2018 Mac mini ITX Tower - Phanteks Evolv Shift X
 
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2018 Mac mini ITX Tower - Phanteks Evolv Shift X  

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itsage
(@itsage)
Founder Admin
Joined: 5 years ago
 

Apple will release the 2019 Mac Pro on Tuesday, December 10th. For many of us, $5,999 base price is a non-starter. I had this plan to build a Mac tower myself using these components:

  • 2018 Mac mini [i5-8500B, 32GB RAM, 256GB SSD]
  • Phanteks Shift Evolv X ITX computer case
  • FSP 550W SFX power supply
  • Mantiz Venus TB3 mainboard + daughterboard
  • AMD Radeon RX 5700 graphics card
  • Wavelink UTE02 NVMe M.2 TB3 enclosure
  • SanDisk Extreme Pro 1TB NVMe drive
  • 1x 200mm cooling fan
  • 2x 140mm cooling fans
  • Other miscellaneous cables and accessories

The idea is to insert the Mac mini inside the CPU + Motherboard compartment of the ITX case. As seen below it's almost a perfect fit. The Phanteks Evolv Shift X was designed to have a separate compartment for the GPU which connects to the motherboard through a PCIe extension cable. This works to my advantage because I could simply route the PCIe extension cable to the eGPU board.

I/O orientation is at the top of the ITX tower. It allows easy access and cable management. The bottom compartment is where the PSU and cooling components reside. I will find a spot for the Thunderbolt 3 mainboard in this space. The R9 Fury X would exhaust hot air through the bottom where its radiator and cooling fan mounted to the case frame. There are space to mount two 140mm cooling fans vertically. I would need a USB fan controller to run them in order to cool the Mac mini better. This is what the final product would look like.

 

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sadxps
(@sadxps)
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Joined: 2 years ago
 

That is really cool! What are the CPU temps like on the mac mini while it's in there?

Dell XPS 13 9360 Linux + Dell XPS 13 7390 Linux/Windows + AORUS Gaming Box GTX 1080

 
2019 13" Dell XPS 13 7390 [10th,6C,U] + GTX 1080 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Linux & Win10 1909 [build link]  


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itsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 5 years ago
 

@sadxps It's not complete yet. Once I have everything up and running I will observe operating temps for sure.

 

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2021 13" ASUS ROG Flow X13 (RTX3050Ti) [R5K,8C,H] + RTX 3080 @ 64Gbps-XG (XG Mobile) + Win10 20H2 [build link]  


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Fiesta5ever
(@fiesta5ever)
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Joined: 2 years ago
 

@itsage Thanks for sharing!

It'd be cool to see you include a quad nvme pcie Expansion card in this case. Something like the ASUS Hyper PCIe 3.0 X4 Expansion Card Supports 4 NVMe.

I'm not sure about the compatibility of this exact card but there's gotta be something out there that would work similarly. Would pair nicely with the R43SG-TB3.

Maybe a bit overkill but epic nonetheless.

2018 Mac Mini - ADT-Link R43SG-TB3 - Red Devil RX 5700 xt


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itsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 5 years ago
 

I found this AC Affinity fan controller that may fit nicely behind the tempered glass.

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omardesu
(@omardesu)
Estimable Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

@itsage Nice find.  Would you be using some USB to PWM adapters as below?

https://www.amazon.com/4-Pin-Sleeved-Power-Adapter-Cable/dp/B071NN5PSL/

It seems like an elegant option would to have your fans controlled by SW if possible...  Unless this is just for a case fan

1070 Ti: 2014 Mac mini / 2016 MBP 15"
Mini ITX Build in Dan A4 Case

 
2016 15" MacBook Pro (RP450) [6th,4C,H] + RX Vega 56 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (ASUS XG Station Pro) + macOS 10.14.4 & Win10 [build link]  


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Username
(@username)
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Joined: 5 years ago
 

Really nice idea!

 

I guess we will see quite a few of this kind of setup like yours - there is a kickstarter with a modular design as well.

Animaionic - https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/animaionic/animaionic-turns-your-mac-mini-into-a-workstation

Present: 2012 Mac mini + PowerColor RX 56 Vega Nano @10Gbps-TB1 + PowerColor Mini eGFX 180F via Apple TB3 to TB2 + macOS Catalina 10.15.7

Previous: 2012 Mac Mini + GTX1070 @ 10Gbps-TB1 (AKiTiO Thunder3 via Apple TB3 to TB2 adapter) + macOS

 
2012 Mac Mini [3rd,4C,Q] + GTX 970 @ 10Gbps-TB1>TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + macOS 10.12.4 // lots of benchmarks [build link]  


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ondert
(@ondert)
Trusted Member
Joined: 5 years ago
 

Great thread, I was wondering if someone will make this concept into a reality and now seeing such things made me quite excited. 
@itsage can you put the Mac mini without its enclosure? So the cpu temps will definitely go down.  Also, do you think that it can be put into a real sff case like Dan a4 sfx or loque ghost S1?

that Kickstarter projects looks nice also but way expensive.

This post was modified 2 years ago

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

.

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omardesu
(@omardesu)
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Joined: 3 years ago
 

@itsage I came across these fan controllers from Lamptron.  Not too shabby...

1070 Ti: 2014 Mac mini / 2016 MBP 15"
Mini ITX Build in Dan A4 Case

 
2016 15" MacBook Pro (RP450) [6th,4C,H] + RX Vega 56 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (ASUS XG Station Pro) + macOS 10.14.4 & Win10 [build link]  


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itsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 5 years ago
 

@omardesu Thank you for sharing this link. I will check them out. During my test fitment of the Mantiz Venus, I realized the cooling fans could run off the fan connectors of the TB3 mainboard. If that doesn't work well the dedicated fan controller would definitely help.

@ondert The Mac mini  internal could definitely be run without the case but I like the way it sits inside with the Apple logo visible through tempered glass. I removed the plastic bottom cover, and will test different airflow arrangements. One of the option is to use a 200mm cooling fan, placed right by the bottom of the Mac mini

LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Youtube | Instagram
 
external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2021 13" ASUS ROG Flow X13 (RTX3050Ti) [R5K,8C,H] + RTX 3080 @ 64Gbps-XG (XG Mobile) + Win10 20H2 [build link]  


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