MacInTouch Amazon link...
Channels
Products
I highly recommend Carbon Copy Cloner. I tried most of the others, and it is the best in its class. It is the only one that can clone APFS to APFS, HFS+ to APFS and any other combinations.
Seconded, heartily. The huge advantage of CCC vs. SuperDuper is that it automatically offers to create or update the Recovery partition, which is critical for many reasons. SuperDuper does not offer this vital feature during or immediately after a clone, and the developer has chosen the position that end users can do this on their own "using standard system tools" if they want after reading how to do it on their own time. This self-support and self-education is not going to be something the majority of basic users will ever do, because there's no alert or indication from SuperDuper about the importance of having a Recovery partition.

Background:
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
A couple of Mac Mini "gotchas" for the unwary, particularly if you're working in conditions where the light is a bit dim, because the back panel, with all the ports, is very black, and it's a little hard to see exactly what you're plugging into with no strong light back there.

1) The power cord is thin and black, like several of my USB cables, and it's not ideal to pull out the power cord when you think you're pulling out a USB cable.... (duh, maybe I'm too used to laptops now).

2) The Ethernet jack is actually wide enough to stick a USB cable into. Probably don't want to do that by accident either.

(Both of these are on one side by the power switch, so it should be easy to get that correct... when paying attention.)
 


It seems to "just work." If I switch the monitor to HDMI, the Mac Mini screen appears. If I switch it to DisplayPort, the MacBook Pro screen comes up.
So when you have the monitor displaying the Mac Mini, what happens to the MacBook Pro desktop? Does it (including menubar) switch back to the MacBook Pro's screen (which is what I would want to happen), or does the laptop still think the monitor is attached, even though it's not displaying the laptop desktop?
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I booted the Mini off the Mojave test system on the Samsung T5 (got things working again with some Disk Utility fix-ups and who knows what), and I ran Blackmagic Disk Speed Test on a little unencrypted HFS+ partition I added to the Mac Mini drive, using Disk Utility.

Write:
1515 MB/s

Read:
2653 MB/s.

Seems like it should be a bit faster, but that's not too bad.... Let's try it with the main, FileVault-encrypted APFS partition:

Write:
1851 MB/s

Read:
2437 MB/s
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
So when you have the monitor displaying the Mac Mini, what happens to the MacBook Pro desktop? Does it (including menubar) switch back to the MacBook Pro's screen (which is what I would want to happen), or does the laptop still think the monitor is attached, even though it's not displaying the laptop desktop?
Sorry, I didn't quite understand before, because I work differently - in clamshell mode, and never even opened the laptop to look!

I now have the monitor switched to DisplayPort, connected to the Mini, and I'm using the Mini and monitor to view this website and type this response.

Meanwhile, the MacBook Pro is connected via HDMI to the monitor's other port, which is not currently being displayed. The MacBook Pro, opened up from clamshell mode, thinks the monitor is still connected, even though I can't see that image until I switch the monitor back to it. So it doesn't seem to do quite what you'd like....
 


A couple of Mac Mini "gotchas" for the unwary, particularly if you're working in conditions where the light is a bit dim, because the back panel, with all the ports, is very black, and it's a little hard to see exactly what you're plugging into with no strong light back there.

1) The power cord is thin and black, like several of my USB cables, and it's not ideal to pull out the power cord when you think you're pulling out a USB cable.... (duh, maybe I'm too used to laptops now).

2) The Ethernet jack is actually wide enough to stick a USB cable into. Probably don't want to do that by accident either.

(Both of these are on one side by the power switch, so it should be easy to get that correct... when paying attention.)
So here are some low tech suggestions.

This one's definitely not approved by Sir Jonathan Paul Ive:

The Mini we share at work for "accounting," data entry, writing and printing checks, sits butt-ugly on its desk in a common area, mooning us with its filled ports. The one on my desk is oriented the same. A third one sits more sideways than backward, but the power switch is on the "user" side. Much easier to see rather than fumble for the power switch.

For some time I've been using short, brightly-colored USB 3 extenders. There are both straight and right angle, each useful in some circumstances.

Short and colorful Ethernet extenders (coupler required) protect the computer's Ethernet port by reducing the number of plug-ins. Leaving the coupler on long cables protects their often fragile end connectors.
These avoid the connector, but they're black. Bright electrician's tape would provide the ID function, if it's needed.

All available on Amazon, through that MacInTouch affiliate link.

Still may need that flashlight.
 


