Tested: Will the new i7 Mac mini run faster with new thermal paste?

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  • Reply 41 of 55

    Finally, it's not much of an $800 investment if the peice of crap constantly thermal throttles and is unusable to be used in a prolonged application use, so you might as well try and fix that crap cause you're leaving money on the table allowing it to perform under its rated specs. (Kinda like getting a super fast high end car, but putting a limiter on it that caps at 60mph)
    I am not sure i understand what you are talking about.
    The article shows that a stock Mac Mini with a  3.2 Ghz chip run between 3.4 and 3.5 Ghz during a prolonged test, on a stable temperature.
    I would not call it throttling, you get more  that the nominal performance.
    Maurizio
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 42 of 55
    Dave_KalamaDave_Kalama Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    I think Apple already did the testing of using thermal paste in their labs. Why anyone would do this besides for tests & putting $800 investments into jeopardy is beyond me.

    __________

    100c? My custom PC 1800x 8core runs at 34-62c. Watercooled and 5 fans. Hot weather here.

    At 100c  lifeexpectancy will shorten. Silicons temp window end there. There is no headroom. Planned lifecycle is now the new thing? This thing is nasty.
  • Reply 43 of 55
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,634administrator
    I think Apple already did the testing of using thermal paste in their labs. Why anyone would do this besides for tests & putting $800 investments into jeopardy is beyond me.

    __________

    100c? My custom PC 1800x 8core runs at 34-62c. Watercooled and 5 fans. Hot weather here.

    At 100c  lifeexpectancy will shorten. Silicons temp window end there. There is no headroom. Planned lifecycle is now the new thing? This thing is nasty.
    the "Silicon temp window" of damage is 121C. The 100C is arbitrary, and set by Intel.

    While I would like the machine to run cooler, there is no evidence that 100C shortens the life of silicon in a computer beyond reddit whispers and urban lore. Hard drives and batteries? Sure. Silicon? No.
    radarthekatwatto_cobracgWerks
  • Reply 44 of 55
    I ordered from Amazon mac mini i5 base model as $999 and I had to return it.
    Heating problem is real. I tested internal and external SSD with running TD thinkorswim app only and mini heat up more than my 5 years old HP laptop.

    I think it is problem with both thermal paste and cooling method. Mac mini has no intake vent hole other than bottom which cover by rubber plate.
    DDR4, CPU heat up pretty fast and cool air sip in through bottom plate gap is too slow. Also PSU create heat as well.

    Apple need redesign the new Mac mini. Maybe need side or front vent array of hole or design like AppleTV 4K bottom.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 45 of 55
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,303member
    Yes, Apple uses thermal paste made from fish oil, and Arctic Silver uses only the freshest Polar Bear livers and 99.95% pure Ag ingots. blah blah blah

    AI demonstrated that 'superior' paste didn't improve the situation. We're generally warned not to lay the paste on too thick for obvious reasons, but the Brylcreem application might be part of the problem. I'd think getting the paste closer to the edges would make as much if not more improvement than trying different pastes.

    Either way, I wouldn't bother cracking the heat sink. My 2012 mini is working 24/7/365 and it is warmer than I'd like. I use iSTAT Menus and bumped the Exhaust Fan speed from ~1800rpm to ~2000rpm. The adjustment isn't very granular and I'd like to lower the speed a smidge. But it keeps the mini, with it's archaic cooling (compared to the 2018 mini), from getting heat soaked, and when the temp does rise, it's not as great as before and quickly falls when the lifting stops.

    Any of the speed control apps would do the same. I use iSTAT because I already had the app and found the option for fan control.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 46 of 55
    I just finished testing the i3, i5 and i7 versions of the Mac mini with a variety of tests including power & heat generation. These were all tested stock 8 GB ram, all with 256 GB storage - not opened, no change in thermal paste.

