Mac Mini 2018 (re)design: what you would have done differently?

leo-tech

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 23, 2017
186
172
Now that the Mac Mini 2018 is finally with us, and we all are sufficiently acquainted with its current design, the obvious question is "As a Mac Mini user with decision-making power, related to Mac Mini 2018 design - what you would have done differently?"

I'm not talking here about possible connection between restricting users upgrade options and Apple profits, I would rather leave that subject to more knowledgeable people.

I'm talking merely about a "dream Mac Mini 2018" or "considerably improved Mac Mini 2018" from the Mac Mini users perspective, like wouldn't it be nice to have inside MM2018 a standard user upgradeable 2.5" SSD? (in addition to, or instead of soldered SSD), or even two such SSDs? .. to have a considerably easier access to memory? .. to move the internal PSU outside? .. to have a user upgradeable graphics?

My personal dream Mac Mini 2018 re-design and modifications list:

■ move the internal PSU outside, for obvious "more space" and "less EM interference" reasons (optional)

■ increase the cooling fan blades diameter, as much as possible

■ leave the case WIDTH and DEPTH the same, but instead of the round opening on the bottom make the whole bottom panel full size near-square, with 4 screws providing easy access to MEMORY and two 2.5" SSDs/HDDs (and to other user upgradeable components)

■ increase the case HEIGHT 1,5 to 2 times in order to accommodate two standard internal 2.5" SSDs side-by-side, and provide easy access to SSD bays and memory slots

■ two internal user replaceable 2.5" SSDs/HDDs (as it was in MM2012 server) - I would expect Apple to sell such re-designed MM2018 with one SSD, but users would also be able to use HDD spinners instead of SSD #1 (in SSD/HDD bay #1), or in addition to SSD #1 (in SSD/HDD bay #2), if they so desire

■ user upgradeable memory - the only change here is that I would make it easy to access memory slots, by opening the bottom MM2018 panel and nothing else

■ keep SD card slot, and add microSD card slot

■ increase USB 3.0 ports number

■ now that we have more space inside, user upgradeable graphics is also a possibility (more on that later)

Your MM2018 (re)design thoughts, ideas and suggestions are welcome.
 
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Tinmania

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Aug 8, 2011
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Then it is not a Mac anymore. Who wants all these extra black boxes hanging around?
I'm with you on that. It's nice having a simple flat two-prong power cable. Just the cable alone is lighter and easier to manage than the common three-prong thick black power cables. It's little things like that that make me like it.



Mike
 
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bigfatipod

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Sep 22, 2011
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Make it a bit thicker to fit in better cooling and a decent GPU
I would have been entirely fine with a bit thicker. But would it have increased the cost (much) more? How much improvement would a discrete gpu have provided?
 

Ifti

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Dec 14, 2010
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I would have been entirely fine with a bit thicker. But would it have increased the cost (much) more? How much improvement would a discrete gpu have provided?
They already increased the cost regardless. I would have purchased but I need to use it for video editing with FCPX, and I didn't want to have to buy an eGPU for that purpose. I would have happily paid a little more for a better GPU - even if it was an extra BTO option.
 

leo-tech

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Original poster
Sep 23, 2017
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Then it is not a Mac anymore. Who wants all these extra black boxes hanging around?
You would be surprised how many "extra black boxes hanging around" my old Mac Mini, and if you ask me, they do not make it any less Mac, neither in looks nor in functionality, not really. I believe that moving the internal 85W PSU outside would provide certain benefits and advantages which many Mac Mini users would likely accept without many objections.
 
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Tinmania

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You would be surprised how many "extra black boxes hanging around" my old Mac Mini, and if you ask me, they do not make it any less Mac, neither in looks nor in functionality, not really. I believe the advantage of moving the internal 85W PSU outside would provide certain benefits and advantages which many Mac Mini users would likely accept without many objections.
Nah.... I disliked even the one "black box" I had around my mini. It was for a HD enclosure, and I axed it. And I have lots of devices around my minis, since they also run home automation. I have a SmartThings hub, Hue Hub, Blink Module, cable modem, 4G backup modem, wifi router, etc., all near my mac minis, but all of them use regular wall-warts. I use long power strips, mounted to the wall a few feet off the floor, with enough outlet separation to handle any power plug--and keeps it all off the floor. A black box does not fit well into that system, at least the ones I have encountered (with a short cable from box to A/C outlet).

By "black box" I mean a power supply that is too big to fit into a wall-wart, so it connects to A/C using one cable, and yet another cable to connect to the device. Two cables and one black box Vs. one slim cable, and I'll take the slim cable.



Mike
 
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leo-tech

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Original poster
Sep 23, 2017
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Nah.... I disliked even the one "black box" I had around my mini...
BTW, that "moving the PSU outside of Mac Mini" point would be the easiest for me to give up, as it does not make much difference where exactly the PSU is located, inside or outside, assuming it does not interfere with the other, more important MM2018 re-design and expansion points.
 

redheeler

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Oct 17, 2014
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The Mac mini isn't intended as a replacement for the upcoming modular Mac Pro. Apple did alright on this redesign, aside from the price to processor / storage being a poor value.

The only things I would've done differently are i5 + 256 GB at $799, i7 + 512 GB at $1,099, easier RAM upgrades (if possible within the design constraints), socketed SSD (if possible within the design constraints), and keeping the SD card slot instead of dropping it for seemingly no reason.
 
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bigfatipod

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Sep 22, 2011
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The Mac mini isn't intended as a replacement for the upcoming modular Mac Pro. Apple did alright on this redesign, aside from the price to processor / storage being a poor value.