I found a flash drive set up with Ubuntu 18.10. I hooked it into a USB-C-to-USB 3 adapter and plugged that into a Thunderbolt port and powered up with the Option key held down to get a choice of boot volumes that included two EFI Boot partitions. Chose one, got distracted by something else, and came back to find Ubuntu booted and everything really, really tiny on the screen (set to a high resolution, obviously).

Ubuntu seemed to work fine, though the tiny images were a little problematic and I couldn't figure out where to go to fix that. I also didn't get WiFi going, but I opened up Gparted, and had a look around at the drives. The Samsung T5 and the flash drive showed up, but the internal Mini drive was nowhere to be found.
It is my recent experience (setting up my MacBook Air to dual boot) that Linux Mint, which is based on Ubuntu, found the needed WiFi drivers for the MacBook Air hardware when connected by Ethernet and I updated it. Don't remember at the moment if I triggered that through the Mint Update Center or Terminal commands. Mint was already installed on the SSD, not booting from a LiveUSB.

Difficulty setting display resolution/scaling on Retina MacBooks has been an ongoing source of frustrated forum posts. "New" Ubuntus should do that as well as possible. Ubuntu Mate took the lead in implementing display scaling. On your Mini, all you should have to do is find Display in Ubuntu, and set your preferences. Hard to do when a microscope's necessary to read the screen.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
This may be obvious, but I'll note it for what it's worth. In setting up the new Mac Mini, with its constrained storage (I'm actually kicking myself a bit for not going all the way to 1 TB), I haven't yet gotten things organized well enough to really move my whole working environment over to the new machine.

But... two things make a big difference in how productive I can be on the new system early on:
  1. Getting passwords and license keys synched and available on the new computer
  2. Getting a bunch of critical apps installed on it
Some of the apps are downloads from the developer site (e.g. Geekbench), and I got a collection of the others by going to the App Store, logging in with the Apple ID, and going through purchased items to download the ones most needed/wanted.

Meanwhile, Mojave told me it needed to update to 10.4.1, so I just had it do that big 3+GB update, and that seems to be done, finally. (I actually started this message on the MacBook Pro in macOS 10.12 and switched to the Mac Mini in 10.14.1 to finish it!)
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Here's are MacBook Pro Geekbench results for comparison:

MacBook Pro (15-inch Retina Mid 2015) CPU:
3933 / 13670​

MacBook Pro (15-inch Retina Mid 2015) OpenCL:
27141​

And, as reported elsewhere on MacInTouch, internal drive speeds. (I could improve these by upgrading to an NVMe SSD, but that requires macOS 10.13 or later.)
Write: 957 MB/s
Read: 1869 MB/s

And a 2017 MacBook Air, minimal configuation:

MacBook Air (Mid 2017) CPU:
3167 / 6093​

MacBook Air (Mid 2017) Metal:
17420​

MacBook Air (Mid 2017) OpenCL:
16121​

2017 MacBook Air internal 128GB SSD:
Write: 684 MB/s
Read: 1123 MB/s
And my 2011 MacBook Pro 13" (whose Intel HD Graphics 3000 hardware won't run Geekbench 4 Compute tests) has multicore performance almost on par with a MacBook Air that's 6 years newer - odd.

MacBook Pro (13-inch Early 2011) CPU:
2649 / 5102​

The 2011 MacBook Pro has an old Crucial M500 SSD 960GB upgrade (because drives were accessible and upgradable back then...):
Write: 407 MB/s
Read: 475 MB/s
And here are my first Geekbench 4 tests of the new Mac Mini:

Macmini8,1 CPU:
5680 / 26040​
Macmini8,1 OpenCL:
22802​
Macmini8,1 Metal:
24289​

So, as expected, the new Mac Mini is quite powerful in CPU operations (single and multi-threaded), while graphics are adequate but unimpressive. What really is impressive is the internal (500GB) flash drive.

