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)
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Joined: 4 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.

 

external graphics card builds
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2020 15" HP Spectre X360 [11th,4C,G] + RTX 2080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB4 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Win10 2004 [build link]  


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sadxps
(@sadxps)
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Joined: 11 months 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: 4 years ago
 

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

 

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2020 15" HP Spectre X360 [11th,4C,G] + RTX 2080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB4 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Win10 2004 [build link]  


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Fiesta5ever
(@fiesta5ever)
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Joined: 11 months 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: 4 years ago
 

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

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2020 15" HP Spectre X360 [11th,4C,G] + RTX 2080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB4 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Win10 2004 [build link]  


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omardesu
(@omardesu)
Estimable Member
Joined: 2 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: 4 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 10.15.4

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 [build link]  


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ondert
(@ondert)
Trusted Member
Joined: 4 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 11 months 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)
Estimable Member
Joined: 2 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: 4 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

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2020 15" HP Spectre X360 [11th,4C,G] + RTX 2080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB4 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Win10 2004 [build link]  


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