Mac mini 2018 Review: Apple's mightiest mini yet

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  • Reply 101 of 152
    analogjackanalogjack Posts: 1,073member
    Our base model came with 8GB of RAM, though it can go all the way up to... wait for it... 64GB. That was a disappointment I thought you were going to say 11GB
  • Reply 102 of 152
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,606member
    vulpine said:
    So if I want to add a 1TB SSD to this machine for casual desktop use, what's the most sensible option? Will a SATA drive + USB-C adapter give me good performance for the lowest price? Is it worth it to move up to an NVMe drive + USB 3.1 Gen 2 adapter, even though this is faster than the USB port's 10G/s capability? Or is Thunderbolt 3 performance enough of a difference that it's worth it to get NVMe + TB3, even though the TB3 adapter is more than $200?

    It still looks like NVMe is less expensive than SATA, even though NVMe is also faster - is this correct?
    Anything with a SATA connection will not get better than about 0.5 Gbps or so regardless of port in the back of the mini. Still, it would be heaps faster than a HDD and you could use the internal SSD as the boot drive anyway, and the external for storage.
    NVMe through USB3.1/USB-C will get to 10 Gbps
    NVMe through TB3 up to 40 Gbps.

    10 Gbps would be plenty fast enough, especially for a Mac Mini.  However as Apple has left such a massive amount of price room to compete with, why not go for TB3 and still feel justified?


    edited November 2018
  • Reply 103 of 152
    hentaiboy said:
    Mike Wuerthele said:
    We'll be torturing the TB3 subsystem a bit later in the week and next week, but so far, we're not seeing any issues with the high-speed SSD in the red enclosure you see in the pic which can shove data very nearly at 40gbit/sec, in conjunction with the Apple Thunderbolt display. We'll push it to the max with multiple displays and drives.
    Also can you test how much performance boost the T2 chip gives to video encoding vs the old i7 Mac Mini without? Cheers. 
    Can already say right now that between QuickSync and the T2, the answer is "a lot." Better data to come.
    Help me out with this, please. Even among a group of video experts we can't seem to get a consistent answer to how and when hardware acceleration does any good.

    Let's take two really common workflows:

    1. Finished ProRes file imported into Compressor (stand-alone Compressor with a finished file, NOT having FCPX invite Compressor to come in and handle the output), transcoding to h.264.

    2. Handbrake transcoding something like an mpeg MKV file to h.264.

    Do you know for sure whether or not either Handbrake or Compressor actually take advantage of on-chip hardware acceleration? Would either of those tasks benefit from the T2 chip? Do some apps use hardware acceleration for transcoding while others don't, or is it part of the macOS architecture?

    Thanks!
  • Reply 104 of 152
    anome said:
    [...] They announce a new product with a base price at some landmark (US$1000, US$500, whatever) and the pundits all agree that particular model is only there so they can claim a "Starting at..." price tag.
    You're right. So are they.

    anome said:
    And you only have to look above to see the complaints about how much they charge for upgrades.
    Yup. So here's a very simple solution:

    1. Continue to offer gimped configurations that meet a price point. Some people will be happier with saving some money than having a more capable machine.

    2. Set pricing for upgrades to somewhere even close to sane. Stop the egregious gouging.

    There. Everyone's happy!

    Seriously, all joking aside, this is not complicated. The "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation you've described derives from a single issue: Apple charging way, way, WAAAY too much for upgrades. Bring those costs into a reasonable realm and the problem of how to configure a base model goes away.
    entropys
  • Reply 105 of 152

    Rayz2016 said:
    The Apple Mouse has the lightning port on the bottom because a mouse with a hole you can see would look like crap 
    This would qualify as a perfect example of form over function, in my opinion. Unlike you (with respect for your preference), I would rather be able to continue using the mouse while it's charging, like I can with the keyboard. Besides, that would put the port on the side facing away from you so you'd never see it anyway! :)
    entropysdewme
  • Reply 106 of 152
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,606member

