Instead of getting a new Mac Mini...

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by GtrDude, Dec 18, 2018.

  1. GtrDude macrumors 6502

    GtrDude

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2011
    #1
    ...wouldn't it make more sense to get a used 2013 Mac Pro?
    They're selling the four and six core machines on eBay for about the same price as a new Mac Mini and sometimes a 100 or 200 dollar difference.
    But you get the better graphics card, the better Xeon processor, more connections, no thermal throttling, better cooling, no issues with anything...really.....just plug and play.
    And some of the sellers have even updated the SSD.

    Just trying to get your thoughts as it seemed to make more sense to me.
     
  2. crazeazn macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2009
    #2
    old thunderbolt and no usb-c makes it non-starter for some.
     
  3. GtrDude thread starter macrumors 6502

    GtrDude

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2011
    #3
    I'm not a very demanding user.
    All I need is HDMI that can cover my 30" monitor which is only 2560x1600.
    As to no USB-C, can't you get a dongle and hook up your USB-C to it?
    What's a Mac without a dongle anyway....lol

    So maybe it would be ok for me to buy this.....I guess.
    Don't know though.
    I'm a bit confused about this.
     
  4. pl1984 Suspended

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2017
    #4
    IMO I think people are moving in the opposite direction: Buying the new Mini instead of a Mac Pro. Unless you need more than six cores and / or the GPU capability (which is better than the Mini but poor by today's standards) a Mini is probably a better choice. Processor wise the Mini's updated CPU will out perform the Mac Pros core for core and the IPC improvements may even give the eight core model a run for the money.

    The Mini contains newer technology which can outperform the Mac Pro for many tasks. Of course one needs to understand their application requirements. I have not seen anything to support the hypothesis a Mini cannot perform at full load for extended periods of time.
     
  5. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040

    FreakinEurekan

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    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    #5
    Depends on what works best for you. Mac Pro (used) has no warranty or AppleCare plan, uses more power, is larger, is louder, doesn't have Thunderbolt 3.

    I do have a 6-core Mac Pro with D700 video cards at a theater where I volunteer, bought new so I could get AppleCare+ with it (those video cards are prone to issues, ours have been replaced once already). I have three 2560x1440 displays and two 1920x1080 projectors connected to it. It's a great computer, but so is the Mac Mini. Just depends on what you need.
     
  6. TimTheSheriff macrumors newbie

    TimTheSheriff

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    Oct 11, 2017
    Location:
    NW Florida
    #6
    I'm thinking that it'd be a better idea to get a mini and an eGPU. The mini has newer tech and can be purchased with 10Gig ethernet. You'll probably have to invest in Thunderbolt 3 storage and other USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 peripherals, but that's the future anyway. If you're getting a new (or new-to-you) machine), I'm thinking that it'd be better to go with the Mini.

    I'm using an upgraded cMP 5,1 that's showing its age. I've been waiting to see what Apple does with the next MP. I hope that that do it right (user upgradable/serviceable) rather than having everything soldered to the motherboard. If they don't do this right, I'm probably going to go with a Windows PC. It seems to me (and a lot of other folks) that 2018 has been a rough year for Apple especially for their relationship to professional users. I used to hate Microsoft and Windows, but Microsoft has been getting a lot of things right lately. I still love Apple, but I'm starting to question if they love me and their true professional customers as much as they used to.
     
  7. crazeazn macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2009
    #7
    Are there any alternatives to the mac mini on the intel side on the small form factor size? I havent been really paying too much attention but there is a 6 core i5/i7. I know the Hades-Canyon NUC isnt necessarily a direct competitor but has a quadcore i7. Besides the Thinkcentre M920x series are there any direct competitors?
    --- Post Merged, Dec 18, 2018 ---
    I just priced the M920x, and it seems to be more expensive for a i7/8gig/512 m.2? granted you can upgrade the m.2 on the M920.
     
  8. Ploki macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    #8
    i7 Mac Mini outperforms all Mac Pros trashcans except the latest topmost 12-core.
    SSD is faster.
    It has 4 thunderbolt 3 ports.

    I paid 1849€ for an i7/8gb/512/10GbE mini. (+300€ for 32GB ram pack)

    A single-cpu 6-core 3.5GHz Mac Pro 2013 with slower 256GB SSD and D500s is selling for 2100€.
    + the GPUs are prone to fail and it will have no warranty, and CPU form the Mini will absolutely wreck the single-cpu 6-core Mac Pro.

    I haven't seen any here for less than 2k€, its a no-brainer for me.
     
  9. TimTheSheriff macrumors newbie

    TimTheSheriff

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2017
    Location:
    NW Florida
    #9
    I think that the HP Z2 Mini might be the closest competitor. You can get it with dedicated graphics (NVIDIA® Quadro® P600 w/ 4GB) too. It's user serviceable/upgradeable. I don't think that 10 gig ethernet is available yet, though.
     
