 3.0ghz 6-core if I never
use more than 4 cores?

2. Is the SSD user upgradable? Apple wants $400 to upgrade to the 512GB SSD
on the 4-Core. Very high price.

3. If I got the 4-Core, could I just add a Crucial 16GB RAM SIMM for $145 to make
24GB or do I need to take out the Apple 8GB SIMM? Apple is more expensive for
less Ram. ($200 for 16GB total)

4. Is it fair to say the 4-Core will run quieter with less fan noise than the 6-core?
The last time Apple put a 4-Core in a mini it couldn't handle the heat and the fans
were always at full speed.

5. Which I-Mac model matches the 4-Core Mini in terms of CPU/GPU performance

6. Which I-Mac model matches the 3.0ghz 6-core in terms of CPU/GPU performance

You could spend $1700 bumping up a 2018 Mini out so I am trying to control the cost.
Right now I have a 2017 MacBook Pro Retina 15" with 16GB Ram and 512GB SSD
so I would like to match the Ram and SSD in the Mini then sell the MacBook Pro.

Thanks..
Why don't you simply plug your MBP in an external monitor and peripherals?
 

SpacemanSpiffed

macrumors regular
Mar 27, 2013
183
265
Pacific NW
I am trying to decide which version of the 2018 Mini to buy.
Could someone help me with some questions?

1. Would the 3.6 ghz 4-Core feel more snappy than the 3.0ghz 6-core if I never
use more than 4 cores?
No, They will be about the same at worst, due to the i5's 3.9GHZ all core turbo and larger cache.

2. Is the SSD user upgradable? Apple wants $400 to upgrade to the 512GB SSD on the 4-Core. Very high price.
We are waiting to see a teardown and analysis. Even if it turns out to be a regular NVMe M.2 drive, the T2 chip and it's security/encryption could be a problem. Look for OWC to provide an answer if there is one.

3. If I got the 4-Core, could I just add a Crucial 16GB RAM SIMM for $145 to make 24GB or do I need to take out the Apple 8GB SIMM? Apple is more expensive for less Ram. ($200 for 16GB total)
There are only 2 SO-DIMM slots. Yes, you could add mis-matched sizes, but you might lose a small bit of perf. Wait for someone to report their findings.

4. Is it fair to say the 4-Core will run quieter with less fan noise than the 6-core? The last time Apple put a 4-Core in a mini it couldn't handle the heat and the fans were always at full speed.
No. Again, we need to wait and see actual results. Apple removed the interior space used by the 2.5 drives and made the cooling fan setup much larger. There is no evidence that that i5/i7 will run hotter than the i3, given that they can throttle the turbo, thus no evidence the noise profile will differ.

5. Which I-Mac model matches the 4-Core Mini in terms of CPU/GPU performance
The 3.4Ghz i5 is closest, but not a perfect match for CPU. the iMac has Iris Pro (lowest model) or Radeon Pro discrete GPU - the Mini GPU lags behind all of those.

6. Which I-Mac model matches the 3.0ghz 6-core in terms of CPU/GPU performance
the BTO i7 models are closest CPU wise, but not an exact comparison. It all depends on what you are doing. GPU is same as previous question.
 
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Mal67

macrumors 6502a
Apr 2, 2006
518
35
West Oz
Thinking about question three is the memory in these new minis upgradeable by the owner at any point in the future and not locked in with solder?
 

Tom80112

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 14, 2010
67
36
Thanks SpacemanSpiffed!
You gave the best info my far!

SpacemanSpiffed, could you clarify a few things you mentioned? IE:

If I am understanding you correctly that a single 3.0ghz core from the 6-Core I5 CPU will always feel as fast or faster than a 3.6ghz core from the 4-core I3 CPU due to turbo mode and cache ?

Why would the GPU performance of the Mac Mini 4-core I3 or 6-core I5 chip be worse than Iris? Iris and 630 are both integrated into the CPU right? And 630 is a newer design right? (I do get that the Radeon Pro discrete option on the Imac would beat either the Iris or 630 IGPs)

My 2017 MacBook Pro has "Radeon Pro 555 2048MB", is that a lot faster for graphics than the 630?

I would prefer a Mini with 24" monitor over the IMAC's because 27" seems too big and 22" seems too small. 24" is the perfect size for me. So my questions about IMAC comparisons were just so I can get a sense of if the I5 Mini would feel much faster than the I3 Mini. I'm sure either will feel faster than my 2017 2.8ghz MacBook Pro.

I will be using it for web surfing, MAME emulated games from the 70s and 80s, microsoft office, and opening many of bash terminals to ssh into all the Linux boxes I manage for my employer when I work from home.

