My usage case, mini +2x4k?

m0nkeyb0y

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 16, 2009
71
58
I've been waiting for new imacs, but now intrigued by the mini. Right now it's not an absolute need, as I'm using a 2013 13" MBP, but I've got a very brief window of opportunity with a good discount (an extra 8% beyond Edu pricing.) I don't do anything GPU intensive, and would go for the i5 or i7 and 16Gb RAM.

However, I'd be driving at least two monitors, right now a 4k (scaled) and a 1920x1080. I'd be adding a third monitor, (4k, scaled, acquiring with Amazon credit); I already have a good keyboard, but would need to replace my trackpad with a new MagicTRackpad 2. I've got $170 in Apple credit that can cover that, but wouldn't apply to the computer, since buying from a legit 3rd party.

My concern is how the GPU will handle three screens, two running at 4k scaled resolution. I hear upping the RAM to 32 is helpful with this, but don't know how bad it might be without it.

I like the mini, and would prefer another monitor to be 32" (as opposed to buying future 27" imac instead), but wonder if I need the better GPU I'd get with an iMac.
 

macdos

macrumors regular
Oct 15, 2017
214
291
I've been waiting for new imacs, but now intrigued by the mini. Right now it's not an absolute need, as I'm using a 2013 13" MBP, but I've got a very brief window of opportunity with a good discount (an extra 8% beyond Edu pricing.) I don't do anything GPU intensive, and would go for the i5 or i7 and 16Gb RAM.

However, I'd be driving at least two monitors, right now a 4k (scaled) and a 1920x1080. I'd be adding a third monitor, (4k, scaled, acquiring with Amazon credit); I already have a good keyboard, but would need to replace my trackpad with a new MagicTRackpad 2. I've got $170 in Apple credit that can cover that, but wouldn't apply to the computer, since buying from a legit 3rd party.

My concern is how the GPU will handle three screens, two running at 4k scaled resolution. I hear upping the RAM to 32 is helpful with this, but don't know how bad it might be without it.

I like the mini, and would prefer another monitor to be 32" (as opposed to buying future 27" imac instead), but wonder if I need the better GPU I'd get with an iMac.
As a rule of thumb, always get as much RAM as you can. This is especially true if you need to have RAM available as VRAM.

The onboard graphics are totally adequate for general use. You only need an eGPU if you are doing computationally intense processing that takes advantage of the GPU, like gaming and some video processing.
 
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Neodym

macrumors 68000
Jul 5, 2002
1,929
511
As a rule of thumb, always get as much RAM as you can. This is especially true if you need to have RAM available as VRAM.
Don’t know about caching, but MacOS reserves a maximum of 1536MB as “VRAM”, starting for sure at 16GB Ram (not sure about 8). So with 16GB Ram you should be able to get the maximum of VRAM macOS will supply/use properly (apart from potential hacks) and 32GB Ram does not increase your VRAM over 16GB Ram.
 

macdos

macrumors regular
Oct 15, 2017
214
291
Don’t know about caching, but MacOS reserves a maximum of 1536MB as “VRAM”, starting for sure at 16GB Ram (not sure about 8). So with 16GB Ram you should be able to get the maximum of VRAM macOS will supply/use properly (apart from potential hacks) and 32GB Ram does not increase your VRAM over 16GB Ram.
No, MacOS doesn't reserve anything. VRAM is allocated dynamically.