    Rayz2016 said:
    The Apple Mouse has the lightning port on the bottom because a mouse with a hole you can see would look like crap 
    This would qualify as a perfect example of form over function, in my opinion. Unlike you (with respect for your preference), I would rather be able to continue using the mouse while it's charging, like I can with the keyboard. Besides, that would put the port on the side facing away from you so you'd never see it anyway! :)
    The mouse could be given a bit of an overbite too to further hide it.
  • Reply 107 of 152
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,516administrator
    hentaiboy said:
    Mike Wuerthele said:
    We'll be torturing the TB3 subsystem a bit later in the week and next week, but so far, we're not seeing any issues with the high-speed SSD in the red enclosure you see in the pic which can shove data very nearly at 40gbit/sec, in conjunction with the Apple Thunderbolt display. We'll push it to the max with multiple displays and drives.
    Also can you test how much performance boost the T2 chip gives to video encoding vs the old i7 Mac Mini without? Cheers. 
    Can already say right now that between QuickSync and the T2, the answer is "a lot." Better data to come.
    Help me out with this, please. Even among a group of video experts we can't seem to get a consistent answer to how and when hardware acceleration does any good.

    Let's take two really common workflows:

    1. Finished ProRes file imported into Compressor (stand-alone Compressor with a finished file, NOT having FCPX invite Compressor to come in and handle the output), transcoding to h.264.

    2. Handbrake transcoding something like an mpeg MKV file to h.264.

    Do you know for sure whether or not either Handbrake or Compressor actually take advantage of on-chip hardware acceleration? Would either of those tasks benefit from the T2 chip? Do some apps use hardware acceleration for transcoding while others don't, or is it part of the macOS architecture?

    Thanks!
    Compressor SHOULD use it now, but most of our video crew doesn't have the new unit yet. FFMpeg should as well, with the “-c:v hevc_videotoolbox” CLI switch, according to our Victor Marks -- so anything based on ffmpeg should be upgradeable to do so. Handbrake will need a software update.
    lorin schultz
  • Reply 108 of 152
    Is Apple using a 'special' version of the i3-8100 because afaik it does not support 2666 ddr4 ?
  • Reply 109 of 152
    blastdoor said:
    dewme said:
    This is a worthy upgrade that predictably builds on Apple's reputation of delivering premium products at a premium price. It is now safe to say the Mini is  not going to be Apple's budget or entry level product that some folks were hoping for. It's one thing for us to say "the ecosystem could use a less expensive one, at a $499 or $599 price-point" but quite another to identify what we're willing to give up on the lowest end configuration to hit that price point. By the way, Apple accepting a lower margin is not a viable answer and is not going to happen. This is still a premium engineered, amazingly industrialized, and thoughtfully sourced product that Apple put a tremendous amount of resources into to preserve what Apple values in a product it is proud to present to customers. They are not simply slapping a bunch of off-the-shelf components into an ugly white box that's stuffed with whatever they can get cheapest this week.

    I'm still hopeful that Apple can find a way to justify delivering a true entry level machine. To do this they will need to approach the problem from a different angle. For example, if Apple decided to significantly ramp up its investment in keeping newbie programmers on the professional development path they could consider something like a Mac "Coding Machine" that consisted of a what is basically a scaled down and spec'd down Mac Mini, perhaps in a poly-carbonate case, that is priced say at $299. Perhaps it only has i3 and fewer ports. I'm thinking something that is in the same sphere of focus as the Raspberry Pi but a full Mac OS machine (with XCode) that is more akin to what professional programmers are using compared to an iPad with Swift Playgrounds, which I as more like Lego Mindstorm for early exposure to programming. Apple needs to create an easy and natural path from Playgrounds to XCode, so having an educational focus coupled with an entry level product relieves Apple from having to have the "premium" wick turned up quite so high as what we see with the new Mini. Apple can do it, but needs to redefine the rationale that's driving their engineering and product development machine to make it happen. Education, STEM, robotics, and "everyone can code" may be exactly the rationale they need.

    Of course an entry level Mini won't please the current crowd here at AI, but Apple can't please everyone all of the time and they still have a business to run. We CAN pay for premium, even though we like to complain about it from our thousand dollar phones.

