Testing thermal throttling and performance in the 2018 i7 Mac mini

2

Comments

  • Reply 21 of 43

    larz2112 said:
    Great info and article. It's nice to see that the new Mac mini does a decent job of managing the CPU performance and throttling. Did the fan get noisy during this testing? I ask because I use my Mac for music production, and a noisy Mac mini would not be welcome when recording vocals.
    It was surprisingly quiet. I think quieter than either the 13" or 15" 2018 MacBook Pro. 
    But of course, it's subjective. You may think it's loud. 
    How does the noise level compare (subjectively) to the 2014 version under similar load?
  • Reply 22 of 43
    nht said:
    mike54 said:
    "The office was a steady 21C throughout the duration of the test." - Thanks for mentioning the ambient temperature. That is quite cool though even for an office. With temperatures >32C for half of the year here, it won't bode well for the thermals.

    "Unfortunately, graphics performance is where the Mac Mini suffers" - Your dead right. And buying an eGPU to make up for it is not a reason for the low spec internal graphics.

    After 4 years of nothing, Apple had the time and certainly the resources for a re-design to improve thermals, to add in better graphics (or at least an option) and with the capability for an optional fan filter. (I know some companies stack these, but using this is an excuse)

    Disappointed in the almost relative minimal effort Apple has put into this, and far from the best that Apple could of done and is capable of. It seems to me a half-hearted effort and far from reflects what this company could and should do. For those want it, it's Apple only reasonably priced headless mac they offer.


    Add a GPU and the mini performs worse from a CPU perspective and other than turn it into a jet turbine or much larger you can’t fix that because physics.

    An eGPU is an excellent engineering trade off as not everyone needs one and the performance hit is the same as cramming it into a thermally challenged chassis like the iMac or MBP.

    Apple did an excellent job and these results show that.
    I don't know if I heard this in the keynote or read it here, but somebody claimed the most common uses for the mini don't include a monitor at all. If that's true, there's not much point in making buyers pay for graphics capability they'll never use. Particularly when it has Thunderbolt 3, which allows those who want more graphics grunt to buy whatever they want and just plug it in.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 23 of 43
    A full Xcode build that took 50+ minutes on a 2012 MBP 2,3 GHz i7 (4 core, 8 threads), now takes about 7 minutes on the mini with 3,2 GHz i7 (6 core, 12 threads). So that is a pretty good speedup!

    The MBP had SSD + 16 GB memory, as does the Mac mini. 

    Fans are running during the build, but it is much lower pitch than the MBP so not so annoying to listen to. 
    edited November 2018 thtwilliamlondonwatto_cobralarz2112raoulduke42
  • Reply 24 of 43
    Great article - thanks. Did you (or will you) get a chance to check out the TB3 ports (bandwidth constraints, which ports go to which controller, why only 1x 5K monitor and not 2 since there are supposedly 2 controllers ...)?
    michaelVDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 25 of 43
    Did you notice what the fan speeds were during testing? Would it be possible to sacrifice silence for performance, and max out cooling?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 26 of 43
    mr minsky said:
    Great article - thanks. Did you (or will you) get a chance to check out the TB3 ports (bandwidth constraints, which ports go to which controller, why only 1x 5K monitor and not 2 since there are supposedly 2 controllers ...)?
    I think it’s a limitation of the intel integrated gpu, which can drive 3 displays. One is mapped to the HDMI port (someone identified a dedicated DisplayPort to hdmi2.0 chip on the mobo - looks like the gpu doesn’t directly support hdmi2), and the remaining pair to any two of the thunderbolt ports on either controller.

    Each display can be [email protected] maximum, so the single 5K would be driven by two of the 4k channels glued together.

    There are some details on the intel ARK site for the i7-8700.

    https://ark.intel.com/products/126686/Intel-Core-i7-8700-Processor-12M-Cache-up-to-4-60-GHz-

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 27 of 43
    19831983 Posts: 1,183member
    The new Mac Mini, redesigned iPad Pro’s and the Series 4 Watch’s are the stars of this year’s Apple product releases. The new iPhones and MacBook Air far less so. But it is an incremental ‘S’ year upgrade for the phones, so that’s understandable. But I still don’t see the point of the new MacBook Air, unless it’s a replacement for the 12” MacBook, which it isn’t apparently.
    edited November 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 28 of 43
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,634administrator

    larz2112 said:
    Great info and article. It's nice to see that the new Mac mini does a decent job of managing the CPU performance and throttling. Did the fan get noisy during this testing? I ask because I use my Mac for music production, and a noisy Mac mini would not be welcome when recording vocals.
    It was surprisingly quiet. I think quieter than either the 13" or 15" 2018 MacBook Pro. 
    But of course, it's subjective. You may think it's loud. 
    How does the noise level compare (subjectively) to the 2014 version under similar load?
    I don't have a 2014 anymore, so I can't compare it directly to that one, but I can say that it is a bit quieter than my i7 2012 under load, and a lot quieter than a 5,1 12-core Mac Pro under load.
    lorin schultzwatto_cobra
  • Reply 29 of 43
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,634administrator
    nht said:
    mike54 said:
    "The office was a steady 21C throughout the duration of the test." - Thanks for mentioning the ambient temperature. That is quite cool though even for an office. With temperatures >32C for half of the year here, it won't bode well for the thermals.

