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New Mac Mini or Intel NUC ?

New Mac Mini or Intel NUC ?  


Active Member
Joined: 2 years ago

I found the new Mac Mini announcement underwhelming. A Mac Mini with i7, 8GB ram and 128GB SSD will cost $1100.  

I can get a Intel NUC with i7 8559U processor with 4.5GHz turbo for under $500. I can install 32GB ram and 1TB SSD in it for a total about the same price as an i7 Mac Mini.

Otherwise there is the Hades Canyon NUC with i7 8809 that has AMD Vega graphics inbuilt. The Hades Canyon NUC kit comes for $800. Installing 32 GB ram in it takes it to the price of the i7 Mac Mini.  

The advantage of the Mac Mini is 4 Thunderbolt ports to 1 on the NUC. The Mac Mini would have 6 physical cores whereas NUC has 4 physical cores with 8 from HT.

Both should work well with an eGPU. I am thinking of holding off upgrades till early 2019. I intend to see if Intel will release NUC kits with its 9th generation processors.

What would you pick, between an Intel NUC and the Mac Mini, and why?

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts

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Noble Member
Joined: 3 years ago

You evaluation of the 2 options makes it sound (to me) like the Mini is by far the better choice. While both CPU's are i7 the NUC is a U class while the Mini is a full desktop class CPU which should be more powerful (worth checking benchmarks).

On top of the actual specs the Mini's are far nicer designed and built pieces of kit - if that matters to you (for me, very much so, not a chance I'm owning anything with a glowing skull on it, I'm not 15 and this isn't 1997).

The built in Vega is good to have but if you are adding an eGPU anyway, kinda redundant.

Also worth considering is what you would actually use it for and what OS you need/prefer.

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Eminent Member
Joined: 3 years ago

Definitely the Mac mini. @Eightarmedpet goes through the obvious CPU disparities. I am disappointed with the price hike but weighing the upgraded CPUs and RAM, they aren’t too far out of range. What is insane are the SSD prices. Even NVMe drives are rocketing down in price. 600 for a 1 TB drive is absurd. At least the many TB 3 connections make it a small issue. 

That all said, I’ve had a 2010 Mini in use for one reason or another all this time and it continues to run very well. Will be picking up a new i7 in 2019 for Mac only programs and rendering.

Early 2015 13" MBP with Thunder2 RX 470 on Windows 10 and MacOS 10.1 (Formerly)

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