Gigabit Ethernet - What's the Deal?

DomKud

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 19, 2018
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8
What's the deal with the Gigabit Ethernet customization on the new minis?

What's the difference? Can you always upgrade this after the fact, or only upon checkout? And would you guys upgrade this upon purchase or no?

  • Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet using RJ-45 connector)
  • 10 Gigabit Ethernet (Nbase-T Ethernet with support for 1Gb, 2.5Gb, 5Gb and 10Gb Ethernet using RJ‑45 connector)
 

F-Train

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Apr 22, 2015
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NYC & Newfoundland
What's the deal with the Gigabit Ethernet customization on the new minis?

What's the difference? Can you always upgrade this after the fact, or only upon checkout? And would you guys upgrade this upon purchase or no?

  • Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet using RJ-45 connector)
  • 10 Gigabit Ethernet (Nbase-T Ethernet with support for 1Gb, 2.5Gb, 5Gb and 10Gb Ethernet using RJ‑45 connector)
I think that it’s worth getting if you live in an area that is likely to get much faster internet, at a price you consider reasonable, in the foreseeable future.

@rmdeluca has covered the more common argument.

If you have a use, or potential use, for it, Apple’s price of US$100 is much less than an adapter. Some people here argue that the price of adapters will come down. Perhaps so, in which case it’s a matter of how much love you have for adapters.
 

DomKud

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 19, 2018
46
8
If you don't know if you will use it, it is likely you won't ever. It is an upgrade because it is very few people who would ever need it.
Well, from what I do now, Bell offered me 1GB of internet speed and my old mac could not receive those speeds apparently. Is this to say, in the future, providers will be able to offer speeds of greater than 1GB?

The default set up will only support 1GB of connectivity? Versus the upgrade will support up to 10GB, should my IP provider be able to support it?
 

F-Train

macrumors 65816
Apr 22, 2015
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Well, from what I do now, Bell offered me 1GB of internet speed and my old mac could not receive those speeds apparently. Is this to say, in the future, providers will be able to offer speeds of greater than 1GB?

The default set up will only support 1GB of connectivity? Versus the upgrade will support up to 10GB, should my IP provider be able to support it?
Yes.

There are a lot of participants in this forum who assume, wrongly, that the whole world is stuck with the internet speeds that they have, and expect to have in the future :)
 
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KennethS

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Jan 4, 2011
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I don’t have any immediate need for it, but given how (relatively) inexpensive the upgrade is, I opted for the 10G Ethernet. I tend to keep my Macs for a very long time, and it seemed like something that I might be glad I have in a few years time. Although my current NAS doesn’t support it, if I were to buy one today I would choose a model that did. It wasn’t all that long ago that fast Ethernet was considered adequate, and while the fastest internet available at my home is only 70Mbps, I am happy that my home network wiring is CAT 6. I never encourage people to spend money on things they will never need, but for me it provides me future options that may be useful.
 

brentsg

macrumors 68040
Oct 15, 2008
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Well, from what I do now, Bell offered me 1GB of internet speed and my old mac could not receive those speeds apparently. Is this to say, in the future, providers will be able to offer speeds of greater than 1GB?

The default set up will only support 1GB of connectivity? Versus the upgrade will support up to 10GB, should my IP provider be able to support it?
I wouldn't worry about the ISP side, worry about the local network side. As already mentioned, it's magic for a NAS.
 

KrisLord

macrumors 68000
Sep 12, 2008
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Northumberland, UK
Normal Ethernet offers 1Gbit speeds, there’s really no need for 10Gbps on a home machine.

It’s a cheap upgrade, but you’d have to spend thousands of dollars on a premium NAS drive to make use of it.

Even if you spent the money, I’m not entirely sure what data would need to be transferred at those speeds.
 

ixxx69

macrumors 65816
Jul 31, 2009
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United States
The default set up will only support 1GB of connectivity? Versus the upgrade will support up to 10GB, should my IP provider be able to support it?
Correct.

But... you can add a 10GB adapter to the 2018 mini via the TB3 port, so it's not like you'd be locked out in the future.

As others have suggested, if you don't know you need it, don't worry about it. Faster than 1GB wired internet speeds for home use is a long ways off (and might just jump to wireless).

