Tried a 2018 i5 Mini for 2 weeks and it's going back !!

Tom80112

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 14, 2010
67
36
I was worried about fan noise and pissed off about the soldered SSD
and the stupid-high memory prices but I accepted it and bought one
anyway from BestBuy.

What is making me return it is something I had never considered.
My 2017 15" Macbook Pro has a discrete Radeon Pro 555.

Graphics speed seemed laggy on the 2018 I5 Mini but even that wasn't
the deal breaker. It was the video quality. Going back and forth
between the 2017 Macbook Pro 15" and the Mini shows one thing
everytime:

The Radeon renders sharper and cleaner text and images.
Pictures and Movies show more detail and look more 3D and seem
to produce more "depth". You perceive more depth to objects
rendered. When you look at Yahoo's home page everything POPs
more with lot's of perceived depth and 3D like presentation.
It looks clean and eye popping like the 27" Imac looks clean and eye popping.
(Granted, the 27" Imac has way more pop and is razor sharp)

The Mini's video seems flat and is not as sharp with less of that 3D like POP.
Playing with the monitor controls like sharpness, saturation, color temps
do not redeem the Mini. Text is not as sharp the web pages look dirty
in comparison to the Radeon 555.

I tried 2 expensive HDMI cables. One was Monster Cable the other
was AudioQuest, same results. Tried 2 different monitors, same results.

I plan to build an I5 NUC just for fun as a project and to tinker then probably
resell it when I'm done playing with it.

It looks like I will just have to learn to live with the dongles, cable mess,
and large foot print of the 2017 15" Macbook Pro on my desk.

I have a new-found respect for the Macbook Pro with discrete Radeon Pro 555.
For me, the 2018 Mini was a total loser for video speed & quality never mind
the soldered SSD and stupid-high ram prices.

I don't understand the blind fan-boy love people on this site have for everything
Apple. It is somewhat irritating because we need to seek out the best hardware
for MacOS regardless of who makes it. I think the fanboys try to squash any
reasonable discussion "for seeking the best or most affordable hardware to run MacOS"
once people suggest using non-apple hardware. It's too bad. Apple needs
to do a better job with certain offerings.

I really like MacOS, I really appreciate the Macbook Pro with Radeon 555, but the
2018 Mini is overpriced and a loser for video quality. SnazzyLabs was right in all
his complaints and observations regarding the 2018 Mini. You can do better for
cheaper. For me I can do better by sticking with my Macbook Pro with Radeon 555.

One more kicker, the Macbook Pro felt a little more responsive to me than the 2018
Mini and that is probably due to the Radeon Pro 555 and the fact that my Macbook Pro
has a 512GB SSD as opposed to the Mini's 256GB SSD. The Macbook Pro was snappier
in everyday use.

I hope this post helps the non apple fanboys. I strongly suggest the MacBook Pro with
Radeon discrete video, an Imac with Radeon discrete video, or build a hackintosh with
a Radeon video card that will outperform apple hardware for less money.
 
Last edited:

VisualStim

macrumors newbie
Dec 24, 2018
10
9
sounds like you didn't think things through.

Im currently doing the #s and ill be selling my decked out late 2016 MBP for a Mac Mini with EGPU.

Im doing the Aorus Gaming Box with a 580 GPU for Final Cut Pro X

The MBP current gen is just way too hot for FCPX
 

Tom80112

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 14, 2010
67
36
I thought things through plenty. I just didn't know how important
discrete graphics were until I bought the 2018 Mini for a side-by-side
trial. I tried the Mini and found it's flaws without losing any money.

My 2017 MacBook Pro does not run hot nor do I hear the fans come on so
I don't have your problems. Good luck with your problems.
 

VisualStim

macrumors newbie
Dec 24, 2018
10
9
I think you are ********ting that your MBP doesn't get hot under load. go watch Snazzy videos again lol
 

Pepe4life

Suspended
Nov 15, 2018
396
3,411
I was worried about fan noise and pissed off about the soldered SSD
and the stupid-high memory prices but I accepted it and bought one
anyway from BestBuy.

What is making me return it is something I had never considered.
My 2017 15" Macbook Pro has a discrete Radeon Pro 555.

Graphics speed seemed laggy on the 2018 I5 Mini but even that wasn't
the deal breaker. It was the video quality. Going back and forth
between the 2017 Macbook Pro 15" and the Mini shows one thing
everytime:

The Radeon renders sharper and cleaner text and images.
Pictures and Movies show more detail and look more 3D and seem
to produce more "depth". You perceive more depth to objects
rendered. When you look at Yahoo's home page everything POPs
more with lot's of perceived depth and 3D like presentation.
It looks clean and eye popping like the 27" Imac looks clean and eye popping.
(Granted, the 27" Imac has way more pop and is razor sharp)

The Mini's video seems flat and is not as sharp with less of that 3D like POP.
Playing with the monitor controls like sharpness, saturation, color temps
do not redeem the Mini. Text is not as sharp the web pages look dirty
in comparison to the Radeon 555.

