i9?

ijlakw

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 19, 2013
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What's the forum's opinion.... will we see an updated spec Mac Mini with an i9 CPU?
 

Krevnik

macrumors 68040
Sep 8, 2003
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Hmm, the i9 9900 (non-K) does have a 65W TDP, so at least on paper it's suitable. Not sure why Apple doesn't already offer it. Other than the fact that the 9900 won't be able to boost all that aggressively with the Mini's cooling.

It's also not likely to see the 9900 in a Mini if we haven't already.

My bet is that Apple's either waiting for 10th gen chips to show up, or the Mini may be involved with the Van Gogh rumors.
 
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sublunar

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Jun 23, 2007
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The i9-9900 is not used in any of the 2019 27" iMac SKUs (the top end optional i9 used is actually the i9-9900K which is a 95w part - used without any overclocking. The 21.5" model tops out at i7.

If the Mac mini was getting a refresh we'd have to look to the iMac for the options available there and the prospect of throttling due to heat concerns would be an ever present.

Without any obvious sign of Comet Lake S cpus (bringing hyperthreading to i5 CPUs thanks to competition from AMD) I cannot see Apple refreshing the CPUs until October 2020 if they thought that extra threads would make an interesting selling point.

Updating the GPU to AMD 5300, 5500 and 5700 plus going to all SSD for storage may just be enough for Apple if they decided to refresh without the extra threads in March 2020.

It would also be easier to double the SSD storage in the Mini when that gets the update - logically an October 2020 release date with more threads in the CPU - done at the same time as a big iMac refresh (GPU, SSD, and more threads all at the same time) would be an easier sell.

They could then save the redesign of the iMac for Ice Lake S - the long awaited process shrink - in 2021.
 

xraydoc

macrumors demi-god
Oct 9, 2005
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Updating the GPU to AMD 5300, 5500 and 5700 plus going to all SSD for storage may just be enough for Apple if they decided to refresh without the extra threads in March 2020.
I would love a Mac mini with even a low-power onboard dGPU like the 5300. That with a 6-core i5 or i7 would be all I need.
 

Krevnik

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Sep 8, 2003
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If the Mac mini was getting a refresh we'd have to look to the iMac for the options available there and the prospect of throttling due to heat concerns would be an ever present.
The Mini currently doesn't have support for anything like what the iMac uses. The Mini requires BGA CPUs while the iMac uses LGA socket chips. Which is a space constraint issue.

So the iMac doesn't really tell us anything about what we'll see in the Mini. It's more that a CPU refresh with the existing form factor will be looking at a new B-variant CPU with a ~65W TDP.

Without any obvious sign of Comet Lake S cpus (bringing hyperthreading to i5 CPUs thanks to competition from AMD) I cannot see Apple refreshing the CPUs until October 2020 if they thought that extra threads would make an interesting selling point.
Agree on this point. Intel is in a weird place at the moment and their releases haven't been terribly interesting with Coffee Lake Refresh this year.

I would love a Mac mini with even a low-power onboard dGPU like the 5300. That with a 6-core i5 or i7 would be all I need.
The downside there is that it starts pushing the thermals too far while using desktop CPUs. They'd need to change the form factor, revert back to laptop chips like the 2014 which would not really be any faster than the 2018 model (the 8700/B and the 9980HK are very similar performance wise despite the two extra cores of the 9980HK). That or get a wholly custom thing done from AMD as a Zen 2 APU of some kind.

Apple could do it, but they're probably better off waiting for the 10th gen CPUs and making a choice then.
 

sublunar

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Jun 23, 2007
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The Mini currently doesn't have support for anything like what the iMac uses. The Mini requires BGA CPUs while the iMac uses LGA socket chips. Which is a space constraint issue.
I see that there are no B class CPUs for the 9th generation.


So the iMac doesn't really tell us anything about what we'll see in the Mini. It's more that a CPU refresh with the existing form factor will be looking at a new B-variant CPU with a ~65W TDP.
There's going to be no evidence of the 10th generation B CPUs until much closer to the time.