Thanks for helping me..
[doublepost=1541121501][/doublepost]
Why don't you simply plug your MBP in an external monitor and peripherals?
I've been doing that and it's awkward at my desk. The 15" laptop takes a lot of space and I hate the USB-C to USB dongle that feeds a USB hub to plug in all my USB devices. Lot's of wires and it's awkward on my desk. I want a nice small Mini.
 

halcyon12

macrumors newbie
Nov 1, 2018
12
2
I have a couple of questions about the new Mac mini too. Hopefully it's okay to add them here:

1) I currently have a 2007 Mac mini, and am using USB 2.0 for several devices. Would the new Mac mini still be compatible with USB 2.0?

2) Is it likely that the price on the new Mac mini will go down at all if I wait a few months—or longer?

Thanks for any info.
 

Tom80112

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 14, 2010
67
36
I have a couple of questions about the new Mac mini too. Hopefully it's okay to add them here:

1) I currently have a 2007 Mac mini, and am using USB 2.0 for several devices. Would the new Mac mini still be compatible with USB 2.0?

2) Is it likely that the price on the new Mac mini will go down at all if I wait a few months—or longer?

Thanks for any info.
Answer 1: 2018 had two USB 3.0 ports that you can plug USB 2.0 devices into
Answer 2: Nope. Apple only marks down models when a newer model comes out to replace it.
 
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halcyon12

macrumors newbie
Nov 1, 2018
12
2
Thanks for the info, Tom. My current keyboard has a couple of USB 2.0 ports as well. Could I still keep the same keyboard with the new Mac mini?
 

Tom80112

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 14, 2010
67
36
Thanks for the info, Tom. My current keyboard has a couple of USB 2.0 ports as well. Could I still keep the same keyboard with the new Mac mini?
Yep, and USB 2.0 will work when plugged into a USB 3.0 port. The 2018 Mini has 2.
 
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kevink2

macrumors 65816
Nov 2, 2008
1,406
133
I'm planning to use my old Mac USB keyboard and mouse with my new computer. Shouldn't be any issues. Plugging it into 1 of the USB 3 ports. I can plug USB2 devices into the keyboard if needed.

From what I've read, the turbo speeds generally only kick in when there are only 1 or 2 cores in use, since heavier usage slows down the CPU to keep the overall heat budget low enough. So I don't know that you can say the i5 will be faster in ALL cases than the i3. There may be special cases where the i3 is faster. In other cases, there may be speed improvements in the i5 that aren't really noticeable. Benchmarks are hard. Are applications memory limited? CPU limited? Cache limited?

For the same money, and system load, an i3 with 16GB of RAM can be faster than an i5 with 8GB. Even if paging to the fast SSD, it is still a high overhead operation.

And since dual channel memory is faster than 1 channel, I would suspect (I haven't seen anything authoritative on it) that the 8GB model may be 2 4GB DIMMS. So buying a 16GB DIMM would only take you to 20GB.

I myself went with the middle option on the CPU. I can see where the i7 would be nicer and faster. But if I bumped up the CPU, then I would have wanted to bump up the RAM to keep it balanced.

For your usage, for a given price, maybe just go with the i3, 16GB of RAM, and it should work fine. It should be comparable in speed to my 2015 MacBook Pro (i5) with 16GB of RAM. And this works fine for me.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,134
6,567
OP wrote:
"I would prefer a Mini with 24" monitor over the IMAC's because 27" seems too big and 22" seems too small."

I've said this before and I'll say it again:
No one who buys a 27" iMac will EVER say, "I wish I'd bought a smaller display...."

Regarding the 2018 Mini SSD:
I could be proven wrong, but I believe it's soldered to the motherboard and IS NOT upgradeable nor even "replaceable". Buy the amount of storage you'll need, because that's all it will ever have. Having said that, I -DO NOT- think it's worth it to spend Apple's exorbitant prices on a 1tb or 2tb internal SSD. I'd get external USB3 SSD's instead.

For your usage, the i3 may be "all you need", but best to wait for real-world benchmarks before spending your money.

Speaking only for myself, I'd buy the best i5 CPU I could get and let it go at that.

Someone else asked about keyboards.
I see no reason why you can't continue to use your older, favorite keyboards and mice with the new Mini....
 

archer75

macrumors 68030
Jan 26, 2005
2,850
1,401
Oregon
If both the cpu and ssd are soldered, Apple would need to stock 15 motherboards to supply all their options. They are more likely using a new connector.
Not a big deal for them to do that. I guarantee you the CPU will be soldered on. Storage could go either way. But the T2 chip may block you from swapping out either.
 

