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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

Why the 2018 Mac mini really needs an eGPU

November 26th, 2018, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

The weakest subsystem in the newest Mac mini is the GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 630. See what adding various models of eGPU and GPU will do for its graphics performance.

GRAPH LEGEND
Mac mini i7 = 2018 Mac mini 3.2 GHz 6-Core i7, 16G RAM
eGPU Break VegaF = Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box + Radeon Vega Frontier GPU
eGPU Node Pro Vega 56 = AKiTiO Node Pro + Radeon RX Vega 56 GPU
eGPU Node RX 580 = AKiTiO Node + Radeon RX 580 GPU
eGPU Puck 570 = Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Puck + Radeon RX 570 GPU
UHD 630 = Mac mini's integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630 GPU

GFXBENCH METAL

The Aztec Ruins High Tier animation was run off-screen at 1440p. (HIGHER frames per second = FASTER)

The GFXBench Metal Car Chase animation was run off-screen at 1080p. (HIGHER score = FASTER)

DIRT Rally

Feral's Mac version includes a built-in benchmarking mode that we ran with VSYNC off. (HIGHER Frames per Second = FASTER)

Rise of Tomb Raider

Feral's Mac version includes a built-in benchmarking mode that we ran with VSYNC off. (HIGHER Frames per Second = FASTER)

LUXMARK OPENCL

LuxMark is a OpenCL cross-platform benchmark tool that offers three increasingly complex scenes that you can use to measure the render speed of your CPU or GPU in Samples per Second . (HIGHER KSamples per Second = FASTER)

VALLEY OPENGL

Unigine's Valley benchmark flies over 64 million square meters of extremely detailed seamless terrain. It makes 18 passes over different areas. (HIGHER Frames per Second = FASTER)

CONCLUSIONS

The UHD 630 is a puzzling choice for the Mac mini. Apple offers a serious 6-core i7 CPU option with Hyper-threading, but the only GPU option is the 'unserious' integrated UHD 630. Surely they could have added an AMD Pro Vega 20 option -- which would have brought it up at least to the performance level of an eGPU with RX 570 or 580.

WHAT WILL ADDING GRAPHICS SPEED COST YOU?
Sonnet
eGFX Breakaway Box 650W + Radeon Vega Frontier GPU = $873
AKiTiO Node Pro + Radeon RX Vega 56 GPU = $661
AKiTiO Node + Radeon RX 580 GPU = $455
Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Puck + Radeon RX 570 GPU = $499

CHECK OUT PART TWO: Do Pro Apps Run Faster on the Mac mini with an eGPU?

Comments? Suggestions? Feel free to email me,
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WHERE TO BUY the 2018 Mac mini and other APPLE products:
USA readers can help us earn a commission by clicking on any Apple display ad on this page and search for the product.

You can also order the Mac mini and other Apple products from B&H Photo Video

WHERE TO BUY THUNDERBOLT 3 EGPU BOXES
The Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Boxes are available at B&H Photo Video.

The AKiTiO Node and Node Pro are available from B&H Photo Video.

WHERE TO BUY AMD GPUS
B&H Photo has the AMD Radeon RX 580 and other AMD GPUs.

We found the AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 on NewEgg.

AMD Radeon Vega Frontier seems to be out of stock everywhere but eBay. But, as you can see above, the Vega 56 was very close to its performance.

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copyright 2018 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
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