How important is Apple T2 Security Chip ?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Dezlboy, Mar 19, 2019.

  1. Dezlboy macrumors regular

    Dezlboy

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    Sep 10, 2008
    #1
    I'm going back and forth between MacMini and new iMac. Use of Mac is email,web browsing, some MS Office, nothing intensive. Weighing various factors.....

    How much weight show I give to the iMac not having the T2 Chip, and the Mini does? Does the T2 help protect against hackers, etc? And/or is the T2 Chip something that only professional users (photograph, video, scientific stuff) would want?

    Thanks....
     
  2. BasicGreatGuy Contributor

    BasicGreatGuy

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    #2
    In my opinion, the T2 is really a non-issue. Turn on FileVault and you should be fine.
     
  3. CWallace macrumors 603

    CWallace

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    #3
    The prime purpose of the T2 chip on the Mac Mini is security - Secure Boot makes sure that only a legitimate, trusted operating system loads at startup. It also serves as a mass storage controller that includes a dedicated AES engine that encrypts your drive regardless of whether you have FileVault on or not. And if you do use FileVault, it makes the initial encryption process significantly faster. And it has been reported that SSD performance is superior on T2-equipped machines.

    The T2 also does HEVC video transcoding (h.265) significantly quicker so if you plan to Handbrake a lot of Blu-ray rips...
     
  4. redheeler macrumors 604

    redheeler

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    #4
    Not a big deal IMHO, in fact the downsides of the T2 might actually outweigh the upsides, unless you're encoding video.

    Still, it's strange that Apple would include one in a Mac mini and MacBook Air but not the iMac. The inconsistency between Apple products just keeps getting worse.
     
  5. CWallace macrumors 603

    CWallace

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    #5
    The T2 chip only works with flash memory which means only SSDs. Fusion Drives are not supported and do not look like they ever will be (which means eventually Apple will drop the spinners and go SSD-only on the iMac to add Tx support).
     
  6. mdnz macrumors 6502

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    #6
    It's a blessing they didn't add it looking at all the issues it causes.
     
  7. ThisBougieLife macrumors 68000

    ThisBougieLife

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    #7
    It's not really a "security chip", it's a co-processor, and probably a step toward the direction of ARM-based Macs. Security is just one of its functions.

    That said, it seems to have some problems with BridgeOS kernel panics and the little bit of security and performance boost you may get from having it doesn't seem worth the potential issues. I'll hold off on buying any device with T2 and wait for T3.
     
  8. priitv8 macrumors 68040

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    #8
    Can you support this statement with hard evidence?
    And even more interesting for me, if it really does have hardware HEVC encoder, does it support also 10-bit video?
     
  9. BasicGreatGuy Contributor

    BasicGreatGuy

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    #9
  10. redheeler macrumors 604

    redheeler

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    #10
    Good point about the mechanical drives. I've never been a fan of the Fusion drive and my iMac is pure SSD, but Apple uses the same logic board no matter the drive configuration.
    --- Post Merged, Mar 19, 2019 ---
    On the upside, presumably the SSD in the 2019 iMac is still socketed, and cheaper SATA SSD upgrades for models with the mechanical drives are still possible as well.
     
  11. CWallace macrumors 603

    CWallace

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    #11
  12. nutmac macrumors 601

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    #12
    T2 also acts as a disk controller for SSD. T2-equipped Macs with 256 GB SSD or larger has two banks of SSDs (e.g., two 128 GB for 256 GB, two 256 GB for 512 GB) and T2 stripes them together, RAID 0 style, to effectively double the throughput. As others mentioned, it also handles encryption.

    T2 also handles boot management, audio processing (which was or maybe still is buggy) and FaceTime camera image processing.
     
  13. Dezlboy thread starter macrumors regular

    Dezlboy

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    #13
    Thanks for all the inputs. For my pretty mundane computing purposes, from your explanations, I don't see the T2 as a necessity in order to go with Mini over the iMac. Much appreciated.
     
  14. macduke macrumors G4

    macduke

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    #14
    Nope.

    Assuming someone gets past my motion activated cloud security cameras, deadbolt, cloud connected security system with battery and cellular backup, locked studio door, and FileVault encryption—I’m probably dealing with bigger problems like “Why does a state-sponsored actor want to get at my photography and design files so badly?”

    Didn’t even factor into my buying decision for a second. As a matter of fact given some of the issues people have had with it, I’m glad I don’t have it in my new iMac.
     
  15. priitv8 macrumors 68040

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    #15
    Thank you both for sharing that!
    I can see already from the tables, that HEVC 10-bit is marked with (SW) so I conclude that T2 hardware encoder is only good for 8-bit encode. Which does not help me much.
    That makes the i9 a clear winner in this competition.
    Do you happen to know, if anybody has also similar test results to prove Coffee Lake's performance edge in HEVC 10-bit encoding?
     