     I found that with the i7 during a first test, or beginning of a long CPU intensive task starts off fast and got a result of about 1200 in Cinebench, then with additional tests (or continued long run) it scales down power usage from peaks up to around 150 watts to in the 90 watt range when Cinebench scores dropped as low as 1173 - but after 30-60 seconds the fan ramps up, and the performance goes back up - along with electricity usage where it climbs back up to 110-120 watt range and performance to match. I actually had the highest Cinebench score after the CPU was hot, and the fun was running at high speed when it hit reliably in the 1200 range with a peak of 1228. It does pump out quite a bit of heat.
    The i3 in the testing I was doing did not seem to have much of a change at all between tests, and even after running for a while I could barely hear the fan with barely warm air coming out.
    The i5 had a little bit of a variance, more than the i3, but not nearly as much as the i7 - it did generate more heat than the i3, no where near as much as the i7 - fan also barely audible. Running the same tests with the old 2012 quad-i7 it's fans were for sure the loudest - even the base 2018 i3 is faster than the 2012 quad-i7 in all tests, with the GPU scores being over 4x faster in CineBench & GeekBench.

     The Cinebench GPU test was also faster on the i7 where it reliably gets 44fps while the i3 & i5 were only getting around 41 fps. It is strange with all of them having the same integrated video, I even went back and re-tested to verify when I noticed it. (running a more advanced 3D app like Unigine Heaven or Valley it was only around 4fps so useless for gaming without an eGPU - I did test the BlackMagic eGPU with Radeon Pro 580 it jumped the same Heaven & Valley tests to around 36 fps with Ultra or Extreme settings - over 60fps with medium settings. while using around 130 watts of total power for Mac mini plus eGPU. Heaven in particular did get a slightly higher frame rate with Ultra settings on the i7 with eGPU than the i3 or i5 models which were only getting 29 fps)
    A better eGPU with an Nvidia card like 1080Ti or newer should be very usable not only for games, but things like video rendering with Premiere.
    edited December 2018 lorin schultzradarthekatcgWerks
  • Reply 47 of 55
    macgui said:
    Yes, Apple uses thermal paste made from fish oil, and Arctic Silver uses only the freshest Polar Bear livers and 99.95% pure Ag ingots. blah blah blah

    AI demonstrated that 'superior' paste didn't improve the situation. We're generally warned not to lay the paste on too thick for obvious reasons, but the Brylcreem application might be part of the problem. I'd think getting the paste closer to the edges would make as much if not more improvement than trying different pastes.

    Either way, I wouldn't bother cracking the heat sink. My 2012 mini is working 24/7/365 and it is warmer than I'd like. I use iSTAT Menus and bumped the Exhaust Fan speed from ~1800rpm to ~2000rpm. The adjustment isn't very granular and I'd like to lower the speed a smidge. But it keeps the mini, with it's archaic cooling (compared to the 2018 mini), from getting heat soaked, and when the temp does rise, it's not as great as before and quickly falls when the lifting stops.

    Any of the speed control apps would do the same. I use iSTAT because I already had the app and found the option for fan control.
    Yeah, I had to do similar with my 2012 quad-i7 Mac mini as well - it would keep ramping the fan up and down under normal loud, was super annoying, I think I set mine closer to 3000 rpm though to keep the CPU fairly cool most of the time.  It still ramps up if needed under heavier load though.
  • Reply 48 of 55
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,093moderator
    I think Apple already did the testing of using thermal paste in their labs. Why anyone would do this besides for tests & putting $800 investments into jeopardy is beyond me.

    __________

    100c? My custom PC 1800x 8core runs at 34-62c. Watercooled and 5 fans. Hot weather here.

    At 100c  lifeexpectancy will shorten. Silicons temp window end there. There is no headroom. Planned lifecycle is now the new thing? This thing is nasty.
    the "Silicon temp window" of damage is 121C. The 100C is arbitrary, and set by Intel.

