Best Desktop Mac solution - Mac Mini?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by wdwpsu, Nov 8, 2018 at 8:00 AM.

  1. wdwpsu macrumors newbie

    Dec 20, 2017
    As a lifetime Windows user, I've slowly been migrating to Apple (iPhone and a company issued 2017 MBP). However, for the majority of my work, I use my PC to this day. My more intensive work is Lightroom and Photoshop. Aside from that, it's the typical browsing, watching movies etc.
    I've been waiting patiently for the Mac Mini, but I'm hearing from people that it's not powerful enough.

    To me, the iMac is too overdue for an update. The iMacPro is too pricey/overkill. The MacPro is also overdue and too pricey.

    Would I get better performance out of a MBP essentially used as a docking station than I would with the Mac Mini? I'm thinking the Radeon Pro GPU that comes with the MBP can offload a lot of the processing that LR/PS need.

    If I went the Mac Mini route I'm looking at:
    3.2GHz 6-core 8th generation i7, 16GB 2666MHz DDR4, 256GB SSD ($1499)
    If I went the MacBook Pro (2017) route I'm looking at:
    2.8GHz Quad-core i7, 16GB 2133MHz, 256GB SSD, AMD Radeon Pro 555(2GB) ($1899)
  2. jmiddel macrumors regular

    Mar 3, 2010
    Land of Enchantment
    Do you need the portability of the MBP? If not, go for the Mini, you can have a dual monitor setup with 2 27” 4K screens!
  3. jaduff46 macrumors 6502


    Mar 3, 2010
    Second star on the right....
    You can also do that with the MBP. Unless you’re doing video editing, you probably don’t need the i7 chipset imo, and could perhaps go all SSD for storage.
    Haven’t priced it out, but I’ll probably do something similar when I eventually upgrade my setup.
  4. Yvan256 macrumors 603


    Jul 5, 2004
    In my opinion, the only weak part of the 2018 Mac mini is the integrated GPU but you can use an external GPU via Thunderbolt 3 if you really need one. Apart from that, the machine is perfect and the only problem is the price of the SSD and RAM upgrades.
  5. Since1987 macrumors regular

    Feb 23, 2016
    I'm exactly in this guy's boat ( including living in Orlando ! ). Trying to decide between a MaxMacMini or the MaxMBP. Except i AM doing video editing(Maya and AfterEffects), so i'd be going max CPU and 2TB flash. Seems the only downside to a MaxMini is the integrated GPU.

    Can anyone elaborate on the GPU via Thunderbolt 3 options?
    Do those devices exist now, or are they coming soon? And how powerful are they?

    Also, the MBP seems to be saying "new video options end of November"... so i'm waiting for those to be revealed.
  6. MRrainer macrumors 6502a

    Aug 8, 2008
    Zurich, Switzerland
    Where does it say that?

    As for eGPUs: they exist. Apple sells them, too.
    Conveniently in the "Power & Cables" category:!&f=egpu&fh=4595+4a48

    There's also this article:

    There's a review here, of a few of the models mentioned in that article:
  7. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    Really, you need to wait until there's more "real world" info about the Mini, like how it performs with demanding 2D graphics (multiple high-res screens, pro 2D graphics software) - nobody should care how well it runs Cinebench because its not pretending to be a 3D workstation or gaming machine.

    Looking at specs, you'd expect your Mini configuration to comfortably beat your MBP configuration on CPU benchmarks, but the MBP to thrash the Mini on GPU benchmarks - so the tricky question is, which one of those is most important for your workflow.

    Worst case scenario is that you end up needing a $600 external GPU on the Mini (which would then give you better graphics than the MBP).

    Photoshop/lightroom could turn out to be the worst case scenario for the Mac Mini - its pretty powerful CPU-wise (beating most other Macs at the moment when it comes to CPU benchmarks) but its only got the basic Intel integrated GPU. Your use doesn't really justify a high-end GPU with killer 3D performance, but could benefit from something better than Intel integrated. You could consider external GPUs, but they partly defeat the object of having a Mini and they're quite expensive if you just want smoother 2D performance.

    If you need a high-end GPU that would set you back $1000+ on its own, paying a $300 premium for an external enclosure wouldn't seem so significant, but when all you need is a $200 better-than-integrated GPU... (Also, last I looked, there are no NVIDIA drivers for Mojave yet - pity, I've got a 1060 PCIe card knocking around that might be worth putting in an enclosure).

    I'd say the "niches" for the new Mini are things like development and music that are going to make good use of those hex core processors without asking for too much of the GPU (plus, if you're committed to XCode or Logic, switching to Windows isn't going to be an option).

    Its not that Apple doesn't have any nice products, but at the moment they can all be summarised as "If this is the perfect machine for you then Welcome - otherwise go away!" and the prices are really, really hard to justify unless you place significant value on running MacOS or having multiple TB3 ports.

    The whole external GPU thing is a solution to a problem that only exists because Apple won't produce a full-size desktop Mac with internal expansion.

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