I tried 2 expensive HDMI cables. One was Monster Cable the other
was AudioQuest, same results. Tried 2 different monitors, same results.

I plan to build an I5 NUC just for fun as a project and to tinker then probably
resell it when I'm done playing with it.

It looks like I will just have to learn to live with the dongles, cable mess,
and large foot print of the 2017 15" Macbook Pro on my desk.

I have a new-found respect for the Macbook Pro with discrete Radeon Pro 555.
For me, the 2018 Mini was a total loser for video speed & quality never mind
the soldered SSD and stupid-high ram prices.

I don't understand the blind fan-boy love people on this site have for everything
Apple. It is somewhat irritating because we need to seek out the best hardware
for MacOS regardless of who makes it. I think the fanboys try to squash any
reasonable discussion "for seeking the best or most affordable hardware to run MacOS"
once people suggest using non-apple hardware. It's too bad. Apple needs
to do a better job with certain offerings.

I really like MacOS, I really appreciate the Macbook Pro with Radeon 555, but the
2018 Mini is overpriced and a loser for video quality. SnazzyLabs was right in all
his complaints and observations regarding the 2018 Mini. You can do better for
cheaper. For me I can do better by sticking with my Macbook Pro with Radeon 555.

One more kicker, the Macbook Pro felt a little more responsive to me than the 2018
Mini and that is probably due to the Radeon Pro 555 and the fact that my Macbook Pro
has a 512GB SSD as opposed to the Mini's 256GB SSD. The Macbook Pro was snappier
in everyday use.

I hope this post helps the non apple fanboys. I strongly suggest the MacBook Pro with
Radeon discrete video, an Imac with Radeon discrete video, or build a hackintosh with
a Radeon video card that will outperform apple hardware for less money.
Don’t forget to update us when the keyboard on your MBP starts failing
 
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gusping

macrumors 6502a
Mar 12, 2012
947
582
London, UK
A Mac mini with a mid-end GPU like an RX 580 will walk all over your 2017 MBP, whilst being a similar price and running cooler. If you don't already have a good monitor then, it's a slightly different story. But I am so glad I ditched my MBP. I can't stand Apple's cooling (or lack of cooling I should say) in their laptops. The smallest things make the fans turn on and it turn into a radiator.
 

Ploki

macrumors 601
Jan 21, 2008
4,103
1,398
What you are claiming is simply impossible.

Mini has the same GPU as the 2018 15" MBP.
I had an i9 + Radeon 560X, and when it switched from UHD630 to 560X the displayed image didn't change at all. (There's also no technical basis for what you claim)

As far as Mini (i7) vs 15" goes: I'm so happy i got rid of that hot mess that is the i9. Radeon is a 3y old GPU that doesnt make sense with 8th gen CPUs, and when switching to radeon, the 2018 macbooks practically engulf in fire.

my mini (i7, 8GB, 512gb ssd) works much snappier than my i9/560x/32GB/2TB 15" ever did. And it does so with less noise.

can't wait till i get 32GB of RAM.
 
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gusping

macrumors 6502a
Mar 12, 2012
947
582
London, UK
What you are claiming is simply impossible.

Mini has the same GPU as the 2018 15" MBP.
I had an i9 + Radeon 560X, and when it switched from UHD630 to 560X the displayed image didn't change at all. (There's also no technical basis for what you claim)

As far as Mini (i7) vs 15" goes: I'm so happy i got rid of that hot mess that is the i9. Radeon is a 3y old GPU that doesnt make sense with 8th gen CPUs, and when switching to radeon, the 2018 macbooks practically engulf in fire.

my mini (i7, 8GB, 512gb ssd) works much snappier than my i9/560x/32GB/2TB 15" ever did. And it does so with less noise.

can't wait till i get 32GB of RAM.
Well said. Apple really really needs to sort out its cooling. It's a huge problem, considering some simple tasks turn MBPs into a bonfire.
I love my mini so far. The only small 'issue' I have is wanting to get a second monitor and being worried in the iGPU can handle it. I do no GPU intensive work, so spending £500 on an eGPU just to drive 2 4K screens is a bit crazy.
 
