Specs to replace Late 2012 i7 mini with 2019 Mini

docprego

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 12, 2007
1,201
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Henderson, NV
I've been quite happy with my current Mac mini, I upgraded it to 16GB RAM and a 1TB SSD. I always thought it was quite snappy and never had complaints about performance. Recently I noticed that it doesn't feel quite so quick and the fans are spinning up much more frequently. I attribute this to the software its running being more demanding than it was previously and to my increased use of streaming video on my external display.

With all that said I am about to order a new Mini but can't decide which options to choose. What would you recommend for general use keeping in mind that I run dual displays (both 1080p) at most times and watch a lot of streaming video on my external display.

Lastly do you think I will perceive an obvious improvement moving from my current mini to a new one? To me an improvement could simply mean less fan noise which would indicate the CPU isn't working as hard.

Thanks!
 

frou

macrumors 6502a
Mar 14, 2009
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If you're feeling handy, I would take it apart and clean out the fan with compressed air, plus replace the thermal paste on the CPU. Has a chance of making it act as good as new.
 

docprego

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 12, 2007
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Henderson, NV
If you're feeling handy, I would take it apart and clean out the fan with compressed air, plus replace the thermal paste on the CPU. Has a chance of making it act as good as new.
Thank you for the tip.

Do you think I should be seeing 4000+ RPM fan speeds with Safari in one window doing web surfing related tasks and chrome on the external display streaming 1080p Hulu/Netflix?
 

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
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New Jersey Pine Barrens
FWIW, there's no such thing as a 2019 Mini, the newest model is called "late 2018" :)

I also have a 2012 2.6ghz i7 quad with 16gb and the original internal 256gb Apple SSD, although I usually boot from an external 1TB USB SSD. My primary monitor is an ancient Apple Cinema Display at 1920 x 1200. I also have a Sony 1080p Studio monitor connected to a BlackMagic Ultrastudio box via Thunderbolt.

The only times I hear the fans kick in is usually when I'm rendering video in Final Cut Pro or Handbrake, or possibly Logic Pro. Now, room temperature can definitely be a factor in this however. I don't use my Mini like you do though, I don't watch movies on one screen while working on another. But the fact that this has started happening recently does suggest something has changed and a dirt buildup certainly might explain it.

I'm still happy with my quad and don't plan to upgrade for awhile (unless it dies), I primarily use this machine for 1080p30 video editing in Final Cut Pro and audio editing in Logic Pro. However, the bottom of the line 2018 mini has the same geekbench rating plus a lot of other improvements, like greater RAM capacity, better graphics, faster ports, etc. I saw the base model for about $670 at the Apple Refurb Store recently.

When I finally upgrade, I'll go with one of the top (much more expensive :eek: ) models because I work with video and other powerful software. But you haven't really made a case for needing an especially powerful machine.
 

docprego

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 12, 2007
1,201
58
Henderson, NV
FWIW, there's no such thing as a 2019 Mini, the newest model is called "late 2018" :)

I also have a 2012 2.6ghz i7 quad with 16gb and the original internal 256gb Apple SSD, although I usually boot from an external 1TB USB SSD. My primary monitor is an ancient Apple Cinema Display at 1920 x 1200. I also have a Sony 1080p Studio monitor connected to a BlackMagic Ultrastudio box via Thunderbolt.

The only times I hear the fans kick in is usually when I'm rendering video in Final Cut Pro or Handbrake, or possibly Logic Pro. Now, room temperature can definitely be a factor in this however. I don't use my Mini like you do though, I don't watch movies on one screen while working on another. But the fact that this has started happening recently does suggest something has changed and a dirt buildup certainly might explain it.

I'm still happy with my quad and don't plan to upgrade for awhile (unless it dies), I primarily use this machine for 1080p30 video editing in Final Cut Pro and audio editing in Logic Pro. However, the bottom of the line 2018 mini has the same geekbench rating plus a lot of other improvements, like greater RAM capacity, better graphics, faster ports, etc. I saw the base model for about $670 at the Apple Refurb Store recently.

When I finally upgrade, I'll go with one of the top (much more expensive :eek: ) models because I work with video and other powerful software. But you haven't really made a case for needing an especially powerful machine.
Thanks for your insight.

My usage has changed significantly in the last year. Previously I watched an externally inputted TiVo HDMI signal on the external display about 90% of the time. With the recent surge in streaming services I find myself watching content that way in a much greater proportion, roughly estimating about 50-50 now.

I'll check the fan for sure, but I wonder if I just hadn't taxed this mini previously as I am now.
 

