Mac Mini 2018 - daisy chaining question (for a newbie)

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Shadow Puppets, Oct 31, 2018.

  1. Shadow Puppets macrumors member

    Nov 28, 2016
    Apple mentioned briefly yesterday that multiple Mac Minis could be daisy chained together. I'm not clear on what exactly this means... does it mean that you can essentially create a 12 or 18 core setup acting like one computer, with 2-3x the RAM if you buy 2 or 3 of them?
    --- Post Merged, Oct 31, 2018 ---
    To clarify... I am in the market for a machine for audio production in Logic Pro X. Some very hefty Logic projects. I wondered whether you could daisy chain machines to allow Logic to use all the cores / RAM available?
  2. kevink2 macrumors 65816

    Nov 2, 2008
    There are software configurations that are easily parallelized. Connect the computers together with 10gb ethernet, and the software can distribute it across the computers.

    It takes special software, it isn't something automatically done.
  3. jtara, Oct 31, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018

    jtara macrumors 68000

    Mar 23, 2009
    Why would you use 10gb ethernet, when you have 40gb thunderbolt 3?

    I'm assuming what they were referring to in the presentation is daisy-chaining the USB-C/TB3 ports on multiple Minis and using IP over Thunderbolt networking.

    XCode Server is a good example of applications that can make use of this. An XCode build can make use of networked XCode Server instances to farm out parts of an XCode build to other machines. Not specific to daisy-chaining or Thunderbolt. It just works over IP. But clearly 10Gb will do it more efficiently than 1Gb, and 40Gb will do better still...

    I dunno what other applications might benefit. I suppose some video rendering applications, but if so you've picked the wrong device, as the GPU on the mini - while much better than earlier models - isn't suited to the purpose.

    I had to choose between the new Mac Mini and an iMac Pro for iOS/Android software development. I've been using a 2012 Mini i7, and after retrofitting a "fast" 1GB flash SATA drive (OCZ Vector 180, 400MB/sec) I've stretched it to it's limits, and will probably not get the next major OS upgrade.

    The new Mini delivered about what I'd expected (which is more than most here seem to have expected), but the iMac Pro is a better value, though more costly. For 50% more (I priced a high-end Mini configuration) you get nearly (multi-core) double the CPU performance, similar SSD performance, and a 5K IPS display thrown in for free.
  4. steveLONDON macrumors regular

    Jul 12, 2009
    Yeah I was wondering the same as the OP. During the presentation they showed an image of a Mac Mini linked to a MacBook (I think). What is the idea there - use the Mini as additional processing power? I do some Avid editing on a MacBook. Would there be any benefit in investing in a Mini and hooking it up to the laptop?
  5. jtara macrumors 68000

    Mar 23, 2009
    Ask Avid. They surely would know. I would assume so, though.

    I'm a software developer, not a video editor. I only know that's it's useful for XCode builds.

    This should help understand the concept (though it's focused on AfterEffects, not Avid):

    You need:

    - software that can farm out tasks to nodes on a network
    - a network
    - probably a software license for each node (which could get expensive!)

    You don't NEED to network using Thunderbolt 3. But it's an attractive choice since it's 4x as fast as the fastest Ethernet.

    You can use "old computers" as mentioned in the article - but - since licenses are expensive, that may not give you much bang for the buck.

    So, daisy-chained 2018 Mac Minis are attractive for this.

    Check with your software vendor(s) on ability and licensing cost.

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