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It even played back 4K footage from my Sony FS5 with barely a hitch. The limitations of the machine become particularly apparent when I began adding titles and color-correction. Premiere Pro and most editing software relies heavily on the GPU to render real-time previews once you've started modifying the footage with color and effects.

That proved to be a real challenge for the Mini, and the preview playback became increasingly choppy as I added even basic effects. Reducing the playback resolution helped a bit, but at a certain point, the footage just became challenging to work with. On one test of 4K footage using color, correction, a blur and a title, the Mini managed to display only 10 percent of the frames during a second playback. And forget about working at double speed which many editors do to save time ; once effects were added, the audio wouldn't even play if I tried to preview faster than real-time.

Even using proxies low-res temporary files in a format that should be easier for the program to read barely helped the situation. When exporting the footage, a task that generally doesn't rely heavily on the GPU, the Mini performed better. Despite the effects and color correction, Engadget Today came out with no glitches, though it took nearly three times as long as it does on the iMac Pro.

LOVE: Apple offers plenty of customization for the Mac Mini.

Another test, transcoding a CineForm file to MP4, worked even better: The lack of a dedicated graphics processor really seems to be the weak point here, and unfortunately, there's no easy way to rectify that. There are only three processors available for the Mini, and no option to add a discrete GPU. That's probably enough speed to leave the MacBook Pro in the dust, and should give the Mini some serious CPU processing power, but it won't improve the graphics performance at all. For a sense of how poor the graphics performance is, I tried one more test, Unigine's Valley benchmark.

This is the most recent test available for macOS, and while Unigine's benchmarks are intended as extreme stress tests for gaming graphics performance, Valley is from , so it's not exactly cutting-edge. Even so, on the lowest "basic" settings, at 1, x resolution, the Mini could only manage 20 frames per second.

Mac Mini 2012 and 4K monitor

Switching to "Extreme" at x, that dropped to a pitiful four. Four frames per second. This is definitely not a system for gaming. Beyond the processor, there are a few other components you can upgrade. What it does have is one of Intel's new Kaby Lake G chips. They pack a remarkable amount of performance into a small SoC, and it's frankly odd this chip isn't an option in the Mac Mini, considering AMD graphics are already used in the higher-end iMac and MacBook Pros. If you're in the market for a new system and are committed to macOS, the Mini does have a few selling points.

Aside from 3D modeling and video editing, Apple mentions XCode and Music production on their website, and these actually seem like compelling use-cases for the Mini.


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CPU-dependent tasks like coding and audio engineering make sense for this system and wouldn't be held back by its specs. When Apple unveiled the Mini, it floated the idea of chaining multiple Minis together into a "Mini" server, and for serious CPU-based number crunching, that's actually an intriguing idea.


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  • You would need a pretty specific workload to take advantage of a setup like this office server? Code compiler? Render farm? Apple's own marketing materials refer to the new mini as "part racehorse, all workhorse," and though they didn't go as far as branding this the "Mac Mini Pro" Apple is clearly positioning it as a high-performance computer. This makes the lack of a reasonable GPU all the more confounding.

    These types of GPU-driven number crunching are increasingly useful for scientific computing and data analysis tasks like encryption, image recognition, optimization and machine learning.

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    For music producers and people writing apps in Xcode, maybe the new Mini makes sense, but I don't imagine most other "pro" users will be happy with this level of performance. I can't help but shake my head at Apple's charts and graphics showing off how much faster the new Mini is than the model. Four years later, I'd certainly hope the new model would be faster. Maybe this highlights the best professional use case for the new mini. A rendering machine that can handle CPU intensive tasks like compiling code and rendering graphics, but that you wouldn't actually want to do your daily work on.


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      Apple macOS OS Provided. Video Output Graphics Processor. Open menu Close menu Overview Tech Specs. Mac mini Technical Specifications. Space Gray. Storage 1. Intel UHD Graphics Video Support. Support for the following combination of maximum concurrent display setups: Up to three displays: Two displays with by resolution at 60Hz connected via Thunderbolt 3 plus one display with by resolution at 60Hz connected via HDMI 2. One display with by resolution at 60Hz connected via Thunderbolt 3 plus one display with by resolution at 60Hz connected via HDMI 2. HDMI 2.

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