    The "easy" path to an entry level Mac at a lower price point is to dump Intel. Intel's gross margins are over 60%; TSMC's gross margins are just under 50%. Every time Apple ships a product with a processor fabbed by Intel rather than TSMC they are paying an "Intel tax" of sorts. An A12-based Mini would be a very strong entry level machine at a lower price point. An A12X could be offered as a BTO option for higher performance. 
    easy for whom...  a move to Aseries 'burns the ships' for Mac OS and app development on Intel. You will need to take 100M Mac users and tell them they are running on obsolete hardware.    There better be a serious performance envelope increase to make any Intel laptop look like it's weak sauce compared to the A Series alternative (and it's gotta start at the Pro levels and iMac levels, and that requires a WinTel emulation package built in). That's a serious undertaking, and will require a skunkworks effort to avoid Osborning the current Mac line and orphaning a 100Million Mac Users. 

     I see it 3 years out a new chip variant (BSeries?) that has less power constraints, and is designed for true multi-user/Multi-process management (A-Series are designed to support 1-3 active apps).  The performance is gonna have to be 2X+ faster than the fasted Intel chips on the horizon before most people are going to accept that risk of abandoning/emulating 100s of niche applications compiled for Intel.

    I repeat, easy for whom?




  • Reply 110 of 152
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,516administrator
    blastdoor said:
    dewme said:
    This is a worthy upgrade that predictably builds on Apple's reputation of delivering premium products at a premium price. It is now safe to say the Mini is  not going to be Apple's budget or entry level product that some folks were hoping for. It's one thing for us to say "the ecosystem could use a less expensive one, at a $499 or $599 price-point" but quite another to identify what we're willing to give up on the lowest end configuration to hit that price point. By the way, Apple accepting a lower margin is not a viable answer and is not going to happen. This is still a premium engineered, amazingly industrialized, and thoughtfully sourced product that Apple put a tremendous amount of resources into to preserve what Apple values in a product it is proud to present to customers. They are not simply slapping a bunch of off-the-shelf components into an ugly white box that's stuffed with whatever they can get cheapest this week.

    I'm still hopeful that Apple can find a way to justify delivering a true entry level machine. To do this they will need to approach the problem from a different angle. For example, if Apple decided to significantly ramp up its investment in keeping newbie programmers on the professional development path they could consider something like a Mac "Coding Machine" that consisted of a what is basically a scaled down and spec'd down Mac Mini, perhaps in a poly-carbonate case, that is priced say at $299. Perhaps it only has i3 and fewer ports. I'm thinking something that is in the same sphere of focus as the Raspberry Pi but a full Mac OS machine (with XCode) that is more akin to what professional programmers are using compared to an iPad with Swift Playgrounds, which I as more like Lego Mindstorm for early exposure to programming. Apple needs to create an easy and natural path from Playgrounds to XCode, so having an educational focus coupled with an entry level product relieves Apple from having to have the "premium" wick turned up quite so high as what we see with the new Mini. Apple can do it, but needs to redefine the rationale that's driving their engineering and product development machine to make it happen. Education, STEM, robotics, and "everyone can code" may be exactly the rationale they need.

    Of course an entry level Mini won't please the current crowd here at AI, but Apple can't please everyone all of the time and they still have a business to run. We CAN pay for premium, even though we like to complain about it from our thousand dollar phones.

    The "easy" path to an entry level Mac at a lower price point is to dump Intel. Intel's gross margins are over 60%; TSMC's gross margins are just under 50%. Every time Apple ships a product with a processor fabbed by Intel rather than TSMC they are paying an "Intel tax" of sorts. An A12-based Mini would be a very strong entry level machine at a lower price point. An A12X could be offered as a BTO option for higher performance. 
    easy for whom...  a move to Aseries 'burns the ships' for Mac OS and app development on Intel. You will need to take 100M Mac users and tell them they are running on obsolete hardware.    There better be a serious performance envelope increase to make any Intel laptop look like it's weak sauce compared to the A Series alternative (and it's gotta start at the Pro levels and iMac levels, and that requires a WinTel emulation package built in). That's a serious undertaking, and will require a skunkworks effort to avoid Osborning the current Mac line and orphaning a 100Million Mac Users. 

