A few Days ago Apple announced a couple of new shiny tech things, iPad Pro which is essentially same old iPad, and new Mac Mini. The one I am very excited about is the Mac Mini! For many years I have been hardcore PC user, I have multiple PC computers I assembled from scratch and still mainly rely on PC for my Photography and Color Grading work. Over the years I also had most Apple devices, including previous gen Mac Mini, iMacs, and MacBook Pro. So to be clear, I am not a PC fanboy, but rather prefer to use bang for the buck deals…Anyways, back to the topic! What makes this particular Mac Mini so incredible? Let’s do a little break down of things and take a look!
PERFORMANCE / PRICE
The base model of Mac Mini at $799 is a bad decision to buy, so don’t waste your money on it. Relatively weak i3 Processor and small storage of 128gb will get you surfing the web out of the box, but don’t expect any kind of professional performance with this one. If you a blogger who needs an affordable machine to write and do very basic photo editing this model may work, but keep in mind 128gb is not enough for storage, so you may need to purchase additional hard drives for your needs.
Next one $1099 model. With the slightly better processor and a little bit of extra storage, we start to see a little bit of performance boost here, however it is still may not be enough for professional work. This model may be a good option if you are a beginner photographer and want to jump into Mac environment, however, you still may need to purchase additional storage, and don’t expect much performance out of onboard Intel UHD Graphics.
And this is where it shines!
With additional option of $2099 (image above) we actually got an incredible power machine! The only weakest link remains is the graphics card! However! On the very same day as Apple announced New Mac Mini, Blackmagic Design also released a newer version of their eGPU unit, allowing you to connect it via Thunderbolt Cable.
eGPU comes in 2 flavors
eGPU cost $699 and for eGPU PRO $1199
eGPU will get you Radeon 580 and eGPU PRO AMD Radeon RX Vega 56
What About Competition?
A quick look at GPU Performance Chart That I been using for years as a base platform reveals the details Price / Performance
As we can see on the chart at a whopping price tag of $1199 Radeon RX Vega 56 offers very mediocre performance, compared to for example with new GeForce RTX 2070 at $499
Total Cost of the Mac Mini Setup VS CUSTOM BUILD PC
At $2099 for Mac Mini plus $1199 for the Radeon eGPU Unit, we are looking at $3298 just for the computer itself. To be fair let’s give this price a slight break considering we are getting extremely fast Thunderbolt connection which is very beneficial for many industry pros.
Also, apple hardware in most cases flawless in terms of the speed to components performance, so let’s build a custom PC with good quality ingredients as well and find out if the new Mac Mini is the Best Computer of 2018 or it’s another Apple flop.
PC BUILD (TOTAL $1958)
To Build our computer we are going to shop at popular online shop NewEgg
CPU Intel Core i7-8086K Coffee Lake 6-Core 4.0 GHz (5.0 GHz Turbo) LGA 1151 (300 Series) PRICE $440 (Only Supports 2666mhz Ram)
MOTHERBOARD ASUS ROG Maximus X Code LGA 1151 (300 Series) Intel Z370 PRICE $280
RAM G.SKILL TridentZ Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM DDR4 3200 (PC4 25600) Intel Z370 PRICE $145 x 2 = TOTAL $290 for 32gb RAM
HDD DRIVE M.2 SAMSUNG 970 EVO M.2 2280 500GB PCIe Gen3. X4, NVMe 1.3 READ up to 3400mbps WRITE up to 2300mbps PRICE $148
GRAPHICS For Ultimate Performance let’s putEVGA GeForce RTX 2080 XC GAMING PRICE $800
So where do we stand? As expected, Apple pulled their usual overpriced hardware at relatively mediocre performance compared to the Custom BUILD PC. At $3298 with an eGPU combo, versus $1958 PC with RTX 2080, it’s laughable to compare them to each other.
Who may be interested in Mac Mini? I think what makes that computer really shine is its tiny size. To be honest it’s very appealing! Despite the lack of power, many creative people including myself would probably love to exchange their massive PC towers to such a small compact unit, however, lack of performance and such a high price still remains a big issue for Apple. It’s a step in the right direction but unfortunately, Apple just being Apple and as of right now, I don’t see myself ditching my powerhouse PC just yet.