Real World Uses for New Mac Mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by wdwpsu, Nov 10, 2018.

  1. wdwpsu macrumors member

    Dec 20, 2017
    I'd love to hear some use cases from people who have gotten the new mac mini. Which build did you go with, how are you using it, which apps are you running on it, and are you happy with your purchase. (I'm sure somebody out there is using their Mac Mini for something other than running Geekbench and tracking internal temperature. ;))
  2. archer75, Nov 10, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2018

    archer75 macrumors 68020

    Jan 26, 2005
    i7, 512gb SSD, upgraded to 32gb ram on my own. I use it for plex server, sonarr, handbrake encoding, ripping with makemkv, lightroom and some other general tasks. So far it's working great!

    I have one Drobo 5D now with 5x 8tb drives and a Drobo 5C on the way that will house 4x 4tb and 1x 2tb drives. I picked up a OWC external enclosure for my ASUS Blu-ray drive. An amazon basics USB-C 3.1 to 4 port USB-A hub for some more USB ports.
    I'm also using an older 4tb seagate external for time machine.
  3. Storm312, Nov 10, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2018

    Storm312 macrumors newbie

    Nov 10, 2018
    I've used macOS at work for the past 4 years or so doing full-stack web dev... decided to pick one up for my own personal use/projects. I decided that I didn't need the portability of the laptop so wanted to save that cash. I have a gaming PC but I generally don't like Windows for software development and I don't want to deal with the fatigue of two different environments, keyboard shortcuts, etc in that regard anymore. Might also use it as a server and host some home brewed APIs on it.

    I bought the i7 1TB model and separate 32GB ram kit for longevity.
  4. a4k04 macrumors member

    Nov 10, 2016
    I'm using the i7 model for a basic home server, file server, plex / media server that also runs two VMs (one macos, one linux, both pretty light usage handling mostly networking / sysadmin type tasks). The mini handles 3 4K concurrent transcodes (plus a 1080p transcode) to iOS / tvOS devices with hardware transcoding enabled while maintaining responsive VMs / file sharing. Video source is 4K hevc files, 2 with dolby atmos, transcoded to whatever format non-4K iOS devices like.

    I'm pleased with it's performance, it's replacing a 2011 13" mbp, 2013 15" mbp and a 2012 13" mba. CPU generally hangs out between 3.5ghz and 4.3ghz, usually somewhere between 68-80 celsius. I'm not sure how plex schedules transcodes with quicksync and CPU cores but with hardware transcoding disabled 3 4k streams works fine after an initial buffering period but causes a noticeable performance hit on the VMs. CPU sits around 3.55-3.6ghz under 4k handbrake transcode. Overall a great little machine.
  5. Stephen.R macrumors 65816


    Nov 2, 2018
    Do future (when apple will take my damn money) purchases count?

    It’ll be i7/256GB/64Gb BTO

    Daily workhorse, for a combination of web dev, ops, and vary varied “tooling” dev (eg building Vagrant base boxes, management tools for Linux servers, libraries, etc)

    Will be paired with at least one, quite possibly two Dell P2415Q 4K/24” displays.
  6. StellarVixen macrumors 68000


    Mar 1, 2018
    For me, when I get one in December, it will be my main computer for everything. Coding, gaming, writing, web surfing, media consumption, just about everything you can do with one desktop computer.

    Mine will be i7/512GB/8GB (later installing 32 myself).

    I will be keeping my 1080p LG display, and get another one, probably 1440p, or maybe even 4K. Dual monitor setup will be mainly for coding purposes.

    That's my "real world" use, if that fits your criteria.
  7. F-Train, Nov 10, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2018

    F-Train macrumors 65816

    Apr 22, 2015
    NYC & Newfoundland
    I've purchased an i5/256GB/8GB because I want a computer that I can easily transport, including by air. My 27" iMac is not exactly what you'd call an ideal flying companion.

    I'm really happy with how compact the mini is; for my purposes other considerations are almost secondary.

    I have another 13 days to decide whether to exchange this i5 for an i7. Will be adding 32GB of RAM, and probably an external GPU. I think that a 256GB flash drive will do it. I use my internal drive only as a workspace. Data that I'm not currently working on is on external drives. That said, if I exchange this mini for an i7, I'll probably also go with a 512GB drive.

    I've narrowed down monitors to Eizo, BenQ and the Apple/LG 4K. Will decide which on Monday/Tuesday. I'm probably going with a relatively small monitor plus a cheap monitor to display software tools.

