How serious a bottleneck is the Intel 630 GPU for basic tasks?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Tigerman82, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. Tigerman82 macrumors 6502

    Jul 27, 2010
    I see a lot of people (including myself) are unsure of what the implications of the Intel 630 GPU are in terms of what the Mac Mini (2018) can handle. We get that without a proper GPU gaming is out of the question. However, as the CPU performance surpasses even those of the current iMacs or something like the Intel NUC Hades Canyon (judging by Geekbench scores), it seems like a mixed bag whether the Mac Mini is a desktop replacement capable of handling everything except gaming and professional 4K editing, or just a computer that excels at basic tasks but starts lagging when you start using professional or hobbyist applications, and as such is better suited as a secondary computer, a server or even a HTPC.

    For example, would this Mac Mini be every bit as efficient as the current iMacs in basic tasks like browsing, word processing, light encoding, light to moderate photo editing and light video editing? Or does the GPU inevitably become a bottleneck even at these tasks? I don't know if this is a fair comparison but while my Mid-2010 iMac (SSD + 8 gigs of RAM) is still extremely responsive at basic tasks, my Early-2009 Mac Mini (SSD + 8 gigs of RAM) became extremely laggy roughly the time El Capitan was released. Yes, the Mac Mini did have the Core 2 Due CPU compared to my iMac's i5 CPU but the other major difference was the GPU.

    I currently have three alternatives...
    1. Intel NUC Hades Canyon (1080p gaming possible at high settings but Windows doesn't have the apps or the polished OS that a Mac has)
    2. Mac Mini 2018 + PS4 (best of both worlds but will the Mac Mini GPU limit other tasks besides gaming)
    3. Possible iMac 2019 (the true all-in-one solution but the cost is extremely high, especially if the SSD still has to be BTO)
    I don't consider a Mac Mini + eGPU as a solution. Those eGPUs cost a lot (might as well wait for the iMac), add bulk to the nice and compact setup and apparently have compatibility issues in Bootcamp/Windows.
  2. archer75 macrumors 68020

    Jan 26, 2005
    It will be fine. Aside from serious video editing the GPU doesn't matter much for the rest.
  3. dafodeu macrumors member

    Mar 23, 2016
    It's fine for all your tasks beside gaming. I'd say it's fine for professionals unless you're doing 4k video editing or 3d modeling. Even large PhotoShop files are more dependent on processor and ram these days.
  4. Rockies macrumors 6502

    Oct 4, 2011
    Tried the Mac Mini at the Apple store yesterday and was not really impressed with the graphics. Pinch to zoom on maps and scrolling though video and photos was not as smooth as the base Imac I-5 next to it. For this reason I will be waiting for the refreshed IMac 5k.
  5. dafodeu macrumors member

    Mar 23, 2016
    What monitor was it hooked up to? Was it the i3 or i5 version?
  6. marc_b macrumors member

    Nov 6, 2018
    Cologne, Germany
  7. Tigerman82 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 27, 2010
    This would bother me as well (provided this issue isn't due to the drivers not being mature enough). Something like the iMac is expensive but at least you guaranteed performance. I wouldn't want to play the guessing game with the Mac Mini concerning which app will lag because of the GPU and which app won't. Especially considering I tend to upgrade computers every 8-10 years. However, if the Mac Mini does indeed suit basic tasks because they rely on CPU power (which we know Mac Mini has), I'll gladly save some bucks (compared to iMac).
  8. brendu macrumors 68020

    Apr 23, 2009
    Probably a magic trackpad...

    Edit: nevermind. you got it.
  9. F-Train macrumors 65816

    Apr 22, 2015
    NYC & Newfoundland
    If you recall, was it an i3 or an i5; either way presumably with 8GB of RAM? Do you recall which monitor?

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8 November 8, 2018