Old 07-01-2020, 05:44 AM   #1
vanhaze
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Default Apple Macmini 2018: Wise ?

Dear Reapers,

I am in the need of a new mac, my macbook 2015 can't keep anymore, especially this coming summer where temps will go high and macbook will soon throttle, also with not that heavy projects, leading to unworkable.

For best bang for buck, and a better cooled mac, I am thinking of a macmini 2018, I7 3.6 Ghz, 64 gig RAM, 1 TB SSD. 1 Dell monitor attached to it via USB-C to display port (no scaling).

I will also run other DAW's besides Reaper, which are more heavy on their GUI, like Nuendo 10.

Did i do my homework well or would you advise else ?
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Old 07-01-2020, 08:33 AM   #2
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A friend bought a 2013 Mac Pro for the same price as a new Mini. He seems very happy with it. It came with dual upgraded GPUs. And since he's running two big screens he thinks that setup is way faster than a Mini.

It feels faster than a current MB Pro in any case.
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Old 07-01-2020, 10:15 AM   #3
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I am wondering.. arenít newer generation processors always outperforming older ones (even when the older ones have slightly higher specs), specially when using more recent OS?

While I donít have the budget right now I am also going crazy with my 2015 MB inefficient cooling and speculating about the best future purchase.
While I know MB is worst and Mac(pro) best, between IMac and MacMini which one has more efficient cooling (lower heat emission, lower fan noise and higher performance at spec parity)?
Also not sure about Imac vs Imac Pro, the non-pro edition can be specced higher than the pro base mode and yet costs less..
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Old 07-01-2020, 11:36 AM   #4
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Good questions, would like to know the (correct) answers to those also !
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Old 07-01-2020, 02:08 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vanhaze View Post
For best bang for buck, and a better cooled mac, I am thinking of a macmini 2018, I7 3.6 Ghz, 64 gig RAM, 1 TB SSD. 1 Dell monitor attached to it via USB-C to display port (no scaling).
I have that exact setup except for the storage. I got a pre-owned 2018 with a 256 SSD and 8GB RAM for a really good price and then I put 32 GB of memory in it myself and hooked up a 1TB external SSD. Saved me quite some cash. Iím running it with a 4K screen via HDMI.

Iíve just had it a couple of weeks but so far it has performed flawlessly. It gets warm to the touch but is very quiet until the fan goes on (which it seems to do only when the turbo kicks in). Since I got an app that disables the turbo function I have not had the fans go on once and it stays dead silent. I reckoned Iíll re-engage the turbo when needed but that has never happened; it chugs on nicely without it. Even with the fans on it was not annoyingly loud though but of course you canít really record close to it.

Tried it with Cubase but mostly with REAPER, both without issues. I have not taxed it super hard yet but I always run a bunch of instances of Kontakt, a number of plugins and an outboard drum machine and it does not break a sweat. Canít say for certain itís the proper setup for you but Iím very happy with mine.
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Old 07-01-2020, 02:25 PM   #6
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Sibben, many thanks, very good info, sounds promising !
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Old 07-01-2020, 02:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phazma View Post
I am wondering.. aren’t newer generation processors always outperforming older ones (even when the older ones have slightly higher specs), specially when using more recent OS?

While I don’t have the budget right now I am also going crazy with my 2015 MB inefficient cooling and speculating about the best future purchase.
While I know MB is worst and Mac(pro) best, between IMac and MacMini which one has more efficient cooling (lower heat emission, lower fan noise and higher performance at spec parity)?
Also not sure about Imac vs Imac Pro, the non-pro edition can be specced higher than the pro base mode and yet costs less..
Usually newer generations perform better but it’s not that simple. You can’t just look at the CPU as many other factors come into play as well. A 250 bhp BMW will probably smoke any 250 bhp Volvo with a margin any day of the week. Because it has better transmission for one thing. A laptop might have a high spec CPU but still be outperformed by older lower specced desktops for instance. There are all kinds of bottlenecks that come into play from power supply to cooling and everything in between.

Checking a benchmarking database like geekbench can be great to help you decide. Make sure you take single core vs multi core performance into account as well as what you’ll be using it for. I had a very nice MBP i7 work computer that was amazing for most stuff but when I tried to run Photoshop, Illustrator and Sketch at the same time it just called quits. Turns out it was great at single core work but when faced with several memory hungry multi core applications it could not cope.

