2018 Mac mini Review - Heedlessly Renovated
 
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2018 Mac mini Review - Heedlessly Renovated  

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mac_editor
(@mac_editor)
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Joined: 5 years ago
 

@itsage To add to your perspective, at least I usually am under the impression that as the years roll by, we should be able to get better performance/product for the same dollar. We are comparing a 2014 Mac Mini to a 2018 model. There would obviously be advancement, but why does that have to bump the cost up that much, if it all? 650$ would have been awesome. I do get that even by today’s standards, the SSD in the new mini is fast, but small. I get that the CPU is way better (but it should be after 4 years), but thermal throttles like nobody’s business. On a personal level, it’s also annoying to see how the new flagship Apple devices are pushing budgets, because I don’t use anything else and have always stuck with the top-end models (changed with the iPhone 8 lol).

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joevt
(@joevt)
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Joined: 4 years ago
 
Posted by: itsage

@joevt3 In my WX 9100 + ALPINE-RIDGE AIC build thread I listed the components used. I didn't have the LG UltraFine 5K to test (won't buy one). I used the HP Z27q 5K monitor through a Choetech Thunderbolt 3 to dual DisplayPort adapter to emulate TB3 input. The routing was as followed:

WX 9100 eGPU <-> 2x DP Cables <-> GC-ALPINE-RIDGE <-> 1x TB3 to Dual DP Adapter <-> HP Z27q

I understand that a Thunderbolt AIC is required to connect a Thunderbolt display to most eGPUs (except the BlackMagic eGPU), but in your review there is no mention of using an eGPU at least in regards to connecting the LG UltraFine 5K.

Your mention of the LG UltraFine 5K was in regards to the capabilities of the Thunderbolt 3 ports of the Mac Mini. Since you don't have an LG UltraFine 5K, and the review is not about eGPUs, I think all you can say is that 5K Thunderbolt (Dual Link SST) displays are probably supported, as you are able to use a HP Z27q dual cable 5K display from a single Mac Mini Thunderbolt 3 port using a Thunderbolt 3 to Dual DisplayPort adapter.

One more correction: By itself, the iGPU can support HDMI 1.4 directly (with some voltage level shifters - this capability is called DisplayPort dual mode). The Mac Mini supports HDMI 2.0 from it's HDMI port using an internal DisplayPort to HDMI 2.0 chip as described by the iFixit teardown. I don't think the Thunderbolt ports support HDMI Alt Mode (the USB-C version of DisplayPort dual mode) so a USB-C DisplayPort alt mode cable or adapter that contains a DisplayPort to HDMI chip would be needed. I don't know of anything that uses HDMI Alt Mode.

An interesting item: The Mac Mini includes some internal switching method of routing two DisplayPort connections from the iGPU to the four DisplayPort inputs of the two Thunderbolt controllers such that you can use two displays with any two Thunderbolt 3 ports (one or two controllers) or a single Thunderbolt 3 port.

Mac mini (2018), Mac Pro (Early 2008), GA-Z170X-Gaming 7, Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 580 8GB GDDR5, Radeon Pro W5700, Sonnet Echo Express III-D, Trebleet Thunderbolt 3 to NVMe M.2 case


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Jason
 Jason
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Joined: 3 years ago
 

I have no stability issues. The only time I reboot it is when there's a software update. I have the i7 model and it doesn't overheat. I've endcoded video in handbrake and I run a plex server serving multiple feeds. And 4k.

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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california
(@california)
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Joined: 3 years ago
 

I am using a 2018 Mac Mini and a Razer Core with Vega 64 card and I now have the ideal machine for my home/entertainment purposes and am very happy with it. If anything the best value of all of the components was the PC.

Just my two cents.

2018 Mac Mini i7 8GB/512GB
Sapphire Radeon RX Vega 64
Razer Core X
LG 32-inch TB3 4K UHD monitor


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Kris
 Kris
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Joined: 2 years ago
 

Great article. What would be the optimal option to use with Mac mini with 3 screens - a 34 ultrawide LG and two HD screens?

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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itsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 5 years ago
 

@Kris To simply power the three displays you have, the 2018 Mac mini's Intel iGPU can do it. The experience may not be the best. A nice option to get started with eGPU with the Mac mini is Sonnet Breakaway Puck 560. Here's a build I tested with the Puck 560 a while back. It could power up to four monitors.

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onejay
 onejay
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Joined: 2 years ago
 

Hi, I bought a Mac mini i5 with 256GB ssd and 8GB ram (which I upgraded to 32GB), and am wanting to get an eGPU for it, but due to the limited space on the internal SSD, I'd like to run bootcamp/ Windows on an external SSD if possible, but I'm not sure how to do this - can you help me know how I could achieve this, what are my options and what you would recommend?

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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itsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 5 years ago
 

@onejay You can install Windows on an external SSD but it's going to be a lot of work to maintain it through system updates. It's best to partition 56GB of the 256GB internal drive for Windows volume. You can use the external SSD to store games and apps.

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