I can see already, this is just one of those things where a ton of people are going to get talked into spending $100 on something completely useless to them. ;)
 

T'hain Esh Kelch

macrumors 603
Aug 5, 2001
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Well, from what I do now, Bell offered me 1GB of internet speed and my old mac could not receive those speeds apparently. Is this to say, in the future, providers will be able to offer speeds of greater than 1GB?

The default set up will only support 1GB of connectivity? Versus the upgrade will support up to 10GB, should my IP provider be able to support it?
Assuming you mean 1 Gbit/second internet, and not 1GB data, which are two very different things, then you won't need anything faster the next 10 years at least. Both from a 'no one can actually serve you data at that speed for the foreseeable future' and the 'You won't actually need it for anything at all the next 30 years' POVs.
 
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rmdeluca

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Oct 30, 2018
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Assuming you mean 1 Gbit/second internet, and not 1GB data, which are two very different things, then you won't need anything faster the next 10 years at least. Both from a 'no one can actually serve you data at that speed for the foreseeable future' and the 'You won't actually need it for anything at all the next 30 years' POVs.
Most of the major gaming platforms (e.g. Steam, Battle.net, etc.) use distributed dowloading systems. I’ve regularly seen 500-800Mbit/s from them on my “gigabit” cable connection.

There’s actually 2Gbit/s fiber service available in my area. One of the requirements is a 10GbE ethernet adapter. If you don’t have one they’ll charge you for it.

I don’t think it’s good form to suggest someone won’t need 10GbE ethernet for residential internet service with a timeframe of 10-30 years, which is beyond the reasonable expectation of useful life for the machine anyhow.

The most compelling reason for 10GbE is what I said before - a 1.25GB/s pipe into your Mini that doesn’t take away from Thunderbolt bandwidth. 1.25GB/s is enough to scrub 4K in several formats; combined with the rapid fall in prices of fast, large SSD, this is a pretty significant departure from where most NAS was even five years ago. My suspicion is that the cost of entry into 10 GbE NAS will continue to fall pretty quickly over the next year or two. Anyone planning on spending big on NAS in the next year or two is being pound stupid by not spending the $100 now to have built-in 10GbE.
 
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ixxx69

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Most of the major gaming platforms (e.g. Steam, Battle.net, etc.) use distributed dowloading systems. I’ve regularly seen 500-800Mbit/s from them on my “gigabit” cable connection.

There’s actually 2Gbit/s fiber service available in my area. One of the requirments is a 10GbE ethernet adapter. If you don’t have one they’ll charge you for it.

I don’t think it’s good form to suggest someone won’t need 10GbE ethernet for residential internet service with a timeframe of 10-30 years, which is beyond the reasonable expectation of useful life for the machine anyhow.

The most compelling reason for 10GbE is what I said before - a 1.25GB/s pipe into your Mini that doesn’t take away from Thunderbolt bandwidth. 1.25GB/s is enough to scrub 4K in several formats; combined with the rapid fall in prices of fast, large SSD, this is a pretty significant departure from where most NAS was even five years ago. My suspicion is that the cost of entry into 10 GbE NAS will continue to fall pretty quickly over the next year or two. Anyone planning on spending big on NAS in the next year or two is being pound stupid by not spending the $100 now to have built-in 10GbE.
These are good points, and dismissing 10Gb completely is an over-reaction to all the posts talking people into spending money on future-proofing for something that probably won't benefit them enough to justify the cost.

However, because many people here are tech enthusiasts and have things like a home NAS, it's easy to forget that the vast, vast majority do not and never will, or that they'll operate wirelessly rather than running CAT6 all over their house. The vast, vast majority of people these days are using a wireless device to connect to their home wireless router. Mesh networks are probably the immediate future in home networking.

The vast, vast majority of people won't have more than 1Gb internet within the next 5 years. Just because it's available, the costs are still way more than 90% of people are willing to pay.

So yes, if you're the type who has a home server or NAS of some type, or gets the highest tier of internet service available, or just the money isn't that big of a deal, then definitely go for it. I'm planning on a new mini myself, and I had just dismissed getting 10Gb, and now you have me reconsidering.

But if budget is a real constraint, and you're just the typical user who just connects to their wireless home network and 1Gb+ internet speeds are a ways off, I suggest being careful about getting sucked into the "future proofing" with no foreseeable need.
 