    It's for all-around recreational use, the most data intensive applications being Final Cut (including 4K), Motion, Compressor, Photoshop/Lightroom and Logic.
  8. oldtime macrumors 6502

    Nov 27, 2007
    Do you prefer dual monitor to ultra wide for coding? I’m trying to decide between the two set ups and I’m stuck on where to pull the trigger. Unfortunately there are no stores near me where I could even see an ultra wide, so if I go that route I’d have to buy it blind and hope the loss of horizontal space isn’t much of an issue.
  9. StellarVixen macrumors 68000


    Mar 1, 2018
    I do not know if it is an illusion, but two monitors appear to give you more space. Plus, you can scale the resolution independently on each. So, yeah, I prefer two over one wide.
  10. dmsea1 macrumors member


    Nov 9, 2018
    i7 - 16GB - 1TB SSD - 34" Curved Widescreen and 4k TV Hooked up
    Replacing 2009 late iMac with 8GB and 1TB dirty spinning drive (good riddance)

    Use is mostly for music making - using GarageBand and video editing using iMovie - 1080 drone and go pro
    No gaming, I have a PS4 for that.

    I was waiting for a refresh on the iMac that I through was coming this year, I waited and waited and couldn't wait no more. When this little beast came around, I jumped on it - glad I did. Tested it all last night, will do more editing today, but so far extremely happy with the choice. I don't need the flashiest of Monitor, would rather put that money into speed and SSD storage. It was using 11-12 GB of the RAM, so 16Gb should be the minimum - I will go higher next year or 2, but not needed right now.
  11. Apple2GS macrumors member


    Jul 31, 2016
    US of A
    i5 with self installed 32Gig memory, used for development work. Xcode for iOS apps, Intellij for Java work, also a Windows 10 VM for some .net projects. Monitor is a Dell 34 inch ultra wide (3440x1440). I prefer this setup over an iMac with its smaller, scaled, and glossy screens.
  12. thingstoponder macrumors 6502


    Oct 23, 2014
    I plan to get a base model and connect my hard drives to it and use it as a file server, iTunes media server, plex server, Time Machine backups, offload stuff like handbrake encodes in the background to it, use it for screen sharing to my iPad, and hook it up to my TV while I'm at it because why not? Occasionally I can play a game on my TV with my bluetooth controller.
  13. SpacemanSpiffed macrumors regular


    Mar 27, 2013
    Pacific NW
    Game developer who works on projects that have OSX versions, despite Apple doing everything they can to steer clear of gaming and gamers.
  14. scorlin macrumors newbie


    Nov 10, 2018
    hello, am glad i found you since i dont find anything on the net talking about the i5 and xcode development. i want to get this same exact machine for the sole purpose of xcode since i already got my android/web/software station in the form of a windows pc but i wanted to know how quick can you compile code with this i5 mac mini. i would like to think that since this is a 8th gen i5 with 6 core that it should chew up the compile times like nothing for a medium to large ios application but i want to hear it from someone like you. i really dont want to spend 1400 on the i7 version because i think its overkill for the sole purpose of using xcode and nothing else
  15. Micky Do, Nov 10, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018

    Micky Do macrumors 68000

    Micky Do

    Aug 31, 2012
    An island in the Andaman Sea.
    You have to realise that Geekbench scores and internal temperatures, along with CPU speed and cores, RAM GB's, and the like are of vital importance to x-perts, on-line pundits and wannabes after bragging rights, who are somewhat vociferous on the Mac Mini forums. A few may be actual pros who frequently render videos, or crunch large amounts of data, while others just take joy from the snappy performance from a machine specced well beyond their real world needs...... Just as we see in the world of cars and motorcycles.

    As an average Joe, employed as a teacher I use Pages to create documents, Numbers to keep records, Keynote occasionally for presentations, iTunes for audio that goes with some the textbooks I use (and have used Garage Band to transfer tapes to digital for a few), Safari for research, and sometimes Photos. I also use MEE, a downloaded app to go with some of the teaching material I use. I also use the Calendar and the Dictionary quite a bit.

    I used to take my Mac Mini to use in class occasionally (with an LCD projector), but now I need a computer in class most days, so I bought a new 2017 MacBook Air a few months ago, before the start of the present term. I see it as supplementing, not replacing the Mac Mini.