  16. adamjackson macrumors 68000

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    #16
    I thought the T2 allowed the Mac to have a faster SSD because it manages some of the tasks but maybe I mis-read that.
     
  17. Cashmonee macrumors 65816

    Cashmonee

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    #17
    The T2 issues are way overblown, as are most issues with Macs. I think it is very possible that the lack of T2 will shorten this iMac's supported life. Mojave in particular wants to be on an SSD and as more macOS releases come, I suspect more features will come to rely on the presence of a T2. At this point I would personally probably not purchase a new Mac without a T2.
     
  18. Dezlboy thread starter macrumors regular

    Dezlboy

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    #18
    Wow. Opinions sure are varied. As for me, looks like going with Mini to save bucks by reusing current monitor. So will have the T2.
     
  19. partsofspeech macrumors regular

    partsofspeech

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    #19
    If Apple could find an ssd outsourcer for quality ssd in low price, Apple wouldn’t have hesitated to ditch the spinner. However, the cheap ssd currently available on the market is not trustworthy for longterm iMac users.

    It’s wise for Apple to stay away from spec fight such as full ssd or bezelless.
     
  20. xgman macrumors 601

    xgman

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    #20
    I have a T2 chip in my imac pro and I would actually pay extra NOT to have it! Nothing but problems.
     
  21. nutmac macrumors 601

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    #21
    Larry Jordan's page has nine 10-bit HEVC encoding tests.

    iMac (albeit with more dated processor and less RAM) was able to beat Mac mini on only 2 of those tests. Mac mini was better in 6 (both failed to execute one of the tests).

    So I wouldn't use those anecdotal metrics to conclude T2 is incapable of encoding 10-bit. It's entirely possible that 2 of those tests relied more heavily on discrete GPU. And Apple can also expand T2's role in the future.

    Having said that, I wouldn't necessarily use T2 as the reason for choosing Mac mini over iMac. If you love all-in-one form factor, need discrete GPU (gaming, etc.), wants the most short-term value (don't need to reuse the display with the next computer), and/or Apple designed display, iMac is the obvious choice. Otherwise, I think Mac mini is very compelling and superior in many respect.
     
  22. Howard2k macrumors 68020

    Howard2k

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    #22

    This.

    The theory is good but the execution seems to have been poor.
     
  23. smbu2000 macrumors regular

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    Oct 19, 2014
    #23
    I'd prefer if my Mini didn't have the T2 chip. In win10 (boot camp) you lose SMC control because of it. No temperature monitoring or user fan control. I've been using Macs Fan Control for years on my Macs and now it only works on macOS.

    https://www.crystalidea.com/blog/fan-control-on-apple-computers-with-t2-chip-on-windows-boot-camp

    Only semi-way to adjust the fan speed is to set the value in macOS and then restart to Windows, as it will keep the last value you entered (in macOS). My mini gets much hotter in Windows as the fans don't auto-adjust like in macOS.


    The T2 also apparently locks out installing any other OS except for Win10.
     
  24. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

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    #24
    You may be right, although considering the number of non-T2 Macs out there, that shorter life may amount to a year, perhaps.

    There's the question of what's meant by "supported life." The Vintage/Obsolete clock isn't modified by hardware considerations - 5 years Vintage, 7 years Obsolete, regardless. It comes down to macOS upgrades. Yeah, the lack of a T2 may be a dividing line at some point, if they decide that a particular T2-exclusive capability is essential to the functioning of the OS. Something security-based, I'd presume. I don't think transcoding or SSD handling would be sufficiently fundamental, but what do I know? Should that happen, it'll be a question of whether someone can upgrade from macOS 10.20 to macOS 10.21. As long as 10.20 works well and 10.21 doesn't contain a ground-breaking new capability, not a big deal.

    The bigger potential hardware change in the next few years could turn out to be Intel vs. ARM. While there's no point delaying a Mac purchase until/if that happens, I'd expect it'll be the issue that'll be of the most concern to the owners of Intel Macs in 6-8 years.
     
  25. majestice macrumors member

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    Oct 16, 2015
    #25
    That T2 is one of the worst thing Apple ever created... Crackling speakers on Macbook Pro, T2 chip... at least they reacted to while I had had crackling speakers on iMac Pro since release. I had to update to newest OSX just to get rid of it cause that standalone fix was just for Macbook Pros and even then they still crackled though less than before. And after many more updates it still doesn't work. Occasionally I lost sound totally and have to kill coreaudio to get sound back. I suspect the T2 also messed up the login process. With old iMac as soon as I saw the login screen I could write password. Now the keyboard presses have no feedback, and usually end having to write it few times before notice that first few character didn't appear on the screen... Of course this later is just guess work but I think it is some extended protocols on logins that literally keeps the keyboard killed long after login screen appears
     

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57 March 19, 2019