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Maccotto

macrumors 6502
Oct 6, 2012
272
21
Tom
I have Mac mini i7, 512 and 16gb ram + sonnet+ rx580 8gb+ Dac and I spent 2500€ : Is it a good idea change it for a iMac i7quad+580 with 3000€ ?
Mac mini made me some problems, has noise fan and I never thanked to spend money for an external audio or another gnu (I have geforce 1060 6gb) but I think this expensive investment will survive for 10 years.

I am near to change only for have same situation + keyboard+trakpad + a new monitor (I have an old RGB 100% dell 27").

Change a mini for a MacBook Pro is a great risk because notebook are more hot and with more problem than desktops. I have MacBook Pro touch 2015 with radeon 460 . A lot of problem when I converted it to desktop mode and every time stay with 4 usb-c port full loaded.
 

Tom80112

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 14, 2010
67
36
What you are claiming is simply impossible.
Mini has the same GPU as the 2018 15" MBP.
I had an i9 + Radeon 560X, and when it switched from UHD630 to 560X the displayed image didn't change at all. (There's also no technical basis for what you claim)
Ploki, you are wrong. Posts like yours make me wonder why I should even educate you but here goes:

Screen Shot 2019-01-05 at 7.19.20 AM.png


Do you see Radeon Pro 555 in the picture or do you need more help understanding that your statement is incorrect? You said: "Mini has the same GPU as the 2018 15" MBP".

To be clear the 2018 Mini does not have the same Radeon Pro 555 that my Macbook has and you are wrong. I use my Macbook with a single 27" display with the laptop in a closed position at all times so
I have 1 screen enabled using the Radeon 555 Pro.


 
Last edited by a moderator:

Ploki

macrumors 601
Jan 21, 2008
4,103
1,398
Ploki, you are wrong.. Posts like yours make me wonder why I should even educate you but here goes:

View attachment 814185

Do you see Radeon Pro 555 in the picture or do you need more help understanding that your statement is incorrect? You said: "Mini has the same GPU as the 2018 15" MBP".

To be clear the 2018 Mini does not have the same Radeon Pro 555 that my Macbook has and you are wrong. I use my Macbook with a single 27" display with the laptop in a closed position at all times so
I have 1 screen enabled using the Radeon 555 Pro.
right below "Radeon Pro 555" it says "Intel HD 630".

I said:
- When i was running the i9 that I returned on either Radeon 560X or Intel UHD630, image quality didn't change in any form whatsoever.
If your claims of changing image quality were correct, i surely would have observed this on the 2018 15" i had because it has both GPUs that you speak of: The (U)HD630 of the Mini and Radeon Pro.

So apparently, the (U)HD 630 is completely capable of running the internal 2880*1800 display, and you are the only person ever that has claimed that GPU has "sharpness issues".

Which is why i suspect that what you are experiencing is either a malfunctioning unit, or user error.

what exactly it is is hard to discern from very scarce information you provided (no adapter unit models, no cable version, not even monitor type)
 
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Tom80112

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 14, 2010
67
36
I must be the only person on the planet with quiet MacBook Pros (plural).
My 2017 Macbook Pro with Radeon 555 Pro never runs the fans. It's always
dead quiet. Probably because I use it like a desktop. It's always closed so the
internal Retina display is off as well as the touch bar. I use an apple wireless
keyboard, mouse, and external 27" monitor.

My old 2013 Macbook Pro with Nvidia discrete graphics also runs without the
fans when I do use it. (I keep it as a backup computer) The 2013 does run a
tad warmer but not hot and the fans stay off. Macbooks running more than
warm is not a problem that I encounter the way I use my Macs.
 

Ploki

macrumors 601
Jan 21, 2008
4,103
1,398
I must be the only person on the planet with quiet MacBook Pros (plural).
My 2017 Macbook Pro with Radeon 555 Pro never runs the fans. It's always
dead quiet. Probably because I use it like a desktop. It's always closed so the
internal Retina display is off as well as the touch bar. I use an apple wireless
keyboard, mouse, and external 27" monitor.

My old 2013 Macbook Pro with Nvidia discrete graphics also runs without the
fans when I do use it. (I keep it as a backup computer) The 2013 does run a
tad warmer but not hot and the fans stay off. Macbooks running more than
warm is not a problem that I encounter the way I use my Macs.
2018 MacBook pros have 6-cores (two more cores) on the same die (14nm) meaning 30% more heat in the same space as the 2016-2017 models.

Nobody is saying that 2017 are running hot (most i saw were running fine), the 2018 are running hot.
The 2012 rMBP i had ran fans LESS than the 2018 for SAME TASKS.
 