     I see it 3 years out a new chip variant (BSeries?) that has less power constraints, and is designed for true multi-user/Multi-process management (A-Series are designed to support 1-3 active apps).  The performance is gonna have to be 2X+ faster than the fasted Intel chips on the horizon before most people are going to accept that risk of abandoning/emulating 100s of niche applications compiled for Intel.

    I repeat, easy for whom?




    It does nothing of the sort. That's what Xcode is for, which means that this transition should be even easier than the last two with a pile of third-party compliers and IDEs.

    I understand that it isn't a simple one-button push to do this, but 68K development continued for two years, and PPC continued for at least three the last two times we've done this.
  • Reply 111 of 152
    It’s extremely overpriced that it. No one wants 8gb internal memory and i3 for $799 so now they severely overcharge you with any upgrade (unless you buy your own memory but that’s about what you can do).
    And whatever you pick, the onboard graphics remain extremely slow.
    Is this the “pro” focus Apple was referring to? 
    williamlondon
  • Reply 112 of 152
    YP101YP101 Posts: 140member
    vulpine said:
    YP101 said:
    NVME speed is good but compare to 2.5' SSD, The price is too much for now. The SSD speed is concern then I rather buy dual bay with raid 0 as 2 1TB 2.5' SSD.
    Would you please explain? I'm looking at Amazon and it seems that an NVMe SSD is less expensive (and faster) than a SATA SSD right now.

    Samsung 850 EVO 1TB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD: $308
    Samsung 970 EVO 1TB - NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 SSD: $228

    Even when you add the cost of an enclosure, the NVMe SSD seems like the clear winner.
    I don't know when you search that in Amazon, so far I am looking at following link today

    860 EVO 1TB is $162 and 970 EVO NVME is $227.
    Far as I know NVME SSD price never lower than 2,5' SSD. I bought 2 years ago on black friday 860 EVO 2.5 1TB was $170 from Samsung and newegg and they gave me free game with it(another $50 worth) 

    I don't think NVME 1TB will not go less than $180 even on 2018 black Friday. There was rumor SSD price will drop much as 30% end of 2018 or so. But time to tell.
    I expect 2.5' SSD 1TB should be around $120 for 860 EVO on black Friday or cyber Monday. Other Micron and cheaper brand should be around $99 mark.
    I am look into 2TB for $180-190 hopefully..
    vulpine
  • Reply 113 of 152
    vulpine said:
    So if I want to add a 1TB SSD to this machine for casual desktop use, what's the most sensible option? Will a SATA drive + USB-C adapter give me good performance for the lowest price? Is it worth it to move up to an NVMe drive + USB 3.1 Gen 2 adapter, even though this is faster than the USB port's 10G/s capability? Or is Thunderbolt 3 performance enough of a difference that it's worth it to get NVMe + TB3, even though the TB3 adapter is more than $200?

    It still looks like NVMe is less expensive than SATA, even though NVMe is also faster - is this correct?
    There is a reason Intel sells 960 GB Optane at $1200. There are a lot of cheap and attractive Amazon listings but since Thunderbolt 3 in the PC world is so rare, I couldn’t find any true benchmark on these NVMe SSDs performance in a TB3 enclosure. All seem to come mostly in M.2 form factor, thus essentially internal. So I’d suggest the tried and tested way: buy an USB 3.0 SATA Drive, the cheapest.
    vulpine
  • Reply 114 of 152
    YP101YP101 Posts: 140member
    If Apple ditch Intel CPU to own A cpu then it will be only consumer product line. Not "PRO" line up.
    So the developer will not effect on this. Or any consumer need more power then they can buy "PRO" products.

    Since new mini goes under some what "PRO" line, I would say Apple TV will be new consumer level mini.
    New Apple TV will have 2 different model that one has cheaper A10X and other is A12X with keyboard and mouse support.

    The most of consumer not need current intel high power CPU. Unless you are student, when was last time did you open office type of app from home?(not doing work.)

    Most consumer wants simply install apps from app store and either play lite game or consume media. I wonder why do you need more than A12X at this point? with 6-8GB RAM and 128GB SSD. Same goes to Macbook.(not air).