    "Unfortunately, graphics performance is where the Mac Mini suffers" - Your dead right. And buying an eGPU to make up for it is not a reason for the low spec internal graphics.

    After 4 years of nothing, Apple had the time and certainly the resources for a re-design to improve thermals, to add in better graphics (or at least an option) and with the capability for an optional fan filter. (I know some companies stack these, but using this is an excuse)

    Disappointed in the almost relative minimal effort Apple has put into this, and far from the best that Apple could of done and is capable of. It seems to me a half-hearted effort and far from reflects what this company could and should do. For those want it, it's Apple only reasonably priced headless mac they offer.


    Add a GPU and the mini performs worse from a CPU perspective and other than turn it into a jet turbine or much larger you can’t fix that because physics.

    An eGPU is an excellent engineering trade off as not everyone needs one and the performance hit is the same as cramming it into a thermally challenged chassis like the iMac or MBP.

    Apple did an excellent job and these results show that.
    I don't know if I heard this in the keynote or read it here, but somebody claimed the most common uses for the mini don't include a monitor at all. If that's true, there's not much point in making buyers pay for graphics capability they'll never use. Particularly when it has Thunderbolt 3, which allows those who want more graphics grunt to buy whatever they want and just plug it in.
    Anecdotally, about half of the hundreds of Mac minis I've supported since the launch of the G4 have been headless, with probably half of those remote accessed into from another machine.
    lorin schultzwatto_cobra
  • Reply 30 of 43
    The article states “the slower i3 processor have little effect on the thermal condition inside the case“ but the i3 doesn’t have turbo boost so how does that relate to the other tests. It would seem that if there’s no boost there would be no ramped up increase in heat generated. 

    Never mind, I reread that and I had an opposite understanding of what it actually said.  Sigh, need more coffee. 
    edited November 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 31 of 43
    I got the i7 2018 mini and love it. My wife and I both use it when working from home and we have a 27" 4k and a 21" 1080p monitor. Nothing too graphics intensive.

    The fan almost never comes on. The only time I heard it was playing a movie for my kids while VMWare updated windows in the background. The fan noise is noticeable but not terrible: it's probably in the neighborhood of 45db when really going, about as loud as my supposedly-whisper-quiet dishwasher.

    Performance is great. I am curious about how much electricity the machine uses under different conditions; if it's hijacking my sonos setup to be airplay compatible and also letting me use it as a VPN for my other devices when I'm away I wonder if I'll be paying through the nose, or not. But no complaints: this is a great machine for the money and should last until Apple obsoletes intel-only macs in ~2024.
    williamlondonwatto_cobralarz2112
  • Reply 32 of 43

    larz2112 said:
    Great info and article. It's nice to see that the new Mac mini does a decent job of managing the CPU performance and throttling. Did the fan get noisy during this testing? I ask because I use my Mac for music production, and a noisy Mac mini would not be welcome when recording vocals.
    It was surprisingly quiet. I think quieter than either the 13" or 15" 2018 MacBook Pro. 
    But of course, it's subjective. You may think it's loud. 
    How does the noise level compare (subjectively) to the 2014 version under similar load?
    I don't have a 2014 anymore, so I can't compare it directly to that one, but I can say that it is a bit quieter than my i7 2012 under load, and a lot quieter than a 5,1 12-core Mac Pro under load.
    nht said:
    mike54 said:
    "The office was a steady 21C throughout the duration of the test." - Thanks for mentioning the ambient temperature. That is quite cool though even for an office. With temperatures >32C for half of the year here, it won't bode well for the thermals.

    "Unfortunately, graphics performance is where the Mac Mini suffers" - Your dead right. And buying an eGPU to make up for it is not a reason for the low spec internal graphics.

    After 4 years of nothing, Apple had the time and certainly the resources for a re-design to improve thermals, to add in better graphics (or at least an option) and with the capability for an optional fan filter. (I know some companies stack these, but using this is an excuse)

    Disappointed in the almost relative minimal effort Apple has put into this, and far from the best that Apple could of done and is capable of. It seems to me a half-hearted effort and far from reflects what this company could and should do. For those want it, it's Apple only reasonably priced headless mac they offer.


    Add a GPU and the mini performs worse from a CPU perspective and other than turn it into a jet turbine or much larger you can’t fix that because physics.

    An eGPU is an excellent engineering trade off as not everyone needs one and the performance hit is the same as cramming it into a thermally challenged chassis like the iMac or MBP.