The only things I would've done differently are i5 + 256 GB at $799, i7 + 512 GB at $1,099, easier RAM upgrades (if possible within the design constraints), socketed SSD (if possible within the design constraints), and keeping the SD card slot instead of dropping it for seemingly no reason.
oh man, you're right... I use that SD slot a lot. bummer
 

Hessel89

macrumors regular
Sep 27, 2017
231
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Arnhem
Better PSU and USB shielding better bluetooth, and wifi that isn't connected to the USB tree, but to the same PCIe lane as Ethernet 10Gbe (as you probably wouldn't be stressing ethernet and wifi a lot at the same time)
A awesome addition would be 1 or even 2 M.2 Slots. But I'm guessing Apple wouldn't be doing that as there would be no reason to buy a 1 or 2 TB model anymore. Adding even more, like PCI slots or a discrete GPU would bring it into Mac Pro territory which isn't really necessary for a mini although they could consider implementing the Intel-Vega SOC for the next mild update.
 

F-Train

macrumors 65816
Apr 22, 2015
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I would have had a new monitor line ready to go at launch that includes Adobe RGB as a colour space and can be used with external video card enclosures other than Black Magic’s.

I think that Apple is leaving a lot of money on the table every month that the LG UltraFines are the only Apple monitor option.

I like the mini itself the way it is. For me, its chief attraction is portability. I have no interest in the idea of turning the mini into a maxi. If I want a modular computer, I can buy a PC. As for the SD card slot, it’s obsolete. Get over it :) Shock, horror, I wouldn’t have been upset if they had gotten rid of the headphone jack too, especially if it helped make room for another port.
 
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golfpan

macrumors newbie
Dec 18, 2018
9
6
Trying to be realistic, just:

•Better EMI shielding
•Storage on NVMe

That's it. Those two things would make me feel like this is a pretty perfect machine.
 

Kaida

macrumors regular
May 28, 2016
184
74
Singapore
Now that the Mac Mini 2018 is finally with us, and we all are sufficiently acquainted with its current design, the obvious question is "As a Mac Mini user with decision-making power, related to Mac Mini 2018 design - what you would have done differently?"

I'm not talking here about possible connection between restricting users upgrade options and Apple profits, I would rather leave that subject to more knowledgeable people.

I'm talking merely about a "dream Mac Mini 2018" or "considerably improved Mac Mini 2018" from the Mac Mini users perspective, like wouldn't it be nice to have inside MM2018 a standard user upgradeable 2.5" SSD? (in addition to, or instead of soldered SSD), or even two such SSDs? .. to have a considerably easier access to memory? .. to move the internal PSU outside? .. to have a user upgradeable graphics?

My personal dream Mac Mini 2018 re-design and modifications list:

■ move the internal PSU outside, for obvious "more space" and "less EM interference" reasons (optional)

■ increase the cooling fan blades diameter, as much as possible

■ leave the case WIDTH and DEPTH the same, but instead of the round opening on the bottom make the whole bottom panel full size near-square, with 4 screws providing easy access to MEMORY and two 2.5" SSDs/HDDs (and to other user upgradeable components)

■ increase the case HEIGHT 1,5 to 2 times in order to accommodate two standard internal 2.5" SSDs side-by-side, and provide easy access to SSD bays and memory slots

■ two internal user replaceable 2.5" SSDs/HDDs (as it was in MM2012 server) - I would expect Apple to sell such re-designed MM2018 with one SSD, but users would also be able to use HDD spinners instead of SSD #1 (in SSD/HDD bay #1), or in addition to SSD #1 (in SSD/HDD bay #2), if they so desire

■ user upgradeable memory - the only change here is that I would make it easy to access memory slots, by opening the bottom MM2018 panel and nothing else

■ keep SD card slot, and add microSD card slot

■ increase USB 3.0 ports number

■ now that we have more space inside, user upgradeable graphics is also a possibility (more on that later)

Your MM2018 (re)design thoughts, ideas and suggestions are welcome.
Sounds like a NUC! Seems like intel got it right with 1x nvme and 1x sata with user replacement ram too! Just need it to support macOS natively now.. haha
 
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Spytap

macrumors regular
Oct 8, 2010
121
66
Really the only big thing I'd change is to add a Vega option, and give each thunderbolt port its own controller.
 
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brentsg

macrumors 68040
Oct 15, 2008
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Better PSU and USB shielding better bluetooth, and wifi that isn't connected to the USB tree, but to the same PCIe lane as Ethernet 10Gbe (as you probably wouldn't be stressing ethernet and wifi a lot at the same time)
A awesome addition would be 1 or even 2 M.2 Slots. But I'm guessing Apple wouldn't be doing that as there would be no reason to buy a 1 or 2 TB model anymore. Adding even more, like PCI slots or a discrete GPU would bring it into Mac Pro territory which isn't really necessary for a mini although they could consider implementing the Intel-Vega SOC for the next mild update.
When you start adding options like this you're getting into Mac Pro territory. The consumer chipset simply doesn't have enough lanes to do everything. With TB3 (and ppl wanting additional controllers), 10GbE, 2 SSD's, a Vega GPU people are theorizing.. there'd be a good bit of resource (lane) sharing going on.

I'm currently running the Z370 chipset with an Intel Optane SSD in PCIE, plus 10GbE, 2 M.2 drives.. I'd have to glance at the diagram but SATA/USB/WiFi/2xM.2 are sharing 4X PCIE lanes via DMI3. The GPU is only using 8x lanes b/c I'm short. And the slot that -could- house a TB3 card is occupied by the network card.
 
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Partron22

macrumors 68020
Apr 13, 2011
2,471
698
Yes
256GB SSD as smallest. Fixed the perennial Bluetooth issues. 16GB ram minimum.
Brought the price down about $200. Input and output mini jacks. APFS optional, also T2 disable. Along that line, a way to generally relax security theater. Make the cloud and iTunes less pushy.