    Storage and back up can be solved by iCloud or 2 bay NAS at home.
  • Reply 115 of 152
    thttht Posts: 4,501member
    It’s extremely overpriced that it. No one wants 8gb internal memory and i3 for $799 so now they severely overcharge you with any upgrade (unless you buy your own memory but that’s about what you can do).
    And whatever you pick, the onboard graphics remain extremely slow.
    Is this the “pro” focus Apple was referring to? 
    The base model 2018 Mac mini is priced about right for you get. An i3-8100 system is about $600. If you don’t value anything that the Mac mini and a branded OEM offers, it is overpriced for you, but $800 is fine for what it offers for a lot of customers. 

    The 2018 Mac mini is for server farms, developers, content creators, video streamers, people who can use clustered minis on a desktop, and people who like Apple’s minimalistic industrial design. It’s for macOS users who want to use a different monitors than what comes with iMacs. It’s not for gaming. It’s not to DIY hobbyists. It’s not for buyers on a budget. 

    It’s not for switchers or for new users anymore. In 2005, the desktop to laptop mix was 80:20, so a small cheap desktop back then would be a good offering for switchers and new users. Today, the mix is reversed with laptops being 80% of market. It’s stupid to offer a desktop as a switcher or new user machine when the vast majority of the market are buying laptops, tablets and phones, which not coincidentally, Apple has lots of offerings across lots of price tiers. 
    StrangeDaysstompyCheeseFreeze
  • Reply 116 of 152
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,208member
    Fatman said:
    Fatman said:
    I really don't get why Apple refuses to change the external design of their products for years - the internals are completely redesigned on this mini, but it looks identical to models of past. The same can be said for the iMac, Macbook Air. Maybe they need to hire a new enclosure designer to freshen things up?
    Ive has already spoken to this many times, you just weren't paying attention. 

    “It starts with the determination not to fall into the trap of just making things different. Because when a product has been highly regarded there is often a desire from people to see it redesigned. I think one of the most important things is that you change something not to make it different but to make it better.”

    https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/features/jony-ive-interview-apple-ipad-new-macbook-air-mac-tim-cook-event-a8614421.html
    Yes, I agree, redesign to make better - not change for change sake ... they've had YEARS to work it out. Ive also made an awful AppleTV remote (which side is up? Lets add a white circle) - complete fail. A poor first Apple pencil, maybe they got it right on take 2? An iphone with a notch, and rounded screens to cut off content. An iphone case with a hump. An Apple mouse with the lighting port on the bottom. Do I need to go on. Get rid of this guy, his time is up. How about balancing ergonomics with his pretty designs - that's where real genius comes in. One more thing  ... the bad tables at the Apple stores - try sitting at a corner. For those that know my posts - I am extremely invested in Apple, and own an 'irresponsible' number of shares in the company, but bad decisions need to be challenged.

    Pencil 1 was great, 2 is better. Get real. 

    No problem with the notch, at all. Do you whine about your rear-view mirror? Get real. 

    No problem with the battery case, get real. 

    No problem with the wireless Might Mouse, as it takes 30 seconds to charge, get real. 

    ....None of that has anything to do with your whining about the shape of the mini not changing. 

    Ive designs circles around you, please don’t quit your day job — unless it’s product design, of course. 


    williamlondon
  • Reply 117 of 152
    davgregdavgreg Posts: 968member
    The machine I ordered for myself is the i7 with 8GB, and 128GB SSD, and I will do precisely this. Thunderbolt 3 opens up a lot of possibilities.
    Same except 256 GB SSD and 16GB RAM.
    Would be nice if someone could make an eGPU case that matches the new mini like the NewerTech Mini Stack.

