ANIMAIONIC turns your Mac Mini into a Workstation

Would you buy this for your Mac mini 8,1?


  • Total voters
    48

ActionableMango

macrumors G3
Sep 21, 2010
9,511
6,701
In the spirit of the season, I'd like to say that we are all Mac Mini fans here and I hope this Kickstarter succeeds.

Who knows. A success with this particular model could one day lead to additional models with other configurations.
 
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konqerror

macrumors 68000
Dec 31, 2013
1,517
2,498
That's an excellent point, thanks. I will also add the following to it:

Dell workstations: drive bays
Precision 3431 SFF: 1x M.2 1x 3.5 inch

HP workstations: drive bays
HP Z2 Mini G4: 1x M.2 1x 2.5 inch

Lenovo workstations: drive bays
ThinkStation P330 Tiny: 2x M.2 Only

How extraordinarily fortunate for me that the three largest computer makers in the world and the largest retailer in the world, all cater to this weird, niche use case of mine.
Assumptions disproven.

Or you go one step up to the Lenovo P520 and you get 12 drives over 9x M.2, 6x 3.5 inch or 10x 2.5 inch. Hardly 2 drive bays.
 
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ActionableMango

macrumors G3
Sep 21, 2010
9,511
6,701
Precision 3431 SFF: 1x M.2 1x 3.5 inch
HP Z2 Mini G4: 1x M.2 1x 2.5 inch
ThinkStation P330 Tiny: 2x M.2 Only

Assumptions disproven.
It isn't an assumption. Dell, HP, and Lenovo make workstations with drive bays. You even helpfully listed one of them for me.
 
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konqerror

macrumors 68000
Dec 31, 2013
1,517
2,498
It isn't an assumption. Dell, HP, and Lenovo make workstations with drive bays. You even helpfully listed one of them for me.
I think you forgot your original point by now.

None of them have 2 storage drive bays like you want. Two vendors have no drives, or you're stuck with one slow laptop drive. Keep in mind the native Mac mini already has its own drive.
 

konqerror

macrumors 68000
Dec 31, 2013
1,517
2,498
They all make workstations with two or more drive bays. This isn't disproved by listing models that don't.
That's not what I said. I said they either make them with one boot drive, or they are made for arrays of 4+ drives.

Repeating what I've been saying multiple times, the 2-3 3.5 inch internal drive configuration has been taken over by USB 3 external drives.

Even the mass market desktops, like the Optiplex and Thinkstation only support a single drive in the largest form factors, with M.2 being the primary configuration. OEMs like that too because they ship the same stuff as the laptops. As I showed, in the small form factors they're going flash-only.
 

ActionableMango

macrumors G3
Sep 21, 2010
9,511
6,701
Repeating what I've been saying multiple times, the 2-3 3.5 inch internal drive configuration has been taken over by USB 3 external drives.
Fair enough. I agree with you that the scenario is the most common one. It is acceptable to most people to have two or three external enclosures and the rat's nest of enclosures, AC/DC bricks, connection cables, and power cables. I've seen it many times and you are absolutely right.

FWIW, I clarified in my second post that I wanted "one or two" not "two to three". I also said "SSD+HDD". One bay would work just fine for that scenario because the SSD can go in the M.2 slot. So I believe I fit within your stated not-niche parameters.

To bring this back on topic, the Animaionic appeals to me specifically because it's an external enclosure which avoids the rat's nest. There are already external enclosures for PCie slots, M.2 storage, and 3.5" storage. What makes this one stand out to me is that it is an external enclosure mimicking a clean desktop with minimal clutter.

I hope it is successful enough to go into production and I hope it leads to models with other options that might suit me better.
 

Ploki

macrumors 601
Jan 21, 2008
4,089
1,352
Fair enough. I agree with you that the scenario is the most common one. It is acceptable to most people to have two or three external enclosures and the rat's nest of enclosures, AC/DC bricks, connection cables, and power cables. I've seen it many times and you are absolutely right.