The downside there is that it starts pushing the thermals too far while using desktop CPUs. They'd need to change the form factor, revert back to laptop chips like the 2014 which would not really be any faster than the 2018 model (the 8700/B and the 9980HK are very similar performance wise despite the two extra cores of the 9980HK). That or get a wholly custom thing done from AMD as a Zen 2 APU of some kind.

Apple could do it, but they're probably better off waiting for the 10th gen CPUs and making a choice then.
My theory is that the Mac Mini Colo guys (and similar) may require the form factor to remain the same on their racking and they purchase in the hundreds/thousands. If Apple really wanted to do something that included a GPU they'd have continued with mobile CPUs adding a dGPU but they may have experienced issues with the 2011 version that had a dGPU on board. I remember there being issues with built in GPU.

Their other option at the time was the Kaby Lake G CPU (eg i5-8305G) which had a 65w TDP with a Radeon Vega but when used in laptop PCs tended to run hot from the few articles I read. It would also have robbed 8 PCIe lanes (2 Thunderbolt 3 ports) from the Mac mini and have limited uses for people who don't need a GPU. Apple clearly went for more CPU grunt and allow graphics users to use eGPU if they need.

I can't see Apple going back to mobile CPUs after upping the power to desktop class CPUs.
 
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xraydoc

macrumors demi-god
Oct 9, 2005
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I see that there are no B class CPUs for the 9th generation.




There's going to be no evidence of the 10th generation B CPUs until much closer to the time.



My theory is that the Mac Mini Colo guys (and similar) may require the form factor to remain the same on their racking and they purchase in the hundreds/thousands. If Apple really wanted to do something that included a GPU they'd have continued with mobile CPUs adding a dGPU but they may have experienced issues with the 2011 version that had a dGPU on board. I remember there being issues with built in GPU.

Their other option at the time was the Kaby Lake G CPU (eg i5-8305G) which had a 65w TDP with a Radeon Vega but when used in laptop PCs tended to run hot from the few articles I read. It would also have robbed 8 PCIe lanes (2 Thunderbolt 3 ports) from the Mac mini and have limited uses for people who don't need a GPU. Apple clearly went for more CPU grunt and allow graphics users to use eGPU if they need.

I can't see Apple going back to mobile CPUs after upping the power to desktop class CPUs.
While I think you're right about Apple 'encouraging' eGPUs for the mini owners who need more than integrated graphics, I had a mid-2011 Core i5 mini with the onboard AMD graphics. Always worked very well... never had any trouble with mine, to be honest. Even installed a 120GB SSD in it at one point.

Eventually replaced it in late 2015 with the 2014 model when the 8GB maximum RAM became an issue for me. I was using Parallels and a Windows installation heavily at the time and 8GB eventually became a serious limitation. Replacement was a 2014 i7 with 16GB. I should have gone with a 2012 quad core i7, but at the time I felt Thunderbolt 2 on the 2014 was better than the Thunderbolt 1 on the 2012 models since I was using so much external storage at the time, plus I ended up with an Apple Thunderbolt Display too.
 

Krevnik

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Sep 8, 2003
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There's going to be no evidence of the 10th generation B CPUs until much closer to the time.
8th gen BGA processors were announced about 7 months ahead of the 2018 Mac Mini. So we should see some inkling if Intel intends to provide desktop-class BGA processors.

The fact that Coffee Lake Refresh didn't get any is actually somewhat concerning and may suggest the 8th gen BGA chips were an experiment of a sort, and Apple was maybe the only buyer of them, and Intel may not be enthusiastic about doing it again. It's also why I wonder if the rumors about AMD support showing up in 10.15.2 betas (particularly Van Gogh) may be Mac Mini related.

I suspect Apple may have gotten painted into a bit of a corner by Intel's desktop BGA CPU experiment.