Tom80112

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 14, 2010
67
36
right below "Radeon Pro 555" it says "Intel HD 630".
You still can't seem to understand that I am not using the 630 chip in my MacBook Pro.
I am done responding to your troll like replies. Everyone can else will see your posts and
know why I stopped replying.

Video output from my 2013 MacBook Pro with Nvidia discrete graphics also looks better
than the 2018 Mini. The Mini is functioning fine, the video output is just not as good.
Some people are numb visually and can't see differences between different video cards.
I can. I am very picky about computer video and also home theater video.

I suggest people with a 2018 mini, buy a 2017+ MacBook with Radeon discrete video for
2 days and drive an external monitor with the laptop in closed position using a high quality
monster cable or audioquest HDMI cable. You will see differences in video quality. If your
eyes aren't keen and you see no difference then return the laptop. It costs nothing to
take one home for 2 days and A-B them back and forth.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Code cookies

macrumors member
Dec 23, 2011
44
46
UK
What you are claiming is simply impossible.

Mini has the same GPU as the 2018 15" MBP.
I had an i9 + Radeon 560X, and when it switched from UHD630 to 560X the displayed image didn't change at all. (There's also no technical basis for what you claim)

As far as Mini (i7) vs 15" goes: I'm so happy i got rid of that hot mess that is the i9. Radeon is a 3y old GPU that doesnt make sense with 8th gen CPUs, and when switching to radeon, the 2018 macbooks practically engulf in fire.

my mini (i7, 8GB, 512gb ssd) works much snappier than my i9/560x/32GB/2TB 15" ever did. And it does so with less noise.

can't wait till i get 32GB of RAM.

Agreed, the technical basis for this just isn’t there. If someone can link me to something that suggests otherwise I would like to take a look.
[doublepost=1546696008][/doublepost]
You still can't seem to understand that I am not using the 630 chip in my MacBook Pro.
I am done responding to your troll like replies. Everyone can else will see your posts and
know why I stopped replying.

Video output from my 2013 MacBook Pro with Nvidia discrete graphics also looks better
than the 2018 Mini. The Mini is functioning fine, the video output is just not as good.
Some people are numb visually and can't see differences between different video cards.
I can. I am very picky about computer video and also home theater video.

I suggest people with a 2018 mini, buy a 2017+ MacBook with Radeon discrete video for
2 days and drive an external monitor with the laptop in closed position using a high quality
monster cable or audioquest HDMI cable. You will see differences in video quality. If your
eyes aren't keen and you see no difference then return the laptop. It costs nothing to
take one home for 2 days and A-B them back and forth.
I really hope that no one reading this now thinks that to get the best picture you have to spend £80+ on a HDMI cable. HDMI is a digital signal. So, providing that you are using a HDMI cable that supports the standard you need and aren’t going long distances i.e. over 50ft then picture quality will be the same between a £10 cable or a £100 one. https://www.cnet.com/news/why-all-hdmi-cables-are-the-same/
 
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Ploki

macrumors 601
Jan 21, 2008
4,103
1,398
You still can't seem to understand that I am not using the 630 chip in my MacBook Pro.
I am done responding to your troll like replies. Everyone can else will see your posts and
know why I stopped replying.

Video output from my 2013 MacBook Pro with Nvidia discrete graphics also looks better
than the 2018 Mini. The Mini is functioning fine, the video output is just not as good.
Some people are numb visually and can't see differences between different video cards.
I can. I am very picky about computer video and also home theater video.

I suggest people with a 2018 mini, buy a 2017+ MacBook with Radeon discrete video for
2 days and drive an external monitor with the laptop in closed position using a high quality
monster cable or audioquest HDMI cable. You will see differences in video quality. If your
eyes aren't keen and you see no difference then return the laptop. It costs nothing to
take one home for 2 days and A-B them back and forth.
You don't seem to understand that I tried the MacBook Pro 15" WITH BOTH GRAPHIC PROCESSORS on the same display and it looks virtually identical. Display doesn't even blink when GPU changes.

MBP 2017 DOES NOT HAVE SUPERIOR VIDEO QUALITY TO MAC MINI 2018.

It has better rendering performance and capable of higher FPS in GFX dedicated scenarios, watching a movie ISN'T IT.
 
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Spectrum

macrumors 68000
Mar 23, 2005
1,614
934
Never quite sure
Considering OP is running Sierra on his laptop and Mojave on the Mini, it could be the new font rendering in Mojave that affects his view on it.
This is the most likely explanation by far.

I’ve reported before that a Mac mini in AppleStore driving a 5K screen looked terrible compared to he iMac next to it. I haven’t been back yet to determine if it was an OS or font rendering/smoothing difference.