SkiHound2

macrumors regular
Jul 15, 2018
190
121
I am trying to decide which version of the 2018 Mini to buy.
Could someone help me with some questions?

1. Would the 3.6 ghz 4-Core feel more snappy than the 3.0ghz 6-core if I never
use more than 4 cores?

4-core i3 is a big bump from earlier generation i3 chips. The i5 has a higher turbo boost speed. For most every day applications (web browsing, mail, running office applications, playing music, watching videos, etc. I doubt there is a perceptible difference.

2. Is the SSD user upgradable? Apple wants $400 to upgrade to the 512GB SSD
on the 4-Core. Very high price.

To be determined for certain. I'd be stunned if it's user upgradeable. Even more stunned if user upgradeable without voiding the warranty. Apple prices for SSD upgrades are absurd. And as others have suggested, even if it's physically upgradeable it may not play nice with the T2 chip.

3. If I got the 4-Core, could I just add a Crucial 16GB RAM SIMM for $145 to make
24GB or do I need to take out the Apple 8GB SIMM? Apple is more expensive for
less Ram. ($200 for 16GB total)

The 8gb configuration from Apple is almost certainly 2 4gb sticks. Apple sort of hinted that memory was upgradeable in their presentation, but did not explicitly say it was. OWC is already selling memory, so they seem to believe it's user upgradeable. Some folks who have talked to people at Apple say that the people they spoke with say the memory is not user upgradeable. This too has not been definitively answered to my satisfaction. I think it probably is user upgradeable, but... It's also possible that user upgrades might not play nice with the T2. Apple has been trying to make it impossible for anyone other than Apple certified techs to work on their products.

4. Is it fair to say the 4-Core will run quieter with less fan noise than the 6-core?
The last time Apple put a 4-Core in a mini it couldn't handle the heat and the fans
were always at full speed.

Again, it's yet to be determined how well the new cooling system in the mini works. And here I'm just guessing since I don't know any of the technical aspects regarding the operating temperatures of the two cpus. My guess is there probably is little difference here. The i3 has a higher base clock speed but doesn't turbo. If the i5 is being pushed hard it will almost certainly generate more heat. But for most uses I doubt there will be much difference. Haven't heard any comments from any source regarding fan noise.

5. Which I-Mac model matches the 4-Core Mini in terms of CPU/GPU performance

Any of the lower end i4-core i5s are probably the closest match.

6. Which I-Mac model matches the 3.0ghz 6-core in terms of CPU/GPU performance.

Benchmarks would have the 6-core i5 being faster at most tasks, especially those that make use of the additional cores, than any of the 7th generation i5s in the 2017 iMacs. The i5 in the mini is pretty powerful. The 8th generation cpus are a step up. Looking at benchmark comparisons, the i7 in the 21.5" iMac is perhaps the closest overall match. It would depend on the kinds of tasks. And benchmarks don't necessarily translate directly into real world uses. But the i5 in the current mini is a strong performer. I think worth the upgrade over the i3 for most. I also think it gives the mini a bit more future proofing if you're planning to keep it a while.

You could spend $1700 bumping up a 2018 Mini out so I am trying to control the cost.
Right now I have a 2017 MacBook Pro Retina 15" with 16GB Ram and 512GB SSD
so I would like to match the Ram and SSD in the Mini then sell the MacBook Pro.

The i5 mini with 512gb ssd and 16gb ram is $1,499. Seems like a pretty darn competent little box. If the ram really is user upgradeable, you could save a bit upgrading yourself, but you'll almost certainly need two 8gb sticks so you don't save too much versus configuring it with 16gb from Apple. It's going to 32gb that Apple's upgrade prices get completely out of line with the market.

Thanks..
 

Stephen.R

macrumors 68020
Nov 2, 2018
2,287
2,657
Thailand
If both the cpu and ssd are soldered, Apple would need to stock 15 motherboards to supply all their options. They are more likely using a new connector.
Only the configurations listed (i.e. no changes made) would be 'stocked', as in, ready to ship right away, or in stores ready to pick up.

Any variation means it's BTO, and you wait for the customised one to ship.

As Fishrrman said - upgrading to the huge internal SSD is not cost effective for the vast majority of people, and with TB3/USB-C (and even USB 3.0) it's not really neccessary. Get enough for basic storage (i.e. I aim for os/apps + home folder, but use externals for larger stuff (iTunes ~3.8T, work ~100G, etc)

Even though memory is upgradable afterwards, I intend (once they're available for order here) to max it out from the get-go. 8GB isn't enough for what I need, and 32GB SO-DIMMs are hard as hell to find - I can't finds anyhere so far. Anything else (an intermediate upgrade from Apple and then aftermarket max-out) is just not worth it because I end up with SO-DIMMs I can't use, and those 'trade in' programs aren't cost effective when international shipping is involved.
 

tedson

macrumors regular
Jul 17, 2002
223
163
2) Is it likely that the price on the new Mac mini will go down at all if I wait a few months—or longer?
Third parties will sometimes knock $50-$100 of the MSRP but don't expect that for awhile. Also Apple will have refurb units probably 6 to 8 months down the road. That will save you a few bucks. Make sure you buy from an an Apple Authorized retailer.
 

