Mac mini or MacBook Pro 16", which has the faster CPU... for gaming?

Discussion in 'PC Purchasing Help' started by Leovinus, Nov 22, 2019.

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  1. Leovinus

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    Now I'm looking to upgrade my poor little MacBook Air from 2011, and I would love to be able to do some gaming on the side. Not the Mac's strong suit, I'm very well aware. But my idea revolves around an eGPU as a solution. And with that in mind CPU performance becomes much more important.

    Now my primary idea is to:
    A) buy a Mac mini i7 with an added Razer Core X with a 5700XT on the side, or
    B) buy a MacBook Pro 16" with a 5500M 8GB for now, and expand on it with an eGPU later on when my abused wallet recovers as the 5500M might actually perform decently enough for my needs. At least short term.

    Either choice really comes down to the CPU. The thermal solution of the new MacBook is much better than the older one, and it has the newer mobile 9th gen i9 eight core processor whereas the mini makes do with an 8th gen i7 six core, twelve thread, cpu. Generationally speaking not much of a difference than in security, I know. Portability of the MacBook is a very welcome bonus, but repasting my current Air would probably let it soldier on if necessary.

    I have seen very few comparisons of the Mac mini and the new MacBook, so I honestly don't know what to pick from a performance standpoint. So I'm hoping you all might know more or have experience for guidance? I REALLY want to be able to play Alyx when it comes out too... dear god my Valve boner at the moment...
     
  2. Davros

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    For the price of a macbook pro 16 you could buy a mac mini and a windows pc
     
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  3. Leovinus

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    That's true. And I could try to rationalise why I want to stick to the Mac in spite of obvious lower costs on the PC side of things, or hackintosh alternatives letting me use most of MacOS, etc. But that'd be a fools errand.

    At the end of the day, I just want a Mac because I like and want them. And out of the options I can think of - that'd allow me some gaming on the side of everything else I do - these two options seemed like the best ones. Depending on CPU strength.
     
  4. Pressure

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    No reason to rationalise your choice of OS. We like what we like.

    If you want a machine that does both gaming and MacOS, while being portable, you don't really have much choice though. Then down the road add an eGPU to the MacBook Pro with TB3. You can look around at eGPU.io.
     
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  5. Leovinus

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    That's exactly my idea. Even though they share a thermal solution I don't think the 5500M would be up to playing games at a level where that meaningfully impacts the experience. But moving to an eGPU would free up thermal constraints of the CPU for higher resolution gaming.

    But again, portability isn't a must (but a nice to have). At this point I just need to know which has the stronger CPU. But there are really no benchmarks I've come across that compare the Mac mini and the i9 MacBook Pro 16"

    Truth be told it does seem like the Mac mini was equal to the "old" thermally limited i9. So maybe that's all the baseline I need to decide against?
     
  6. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    I have the current gen six-core i7 MacMini and it's solid. I've been using the MacMini as my Kodi (previously XBMC) media centre and for adhoc server tasks - email, web, Minecraft, transcoding/rendering - whatever I need - since the G4 MacMini.

    I don't need a 16" MacBook Pro but having been using Macs since around 2002/03 I've never been more hesitant of buying an Apple laptop. They've replaced the butterfly keyboard (which I've luckily had no issues with - 2015 12" MacBook user here) but it feels like every Apple laptop released for a few years has been plagued with some design issue.

    If you're saying portability isn't priority then the MacMIni is a solid computer and will save you a heap of cash.
     
    #6 DSoup, Dec 7, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2019
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  7. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    Addendum: Apple's fusion drive is great tech for multipurpose computing but go all SSD with an external drive if gaming is your priority. Especially if you are entertaining BootCamp run Windows at some point.
     
  8. Leovinus

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    I'm more and more into the Mac mini actually. I'm hoping we'll hear some rumours about a potential update around the launch of the new Pro. According to MacRumours they usually updated them every 350-400 days or so. Which we've passed just recently. So... fingers crossed? That or I might go for a second hand one. It would suck to buy one new now only for an updated one to be launched a month or so later.

    I'm actually thinking about external SSD storage for backups and potential BootCamp/Linux boot drives. I haven't yet gotten from the idea stage to the point of researching my options though.
     
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  9. Pressure

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    With the AMD vanilla kernel patch it has never been easier to make a Hackintosh with Ryzen or Threadripper.

    This non-tech YouTuber just did it and Linus is also working on one.
     
  10. DSoup

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    I honestly would be surprised to see a substantial MacMini update anytime soon - there is nothing wrong with it, it is genuinely a fantastic platform but I do hope Apple keep iterating with processor updates. Prior to my MacMini purchase in July, I was rolling with a quad-core i7 MacMini from 2012. Before that a 2005 G4 polycarbonate MacMini. If you have not found it, the place to keep on top of this is the Mac rumours buyer's guide pages.

    MacMinis are machines for I expect to run 24/7/365 headless (apart from output of XBMC/Kodi to my TV) for years and they absolutely do. Quietly. I am always loading my MacMinis with extra server tasks, they are relentless workhorses which is why they are favourites in server farms setups - just google image search "macmini server farm". :yes: I've owned and used a lot of Macs both personally and through work; PowerBook G4 (1), MacBooks (2), MacBook Airs (2) MacBook Pros (2), iMacs (3) and MacMinis (3) across multiple generations and the MacMini has given me the least issues - not that I've had a lot of issues since switching to Mac from Windows.
     
  11. Leovinus

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    The Hackintosh community has come a long way. I need something that's solid, reliable, and full fledged when it comes to MacOS. And while they've come a long way, there are still missing features and the risk of ending up with a partially broken experience. So for a project? Yea. For my main? No. Not at this point in time. But that answer is liable to change as things improve.

    That's basically what I'm hoping for. A simple CPU upgrade and hopefully a tweak to the fan design for increased cooling capacity to go with it. As you said, there really isn't much wrong with the i7-8700B. But who'd say no to a few more cores and a few more hardware patches to the security mess that is Skylake?

    (Also, those rendering farms where they stack little minis are awesome! I kinda wish that's how you upgraded. Need more performance? Pop another mini ontop of your existing one!)
     
    #11 Leovinus, Dec 7, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2019
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