I believe the iMac wins out on cooling but I can’t say for certain. My old 2015 iMac was dead silent but when upgrading I picked a Mac mini because the iMac is a little long in the tooth by now and although an amazing computer I just did not want to spend all that extra cash. If I’m gonna shell out north of 3 grand on a computer it needs to come with fake tits and an attitude. If and when Apple refreshes the iMac line I will surely be in trouble though.
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Old 07-01-2020, 06:31 PM   #8
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Why do you think Apple is turning to ARM processors?

Yeah, money too. But the biggest problem is Intel, just like IBM before, couldn't make their performance per Watt promises come true.

What counts most for audio, is clock speed. Number of cores isn't as important. More than four cores is almost wasted on audio. Unless you're composing for film or stuff like that.

So, yes, a quadcore Mini will do fine. It's still Apple's "Best Buy", atm, since you can replace/expand ram yourself.

I expect the new ARM machines to be very much "SOIC" (System-on-a-chip). Nothing to change or repair. I just hope that will also result in lower prices. Wouldn't advise anyone to wait for these ARM machines, though, as it will be a while before all the devs have adjusted the software. Especially plugins. Reaper's already there
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Old 07-02-2020, 12:48 AM   #9
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If you need a new machine now, might as well get one. Waiting for the ARM Mac is pointless, as you've still got a year or two once it comes out before everyone else jumps on board, IF they do.
Just got my new i7 w/16gb about a week and a half ago to replace my six core 2010 Mac Pro and its great. CPU power wise, it's running about the same as the Pro was in Logic (haven't done anything in Reaper yet), but it's quicker to do everything if that makes sense. The faster FSB and SSD really make it snappy as hell. I figure with this machine, Ive got a good 6-8 years if I need it, everything with Apple will be sorted out by then haha.
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Old 07-02-2020, 12:59 AM   #10
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Yesterday, i did some research on the net regarding thermal/fan behaviour of the 2018 macmini, which is said to have a pretty weak GPU.

I read that 64gig RAM, instead of 32 in the macmini can reduce the stress on its GPU when the GPU has to do hard(er) work, for example when you are running GPU intensive DAW's like Cubase/Nuendo and Protools, using an external Monitor via a TB3 port.
So this could lead to less fan noise, less cpu throttling.

Would very like to hear from macmini 2018 users what's their experience with this.
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Old 07-02-2020, 05:12 PM   #11
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All Iíve read on the subject is that 8GB is a little shy to counter the lack of GPU so I settled for 32 but I guess more RAM never hurts. REAPER is very snappy GUI-wise on my setup though. Your mileage etc...
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Old 07-03-2020, 03:18 PM   #12
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The GPU uses a max of 1.5GB and MacOS, from past experience, likes about 8GB to run smoothly. I got 16 in mine, seems fine for now. I haven't heard the fan go off once, if it has its dead silent unlike the RX570 in my 2010 Mac Pro heh. I don't think Logic Pro is very GPU intensive though and I still haven't gotten around to trying much more then setting up my preferences in Reaper so far. I played the remastered Baldur's Gate last night for a few hours, and still didn't hear the fan go on once. The Mini was pretty hot afterwards but, no trouble so far. The newest FPS's I have are like Quake 4 and Doom 3 but Ill have to fire up Battletech in a bit and run it at 4K and see if I can make the fan go off. With the graphics on full blast at 4k it ran like a champ in my Mac Pro with the 570, but it sounded like an air conditioner running inside.
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Old 07-05-2020, 10:48 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vanhaze View Post
Dear Reapers,

I am in the need of a new mac, my macbook 2015 can't keep anymore, especially this coming summer where temps will go high and macbook will soon throttle, also with not that heavy projects, leading to unworkable.

For best bang for buck, and a better cooled mac, I am thinking of a macmini 2018, I7 3.6 Ghz, 64 gig RAM, 1 TB SSD. 1 Dell monitor attached to it via USB-C to display port (no scaling).

I will also run other DAW's besides Reaper, which are more heavy on their GUI, like Nuendo 10.

Did i do my homework well or would you advise else ?
that beast will handle anything,
also keep in mind you can buy 8GB RAM model and upgrade yourself, since the RAM is user upgradeable,
SSD is soldered though, so definitely go for at least 1TB,
also consider 10Gbit ethernet - added price cost for it is low and may prove futureproof,
btw great thing about 2018 Mac Mini is, you can actually install MacOS 10.14.6 Mojave there, since Catalina removed 32bit support
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