    While I would like the machine to run cooler, there is no evidence that 100C shortens the life of silicon in a computer beyond reddit whispers and urban lore. Hard drives and batteries? Sure. Silicon? No.
    Though I often blanch at such uninformed assertions, I’m actually happy this time a commenter raised this issue, as it prompted your informed reply, educating me and others here who read this far into the comment stream.  I’d been wondering about that since reading the article but have been distracted with other things so hadn’t googled yet.  Googling, in any event, would only have educated me, not others here.  
    cgWerks
  • Reply 49 of 55
    brianm said:
    macgui said:
    Yes, Apple uses thermal paste made from fish oil, and Arctic Silver uses only the freshest Polar Bear livers and 99.95% pure Ag ingots. blah blah blah

    AI demonstrated that 'superior' paste didn't improve the situation. We're generally warned not to lay the paste on too thick for obvious reasons, but the Brylcreem application might be part of the problem. I'd think getting the paste closer to the edges would make as much if not more improvement than trying different pastes.

    Either way, I wouldn't bother cracking the heat sink. My 2012 mini is working 24/7/365 and it is warmer than I'd like. I use iSTAT Menus and bumped the Exhaust Fan speed from ~1800rpm to ~2000rpm. The adjustment isn't very granular and I'd like to lower the speed a smidge. But it keeps the mini, with it's archaic cooling (compared to the 2018 mini), from getting heat soaked, and when the temp does rise, it's not as great as before and quickly falls when the lifting stops.

    Any of the speed control apps would do the same. I use iSTAT because I already had the app and found the option for fan control.
    Yeah, I had to do similar with my 2012 quad-i7 Mac mini as well - it would keep ramping the fan up and down under normal loud, was super annoying, I think I set mine closer to 3000 rpm though to keep the CPU fairly cool most of the time.  It still ramps up if needed under heavier load though.
    If you check the ifixit for picture of heat sink then 2012 and 2018 heat sink design differently due to older mini use laptop grade CPU. If newer CPU has less heat issue then there is no reason to add big heat fin.
    Either older mini's fan ran none stop or newer mac does not able to cool it. So Apple might not wise to choose desktop CPU on mini after all.

    They did this for some what controlled environment(such as air condition room like server farm) usage. Not for normal day to day user which some home has higher temp air during winter time.(When I test 2018 mini in my room it was cold. I have to wear sweater still mini manage heat up and fell much warmer when I touched.)
    2018 mini start use desktop CPU and require more heat control, Apple make heat sink bigger and rare bent hole larger then older mini. However still same in take cool air from bottom cover is just not enough cool air suck in.

  • Reply 50 of 55
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,220member
    sflocal said:
    Yes... I got the six-core i7, 1TB SSD, 16GB RAM model.  It's quiet.  Every so often when I'm doing some CPU-intensive projects, I'll put my hand on the case out of curiosity and it's barely warm.  I don't hear the fans.  I barley feel any airflow coming out from the vents.  So figure that.  Nice machine.  It's a speed demon for sure, not a fan of the Intel graphics but I wanted the small footprint and I already had the Thunderbolt monitors so didn't want to get an iMac.

    I hope someone makes an eGPU the size of the Mac mini housing so I can neatly stack it!
    Well... got it and am getting it all setup properly.

    I can hear it when it is running hard (and I think only then), but it's it's kind of a low lower-pitch white/pink noise type sound that isn't overly annoying. (My wife has a PC tablet/laptop that is incredibly annoying when the fan comes on.) The Blackmagic, I can hear as well, but it is more a 'woosh' airflow type sound that is barely detectable and super-un-annoying. So, I'm pretty happy in the sound department.

    re: eGPU - Yeah, if someone just put a workable GPU into a mini-size case at a reasonable price, I think it would sell quite well. I'm loving the Blackmagic in general, but the whole eGPU thing still feels kind of half-baked for the average user (I suppose the assumption is average users won't get one?). I've never hot-plugged HDMI so much in my life as I've had to do getting the thing setup (I've read it's good with that, but it still rubs me the wrong way).