AJA System Test Lite says:
Write: 1967 MB/s
Read: 2657 MB/s

Blackmagic Disk Speed Test says:
Write: 1864 MB/s
Read: 2521 MB/s
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
It is my recent experience (setting up my MacBook Air to dual boot) that Linux Mint, which is based on Ubuntu, found the needed WiFi drivers for the MacBook Air hardware when connected by Ethernet and I updated it.
I've done that in the past when I had an Ethernet hookup (not yet set up for the Mac Mini), but I was able to boot Elementary and immediately use WiFi (on an earlier Mac), so that's certainly possible. (Haven't tried Elementary on the Mac Mini.)
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Here's something that bugged me enough to go digging through Apple's mazes to find it: Safari was changing what I typed - “auto-correcting” text I didn't want “corrected.” Couldn't find anything in Safari, nor in other places I searched. Finally resorting to Mac Help, I eventually got to the place where it's controlled: System Preferences > Keyboard > Text, where I shut all that [stuff] off.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Before I forget, I want to mention the wonderful quiet of the new Mac Mini. It's virtually silent, even when being hammered by Geekbench tests. Kudos to Apple for that, which I appreciate greatly and which helps contribute to this computer's likability, which is pretty high at this point for me. If the pricing were a bit lower, it'd be a home run, and even that isn't enough to dampen it too much, I don't think.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I'm about to wrap up, but a quick look at the new Mac Mini's HDMI output, courtesy of SwitchResX:
  • It does 4K at 60Hz (and the text is microscopic, yet clear.
  • Then there are crazy-high resolutions, e.g. 6720x3780 at 60Hz
  • And, interestingly, there's a color depth of billions (not just millions) available.
 


The Xeon processor is not built for single-core performance. You will probably find i7 and i9 benchmarks outperforming various members of the Xeon family in a variety of single and multi-core tests where the number of cores are similar. You go with Xeon processors for features such as the ability to have far more cores, multi-processor configurations, and ECC memory.
That's not really an accurate characterization, as the Xeon line is very broad for a range of applications. Depending on which processor you select, you can find Xeons that have identical characteristics as specific Core i7 and i9 processors.

As for the single-core benchmark differential between the iMac Pro and new Mac Mini, that is probably best explained by the fact that the iMac Pro uses a Xeon based on the 6th-generation Core architecture (Skylake) and the Mac Mini uses 8th-generation (Coffee Lake), as well as the fact that the Mini can TurboBoost to 4.6 GHz compared to 4.5 GHz for the iMac Pro.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I used DriveDX to look at the Mac Mini internal flash drive.

Total Capacity : 500.3 GB (500,277,792,768 Bytes)
Model Family : Apple NVMe M-series SSD
Model : APPLE SSD AP0512M
Firmware Version : 177.220.
Drive Type : SSD
...
S.M.A.R.T. support enabled : yes
DriveDx Active Diagnostic Config : Apple NVMe SSD M-series config [ssd.nvme.apple.ap.m]
Sector Logical Size : 4096
Sector Physical Size : 4096
Physical Interconnect : PCI-Express (PCIe)
Logical Protocol : NVM-Express (NVMe)
Removable : no
Ejectable : no
NVMe Revision Supported : 1.10
PCI Vendor Id : 0x106b
Thermal Throttling Supported : yes
Volatile Write Cache Supported : yes
Maximum Data Transfer Size : 256 Pages
...
=== TEMPERATURE INFORMATION (FAHRENHEIT) ===
Current Temperature : 77
Power Cycle Min Temperature : 77
Power Cycle Max Temperature : 77
Lifetime Min Temperature : 77
Lifetime Max Temperature : 77
Recommended Min Temperature : 41
Recommended Max Temperature : 131
Temperature Min Limit : 41
Temperature Max Limit : 140


Here's a report on the 2015 MacBook Pro 15" internal flash drive, for comparison:

Total Capacity : 1.0 TB (1,000,555,581,440 Bytes)
Model Family : Apple (Samsung-based) SSDs
Model : APPLE SSD SM1024G
Firmware Version : BXZ13A0Q
Drive Type : SSD
...
S.M.A.R.T. support enabled : yes
DriveDx Active Diagnostic Config : Apple (Samsung-based) g-series SSDs config [ssd.apple.samsung.g]
Sector Logical Size : 512
Sector Physical Size : 4096
Physical Interconnect : PCI
Logical Protocol : SATA
Removable : no
Ejectable : no
ATA Version : ATA8-ACS T13/1699-D revision 4c
SATA Version : SATA 3.0, 6.0 Gb/s (current: 6.0 Gb/s)
..
Enclosure Vendor Id / Product Id : 0xdc4 / 0x250
SAT Pass Through Mode : sat12
...
=== TEMPERATURE INFORMATION (FAHRENHEIT) ===
Current Temperature : 89.6
Power Cycle Min Temperature : 66.2
Power Cycle Max Temperature : 93.2
Lifetime Min Temperature : 60.8
Lifetime Max Temperature : 125.6
Recommended Min Temperature : 23
Recommended Max Temperature : 176
Temperature Min Limit : 14
Temperature Max Limit : 185
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
USB-C Samsung T5 (boot drive) performance on Mac Mini (AJA System Test Lite):

Write: 439 MB/sec
Read: 526 MB/sec

USB 3.0 Samsung T5 (backup drive) performance on 2015 MacBook Pro (AJA System Test Lite):