DomKud

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 19, 2018
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Some valid points made above. Also, does this affect WiFi too? or only internet with ethernet?
 

boomspot

macrumors member
Apr 10, 2018
51
45
Some valid points made above. Also, does this affect WiFi too? or only internet with ethernet?
My ISP is rolling out 10Gbps home service next week. I will opt for the 10Gb Ethernet if I decide to pick up the Mini or future Mac Pro.

D
 

shinji

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Mar 18, 2007
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Some valid points made above. Also, does this affect WiFi too? or only internet with ethernet?
It has no effect on Wi-Fi. This only matters if you are using wired ethernet, and have or expect to have 10GigE equipment, and don't want to use a Thunderbolt 3->10GigE adapter.
 
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HenryAZ

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Jan 9, 2010
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100Base-T is enough for most ISP speeds, unless you are lucky enough to have fiber or cable that offers more. Almost every desktop machine (and laptops with ethernet) today are Gigabit ethernet, so with the standard port you should be covered well for your Internet stuff. I do a lot of work within my home network (machine -> machine transfers), so I benefit greatly from the Gigabit speeds of 100MB/s+ throughput. All of my machines are ethernet connected. I ordered the new Mini with the 10Gig port upgrade. At this point I have no other device that does 10Gig, but I do anticipate upgrading the home network machines and switches to 10Gig in the future.
 

mrex

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Jul 16, 2014
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Yes.

There are a lot of participants in this forum who assume, wrongly, that the whole world is stuck with the internet speeds that they have, and expect to have in the future :)
and unfortunately ”the speed of internet” is the sum of the whole environment rather than just inside your isp network. your isp may provide 1gig or 10gig connections, but it doesnt provide that speed outside from their main network and the real speed varies from kbps to gbps.

many consumers just pay for nothing for their ”high speed” connections until they realize that not even their home network can handle the speed they paid for their isp and even if it can, they realize that speed is far from the advertized.
 

Boyd01

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Feb 21, 2012
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100Base-T is enough for most ISP speeds, unless you are lucky enough to have fiber or cable that offers more.
I live in a very rural area, my home is way off the road back in the woods. Had to get a satellite dish for internet when I moved here in 2006. A year later, Verizon offered DSL which was a big improvement but that's the best I could get (with sub-megabit speed) until a year and a half ago.

Then Verzon descended on the area with an army of FIOS installers and I now have 150/150 mbit fiber which actually delivers that full speed. They are very aggressively rolling out FIOS around here, which surprised me because I read Verizon was pretty much done expanding their network a couple years ago.

So I think a lot of people are probably "lucky enough" to get better than 100mbit internet now. But gigabit ethernet should still be good enough for now. However I would go for the 10 gigabit option just for the high speed LAN connectivity. I do a lot of work with video and also large geodata files however, so maybe I'm not that typical? Have been using a gigabit LAN in my home for around 5 years now.
 

MacWorld78

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Jul 25, 2012
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I think you will benefit having a 10Gb Ethernet port for stacking few Mac Mini (i5 to i7) to speed up the workflow such as video editing rendering, animation rendering or web/database simulation project.

Plus you will need 10Gb Router/Hub & cables to support for the higher speed.
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
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It was only a couple of months back that I upgraded my home service from 8mbps to 170mbps+/- (switched from Frontier vdsl to Comcast cable).

I don't see myself needing 10gb ethernet in my lifetime (getting old here).
Nor do I see a need for it in most home networks for at least 10-15 years "down the road" yet (I could be wrong).

Not saying that nobody needs 10gb ethernet.
But... most folks at home... don't.
 
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Cashmonee

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May 27, 2006
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I would say if you have to ask, you probably can skip the upgrade.

As for future proofing, it is more likely people are going to moving to a wireless future (this is the promise of 5G) and wired homes will become even rarer than they are now.

There are some that the 10Gb-E will be a great benefit for, but they likely already know it.
 

th0masp

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Mar 16, 2015
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germany
I think for now the option is targeted at corporate customers operating the Mini in fast company-internal networks. I imagine that is usually reserved for special setups.

In order to benefit from it, your entire network needs to be able to keep up - switches, routers, cables and the other machines on the network. Even just (1)-Gigabit LAN is miles faster than any pipe the regular user can rent from their ISP.
 
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