    I got stuck a few times with the whole wireless keyboard/trackpad... ie: working at some points but not others, like an iCloud login I had to skip and do later. Heh, that aspect actually feels like a web-page thing Apple tossed into the setup routine, rough edges and all. But, it would be nice to have wired ones around (I got rid of mine last time we moved).

    My next thing is going to be getting Windows/Bootcamp running with the eGPU and then Revit. Wish me luck! :smile: 

    Also, had one small scare. One of my attempts resulted in no video from the mini or eGPU, so I had to hold the power button to shutdown. When it came back up, it hits me with a screen about resetting passwords and recovery and such. Maybe I don't want FileVault? :neutral:  But, I was able to restart again and everything went OK. And... is it normal for certain boot sequences to show a blue or green pixelated Apple logo in place of the white one? I'd never seen that before, and it kind of freaked me out... but everything seems to work OK.

    Maurizio said:
    The article shows that a stock Mac Mini with a  3.2 Ghz chip run between 3.4 and 3.5 Ghz during a prolonged test, on a stable temperature. 
    I would not call it throttling, you get more  that the nominal performance. 
    Yeah, it seems to be in comparison to some real or theoretical PCs using the same chips with better cooling systems. But, if Apple is meeting their advertised performance specs, than I'm not sure I'd refer to it as thermal throttling... though I suppose that is technically correct. But, then about every machine thermal throttles except some specialized rig.

    YP101 said:
    ... Mac mini has no intake vent hole other than bottom which cover by rubber plate.
    DDR4, CPU heat up pretty fast and cool air sip in through bottom plate gap is too slow. Also PSU create heat as well. ...
    There is a gap between the 'shell' and that plastic base (I wish it were rubber, so it wouldn't slide around so easily!). Given the size of the rather large circle, even though the gap is small, I'm guessing it can easily pull in more than it can push out. I don't think I have worries there. But, I suppose if the internal temps stay elevated for long periods of time, it could be an issue, except that there isn't much in there anymore to be damaged by the heat (or, at least that low of heat), right?

    brianm said:
    I found that with the i7 during a first test, or beginning of a long CPU intensive task starts off fast and got a result of about 1200 in Cinebench, then with additional tests (or continued long run) it scales down power usage from peaks up to around 150 watts to in the 90 watt range when Cinebench scores dropped as low as 1173 - but after 30-60 seconds the fan ramps up, and the performance goes back up - along with electricity usage where it climbs back up to 110-120 watt range and performance to match. I actually had the highest Cinebench score after the CPU was hot, and the fun was running at high speed when it hit reliably in the 1200 range with a peak of 1228. It does pump out quite a bit of heat. 
    That's what I saw as well, just watching the watt-meter on my UPS (didn't measure Cinebench scores over time... getting ~ 1195 in the couple tests I ran). But, in power-draw, it went up pretty high then sank low, then evened out in-between. I think I saw as high as 170 watts**, but don't know how accurate my UPS is (or sample frequency).

    **Oh, and my eGPU was on there too, but it seems to draw like 20-30 watts when idle.... so subtracting that, I'm close to your numbers.
    edited December 2018
  • Reply 51 of 55
    cgWerks said:
    [...] is it normal for certain boot sequences to show a blue or green pixelated Apple logo in place of the white one? I'd never seen that before, and it kind of freaked me out... but everything seems to work OK.
    Oh, Apple, what is it with you and graphics (shaking my head)?