My theory is that the Mac Mini Colo guys (and similar) may require the form factor to remain the same on their racking and they purchase in the hundreds/thousands. If Apple really wanted to do something that included a GPU they'd have continued with mobile CPUs adding a dGPU but they may have experienced issues with the 2011 version that had a dGPU on board. I remember there being issues with built in GPU.
The bolded bit was the implied crux of my argument... So, preaching to the choir? *shrug*

Their other option at the time was the Kaby Lake G CPU (eg i5-8305G) which had a 65w TDP with a Radeon Vega but when used in laptop PCs tended to run hot from the few articles I read. It would also have robbed 8 PCIe lanes (2 Thunderbolt 3 ports) from the Mac mini and have limited uses for people who don't need a GPU. Apple clearly went for more CPU grunt and allow graphics users to use eGPU if they need.
More CPU grunt at the cost of GPU power also feeds into Colo/rackmount services. Who needs a dGPU if you are mostly doing server work that doesn't rely heavily on GPGPU? And if you are GPGPU reliant, why are you using a Mac Mini?

The bolded bit is phrased oddly though. You have to remember that there's only two TB3 buses on the Mini to begin with, so the 8 lanes of the 8305G is fine there to drive the 4 ports it has on the 2018. The catch is that you also need 4 lanes for the T2 and it's SSD. So you're technically right about the effect: We'd lose one TB3 bus, and two ports, even if the math presented is possibly wrong.

But again agree on the eGPU comment. Apple was clearly doing work in Catalina towards that end, by enabling boot screen support with eGPUs on the 2018 Mini.

I can't see Apple going back to mobile CPUs after upping the power to desktop class CPUs.
They could if there was a clear benefit to doing so, but right now I don't think there is one.
 
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PeterJP

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Feb 2, 2012
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I don't see Apple moving to AMD processors any time soon. AMD has been making interesting CPUs for a while now and no movement at all. Apple is rather conservative in this respect because it has a lot invested in Intel.
As for the BGA/LGA conundrum, I don't think it's too much of a problem. With a new processor, there is usually a new motherboard design. So they could switch that allright.
 

bsbeamer

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Sep 19, 2012
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It's almost pathetic the MBP16,1 performs so much better than max'd out Mini. An i9 option would "solve" this almost immediately, especially with 128GB+ RAM option. Personally HOPE we'll see it, but not holding my breath.

Apple really should at least update the iMac line soon with newer GPUs and 128GB+ RAM options, but don't know if we'll see that. CPU spec bump would be very unlikely from current upgrade option(s) unless there is a redesign model with next generation Intel. There is no excuse for not offering 128GB RAM option. Fully works via aftermarket upgrade(s).
 

Dameatball

macrumors regular
Feb 7, 2014
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San Francisco
the new mini i7 actually has a beefier processor than the 16,1 (and cost about half the price). Technically you could add a much beefier egpu/gpu to it and still be considerably under the price tag of the 16,1.
 

Krevnik

macrumors 68040
Sep 8, 2003
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the new mini i7 actually has a beefier processor than the 16,1 (and cost about half the price). Technically you could add a much beefier egpu/gpu to it and still be considerably under the price tag of the 16,1.
The MBP can run faster, but boy do you pay out the nose to get there. And wind up with a machine that is noisier under load too. My tests were that the i9 (9980HK) MBP was <=10% faster for my code projects (and close enough in photo editing to not really matter).

MBPs are great mobile workstations, but they aren't great desktop replacements.
 

Dameatball

macrumors regular
Feb 7, 2014
114
47
San Francisco
The MBP can run faster, but boy do you pay out the nose to get there. And wind up with a machine that is noisier under load too. My tests were that the i9 (9980HK) MBP was
MBPs are great mobile workstations, but they aren't great desktop replacements.
The 16,1 is a very good laptop for sure. There’s always going to be some trade off with desktop vs laptops as you said.

My only point was the previous comment/analogy about one of them having ‘pathetic’ specs vs the other was simply untrue.