SpacemanSpiffed

macrumors regular
Mar 27, 2013
183
265
Pacific NW
SpacemanSpiffed, could you clarify a few things you mentioned? IE:

If I am understanding you correctly that a single 3.0ghz core from the 6-Core I5 CPU will always feel as fast or faster than a 3.6ghz core from the 4-core I3 CPU due to turbo mode and cache ?
It's genuinely hard to to tell a +/- 10% CPU speed difference on a modern Mac or PC. Back in the old days of single CPU machines, you could tell in terms of frame rate or responsiveness, but modern OSs with their multi-threading and multiple core machines changed that. CPUs that turbo up and down further blurred the results.

Instead what you need are "Big Tasks" that are computationally intensive, like compiling a large program or compressing GBs of data, and you need to be doing them often enough to feel the impact. OR you need to be playing games, where frame rates matter, but that usually comes down a combo both CPU, GPU and resolution... OR you need a lot of programs running at the same time, where memory and disk I/O also comes into play...

Why would the GPU performance of the Mac Mini 4-core I3 or 6-core I5 chip be worse than Iris? Iris and 630 are both integrated into the CPU right? And 630 is a newer design right? (I do get that the Radeon Pro discrete option on the Imac would beat either the Iris or 630 IGPs)

My 2017 MacBook Pro has "Radeon Pro 555 2048MB", is that a lot faster for graphics than the 630?
It's because the Mini now has a 'desktop' CPU, and Intel doesn't put their best iGPUs in their 'Desktop' chips, under the assumption that if you want or need better than 'ok' GPU perf, you are going to add a dedicated video card. In laptops you (usually) can't, so they offer better options in the form of more EU (GPU cores) and dedicated EDRAM, and they call these better parts "Iris"

That said, the UHD 630 GPU is likely 'Good Enough' for everything you are going to do. MAME doesn't need powerful GPUs like most modern games - I have a stand alone arcade cabinet with the PC equivalent of a 2009 mini (nVidia Ion GPU) running MAME and it works fine.

The good news is that last couple generations of Intel iGPUs have gotten all the issues with video worked out - accelerated playback for H.264/5, correct 23.9xxx FPS for movies, etc

I would prefer a Mini with 24" monitor over the IMAC's because 27" seems too big and 22" seems too small. 24" is the perfect size for me. So my questions about IMAC comparisons were just so I can get a sense of if the I5 Mini would feel much faster than the I3 Mini. I'm sure either will feel faster than my 2017 2.8ghz MacBook Pro.

I will be using it for web surfing, MAME emulated games from the 70s and 80s, microsoft office, and opening many of bash terminals to ssh into all the Linux boxes I manage for my employer when I work from home.

Thanks for helping me..
I'd recommend something like the AOC Q2577PWQ - 25" IPS Monitor with 2560x1440 resolution and built-in speakers. Small enough for your desk, but the extra resolution is really nice, and minimal clutter with audio over HDMI.
 

halcyon12

macrumors newbie
Nov 1, 2018
12
2
Third parties will sometimes knock $50-$100 of the MSRP but don't expect that for awhile. Also Apple will have refurb units probably 6 to 8 months down the road. That will save you a few bucks. Make sure you buy from an an Apple Authorized retailer.
Thanks, tedson—good to know about this. I may wait a bit longer then to get a new one, since I've gone nearly 11 years with my old Mac mini anyway. It's a bit slow sometimes when surfing the Web, but otherwise still does its job. ;)
 

kazmac

macrumors G3
Mar 24, 2010
8,640
6,577
Any place but here or there....
I am still wondering if the iGPU in the new Mini can handle running Pixelmator, Affinity software while videos are converting, and/or playing. None of these videos are 4K, some are just PAL to NTSC conversions.

As far as a display, hoping to use my 2013 iMac in Target Display Mode. I’ve been told by some great folks here the Mini’s iGPU will not perform as well as the dedicated GPU in my iMac.

I do not want to buy an eGPU.

I know we will have to wait on real world tests (and I have plenty of time to think on this), but these Intel iGPUs always throw me for a loop.

Any advice would be appreciated. Not a Pro, a student who dabbles as a hobby.

Thanks everyone!
 
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