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ekskea

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 17, 2020
5
0
It seems like both are about $500 on Ebay, does that sound right?

One thing I can think of that makes 2012 Mac Pro better than 2018 Mac Mini is that 2012 Mac Pro has RAM capacity of 95 GB, whereas you can only go up to 64 GB on 2018 Mac mini.

But I would imagine mini would haver a processor that is newer and better than 2012 Mac Pro.
 

chrfr

macrumors G4
Jul 11, 2009
11,012
4,571
It seems like both are about $500 on Ebay, does that sound right?

One thing I can think of that makes 2012 Mac Pro better than 2018 Mac Mini is that 2012 Mac Pro has RAM capacity of 95 GB, whereas you can only go up to 64 GB on 2018 Mac mini.

But I would imagine mini would haver a processor that is newer and better than 2012 Mac Pro.
The Mini will actually be faster at single threaded operations (and likely in many multi-threaded operations as well) and in disk performance, and will be much more power efficient.
"Better" is a difficult thing to quantify without further details about how you might use the computer.
 
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Monotremata

macrumors regular
Apr 11, 2019
164
67
Ontario, CA
Ill let you know this weekend.. My 2010 Mac Pro gets replaced as soon as UPS drops off my new i7 Mini tomorrow. Go figure tomorrow we go back to our actual office to work too.
 
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ekskea

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 17, 2020
5
0
The Mini will actually be faster at single threaded operations (and likely in many multi-threaded operations as well) and in disk performance, and will be much more power efficient.
"Better" is a difficult thing to quantify without further details about how you might use the computer.

If you want to use FCP but if you don't play games would there be a difference?
What would be some example of single thread and multi thread operations?
 
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DaveP

macrumors 6502
Mar 18, 2005
459
274
For the vast majority of use cases, the Mac mini would be the better option. For example, it is pretty rare to need more than 64 GB of RAM.
 
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LogicalVue

macrumors member
Aug 28, 2007
99
66
USA (Maine)
I replaced my 2009 Mac Pro (6-core CPU) with an i7 Mac mini last summer. The Mac mini is at least twice as fast for CPU tasks, disk I/O is about 8-10 times faster, however GPU performance (from an AMD Radeon RX560) is about 50%.

I am running 64GB RAM and am a software developer with lots of memory-hogging stuff open and I rarely see the system drop below 20GB of free RAM.

I think an i7 Mac mini will run you more than $500, though.
 
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tyc0746

macrumors 6502
Apr 3, 2019
257
96
Liverpool, UK
Will depend on specific configs, but in most cases comparing a non-upgraded version of each will show the Mini is faster.

Of course if you compare a top-of-the-range 12-core MacPro vs a bottom-of-the-range Mac Mini, then the Mini is slower on multi-core scores, but that’s about all.

You’ve also got to factor in the upgrade-/expand-ability of the MacPro over the more limited MacMini.
 
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MevetS

macrumors 6502
Dec 27, 2018
336
235
Earth
I replaced a 2010 MacPro with with a 2018 MacMini. And while I've not done any actual timing tests, I am very happy I made the switch. One of my hobbies is Photography and tools like Photoshop just seem snappier on the Mini.

I've not found the internal expandability of the MacPro to be much different from the external expandability, via Thunderbolt, of the Mini to be significant, although I have had to deal with eGPU and Bluetooth issues. Both of which have been sorted. I no longer have Bluetooth issues (and every port on my Mini is used) nor eGPU issues (I did need to use an HDMI adaptor). You can find details of my issues and solutions elsewhere on the forum.

You'll also need to consider that Catalina (and beyond) is not supported on the MacPro, although can be made to work. If you enjoy tinkering with your Mac, and I do miss some of that, you may prefer the MacPro.

Good luck whichever you decide.
 
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iluvmacs99

macrumors 6502a
Apr 9, 2019
751
539
It seems like both are about $500 on Ebay, does that sound right?

One thing I can think of that makes 2012 Mac Pro better than 2018 Mac Mini is that 2012 Mac Pro has RAM capacity of 95 GB, whereas you can only go up to 64 GB on 2018 Mac mini.

But I would imagine mini would haver a processor that is newer and better than 2012 Mac Pro.

It depends. If you got Mini 2018 Core i3, which is about $500 the used going price, then the multi-core performance would be similar to a 6 core single tray Westmere Xeon in the 2012 or the 8 core Nehalem dual tray Xeon in the 2009 updated 2010. If you shop carefully for SSDs and HDs, you can raid both SSDs and both HDs to achieve disk I/O very similar to the Core i3. To match and exceed the Core i3 NVMe internal blade drive, you can install a NVMe blade drive inside the Mac Pro 5,1 (2012 or 2009 updated to 5,1). The advantage is that the Mac Pro, as you said, takes much more RAM and they are much cheaper DDR 3 1333Mhz kind and you can use non-ECC RAM, which is plentiful. You just can't mix ECC with non-ECC. The max OS it will support is Mojave and it has 4 PCIe slots. I installed a RX580 for video editing as well as for photography like the Topaz AI products and DXO Photolab, both of which do take advantage of the installed GPU, all CPU cores and lots of RAM. So for a 11 year old machine, it can match the latest Core i3 machine pretty well. But when you do go into the Core i5 and i7 series of the 2018 is when these Minis will start to shine and beat the Mac Pros, but for me, I figure that I really do not want to sink anymore money into Apple until I get a clear view of Apple plans to do with the ARM chip. My memory of myself gotten burned during the PowerPC transition to Intel taught a very good lesson in patience.

