How to Max Out a Mac mini

Image of Mac mini 2020

The Week’s Apple News Debris

• Regular listeners to The Mac Observer’s Daily Observations Podcast know that I’m not a huge fan of the Mac mini for my own personal use. But I will admit that it’s a capable Mac for certain users. So this next pleased me when it caught my attention over at Cult of Mac: “A Mac mini and a massive screen make for a great combo [Setups].”

Duncan Schultz, a government official from the land down under, started working from his home in Brisbane earlier this year. It turned out to be a great opportunity to upgrade his setup. He got rid of his 2015 iMac and instead bought himself a 2020 Mac mini and decided to experiment. He specced out his Mac mini with 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. He wanted plenty of screen real estate without having two screens. So he connected it to a Samsung 43-inch 4K Smart TV and is not looking back.

Very nicely configured. And 32 GB RAM. Sweet.

• At iMore Rene Ritchie fills us in on iPhone water resistance. “iPhone 12 should change the water resistance game.

You may think your iPhone — your any phone really — is water proof… but it isn’t. It isn’t even really water resistant, not for all water, not all the time. It’s… complicated. But I’m going to explain to you why that is, what you can do about it, and most importantly, what Apple could do about it with the iPhone 12 — or the iPhone after that.

There is much here to learn.

• There have been consistent rumors that only the high-end iPhone 12 Pro Max will support the fastest version of 5G, that is, millimeter wavelengths. Called mmWave. But few have explained the technical reason. In this article, “Source: Only one of Apple’s new iPhones supports the fastest 5G,” we learn why.

All the phones in the new iPhone 12 line will support the slower but more common Sub-6 type of 5G service, but only the largest, highest-end phone in the line, a 6.5-inch screen device likely called the iPhone Pro Max, will also support millimeter-wave 5G.

The source says only the largest phone in the line has room inside for the special antenna design required for millimeter wave and larger battery needed to accommodate millimeter wave’s significant power draw.

MacRumors amplifies. You will pay for this luxury. Be mindful at purchase time.

• Quick but important tutorial from Forbes: “iOS 13.7: Apple’s New Covid-19 Contact Tracing System Explained.

• Finally, Nathan Ingraham at engadget has spent a lot of time with the public beta of macOS Big Sur. Here is his report. “macOS Big Sur preview: Five things you should know before installing.” This is a good read.

Particle Debris is generally a mix of John Martellaro’s observations and opinions about a standout event or article(s) of the week followed by a discussion of articles that didn’t make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holiday weeks.

6 thoughts on “How to Max Out a Mac mini

  • John, you need to stick with your man of science nature and let the emotion go! The idea that a current mac mini can’t replace the 2013 Mac Pro is fantasy! Lets start with benchmarks!
    For CPU single and Multi core scores the Mini bests the Mac Pro 4 core and matches/bests the 6 core, you have to get up to an 8 core mac pro to see an advantage.
    Now this changes with some graphics intensive work but an external GPU can take care of that.
    When it comes to drive speed the faster buss means it has theoretical max speeds of like 2x the mac pro 2013 and people have recorded the same type of performance from this as the iMac Pro 3 GB/sec actual speeds.
    Finally ports. You mistakenly said something about having to plug directly into the mini, but of course you know that Thunderbolt 3 is far fast enough to allow for things to move through a hub but lets ignore that for now.
    4 Thunderbolt 3 vs 6 Thunderbolt 2
    2 USB 3 vs 4 USB 3
    1 Ethernet 10GB vs 2 1GB Ethernet
    1 HDMI 2.0 vs 1 HDMI 1.4
    So anything you are running USB can be run better with a Thunderbolt dock and it is unlikely that you have need for more than 2 of those Thunderbolt 2 connectors. I see no way the mini can’t handle everything you can throw at it.
    Because the mini is 2 years old the only reasonable way to purchase it is Refurbished to get a discount or used. Apple’s refurb web site has the 3.2Ghz 6-core i7 with 64/2TB for $2459. In most things this would burry your current Mac pro!

  • John:
    Duncan Schultz’s set up, showcased on Cult of Mac, is aesthetically impressive. 
    Yours truly is keeping his powder dry, however, until he can see the whites of eyes of those advancing Apple Silicon-powered Macs. So superior is the performance of my 11” 2018 iPad Pro’s Apple A12 Bionic chip with its 7 nm, Octa-core SOC with its 4x Vortex performance cores + 4x Tempest efficiency cores, not to mention its display clarity and refresh rate and the clarity of its forward camera for video conferencing over that of my 2017 MBP and its much and deservedly maligned butterfly keyboard, that the thought of purchasing any Intel generation Mac at this point is about as appealing as purchasing a winter coat en route to the tropics. Any app that runs on both the iPad and the MBP is a vastly superior experience on the former due to speed of launch, responsiveness and the buttery smooth operation. No spinning beach balls, no bouncing icons killing time as apps launch…any day now. The hobbling of certain apps due to the limitations of iPadOS is a topic for another day. 
    While I have observed many creative deployments of the Mac Mini, including for patient interfaces in a doctor’s office in Singapore (a thing of real beauty), for the first time in my professional life I am looking at a desktop solution with the new crop of Macs, specifically the iMac line. I suspect that the Mac Pro will be last of the Mac line to make the switch, so am likely to go with an all-in-one solution ahead of that, with or without a second screen. I think that the redesign of the iMac will leverage the technical and design testbed of the iPad Pro, and then some. 
    Looking forward to what might one day come to be regarded as the truly first generation of 21st Century Macs. 

  • Besides… Apple should release more headless Macs, including low, middle and high products, from Mac mini to Mac Pro, and also a new mini tower. CPU may last seven years (then you cannot install new macOS releases but displays last more than 20 years. Fight programmed obsolescence, protect the environment and fight climate change and global warming.

  • I bought my Mac Mini back in February after my 2011 quad i7 27” iMac gave up the ghost and I absolutely love it. I got the 6 core i7, and 256 GB SSD, and 8 GB RAM. Then I went shopping at OWC and picked up a 27” Thunderbolt Display, 32 GB RAM, and a 2 TB Thunderbolt 3 RAID enclosure.
    I am just a bit nervous with the long term support with Apple Silicon on the horizon, but for now I have zero complaints about my setup.

  • Apple should make a standalone Thunderbolt Display 27-inch with matte display (no, I do not mean nano-texture glass, but no glass at all; true matte and easy to clean, besides being much cheaper).

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.