FWIW, I clarified in my second post that I wanted "one or two" not "two to three". I also said "SSD+HDD". One bay would work just fine for that scenario because the SSD can go in the M.2 slot. So I believe I fit within your stated not-niche parameters.

To bring this back on topic, the Animaionic appeals to me specifically because it's an external enclosure which avoids the rat's nest. There are already external enclosures for PCie slots, M.2 storage, and 3.5" storage. What makes this one stand out to me is that it is an external enclosure mimicking a clean desktop with minimal clutter.

I hope it is successful enough to go into production and I hope it leads to models with other options that might suit me better.
yeah the rats nest needs some very clever cable-management to look professional i'll give you that.

i'm not there yet, AT ALL.
 

Krevnik

macrumors 68040
Sep 8, 2003
3,388
718
To bring this back on topic, the Animaionic appeals to me specifically because it's an external enclosure which avoids the rat's nest. There are already external enclosures for PCie slots, M.2 storage, and 3.5" storage. What makes this one stand out to me is that it is an external enclosure mimicking a clean desktop with minimal clutter.
The thing is, I agree with this sentiment. What you're running into is that there is a niche for stuff like this, but none of us really have the same needs. The folks behind this want dual GPUs + SSDs. You want something that brings bulk HDD storage. I want I/O + GPU.

This thing's biggest problem is that it is designed for their specific use case, rather than something meant to be flexible for multiple use cases.
 

Xenobius

macrumors newbie
Dec 10, 2019
14
4
It has two PCIE slots so it look quite flexible. I think the problem is they advertised Animaionic as two graphic cards computer. You don't have to install GPUs. You can install anything. I don't mean HDDs - it would be weird in such a small enclosure but Ethernet, SATA, NVME or other I/O cards? Why not?
 

Krevnik

macrumors 68040
Sep 8, 2003
3,388
718
It has two PCIE slots so it look quite flexible. I think the problem is they advertised Animaionic as two graphic cards computer. You don't have to install GPUs. You can install anything. I don't mean HDDs - it would be weird in such a small enclosure but Ethernet, SATA, NVME or other I/O cards? Why not?
It's wired up to effectively waste space/throughput to favor GPUs. You only get 2 slots, so I can't do GPU + 10GbE + USB 3.2/eSATA or the like.

I've made posts in this thread before on how they could tweak the slot layout a little to be more I/O friendly without sacrificing the dual-GPU scenario.
 

Synchro3

macrumors 68000
Jan 12, 2014
1,975
829
Integrate optical S/PDIF, organise ventilation for the M.2-SSD's, only one internal PCI-E slot, and 2 x internal SATA (2.5').

Then I'm in.
 
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adam9c1

macrumors 68000
May 2, 2012
1,766
281
Chicagoland
Got burned by Kickstarter campaigns too many times.


USBeast - battery adapter to charge usb devices: worked but something inside was loose and I did not trust it.

SALT card which I think was to sign in to a computer via proximity and sign out. Arrived DOA.

The nail in the coffin was the ZAPS or ZAP magnetic charge cable for iOS devices. Never received a product.
 

ruka.snow

macrumors regular
Jun 6, 2017
212
493
Cool looking toilet. More on topic, it is an interesting dock having the eGPU and such built in. However, it adds pointless things like a SD reader(Wheres the CFExpress?) and it is still not a workstation regardless. It makes the Mac mini a potential gaming machine, but not nay better than a separate eGPU.
 
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InuNacho

macrumors 65816
Apr 24, 2008
1,439
576
In that one place
I have the big boy 2x 3.46GHz 128GB RX580 Mac Pro. I love it but 10 years is a long time in the computing world and efficiency, heat, and architecture have finally caught up and surpassed this once powerful giant.
I could easily transition my graphics card and capture card to this thing and be set for another decade.

$2.6k Mac Mini Tower vs $6k 2019 Mac Pro. Costs speaks for itself there.
 