  10. jinnyman macrumors regular

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    Sep 2, 2011
    Location:
    Lincolnshire, IL
    #10
    I had a very first 5k iMac. It was a wonderful machine but ultimately I concluded I would not own any more of all-in one desktop ever again. Ultimately, the screen is wasted,and I cannot change or upgrade internals.

    If Apple had a real headless desktop like a true mac pro, I wouldve gotten that instead.
     
  11. Cashmonee macrumors 65816

    Cashmonee

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    #11
    I can't see why anyone would buy 5 year old tech. Since they still sell it, I guess Apple will support it roughly as long as the mini, but without the T2 that is a bit of a gamble. No warranty, rather old hardware, and questionable long term support. I would pass personally unless you had a specific use-case that the Mac Pro would perform better than the mini and you were ok with the drawbacks.

    Here is some reading material for you. I am not sure I would want to own one of these unless I REALLY had to.
    https://512pixels.net/2018/05/the-2013-mac-pro-five-years-later/
     
  12. Ploki macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    #12
    After playing a very exciting video showing off the product, Phil Schiller quipped, “Can’t innovate anymore, my ass,” as he walked across the stage to applause. It was a push back against critics who were saying Apple had gotten lazy and its products stale.
    And then, 4 years later, they spectacularly painted the Mac Mini space grey. :D

    I think the Trashcan was great when it came out, they really packed serious power into a ridiculous form factor, and i loved it. Where they updated same design with TB3 and spec-bumps, I'd seriously consider it.
    But sans MM2018, apple seems to be pushing themselves in a thermal corner constantly.

    I'm actually happy that MM2018 doesn't have a dGPU; with history how much issues apple has had with dGPUs on MacBook Pros and Mac Pros, and how hot the 15" dGPUs run.
     
  13. th0masp macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2015
    Location:
    germany
    #13
    I did just that recently - bought a refurb 6-core Mac Pro 2013 instead of a new Mini. Expecting a new Mini to be announced I researched the MP in advance - including its downsides - and when the Mini 2018 was unveiled I purchased an MP instead.

    Mine seems to have been barely used if at all - going by the serial it's a June 2018 manufactured machine that was still in wraps. Not sure if the resellers are able to fully seal them back up again but this one showed up like a new unit, power cord still neatly coiled and all. Smelled new too. 2 years warranty.

    I have since stress-tested it (had a few weeks of a no-questions-asked refund period) and upgraded it to 64 GB of RAM and put a 1 TB NVMe SSD into it. Also purchased a new monitor to go along with it since my old one was getting long in the tooth: LG34UC99.

    In terms of upgrades if I did not care about my warranty then for rather little money I could go for a model of 8-core processor that Apple themselves never offered and which seems to be the sweet spot for performance. The 6-core is fine though.


    Reasons for choosing the MP? I knew from previous Mini experience that I would not accept an iGPU on a desktop machine anymore and I did definitely not want a collection of boxes, strung together by TB3 cable. I also did not really trust the eGPU solution - looks like early days to me on the software side - plus I was concerned about noise.
    Other factors that made me ditch the Mini include the T2, lack of internal storage upgrade options and concerns about the computer running really hot (and then cooling down all the way after use). If you look up the history of hot running machines there's a pattern there that the hardware tends to fail early when subjected to these conditions.

    Things to look for with the MP if you want to pick up a used unit: there seem to have been problematic batches in the earlier years that had their GPUs fail, there's a long thread on these forums dedicated to it. If you can't get one with a warranty or at least a trial period to run it through it's paces then I'm not sure I'd really recommend it.
     
  14. Bartjes macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2018
    Location:
    Paris France
    #14
    Lot's of people keep and upgrade their Mac Pro because they are very reliable and still quite fast. For others it's a hobby. I kept mine for more than 8 years and only recently the motherboard failed. I could have replaced it but then i decided to change for the new mini. This computer is hardly upgradable but you can connect GPU and harddisks to it on Thunderbolt ports. I hope hardware failures won't occur too soon. For the moment i'm quite happy with the mini although Bluetooth issus are a plague.
     
  15. Cashmonee macrumors 65816

    Cashmonee

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    #15
    Just to chime in one more time after looking at some benchmarks. Buying a Mac Pro really only makes sense for a corporate customer who already has something in place that essentially requires them, or an enthusiast that understands the drawbacks, but wants to own a Mac Pro. Other than that, the mini is cheaper, faster, and more modern. No T2 means you are running the risk of a not-too-distant macOS update that won't run on it. Older motherboard means that you may have trouble finding parts to fix it when/if necessary. Thunderbolt 2 was not widely supported and has been superseded by TB3. You can use dongles, but you'll never get the same speed. Every current Mac is faster than the Mac Pro in single core which is what most people use. Multi core it is still hanging on, but in the next year or so as all of the higher models move to 8-core chips, it will lose there too. I just don't see it. I think the OP is lured by the name. Don't be. It was never a great design, and at this point is not deserving of the name.