    Also wondering if putting it sideways in a stand is OK with the newer cooling scheme.
  • Reply 118 of 152
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,208member
    lewchenko said:

    While I like this product marginally better than the revised MacBook Air, I feel that Apple is still missing the mark with its price point on the Mini. An existing Windows user should be able to unplug their existing box and plug in a Mac mini at a price that doesn't break the bank. You can get a powerful PC desktop for this price.
    When Apple produced a very-cheap mini for switchers, the complainers said it wasn't powerful enough. Now they've gone more powerful, and the complainers say it costs too much. Do you see the catch-22 here? Anyway, I'd argue the mini is no longer a cheap intro product designed for switchers -- that job was fulfilled by iPods, iPads, and iPhones. This is a small Mac.
    It doesn’t have to be a catch 22. 
    Apple decides the price and spec and could have easily accommated an affordable specification in the line up. 
    But that’s not who Apple are. Ultimately they don’t care about low end switchers. By not having one forces people to pay more or go elsewhere.
    The price of these things buys quite a powerful PC in comparison. People have to decide whether the Mac OS is worth the premium over and above a PC (far more expandable no doubt)

    to sum up apple these days - “for people with boat loads of money, or those willing to consider older tech for slightly less money - eg old Air, older 7 iPhone, older mini” 
    Like I said elsewhere, the Mini is no longer a PC switch box. People are using mobile devices now: laptops and cell phones and tablets. In 2005 80% of the market used desktops, that time is over. I moved my parents off desktops to iPads. 

    $500 in 2005 was cheap, but it couldn't perform. Now it can, and its $150 more than inflation-adjusted pricing. If you can't afford $150 you aren't in the game. You won't even buy one anyway so why complain.

    There are iPhones and laptops at many price points. To whine that you're entitled to the top-tier performance at the entry-level price means you're out of touch with reality. Save more money and get what you need if you need the top-tier.
    edited November 2018 williamlondon
  • Reply 119 of 152
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,208member

    You buy on the cheap but pair it up with an absurdly overpriced Intel external SSD. Yeah, that's normal. The average person will be beefing their systems to 32GB of DDR4 Ram. You can bank on that one. If and when I choose this option it'll be 64GB and i7/256GB SSD. eGPU later on and add a disk array.
    Yeah no. You don't know what an average person is anymore, clearly. Techies on this site are not the "average person".
    dewmeanomewilliamlondon
  • Reply 120 of 152
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,208member

    Fatman said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    Fatman said:
    Yes, I agree, redesign to make better - not change for change sake ... they've had YEARS to work it out. Ive also made an awful AppleTV remote (which side is up? Lets add a white circle) - complete fail. A poor first Apple pencil, maybe they got it right on take 2? An iphone with a notch, and rounded screens to cut off content. An iphone case with a hump. An Apple mouse with the lighting port on the bottom. Do I need to go on. Get rid of this guy, his time is up. How about balancing ergonomics with his pretty designs - that's where real genius comes in. One more thing  ... the bad tables at the Apple stores - try sitting at a corner. For those that know my posts - I am extremely invested in Apple, and own an 'irresponsible' number of shares in the company, but bad decisions need to be challenged.

    The Apple TV remote. Right, you're the second person on this forum who seems to be foxed by this, so here's a quick cheatsheet.

    If you can feel the smooth bit at the top, you have it the right way up. 
    If you feel the glossy bit at top, you haven't
    If you can't feel the buttons at all, then you have it face down.
    If you can't feel the remote at all, then you've dropped it.
    If the remote feels bent, then you're holding a banana.

    Hope that helps.

    The first Apple Pencil was good. The second one was better. That's how product development works.

    The iPhone has a notch because Apple knew that the only people who'd be bothered by it are fake design expert wannabes.

    The iPhone case had a hump because no one has come up with a battery with Tardis functionality

    The Apple Mouse has the lightning port on the bottom because a mouse with a hole you can see would look like crap (the inconsistency in your thinking is beyond astonishing).

    Oh, and as for the tables at the Apple Store? Don't try sitting at the corner; try sitting at one of the flat sides where you're supposed to sit.

    Christ on a bicycle … 
    Ray, how do you get the remote out from between the couch cushions? Oh .. feel around for thirty minutes in frustration - got it. How do you charge the mouse ahlf way through a project when the battery dies - turn it upside down and plug it in... Great.
    Just stop lying -- you obviously don't even have the Mighty Mouse. A full-charge lasts for a month. In an emergency a few-moments-charge gives you all day. At no point will you ever use it while plugged in, that's just stupid. Like all of your examples. 
    williamlondon
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