Which Mac Mini?

WrightBrain

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May 30, 2009
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Repost...

So I'm starting my journey of exploring my options for computer upgrade. I was looking into a 5K iMac, but they are due for an upgrade which I can't really wait for. I'm really starting to consider that a Mac Mini might fit my needs. I yearn for the days of being able to upgrade my machine as time goes on, but those days are past. For me the next best thing would be the ability to upgrade RAM, use an external eGPU for video cards and to be able to replace a monitor without having to lose a computer for a day (or whatever the Genius Bar queue looks like).

I'm a graphic designer who uses the Adobe CC suite of programs, including PhotoShop. I don't do much 3D work but I like to dabble. And I do play games on occasion, but I'm more of a console guy.

My studio gets HOT in the summer - like 80° F (26 - 27° C). I'm hearing that the i7 in the mini's gets rather toasty and can lead to throttling issues. I'd be fine with the i5 as that still is faster than (or damn close to) most of the current iMacs anyway.

Does anyone have any experience with these macs and can share their CPU temps when really working these machines? Also any recommendations for a good 4k monitor?

Even if you can refer me to a thread that would be a help.

Thanks all.
 

The_Interloper

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Oct 28, 2016
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As you say, the days of "true" upgrades are gone so if you don't want a monitor permanently attached (and can't wait for the new Mac Pro which will inevitably be eye-wateringly expensive anyway) then a Mini is your only option. Bear in mind that only the i7 model has hyper-threading (although the throttling issues are enough to make me pause anyway).

You mentioned you use Photoshop and some 3D stuff; you're certainly going to need an external GPU for the latter and if you want to do some gaming. Just be aware if you didn't already know that you need to stick with AMD cards as there are currently no viable Nvidia drivers for Mojave.

The Mac mini has always got warm under load but the latest models seem to get way too hot for my liking under minimal workloads. If your ambient temperature is already pretty warm then it might be worth pointing some sort of cooling at the Mac mini when you are going to be using it under sustained loads. Maybe a desk or USB fan? You could also consider placing the mini on one of those laptop cooling trays with fans built-in. Not sure how much any of this would make a difference, but it can't hurt.

As for monitors, you are probably going to want something colour accurate. There are so many excellent panels now, from Samsung to LG to BenQ to ViewSonic etc. I would definitely go for IPS and a matte finish for the viewing angles and keeping reflections at bay, but that's just my preference.
 

Expobill

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My macmini from 2012 runs CS4 very dependablly with a 4gb ram and original hard drive.
I create cymx and rgb images and files with text, photos and drawing from the ipad.
The intergration well expotrting images from photoshop to illustrator works fine, and can saves as many formats.
I can imagine the newer ones running more quicker and fluid
I hope this helps!
 
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Ploki

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i7 will be faster than i5. buying i5 because you think it will perform better due to thermals is a false pretense.
 

nopc4me

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Jan 6, 2004
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I bought a stock i5/8/256 mac mini at an Apple store. Brought it home and queued up multiple files in handbrake. As I recall they took on average 6 - 6.5 hours per rip (using my custom high quality handbrake preset). I returned the i5 and ordered a refurbished i7/16/512. I put many rips in the i7 handbrake queue and said go. The i7 has had only 1 break since I got it a month ago. The i7 is MUCH faster than the i5 when using handbrake even when handling 50+ consecutive files nonstop in the handbrake queue. Using the same handbrake preset as on the i5, the i7 takes on average 4-5 hours per file.
 

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WrightBrain

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May 30, 2009
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i7 will be faster than i5. buying i5 because you think it will perform better due to thermals is a false pretense.
I don’t think it will perform better. I know it’s a slower chip without hyper threading. I’m worried about the lifespan of the machine.
 

WrightBrain

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If THAT were true, they wouldn’t sell Apple Care.

Hey I’ve had MacPros and iMacs fail due to motherboards and hard drives. And THAT was when it was easier to repair them. I jus don’t want any surprises.
 

PJivan

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Aug 19, 2015
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If THAT were true, they wouldn’t sell Apple Care.

Hey I’ve had MacPros and iMacs fail due to motherboards and hard drives. And THAT was when it was easier to repair them. I jus don’t want any surprises.
Can you recall a single instance were a modern intel cpu died because of temperature? This is like NoVax campaign, no proofs and lots of fear.
 
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chabig

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If THAT were true, they wouldn’t sell Apple Care
You don't understand the purpose of a warranty, which is to offer protection from manufacturing defects. The warranty period is supposed to be long enough to discover if any exist. It has nothing to do with product lifetime.
 
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PJivan

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If THAT were true, they wouldn’t sell Apple Care.

Hey I’ve had MacPros and iMacs fail due to motherboards and hard drives. And THAT was when it was easier to repair them. I jus don’t want any surprises.
Also if it really temperature would kill cpu after two years of so they really would not sell Applecare+, 99$ for an i7 CPU? they would be at loss.
 
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pl1984

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I don't feel the i7 model is any more likely to fail the i5 model. Furthermore I haven't seen any evidence to suggest the i7 throttles more than an i5. They both have the same TDP and should operate about the same (heat wise). IMO I would recommend deciding on which processor based on other factors.
 

Ploki

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Jan 21, 2008
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If THAT were true, they wouldn’t sell Apple Care.