    I really think the reason they are still for sale is institutional customers. To be honest, Apple should remove them from their homepage though. It just makes no sense to purchase one over any other Mac at this point unless you have a very specific use case that calls for a Mac Pro.
     
  16. pl1984 Suspended

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2017
    #16
    I agree with a lot of what you wrote but I did want to comment on the support. OS support for the 6,1 Mac Pro will be determined by Apple and not the presence, or lack of, a T2 chip. There's nothing stopping Apple from releasing new versions of macOS which support the 6,1 Mac Pro other than Apple's decision to stop.

    Regarding hardware support despite its obsolete hardware it's still being sold which means Apple, according to their life cycle policy, will continue to support it as they do any of their current, more technology up to date Macs.
     
  17. Cashmonee macrumors 65816

    Cashmonee

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    May 27, 2006
    #17
    I was referring to the assumption that the T2 will eventually become a line in the sand for Apple and macOS support. The iMac and Mac Pro are the last two without it as far as I know, which means it is possible we see support for non-T2 Macs cut in less than the "normal" 7 or so years. I do not want to bet Apple is releasing macOS for non-T2 enabled Macs beyond 5 or so years.
     
  18. pl1984 Suspended

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    Oct 31, 2017
    #18
    I think that's a reasonable assumption but then in 5 years the nMP will be 10 years old.
     
  19. Cashmonee macrumors 65816

    Cashmonee

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    May 27, 2006
    #19
    Yeah, and I guess that is my big hangup here. In 5 years, the current mini will be 5 years old, where the Mac Pro will be 10. I am not sure why I am paying the same or more for that.

    I guess if you get one for a similar price to a mini and you are going in eyes open, then maybe? I don't know. Still feels like a poor decision.
     
  20. GtrDude thread starter macrumors 6502

    GtrDude

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2011
    #20

    Thanks for that fantastic reply.

    Much appreciated.

    I'm also not attracted to the iGPU idea.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 19, 2018 ---

    But given the history of the Mac Mini, Apple may not upgrade those machines for a long time.
     
  21. Cashmonee macrumors 65816

    Cashmonee

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    May 27, 2006
    #21
    True, but the mini is already faster than all but one of the Mac Pros in multi-core and is faster than all of them in single. I was referring to all other Macs. Also, while the Mac Pro does have a dGPU, it is not terribly high performing by today's standards. It barely beats out the single Vega 20 in the MBP on OpenCL scores. As I said before, people are definitely attracted to the name. Get a mini and pair with an eGPU like the RX 580 and you will have a much faster machine with warranty.

    It is obviously up to you what to do, but I think the mini is objectively the better purchase here unless you really want to be able to say you own a Mac Pro.
     
  22. pl1984 Suspended

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    Oct 31, 2017
    #22
    The difference being you'd be buying one which uses five years old technology and another which uses current technology. Unless you have a specific reason to buy a Mac Pro it makes no sense to do so over the Mini. If that specific reason is "I want a 6,1 Mac Pro" (it was mine) that's as good a reason as any. But as Cashmonee stated just be aware of what you're getting.
     
  23. Ploki macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    #23
    Mac Pro was last updated 2013 and will be updated in 2019.
    Mac Mini in 2014 and was in 2018.
    I think the track record is in favor of mini here. :D

    iGPU is fine for driving one large screen or two smaller screens. Else you can get a decent eGPU. (Which you can replace, cheaply, unlike the aging D300/500/700 in the trash can).

    Also, who cares if the Mini is not updated for another 4 years? The 2018 configured wisely should last you at least 4 years. And in any case, you can replace it with a new Mac Pro in 2 years. Why would that be an issue?

    I really like the trashcan, but it makes no sense to purchase it in 2018, new or used.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 19, 2018 ---
    kinda like GPUs failed in the Mac Pro 2013?
     
  24. th0masp macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2015
    Location:
    germany
    #24
    The GPU is indeed the one thing to worry about with this system. Or at least if we're going by reports that date back to '15/'16. I have my fingers crossed for sure but also do kinda expect that these kinks have been worked out in the later machines.
    Still, my advice re: warranty or tryout period.

    Btw. you can - apparently - still run eGPUs off the Mac Pro as well, just not in the most official way anymore.

    At any rate: that was not a route I would have considered: I wanted something compact, silent or near silent with enough power all-round and the possibility to put in my own storage.
     
  25. Ploki macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    #25
    Well yeah, via thunderbolt2, which is half the bandwidth of TB3.
    I'm waiting for a TB3 nVME enclosure, the drives are so damn small (first nVME drive i ordered). I supposedly will get the enclosure by the end of the week.
     

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38 December 18, 2018