Mac Mini Maxed out Vs Mac pro 5,1 Maxed out

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Tundraboy44, Jul 25, 2019.

  1. Tundraboy44 macrumors newbie

    Jul 25, 2019
    Hey guys!

    So, recently i've been buying and selling a ton of macs because I just can't decide what's best for me. Here is the situation.

    My daily driver has been a 2013 Maxed out 15' Mbp with a 750m. Until recently, i've just been "docking" it at home with my main monitor. I didn't like the fact that just idling, watching youtube and such, it would run pretty hot, and probably was damaging the long term life of it.

    SO I went to offerup and got a smoking deal on a 2017 4k iMac 21.5', and opened it to put an i7 7770, 32gb ram, and a 512gb evo in it. It has the dedicated 555 in it, but really it's not a graphics heavy machine. Here is where I need help.

    I do video editing, Rendering, Gaming, and a ton of multitasking chrome / heavy window usage. The only thing that is slowing me down about the iMac is the graphics. Should i...

    A.) Sell the iMac and get a new Mac mini 6core i7, 32gb of ram, SSD with an eGPU Radeon 680 for Mojave support.

    B.) Sell the iMac and get a 2010-2012 Mac pro and throw 2 6 core Xeon's in it (Highest that can fit), 32-64gb of ram, SSD and a Radeon 680 For mojave support,

    C.) Keep the iMac and buy an eGPU.... Because it has USB C.

    Budget is a thing here, I got a really good deal on the iMac and it was under $1k after everything. I like the idea of having my own monitors, and desk setup without working with the iMac, but for budget sake.... will the addition of an eGPU do the same as the other two options? Even though you loose some performance with it being external? What would you guys do? I really appreciate the responses, and a ton of googling has really become inconclusive.

    Open for ideas if someone has a better one.
  2. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    How much time (in hours) per week do you spend doing what with your Mac?

    Here is the thing to avoid. Say you spend 30 minutes editing video and a new $3 Mac will let you do this same job is 24 minutes. It is worth it to spend $3K to save 6 minutes a week? Likely not. But if you are sung FCPX for most of the day every day and you are waiting for transcoding and such then $3K might be worth it.

    The big problem is figuring out where the performance bottleneck is. It is the CPU, RAM, the GPU or storage? If the problem is storage speed then spending $$$ on an eGPU will do nothing. SO what you need to do is keep notes on how long to do various things and also look at Apple "Activity Monitor" app. Note the memory use, CPU use and so on and how the system is performing for that task. Don't spend money on non-bottlenecks. The more data you collect the more informed your decision will be.
  3. Tundraboy44 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 25, 2019
    Definitely will take this advice and start logging what I do. Thanks for that tip!

    I'm on it from sun up to sun down. But just don't have $3,500 burning a hole in my pocket.
  4. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    Option (c): keep the iMac and get an eGPU.

    As you said yourself, "The only thing that is slowing me down about the iMac is the graphics." Ok, so add the external graphics, and you'll have everything you need.

    I'm not sure what the point would be of getting rid of the whole iMac when it's only deficient in one area, and you can fix that with a single external component.
  5. Tundraboy44 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 25, 2019
    You make a VERY good point here. I guess I was just curious if there is much benefit with getting the older Mac pro and maxing it out. If I should invest in that, or invest $600 more into an eGPU.
  6. nicho macrumors 68030

    Feb 15, 2008
    Best option seems to me like getting the eGPU and sticking with the imac, your performance gains for $$$ will be low between the self-maxed imac 4k and the mac mini (+ the cost of a good 4k monitor...)

    The mac mini option required the eGPU anyway so you can always change your mind if there's an 8 core or 64GB ram refresh in the future. modularity can be good.

    go for option C and get a thunderbolt 3 eGPU.
  7. G4DPII macrumors regular


    Jun 8, 2015
    Do remember that Apple stiffled eGPU's to TB3 in Mojave.

    So it's not just a case of simply plugging it in anymore. There are work around out there if you do quick search.
  8. nicho macrumors 68030

    Feb 15, 2008
  9. smetvid macrumors 6502

    Nov 1, 2009
    I personally would skip the old 2010 MP tower. While the raw benchmark speeds may show the 12 core doing worse against the 6 core Mac mini you have to keep in mind CPUs go through generational changes to add hardware instructions to help with the processing of certain types of media. Xeon CPUs are already a generation behind the desktop CPUs back in 2010 making them very old by today's standards. Thats partially why the 6 core Mac mini even in raw benchmarks is faster. It also supports modern video formats like h.264 and h.265 much better. Then there is the t2 chip in the Mini that also helps out a lot with h.265 material.

    The other point is the expansion potential. Yes the MP can add in cards and internal storage but the Mini has four TB3 ports using two different TB3 controllers. This gives you plenty of bandwidth for eGPUs, storage and any adapters you may need to use. A eGPU may run slightly slower vs sticking it into a PCI Express x16 slot in the MP but we are talking a 10% difference really.

    Finally we buy Macs for MacOS and you want to invest in a Mac you know will receive future MacOS updates. The 2018 Mini will receive updates for a lot longer than a 2010 MP will.

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8 July 25, 2019