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What the next Mac Mini should be...


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#1 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 17 March 2016 - 01:37 PM

Have a look at Intel's latest NUC (essentially a Mac Mini, but upgradable). http://www.pcworld.c...dy-mini-pc.html
  • 2.6 GHz Quad Core Skylake (turbo up to 3.5)
  • up to 32 GB of DDR4
  • dual M.2 slots for storage
  • Iris Pro 580 iGPU  with 128MB of DRAM embedded on chip (roughly on par with a desktop GTX 750)
  • Thunderbolt 3 (for eGPU potential down the road)
It's the same size as the Mini roughly and vastly more powerful.

MSRP is $650, but you have to buy your own RAM, storage and OS (so probably around $900-$1000 all said and done)
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#2 Frost

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Posted 17 March 2016 - 08:05 PM

I was just looking at this myself. This is the first time I've seen a non-custom PC and instantly wanted it. I have no use for it but I want it anyway. It's barely bigger than my NVIDIA Shield Console, but it's a full blown PC.

With those specs and that size, that is an absolutely frakking killer SFF PC. I mean, this is basically the 2012 iMac with the 680MX, except without a display. Those gaming chops are nothing to sneeze at. You can game very acceptably with those specs. And with Thunderbolt 3, all you need is a good eGFX solution to hook it up to if you want to turn up the gaming potential to 11. Plus you could stick a pair of 950 Pros in it and get yourself a 5GB/sec SSD. Load any game pretty much instantly.

If I didn't already have the Kestrel I'd seriously consider getting one of those with an eGFX case just because its potential excites me. I wish Apple would do something awesome like this. This would be a perfect "Mac mini Pro" to sit in between the Mac mini and the Mac Pro.

EDIT: On that note, I wonder if one could Hackintoshify this thing and make it into a Mac mini Pro...
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Iridium (MacBook Pro Mid-2012) – 2.7 GHz i7 3820QM / 16GB RAM / 2TB Samsung 850 Pro / GeForce GT 650M 1GB

Eric5h5:
When there's a multiplayer version, I'm going to be on Frost's team. Well, except he doesn't seem to actually need a team...I mean, what's the point? "Hey look, it's Frost and His Merry Gang of Useless Hangers-On!" Or something.

#3 nick68k

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Posted 17 March 2016 - 09:57 PM

I'm interested to know how loud that thing is in day-to-day use. I have an Iris Pro 6200 in my iMac and - judging by the fan noise - that sucker gets seriously hot. I guess if you're hooking up a Thunderbolt sidecar for an eGPU cooling isn't such an issue.
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#4 Janichsan

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Posted 18 March 2016 - 01:16 AM

That sounds interesting, even if the GPU specs are quite underwhelming on paper. 128 MB VRAM? Sounds ridiculously little. The performance seems okay, though.

EDIT: Just noticed a contradiction in the article: in the text, they say they were able to run Just Cause 3 at 1080p with ~30 fps, which would be decent. However, in an image caption they say it was Just Cause 2 they used for the benchmark - and that would be far less impressive.

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#5 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 18 March 2016 - 07:40 AM

View PostJanichsan, on 18 March 2016 - 01:16 AM, said:

That sounds interesting, even if the GPU specs are quite underwhelming on paper. 128 MB VRAM? Sounds ridiculously little. The performance seems okay, though.

EDIT: Just noticed a contradiction in the article: in the text, they say they were able to run Just Cause 3 at 1080p with ~30 fps, which would be decent. However, in an image caption they say it was Just Cause 2 they used for the benchmark - and that would be far less impressive.

It's 128MB of embedded eDRAM (essentially just mega-fast RAM) right on the CPU. It uses the DDR4 system RAM as VRAM (as all integrated cards do). Previous iGPU's had 0 ram embedded on the chip.

A similar system is the Xbox One, which has 128 mb (forget exact number?) of ultrafast embedded RAM, and then a further 8 GB of usable system/vram
2015 13" rMBP: i5 5257U @ 2.7 GHz || Intel Iris 6100 || 8 GB LPDDR3 1866 || 256 GB SSD || macOS Sierra
Gaming Build: R5 1600 @ 3.9 GHz || Asus GTX 1070 8 GB || 16 GB DDR4 3000 || 960 Evo NVMe, 1 TB FireCuda || Win10 Pro
Other: Dell OptiPlex 3040 as VMware host || QNAP TS-228 NAS || iPhone 6S 64GB

#6 Frost

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Posted 18 March 2016 - 05:09 PM

View PostJanichsan, on 18 March 2016 - 01:16 AM, said:

EDIT: Just noticed a contradiction in the article: in the text, they say they were able to run Just Cause 3 at 1080p with ~30 fps, which would be decent. However, in an image caption they say it was Just Cause 2 they used for the benchmark - and that would be far less impressive.

I saw that too. Pretty sure that was a typo on their part, because every other article mentions only Just Cause 3.

View PostSneaky Snake, on 18 March 2016 - 07:40 AM, said:

It's 128MB of embedded eDRAM (essentially just mega-fast RAM) right on the CPU. It uses the DDR4 system RAM as VRAM (as all integrated cards do). Previous iGPU's had 0 ram embedded on the chip.

A similar system is the Xbox One, which has 128 mb (forget exact number?) of ultrafast embedded RAM, and then a further 8 GB of usable system/vram

Yeah, as far as I know that's not really been done before. The iGPU's actually got its own on-die superfast RAM. I'm really interested to see how it performs when real world users can actually get their hands on it.

Xbone has 32MB of ESRAM; it's actually next to the APU, not on it, or at least that's how I remember it being explained. So probably not as fast as the on-die eDRAM Intel is using. I know some developers have pointed out the ESRAM is great for boosting performance of certain things, but there just plain isn't enough of it to make a big difference. That might factor into Intel's making 128MB available.

Probably the biggest takeaway is Intel has been bullpopsnizzleting in white papers and subsequently underdelivering on their iGPUs for a very, very long time. This looks like the first time they're going to meet or exceed the hype. I think they're finally getting a handle on graphics.
Kestrel (Falcon NW Tiki) – 4.0 GHz i7 4790K / 16GB RAM / 512GB Samsung 950 Pro M.2, 2x480GB Intel 730 (RAID0), 10TB STX BarraCuda Pro / GeForce GTX TITAN X 12GB
Iridium (MacBook Pro Mid-2012) – 2.7 GHz i7 3820QM / 16GB RAM / 2TB Samsung 850 Pro / GeForce GT 650M 1GB

Eric5h5:
When there's a multiplayer version, I'm going to be on Frost's team. Well, except he doesn't seem to actually need a team...I mean, what's the point? "Hey look, it's Frost and His Merry Gang of Useless Hangers-On!" Or something.

#7 Tetsuya

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Posted 19 March 2016 - 02:40 PM

Indeed, if there isnt a huge degree of difficulty Hackintoshing one...

Something like thatll be my next Mac.  My current 2011 Mini Server is chugging along quite nicely for the moment, but im really starting to hate the HD3000 (makes my beautiful new 1440p monitor stutter when swiping between apps/VMs, and goes hawire on the fans when i want watch video at the native res..) and not having USB 3.  

My only potential "Upgrade" was looking to be a 2012 server Mini, and that just barely... I was already looking to maybe make a Hackintosh late this year... Or early next, but this could be a lot easier.