Mac mini 2018 VS Mac Pro 2013

complaxneoda

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 31, 2017
17
3
Which is the best choice between a 1000 usd used 2018 Mac mini i5 model and a 1250 usd used 2013 Mac Pro quad-core version?

Thank you.
 

Stephen.R

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Nov 2, 2018
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Thailand
It will depend entirely on your planned use.

If you have high GPU requirements, the Mac Pro may still be a better option but that's a pretty big "if" and "may". Personally I'd go with the Mini.
 
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complaxneoda

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 31, 2017
17
3
It will depend entirely on your planned use.

If you have high GPU requirements, the Mac Pro may still be a better option but that's a pretty big "if" and "may". Personally I'd go with the Mini.
I just want a Mac with more ram. I have a 8gb ram 2016 MacBook Pro. It is Slow and always run out of ram.
 

dia3olik

macrumors member
Sep 14, 2007
87
18
Italy
It will depend entirely on your planned use.

If you have high GPU requirements, the Mac Pro may still be a better option but that's a pretty big "if" and "may". Personally I'd go with the Mini.
On the contrary, if you need high GPU performance, the base dual D300 of the trashcan won't cut it.
[doublepost=1560242513][/doublepost]
I just want a Mac with more ram. I have a 8gb ram 2016 MacBook Pro. It is Slow and always run out of ram.
buy the i5 MM2018 and upgrade it to 32GB yourself, it's less than 150 and it would future proof the Mini
 

complaxneoda

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 31, 2017
17
3
On the contrary, if you need high GPU performance, the base dual D300 of the trashcan won't cut it.
[doublepost=1560242513][/doublepost]

buy the i5 MM2018 and upgrade it to 32GB yourself, it's less than 150 and it would future proof the Mini
Ok, thank you
 

th0masp

macrumors 6502a
Mar 16, 2015
521
265
germany
Well hopefully you don't need upgradeable internal storage either. The mini is bad news in that regard.
 

smetvid

macrumors 6502
Nov 1, 2009
423
179
Well hopefully you don't need upgradeable internal storage either. The mini is bad news in that regard.
Who cares about internal storage on a desktop computer? There are dozens of ways to add extra storage to the Mac Mini. Even if the internal storage could be replaced I doubt I would ever do it since TB3 makes that process so much easier.
 
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th0masp

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Mar 16, 2015
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Who cares about internal storage on a desktop computer? There are dozens of ways to add extra storage to the Mac Mini. Even if the internal storage could be replaced I doubt I would ever do it since TB3 makes that process so much easier.
Evidently you don't. I on the other hand have managed to accidentially yank out a cable or two in my life when fumbling around with cables at the back of the computer. If that's the drive I store my movies on, ok - I click away the error message and continue. If it's the one my scratch space or user folder is on that's currently being written to I can see fun times ahead. :)
 

saulinpa

macrumors 6502a
Jun 15, 2008
931
370
Who cares about internal storage on a desktop computer? There are dozens of ways to add extra storage to the Mac Mini. Even if the internal storage could be replaced I doubt I would ever do it since TB3 makes that process so much easier.
Desktop SSD TB3 solutions cost a lot more than swapping a SSD stick. The adapters/enclosures are ridiculous just to add 256GB.
 
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smetvid

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Nov 1, 2009
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Desktop SSD TB3 solutions cost a lot more than swapping a SSD stick. The adapters/enclosures are ridiculous just to add 256GB.
I just bought two USB-C to USB-3 adapters on Amazon for $8.00. Thats too expensive? There are also m2 enclosures with USB-C connections capable of over 2,800 MB/S for $30. Not sure what your budget is but that is not ridiculous at all.
 

Stephen.R

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Nov 2, 2018
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There are also m2 enclosures with USB-C connections capable of over 2,800
A USB 3.1Gen2 interface (10Gbps) can carry 1.25GB/sec as a theoretical maximum.

I generally agree that internal storage is less important for a desktop, especially the size of a mini (there are even perfectly sized USB3.0 enclosures to stack drives with the mini) but if you want the full speed of a good M2, you need something Thunderbolt based.
 

Steamers

macrumors newbie
Sep 25, 2013
7
0
New England
I have had both. The Mac Mini hands down. The quad core trashcan has major problems with the video cards freezing the desktop.......don't ask how I know.
 

SuperMatt

macrumors 6502a
Mar 28, 2002
760
2,619
You can get a 12-core processor upgrade for the Mac Pro from Macsales.com for $450. $1700 for a 12-core Xeon machine is pretty awesome. I would get the pro if you think you could ever use 12 cores. Plus its internal storage is also upgradable.
 

th0masp

macrumors 6502a
Mar 16, 2015
521
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You can replace them but there's no upgrade path beyond D300/500/700 and these are quite expensive when bought separately and the performance differences between them is hardly worth the cost these days. Basically going for the D700 makes only sense if you require the extra video memory it comes with.
Interestingly some do report that it is possible to run different cards in the same computer. A primary D700 with a secondary lesser model seems doable.