Hey I’ve had MacPros and iMacs fail due to motherboards and hard drives. And THAT was when it was easier to repair them. I jus don’t want any surprises.
Well, motherboards and harddrives.
i can't remember them failing due to CPUs, i don't think it's a valid concern
 
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WrightBrain

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Also if it really temperature would kill cpu after two years of so they really would not sell Applecare+, 99$ for an i7 CPU? they would be at loss.

Heat doesn't just affect the CPU, it affects ALL of the components – motherboard, hard drive, etc.
 

chabig

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Heat doesn't just affect the CPU, it affects ALL of the components – motherboard, hard drive, etc.
Of course it does, but it's nothing you should worry about. Do you worry about engine heat reducing the lifespan of your car? Do you worry about heat reducing the lifespan of your clothes dryer, your dishwasher, your oven, your refrigerator? The engineers who build these products know how the characteristics and behavior of the components and build them appropriately.
 

WrightBrain

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Um. Yes I DO worry about heat in the above mentioned items. Even AAA says don't warm your car up too long on a winter day or you hurt the engine. And yes if an item is constantly working to the extreme range of heat tolerances without much headroom to allow for a high ambient temperature, that means the engineer did a poor job constructing the machine.

Intel's i7 chips have a threshold of 100° C. They have been reported to be running hot at around 95 to 100°. That is a problem and they have been getting crap for it.

Honestly your responses are not helpful. If you don't know specifics of what the CPU temps of the i5 and i7 are in the Mac Mini, please refrain.
 

Expobill

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i am now using Mojave on a macmini 2012 which has a 2.5 inter core /4gb ram with a dvi (not hdmi) screen and the response is quick, but app loading is very very slow. the usb mac mouse was dragging until now but no heat issues or fan sound issues, i never remember having any since i purchased the mini in 2012. if this helps!
 

WrightBrain

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May 30, 2009
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i am now using Mojave on a macmini 2012 which has a 2.5 inter core /4gb ram with a dvi (not hdmi) screen and the response is quick, but app loading is very very slow. the usb mac mouse was dragging until now but no heat issues or fan sound issues, i never remember having any since i purchased the mini in 2012. if this helps!
Thank you.

Do you have a spinning drive or a SSD?
 

pl1984

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Of course it does, but it's nothing you should worry about. Do you worry about engine heat reducing the lifespan of your car? Do you worry about heat reducing the lifespan of your clothes dryer, your dishwasher, your oven, your refrigerator? The engineers who build these products know how the characteristics and behavior of the components and build them appropriately.
The engineers may know but it's not unusual for non-engineers to decide on what the final design will be.
[doublepost=1551969587][/doublepost]
Um. Yes I DO worry about heat in the above mentioned items. Even AAA says don't warm your car up too long on a winter day or you hurt the engine. And yes if an item is constantly working to the extreme range of heat tolerances without much headroom to allow for a high ambient temperature, that means the engineer did a poor job constructing the machine.

Intel's i7 chips have a threshold of 100° C. They have been reported to be running hot at around 95 to 100°. That is a problem and they have been getting crap for it.

Honestly your responses are not helpful. If you don't know specifics of what the CPU temps of the i5 and i7 are in the Mac Mini, please refrain.
It sounds as if the Mini may not be the right system for you. Perhaps a used 6,1 Mac Pro may be more appropriate. Or perhaps moving to an alternative platform. If that's not an option perhaps a Hackintosh:

 
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Donka

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May 3, 2011
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i am now using Mojave on a macmini 2012 which has a 2.5 inter core /4gb ram with a dvi (not hdmi) screen and the response is quick, but app loading is very very slow. the usb mac mouse was dragging until now but no heat issues or fan sound issues, i never remember having any since i purchased the mini in 2012. if this helps!

The 2012 i5 mini is a good machine - I had one before swapping for a quad i7 and upgrading the RAM and drive. Installing a SSD and doubling the RAM would make a big difference to your mini and is an easy upgrade to do.
 

Expobill

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i composed a lot of print and web graphics on the mini, the mac i have just needs more ram to function properly.
the 2012 is good because we can upgrade the ram, ssd and maintain the computer easily.
 
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WrightBrain

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May 30, 2009
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The engineers may know but it's not unusual for non-engineers to decide on what the final design will be.
[doublepost=1551969587][/doublepost]
It sounds as if the Mini may not be the right system for you. Perhaps a used 6,1 Mac Pro may be more appropriate. Or perhaps moving to an alternative platform. If that's not an option perhaps a Hackintosh:

I would move to a PC, but my wife and business partner would kill me. Compatibility issues. Um with the machines – not my marriage

I was looking at an iMac but on the high end with the "K" chips have the same temperature issues. The lower wattage non-K chips seem to run cooler. The iMac 3.5 i5 with Radeon 575, being the best bet. But you miss out on the 8GB 580.

At least the mini has six cores vs the four on the iMac. And you can add the 8GB video card as a eGPU.

I was just trying to see if the i5 ran cooler than the i7 in this model. I can always disable Turbo Boost if it helps.
 

PJivan

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Aug 19, 2015
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Heat doesn't just affect the CPU, it affects ALL of the components – motherboard, hard drive, etc.
and how do you know how hot motherboard and rams run from the cpu temperature? Also how hot ram and motherboard can run? and again if this was a risk why would a third party insurance (AppleCare+) insure the all of it for only 99 dollars?
I'm just trying to find the logic...
 

WrightBrain

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May 30, 2009
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You can look up manufacturer specs and there is software you can use to monitor internal component temperatures. Actually the price of the AppleCare is damning if you ask me. It means everything is overpriced and doesn't cost THEM much to replace. We pay the "Apple Tax".