    I've never seen what you describe, but then I don't have the new mini yet. My 2016 MacBook Pro Touch Bar sometimes gives me a full-screen flash of pink when I open the lid. Like you say, it's disturbing and seems wrong, but the machine seems to work fine. A call to AppleCare is probably warranted, but it's hard to gather the gumption required to sit through a troubleshooting session for an intermittent problem that I can't be sure will even come up during the call.
  • Reply 52 of 55
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,220member
    lorin schultz said:
    I've never seen what you describe, but then I don't have the new mini yet. My 2016 MacBook Pro Touch Bar sometimes gives me a full-screen flash of pink when I open the lid. Like you say, it's disturbing and seems wrong, but the machine seems to work fine. A call to AppleCare is probably warranted, but it's hard to gather the gumption required to sit through a troubleshooting session for an intermittent problem that I can't be sure will even come up during the call.
    Yeah, especially over the last decade. I used to think Apple's support was top-notch... but to be fair, I usually didn't bother with the phone and just took it to the Apple Store (when I lived near one). But, the last few phone support calls I've made were royal wastes of time. They eventually solved a couple of the issues after a number of calls. One, they seemed to just give up, and so did I (after like 6 hours across 4 people).

    What is especially frustrating, though, is that only one was hardware related... the others software, which I've never needed support for in the past (including a decade+ of supporting other people's Macs). It was mostly stupid stuff related to cloud things that were half-baked and just not working right. Starting over was quicker.

    I don't think this one would be able to done over the phone, as it is only sometimes at boot (and not normal boot, but I think first few boots and then software updates). It was really odd, as it seemed to uniform to be a graphics glitch, but nothing I've seen before. Almost like it was meant to mean something, I just don't know what. (I'll have to video boots with my iPhone or something and see if I can capture it. I thought maybe it was just something new with the T2 and/or Mojave, but I don't see anything on it with a Google search.)

    Still haven't had time to do Bootcamp/Windows, but I'm guessing that is going to be interesting. :smile: 
    edited December 2018
  • Reply 53 of 55
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,220member
    re: what I said previously... "I can hear it when it is running hard (and I think only then), but it's it's kind of a low lower-pitch white/pink noise type sound that isn't overly annoying. (My wife has a PC tablet/laptop that is incredibly annoying when the fan comes on.) The Blackmagic, I can hear as well, but it is more a 'woosh' airflow type sound that is barely detectable and super-un-annoying. So, I'm pretty happy in the sound department."

    Just an update...

    I guess I just hadn't been pushing it that much in a sustained way, as now that I am, it's a bit louder than I like. But, it is less annoying 'tone/pitch' than laptops I've owned or been around. Even at 100% (ie: 1/12th load, equivalent of 1 of 2 threads on 1 core), it starts to come in and out of being audible in the environment I'm in (which isn't totally quiet... urban apartment/condo, not quiet countryside).

    At 200% it ratchets up some and I can clearly hear it, but it isn't too annoying yet. If I'm not recording audio, I think I could run it at that level without bothering me too much while I work.

    It's interesting, in that it doesn't keep at a constant level, but seems to cycle louder/quieter every couple minutes. Maybe it would eventually stabilize if I leave it long enough?

    At only 300% (1/4 of the power of the machine), it starts to get annoying (to me). The tone still isn't as harsh as some systems, but the noise level is more than I like. Interestingly (and a bit unexpectedly), it doesn't seem to get any worse than that. When I crank it up to 400%, 500%, etc up to maxed out, it stays roughly the same volume of noise.

    The good news, is that when I'm just working (so far) I must not be sustaining 300% yet, as I've never heard it get that loud unless I'm purposely pushing it. The bad news, is that doing stuff like compressing a longer video (which I haven't done yet) will certainly push it there, as that usually maxes it a machine out while it's running. I suppose there is a way I could limit those apps to use less threads?

    Workable, but a bit of a bummer for me given how darn quiet the eGPU is. I suppose that would have been the advantage of a Mac Pro like the 'trash can.' I guess I can't have it all for the, IMO, bargain in terms of price that I paid for this much power. :)
    lorin schultz
  • Reply 54 of 55
    Did you use different monitors for the different tests? Different setup  = confounding variables and different scores.
  • Reply 55 of 55
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,634administrator
    Did you use different monitors for the different tests? Different setup  = confounding variables and different scores.
    The article discusses this.
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