    Apple did an excellent job and these results show that.
    I don't know if I heard this in the keynote or read it here, but somebody claimed the most common uses for the mini don't include a monitor at all. If that's true, there's not much point in making buyers pay for graphics capability they'll never use. Particularly when it has Thunderbolt 3, which allows those who want more graphics grunt to buy whatever they want and just plug it in.
    Anecdotally, about half of the hundreds of Mac minis I've supported since the launch of the G4 have been headless, with probably half of those remote accessed into from another machine.
    Thanks for the helpful info, Mike!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 33 of 43

    mr minsky said:
    Great article - thanks. Did you (or will you) get a chance to check out the TB3 ports (bandwidth constraints, which ports go to which controller, why only 1x 5K monitor and not 2 since there are supposedly 2 controllers ...)?
    Mike Wuerthele posted in another thread that one Thunderbolt controller feeds the two ports to the left, the other controller feeds the two ports on the right. Simple, intuitive, and easy to remember.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 34 of 43
    mr minsky said:
    Great article - thanks. Did you (or will you) get a chance to check out the TB3 ports (bandwidth constraints, which ports go to which controller, why only 1x 5K monitor and not 2 since there are supposedly 2 controllers ...)?
    The peeps over on the egpu forum have captured a bunch of information about the pci lanes driving the TB3 controllers. The hwinfo screenshots look to show that the controllers have x4 links coming directly off the CPU.

    So it’s as well-designed for TB3 as the 15” MacBook Pro’s are. Good news! :)
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 35 of 43
    Hello, Is the new macmini graphic card able to handle à 4K screen @ 2160 x 1440 resolution ? Thank you
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 36 of 43
    tboy said:
    Hello, Is the new macmini graphic card able to handle à 4K screen @ 2160 x 1440 resolution ? Thank you
    That depends on what you mean by "handle." If you mean pick it up and physically manipulate it, probably not, as the integrated GPU in the mini has no thumbs.

    If you mean "can it drive a 4K display at lower than native resolution" the answer is yes.

    EDIT: Sorry, I enjoyed the stupid joke too much to keep it to myself. That aside, did you really mean to type 2160 x 1440, or did you mean 2560 x 1440? I actually don't know if you can dial in a specific pixel-value resolution, only that it can be scaled.
    edited November 2018 michaelVDays
  • Reply 37 of 43
    Steve HammondSteve Hammond Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    Hello AppleInsider,

    You said that the new Mac mini with i7 is not suitable for video production. I’m not a professional videographer, but I use Final Cut Pro X with a 2012 MacBook Pro with retina display with 16 Gb of RAM 512 Gb of SSD and the GT650 graphic processor, and it is adequate (but slow) considering the age of the computer. I must specify that I do dual camera (DSLR+Camcorder) in 1080p only and I burn to DVD once completed. I do not do 4K or anything really fancy. 

    I’m seriously considering a Mac mini to replace my MacBook Pro with the i7 processor, looking at external storage (or 512Gb from Apple) and 32 Gb of RAM not from Apple, to save a bit there, and I’m pretty sure it will do just fine and even better than the current computer I have. 

    When I compare the score you got here to my MacBook Pro from the GeekBench site, I see a real improvement in my case:

    CPU multi core MBP 2012=12645, Mac mini 2018=25406
    GPU metal test MBP 2012 GT650M=16033, Mac mini 2018=24962

    Considering these numbers, I can see that this Mac mini will be better for my workflow.

    Maybe in your comments you should be a little bit more specific that when you talk about video production, you’re probably talking 4K or very high end video production.
    Hello Steve.

    I disagreed with that "video editing" assessment, and as such, did not include it in the text here. As our video crew shoots in 4K, that is likely what they are referring to.
    Hi Mike,

    That's right, I read the text after seeing the video, and I totally missed the fact that you did no mention of it textually. Like I said, it is probably not suited for professional videographers, but for people like me doing family and casual video (and photo) editing, I'm sure it will perform well enough. Anyway, when I need to encode video, I have the luxury to wait for it to complete. 

    It cannot be worst that what I was doing on my 12" PowerBook with iMovie and iDVD ~20 years ago! Encoding a DVD was a full night wait! And the PowerBook was considered like a Pro computer to Apple. 

    Thank you for your additional comments. That's reassuring :smile: 

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 38 of 43
    mdpmdp Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    How about testing the Mac mini with fan @ full speed? For eg. controlling the fan with iStat Pro and then running the tests. I'm wondering how it will perform then, what will be the temperatures etc. Not everyone cares about fan noise when rendering video/graphics etc. Thanks for the great article!
    watto_cobrawilliamlondon
  • Reply 39 of 43
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    tboy said:
    Hello, Is the new macmini graphic card able to handle à 4K screen @ 2160 x 1440 resolution ? Thank you
    A 4K screen will work fine for desktop and apps, but 3D games will not work very well.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 40 of 43
    2 TB Thunderbolt 3 SSD (aliexpress enclosure for 80 bucks and 2 TB NVMe drive)
    Can you provide a link or search terms?  Cheapest Thunderbolt 3 NVMe case I can find is about $180 USD...
    Steve Hammond
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