But if you'd like a significantly faster GPU than these: people seem to report good results using eGPUs.
 

smetvid

macrumors 6502
Nov 1, 2009
423
179
While eGPU is an options it is. bit of a hack since apple doesn't officially support thunderbolt 2 for eGPU. At any point in the future one could wait for the community to fix broken support if they will even be able to. TB2 is also slower and will affect the performance more than it would on the Mac Mini. If the aim is to use a eGPU and GPU performance is more important than the Mac mini with two TB3 controllers is the best choice. You can use two eGPUs at full TB3 bandwidth and four at a limited bandwidth for each.

While the 12 core MP CPU may be faster than the 6 core Mac mini it isn't that much faster. It is also a much older generation of CPU with less optimized hardware instructions. Being a 2013 Xeon makes it that much faster to be outdated for future MacOS support vs the modern 2018 i7 in the Mac Mini. Xeons tend to be at least a generation behind desktop processors which makes the 2013 MP a very outdated CPU today.

While the 2013 MP may have three thunderbolt controllers they are thunderbolt 2 meaning 20gb + 20 gb + 2-gb = 60gb. The Mac mini has two thunderbolt 3 controllers at 40gb + 4-gb = 80gb. The Mac mini has a lot more bandwidth at its disposal. Plus the USB3 and 10gbe on the Mini is not tied to either TB3 controller so you can use 5gb of USB3 storage and 10gb of NAS storage without touching the TB3 bandwidth leaving it open for eGPU bandwidth.
 

Stephen.R

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FYI the USB-A ports on the mini report as being 10Gbps, not 5. I’ve yet to find a device actually capable of testing it though.
 

Stephen.R

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Nov 2, 2018
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In the System Report on mine it says "up to 5Gbps".
Hmm, they definitely used to say "up to 10Gbps" on mine, but it also used to show the port speed and the active negotiated speed separately, which it doesn't do now (and so then you'd get e.g. "Up to 10Gbps" as the port speed and "5Gbps" as the negotiated link speed.
 

MisterAndrew

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Sep 15, 2015
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I vote 2013 Mac Pro. I've had Mac minis and Mac Pros and the Pros are leagues beyond the minis. The Mac Pro with D300 graphics appears to be stable in Mojave, but not in Catalina. There's a bug in the graphics driver Apple hasn't fixed that causes an occasional freeze & restart. The associated panic says it is due to a 'watchdog timeout' and there's a big thread about it in the Catalina forum. It doesn't just affect that Mac Pro, but also the 2019 Mac Pro (I think with Navi graphics), the 16" MBP, and others. So if you want to use Catalina & beyond I recommend a 2013 Mac Pro with D500 or D700 graphics because they are stable. I've had Mac Pros with all three graphics. However, the D500 and D700 GPUs are prone to overheating under heavy use so it's imperative that you bump up the fan speed with a 3rd party program like iStat Menus. Apple never enabled a satisfactory fan profile because apparently they valued silence over stability. Heat damaged GPUs will have issues like screen flicker.

I vote for the Mac Pro because it's a server grade workstation. It will not throttle under use like the mini. The SSD and RAM are also easily swapped out. There are NVMe SSDs up to 8TB now. And of course it has GPUs. They're actually pretty good even by today's standards. The only GPU from Apple that has better double precision compute performance (FP64) than the D700 is the Vega II in the 2019 Mac Pro and it's only better by a hair. Btw, don't even think about using an eGPU. They are rubbish and totally unusable over the TB2 bus. It just doesn't have enough bandwidth. I wouldn't even use one over the TB3 bus on the mini. That's just not a good solution.
 

richmlow

macrumors regular
Jul 17, 2002
182
61
Hello complaxneoda,


I'll just cut/paste my response (from a similar thread on the MacRumors forums).


As you decide on your next Mac acquisition, here are some other factors (in no particular order) you may wish to consider:

1. Upgrading the 2018 Mac mini SSD is impossible. Upgrading its RAM is possible, but involves a bit of careful work.

2. Upgrading the 2013 Mac Pro SSD is extremely easy. Upgrading its RAM is extremely easy.

3. It is true that for single-core performance, the 2018 Mac mini is faster than the 2013 Mac Pro. The same might be true for multi-core performance. However, the Xeon CPU (workstation class) in the 2013 Mac Pro will not throttle down under sustained workload. The CPU in the 2018 Mac mini may throttle down under heavy sustained computation.

4. My 2013 Mac Pro runs very well with macOS Mojave 10.14.6. My 2018 Mac mini does not run as well with macOS Catalina 10.15.6.

5. Some of the ports in the 2018 Mac mini are very modern (Thunderbolt 3) and greatly increases the expansion options. The 2013 Mac Pro has some Thunderbolt 2 ports, which are "antiquated."

6. Both the 2013 Mac Pro and the 2018 Mac mini are virtually silent.

I own both machines and I like them both. From a purely subjective point of view, my 2013 Mac Pro just feels more robust (compared to my 2018 Mac mini). I could imagine using my 2013 Mac Pro for another 5-7 years!

Good luck in your decision!


richmlow



Which is the best choice between a 1000 usd used 2018 Mac mini i5 model and a 1250 usd used 2013 Mac Pro quad-core version?

Thank you.
 
Last edited:
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