Stephen.R

macrumors 68000
Nov 2, 2018
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Thailand
I could easily transition my graphics card and capture card to this thing and be set for another decade
... the 2018 Mac mini only supports half the RAM your existing, 10 year old Mac Pro has. I think the Mini is great, but expecting to get 10 years out of it, comparable to a Mac Pro, is pretty optimistic mate.
 

InuNacho

macrumors 65816
Apr 24, 2008
1,439
576
In that one place
... the 2018 Mac mini only supports half the RAM your existing, 10 year old Mac Pro has. I think the Mini is great, but expecting to get 10 years out of it, comparable to a Mac Pro, is pretty optimistic mate.
64GB is doable. I won an auction for 128GB a few years ago and I don't think I've ever used more than 75-80GB. I think 10 years with this box is fully plausible: I'm still running Sierra and might upgrade to Mojave this year, my computational needs have't grown much in the past 4 years outside of storage and a beefier GPU.
Heck, my road warrior 2012 cMBP only has 16GB and with some creative shuffling of applications I've gotten by.
 

MacModMachine

macrumors 68020
Apr 3, 2009
2,267
145
Canada
Kickstarter.. big nope here. Been screwed over too many times by Kickstarter vaporware projects.
not to mention this thing is promising what It cannot deliver.

good luck pushing 2 video cards and 4 nVME ssd's over 2 TB3 controllers. not even close to enough bandwidth.

I have tried such a setup using 2 egpu's with usb c ssd's on second ports. tanked egpu bandwidth.
- - Post merged: - -

3.5"?

just let them die already
that will never happen. enterprise uses these still very mainstream. google , amazon , you name it.
 
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Stephen.R

macrumors 68000
Nov 2, 2018
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not to mention this thing is promising what It cannot deliver.

good luck pushing 2 video cards and 4 nVME ssd's over 2 TB3 controllers. not even close to enough bandwidth.

I have tried such a setup using 2 egpu's with usb c ssd's on second ports. tanked egpu bandwidth.
- - Post merged: - -



that will never happen. enterprise uses these still very mainstream. google , amazon , you name it.
Very different use case though.
 

MacModMachine

macrumors 68020
Apr 3, 2009
2,267
145
Canada
Very different use case though.
and what would that be ?

its an expansion bay , you cannot even use a single ssd in tandem with 2 5700's without performance loss. nothing to do with use cases.

they would be splitting those 2 slots over 2 controllers, the nvme ssd's would be left with the bandwidth residing on those spare controller ports. any ssd access would greatly reduce video card bandwidth.
 

Stephen.R

macrumors 68000
Nov 2, 2018
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and what would that be ?

its an expansion bay , you cannot even use a single ssd in tandem with 2 5700's without performance loss. nothing to do with use cases.

they would be splitting those 2 slots over 2 controllers, the nvme ssd's would be left with the bandwidth residing on those spare controller ports. any ssd access would greatly reduce video card bandwidth.
Sorry I should have selectively quoted. I was replying to this part specifically:

that will never happen. enterprise uses these still very mainstream. google , amazon , you name it.
 

MacModMachine

macrumors 68020
Apr 3, 2009
2,267
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Canada
Sorry I should have selectively quoted. I was replying to this part specifically:
ahh , makes more sense :D

I think what mostly makes the blow of slow disks (spinning) is using an ssd storage array before storing the data (archiving) to disk. most big players to this.

I think I would always use spinning disks for things like time machine , vm backup storage. ect. but ssd's make a great external storage for everything else. they are getting mighty cheap now.
 

Krevnik

macrumors 68040
Sep 8, 2003
3,388
718
not to mention this thing is promising what It cannot deliver.

good luck pushing 2 video cards and 4 nVME ssd's over 2 TB3 controllers. not even close to enough bandwidth.
Yeah, this is the other reason I suggested a different configuration for this thing. This is overloading the buses available.