    Personally I use most of the above, though differently. As an expat Safari is important for communications and entertainment (I don't have a TV and prefer on-line radio from home and elsewhere to the local offerings). Also iTunes where I have loaded most of my CD collection. I use Photos to edit and archive shots I take at sports events (some of which are used in the local press and on websites) concerts, travels etc. I use Maps and other apps occasionally.

    Nothing I do is highly demanding of a computer, and most can be handled with aplomb by my 2009 base model Mac Mini (upgraded with an extra 4 GB RAM, but still on the original 120 GB HDD) with the the only real limitation being the awful Photos 1.0, which replaced the adequate iPhoto when I upgraded to El Capitan (I now do editing on the Air which I have updated to Mojave, and it has Photos 4.0, which I find OK). Also it would be good to have more on board storage.

    Given it's age, thus possible HDD failure and other reliability issues in the offing I was looking to replace the 2009 Mini with a 2018 Mac Mini to take over the same role, more likely sooner than later. It would also bring some convince with the likes of AirDrop, so I could work on documents and the like on the Mini and easily transfer them to the Air.

    However, given the specs and price of the base model I have second thoughts. The base model 2018 Mac Mini has way more grunt than I need..... but in the 128 GB SSD (of which probably 30 GB will be taken up for MacOS, Apps and "Systems") there will be less available data storage than in the 2009 Mini I am using now.

    The 2018 Mini would be snappier to open apps and files. However, once they are open on the Air, I don't sense any significant difference in using them compared to the Mini. Would be the same with the 2018 Mini.

    All in all for an average Joe such as myself, the 2018 Mac Mini costs a lot more, for little more real life utility, than the nearly ten year old Mac Mini I am using now. To upgrade the storage to adds significantly to the price. It may have plenty going for it for real pro users, but the consumer base that was served adequately by Mac Minis of yore have been left out in the cold.

    My Mac Mini and my motorcycle.... both adequate for my humble needs.

    P7070001.jpg Srichada Hotel & Restaurant.jpg
  16. mralexandercom macrumors member

    Oct 16, 2018
    • 3.2GHz 6-core Core i7
    • 8GB 2666MHz DDR4
    • 512GB SSD
    • Intel UHD Graphics 630
    • 1GB Ethernet Port
    - will be updating memory to 32GB (CORSAIR Vengeance Performance 32GB (2x16GB) 260-Pin DDR4 SO-DIMM DDR4 2666 (PC4 21300) Laptop Memory Model CMSX32GX4M2A2666C18)
    - buying a samsung 4K display
    - if really needed, doubt it, i will get an external SSD
    - i am also considering buying this (Twelve South HiRise Stand)

    Mostly using it for web development, will run an Ubuntu VM server on it and few applications, code editor, microsoft office, etc.
  17. grandM macrumors 65816


    Oct 14, 2013
    The i5 should do the job. I myself will buy the i7 in time. I still own my 2012 i7 so it's an investment. The i7 2012 runs Xcode so they new i5 should too.
  18. SpacemanSpiffed macrumors regular


    Mar 27, 2013
    Pacific NW
    This post might be of interest:

    The way I read it, the jump from i3 to i5 is likely to give more of a boost than the jump from i5 to i7. i.e. past a certain number of cores/threads, overhead and contention gets in the way. the NVMe SSD should help a bit, but from what I've seen similar on the PC side, multi-core compilation probably hasn't been optimized to scale up very high.
  19. stillcrazyman macrumors 68020


    Oct 10, 2014
    In Exile
    I have a Late 2012 iMac 27" that was top spec when I bought it. It's been my main machine for 6+ years. I replaced the spinner with a 1TB SSD, and upgraded the ram to 32GB. Given it's age (and random crashes) and the fact that I just don't 'like' all in ones for a few reasons, I am looking for an alternative to another iMac.

    I really only need a desktop to edit my photos. I'm not a pro, just an enthusiast. I would of course use a Mini for all the regular stuff we do with a Mac - web, emails, etc.

    If I can make up my mind-

    6c i7, 1TB(or 512SSD), and 32GB (I'll install the upgrade)
    Just need all new accessories - Keyboard, Trackpad
    Display - 27"-32" color accurate, 4k - Damn ! these are expensive !
    eGpu - ? ON1 Photo Raw, Luminar and DxO PhotoLab can use the additional power of the eGpu from what I've read, so that might be another expense - I may wait a bit and see how the onboard ogpu handles things.

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18 November 10, 2018