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
4,194
1,875
New Jersey Pine Barrens
Well the HD4000 video chip is arguably the weakest link in the 2012 Mini, so I'm sure any of the 2018 models will be a big upgrade in that regard. Also, I believe the T2 chip in all of the new Mini's accelerates video decoding, but I haven't really paid attention to the specifics, since I'm not in the market now.
 

opeter

macrumors 68000
Aug 5, 2007
1,562
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Slovenia, EU
Video is accelerated trough the integrated Intel UHD 630 GPU & QuickSync technology. Even the basic 2018 Mac mini (i3) will be much faster than any 2012 i7 Mac mini...

CPU compare:
Intel Core i7-3720QM @ 2.60GHz
Intel Core i3-8100B @ 3.60GHz

The only bottleneck can be the 128 GB SSD. But you can order/buy it with a bigger one.

If you have the money, go for the six core i5 (middle) model with at least 256 GB SSD. Of course you can buy an external SSD and use it trough USB-C.
 
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iluvmacs99

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Apr 9, 2019
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P1010584.JPG

External fan for my Mini. The bottom cover is off for better ventilation. The external fan is made of plastic, so it won't short the parts inside my Mini.

P1010586.JPG

The external fan sits underneath the Mini. The best model would be to suck the air in the Mini and and then blow it out like the exhaust of the Mini itself; thus doubling the volume of air movement that a single Mini is unable to do. I lucked out on this fan at the computer thrift store. The laptop fan that blows air on the case is useless. I have a similar one for my Macbook Air and it helps prevent thermal throttle and allows me to render H.264 with Quicksync at the fullest speed!

All Mac Minis are going to run hot. It doesn't matter if it's a 2011 version (mine) or the 2018 top of the line Core i5 or i7 (compared to at the Apple store). They all run somewhat HOT and you can't avoid it. Although the 2018 has improved thermal management, it still gets hot or warm to touch when pushed. And if you compare my Mini with my custom fan thermal management, mine will always run somewhat cooler than the stock 2018 version of any Cores. Another problem with all the minis is that, they do not have discrete GPUs. So they rely mainly on the iGPU and when it gets pushed, it gets really hot as well alongside the CPU. That's why it's a wise choice to run multiple monitors with an eGPU. The ram on the iGPU is so pitiful -- only 1.5Gb; unlike what I have in the Mac Pro with 8Gb of video ram with my RX580. It's no wonder that when you launch and use Chrome to watch streaming movies, the whole machine will turn itself into a hot toaster. Chrome is a truly demanding beast of an application as it uses all the resources including CPU and GPU. This is contrary to Safari where it doesn't use a lot of resources, even for normal browsing. With Safari and normal browsing, the CPU core temperature rarely rose above 50 degrees celsius, whereas with Chrome it's 65 degrees celsius and up. So if you expect the Mac Mini 2018 to run cooler than your 2012; well then you're going to be shocked as it still runs just as hot. If you really want to fix this issue, you have to incorporate your own custom made thermal management option. I did it to my Mac Mini 2011 by buying a small laptop fan at the Thrift store for like $10. This one works by sucking air from the internals of the Mini. I had to leave the round shaped black cover, exposing the internals bare for the base laptop fan to suck the air and then exhaust them at the rear. Essentially, I have 2 dual fans plus 1 internal Mac fan going with 2 rear exhaust blowing the warm air. The doubling of the airflow is quite noticeable at the rear of the machine and fan! The result is that the casing is cool to touch for most things like watching streaming 1080p @ 60HD and running some demanding apps just works. Saves me from buying the 16Gb ram upgrade kit which I thought might solve the heating problem.

Without the external fan, the Mini would easily reach 90 degrees celsius and the fan would spin @ around 5000 rpm and if I push it further, I can crash the mini very easily with a shutdown screen. With the external fan on, the internal fan barely spins more than 2500rpm which is fantastic. Now I can work on demanding apps without hearing the fan going full blast and hopefully allow my Mini to live longer for another day, plus it really is still quite snappy as it doesn't thermal throttle with the external cooling fan helping vent some hot air. :)

Hope this helps.
 
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Miat

macrumors 6502a
Jul 13, 2012
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If you're feeling handy, I would take it apart and clean out the fan with compressed air, plus replace the thermal paste on the CPU. Has a chance of making it act as good as new.
I wouldn't use compressed air on the Mini fan or heat sink fins. Better off cleaning them by hand, IMHO.

Compressed air should be used sparingly for cleaning internals. Too easy to over do it on delicate parts. Doesn't get rid of everything either, often still need to manually clean off the finer dust build up, and it can just blow dust into harder to access places.

Definitely redo the thermal paste. Pretty safe bet that a 2012 Mini would benefit from it.