The only advantage that any 2018 or 2020 Mini has over the Mac Pro is Quicksync and the T2 chip which the Mac Pro don't have. If you do a lot of video editing and rendering, Quicksync and the T2 can speed up video rendering many times over! For example, a typical video may take 1hr for my Mac Pro with a RX580 to finish rendering to h.264 MP4, but it took only 30 minutes for my Macbook Air 2014 via Quicksync to complete without a RX580, but only with its built in Intel 5000 iGPU. But the Mini 2018 with Quicksync and T2 chip can finish it in about 10 minutes for what took the Mac Pro 1 hr or my Macbook Air 30 min to render in 1080p h.264. So if your thing is create lots of video for blogging and posting on Youtube, then skip the Mac Pro and go all in Mini. If your applications are balanced like what I do; Photography and video editing, then a Mac Pro is a better deal than a Core i3 Mini 2018/2020. If you can get a Mac Pro with the X5680/X5690 already installed in a dual tray, then the Core i7 Mini 2018/2020 would be a better choice.

Hope this helps.
 
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diggy33

macrumors 6502a
Aug 13, 2011
692
754
The 2012 Mac Pro I'd been using at work for the past few years finally died on me. Its what I use for running multiple VM's and testing package builds and deployments for Jamf. The 2018 Mini that I got to replace it with (i7, 32GB RAM, 1TB) completely shreds it in performing the tasks that I need it to do. Cloning my base VM took about 8 minutes on the Mac Pro, and its done in less than 2 on the Mini. I did expect performance increase, but I am impressed with how smooth the Mini actually runs and handles the things that I throw at it.
 
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Monotremata

macrumors regular
Apr 11, 2019
164
67
Ontario, CA
Had the 16GB i7 for almost a month now. My 2010 24GB 3.33 hex core Pro hasn't been missed, except for my 32 bit apps that dont work anymore (just some games).

Speedwise, the Pro did have an OWC Mercury SSD in it, but disk stuff is WAY faster, even over USB. I have an Initio USB 3.2 card in the Pro and it never moved like the mini does. The OS itself is REALLY snappy. Powerwise Im about the same with the six core i7 as my six core 3.33 Xeon. Logic is maybe showing a percent lower spread across the cores in usage with the i7 but the meter looks pretty much the same as it did with the same projects. Totally fine with that because the response of the rest of the machine brought it all in line and there's no more 'jerkiness' to things. The Pro still does the job but it feels like an 'old clunker' now. The Mini is getting the same work done, but the machine feels like it should now. Its pretty smooth and I feel 'current' again. Maybe not a whole lot of gains, but I can feel better not wondering if the next update for this or that is going to drop my Mac or not for awhile..
 
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Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
5,480
2,585
New Jersey Pine Barrens
Had the 16GB i7 for almost a month now. My 2010 24GB 3.33 hex core Pro hasn't been missed, except for my 32 bit apps that dont work anymore

32-bit apps run really well on my i7 Mini, although 16gb might be a little lean for virtual machines. I have a Sierra and Mountain Lion virtual machine on Parallels - not for games, it is saving me over $3000 on expensive legacy software - VectorWorks 2008, Strata 3d cx and FileMaker Pro 11. The 3d software really surprised me, didn't think it would work (and I rarely use anymore), but it renders faster on the VM than it did on any of my "real" Macs. :)
 
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Monotremata

macrumors regular
Apr 11, 2019
164
67
Ontario, CA
I haven't attempted to try that yet. I remember running an El Cap machine a couple years ago in HS and it was soooo painful haha. My VirtualBox Win7 and WinXP drives are slow enough haha. I still have the Pro under my desk, with the Mojave SSD and my 1TB Bootcamp drive if I need it. What I mainly lost was inconsequential really. I lost the old Mac Fallout that GOG used to sell years ago (it was a Wineskinned Win 95 version), but I still have the original discs I can play in Windows or OS 9/X if I need to. The couple that hurt were some open source librarian/editors I have for a couple of my synthesizers and samplers. The guy that developed the editor for my Blofeld had some health issues a couple years ago and never got back to working on it even then, and I have no clue if a piece of software I used to convert wav files to sample banks for my EMU is going to be updated. The dev doesn't have a website, you basically find the tool through various forum and website links in Google heh. My actual 'recording studio' all moved without a hitch. Im a Logic guy so of course that worked, and its been long enough since Catalina came out everyone has their plugins updated, surprisingly even Akai and the drivers for my MPC work!
 
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