Regardless, to my eyes, on a no-retina display, the new mini is not quite as nice as the old 2011 mini. But this may be also be a Mojave/Sierra difference too.

Finally, @Ploki: it was my understanding that as soon as you hook up an external display to a MBPro the dGPU kicks in. Is this not the case on the 2018 model? It is on prior models (certainly on the 2011 MBPro).
 

Ploki

macrumors 601
Jan 21, 2008
4,103
1,398
This is the most likely explanation by far.

I’ve reported before that a Mac mini in AppleStore driving a 5K screen looked terrible compared to he iMac next to it. I haven’t been back yet to determine if it was an OS or font rendering/smoothing difference.

Regardless, to my eyes, on a no-retina display, the new mini is not quite as nice as the old 2011 mini. But this may be also be a Mojave/Sierra difference too.

Finally, @Ploki: it was my understanding that as soon as you hook up an external display to a MBPro the dGPU kicks in. Is this not the case on the 2018 model? It is on prior models (certainly on the 2011 MBPro).
I didn't say i used an external display. I said that i compared both GPUs on the internal display and that there's no difference in image quality. Which there isn't, since GPUs dont work that way.

I'm getting a 4K ultrafine in weeks, be sure I'll raise hell if it wont look as its supposed to look.
on my old 27" 1080p it looks the same as 2012 rMBP running mojave on Nvidia GT650M. And the same as Radeon 560X of the 2018 looked.

There's plenty of non-retina font smoothing related links, but that has nothing to do with "The Mini's video seems flat and is not as sharp with less of that 3D like POP."
 
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smbu2000

macrumors 6502
Oct 19, 2014
320
146
Difference in video quality?
I noticed zero difference in quality between my 2018 mini (i7/32gb/512gb) and my (now former) 2017 15” MBP (2.9/16gb/512gb/AMD 560) laptop connected to the same 4k monitor (Eizo EV3237).

When using a scaled resolution there is a bit more responsiveness when clicking on launcher and on some animations from the dGPU on the MBP, but the quality of the image is no different at all. If there was any difference in quality, then I would have kept the 2017 MBP and returned the mini.

I bought the mini to replace the MBP and I have been totally happy with my decision. I have the mini as my main system and I “downgraded” to a lower cost 2015 15” MBP (2.5/16gb/512gb/R9 M370X) system for portability.
 

jinnyman

macrumors 6502a
Sep 2, 2011
523
478
Lincolnshire, IL
I also don't understand the op's experience. I know the integrated graphic is slow, but in terms of image quality, it should not be that different compared to any MBP. As my signature suggests, I own many Macs current gen, and, other than the performance differences, I don't see graphic image difference.

Of course, my mini is hooked up to LG 27uk850 which is higher than average quality display. MBP has one of the best displays in the field, and perhaps your monitor quality is not comparable to your MBP screen?
 
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kevink2

macrumors 65816
Nov 2, 2008
1,410
134
Maybe I missed it, but the OP didn't tell us which make/model DISPLAY he was using with the Mini.

Unless it's a 4k, OF COURSE the MacBook Pro may "look better", having the retina display...
That is what I figured. The only way to do a valid comparison between the 2 would have been to connect the MBP to the same monitor.

I'm happy with the video quality of my mini on my display. But while I was awaiting delivery, I ensured I bought a HDMI cable that supported HDMI 2.0. The other computer that shares the monitor is a display port, so I can switch between the 2 computers easily.
[doublepost=1546712889][/doublepost]I suppose that things could be laggy, even on a 4K monitor, if you scale the text at an odd ratio, since the embedded video is slower. I think I've seen reports of that here.

The mini was the cheaper option for me to get a "desktop" supported Mac. My Hackintosh experiment between my 2008 Mac Pro ended when I got this. The other option would have been to buy a new MBP, and dedicate the 2015 MBP I'm currently using as a desktop. That would have worked fine, but would have been more money out of pocket.
 

Jorbanead

macrumors regular
Aug 31, 2018
117
122
I’m sorry you’ve had problems with it and aren’t satisfied. The mini isn’t known for having stellar graphics performance, but for my workflow (audio production) the mini runs flawlessly! I absolutely love it. I personally haven’t noticed any issue with GPU performance and as a frame of reference, I own both a MBP and a custom built PC with a GTX1080. To be fair, the only GPU intensive tasks I’ve done on the mini is some Lightroom work and it seemed to run comparable to my PC. I am using an HD monitor though.

If you’re using he mini for GPU intensive tasks, I would say you bought the wrong product. It’s not necessarily Apples fault - they would have steered you towards an iMac or eGPU if you really needed powerful graphics processing.
 
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