Write: 424 MB/sec
Read: 432 MB/sec
 


That's not really an accurate characterization, as the Xeon line is very broad for a range of applications. Depending on which processor you select, you can find Xeons that have identical characteristics as specific Core i7 and i9 processors.
[Really] my statement was a generalization. I felt it unfair to make the comparison as it was presented.
As for the single-core benchmark differential between the iMac Pro and new Mac Mini, that is probably best explained by the fact that the iMac Pro uses a Xeon based on the 6th-generation Core architecture (Skylake) and the Mac Mini uses 8th-generation (Coffee Lake), as well as the fact that the Mini can TurboBoost to 4.6 GHz compared to 4.5 GHz for the iMac Pro.
Those are the processors you chose for comparison [but] I would state that even when comparing similar-generation processors, you will find many instances where the conditions I stated exist... regardless of the difference in generations of processors.

Yes, the Xeon family is fantastic and wide-ranging. Intel is also doing their best to blur the line between their desktop and workstation processor families in regards to clock speeds and number of cores. But in the end, you do not purchase hardware with Xeon processors for their single-core benchmarks. If that is your sole criteria, you would be better served by an i7 or i9, and overclocking them to their maximum levels. Rather, it is for the reasons I noted you go with a Xeon solution: where you really need 18 processor cores, or multiple multi-core processors, or ECC memory. And in those conditions you will leave the i-Series in the dust in regards to benchmarking.
 



Ironically, the 2018 Mac Mini arrived...
  • Included "documentation" is minimalist to the point of absurdity.
But, I bet it included pages and pages of useless legalese in unreadable grey-on-black ~4pt type.

My late-2013 Mac Pro came with "'documentation'... minimalist to the point of absurdity" hidden in a folded hollow of the lid. I never even found it until I finally broke up the box for recycling a couple years ago.
 


Here's something that bugged me enough to go digging through Apple's mazes to find it: Safari was changing what I typed - “auto-correcting” text I didn't want “corrected.” ...
One positive change in spelling correction in Mojave - it is now flagging homonyms, (e.g. did you mean "hear" or "here," "there" or "their"), an error that seems much more common lately, and a dead giveaway that an article was likely never read by a human editor.
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
One positive change in spelling correction in Mojave - it is now flagging homonyms, (e.g. did you mean "hear" or "here," "there" or "their"), an error that seems much more common lately, and a dead giveaway that an article was likely never read by a human editor.
I'll be impressed if it stops people from typing "loose" when they mean "lose" - the most consistent error I see. (I'd also be impressed if it could sort out it's vs. its for people.)
 


I understand that it's not what the typical Apple consumer would normally do, but I can think of several reasons to do it:
  • to test media integrity before moving hundreds of gigabytes to a new drive
  • to archive the "virgin" factory system image
  • to test the new system before burning passwords, etc. into it
  • to clone in an updated macOS (as Macs don't always ship with the latest software and security updates) before use
  • to enable booting for external drives for a variety of other reasons (which, I realize, goes against new security constraints)
Item number 2 (to archive the "virgin" factory system image) is something I've been practicing and preaching for as long as I've been using Mac OS X. I won't use a new system until I've sector-copied its storage medium while booted from SystemRescueCD (Linux - oops!) or some other OS* that prevents automatic mounting of volumes, using dd or some other sector-copy utility.

It's enabled me to restore a Dell Inspiron that got seriously hosed, and to revert to the out-of-the-box freshness of several of my Macs when my own obsessiveness led me down rabbit holes from which there was no other means of escape.

Do you think that if you'd done the Target Disk Mode thing before "initializing" macOS that the new Mini's internal storage device would have been unencryptedly visible?

Because dd copies sectors and not filesystems, it works even to backup and restore encrypted partitions and/or whole devices, and perhaps, depending upon what the T2 presents to the computer doing the Target(DiskMode)ing, even the encrypted internal storage of the Mini...

(*Even another large-enough macOS startup volume run in Single User Mode and mounted with mount -uw / will work, as long as it has enough free space to accommodate the image you want to create.)
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Do you think that if you'd done the Target Disk Mode thing before "initializing" macOS that the new Mini's internal storage device would have been unencryptedly visible?
I tried unsuccessfully to invoke Target Disk Mode before initializing the computer, by holding down the T key at boot. I didn't seem possible, but invoking special modes via special keyboard keys at boot is a little scattershot - sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. It often takes me several times to get it to happen, and I only tried once or twice.

As far as encryption goes, once I had intialized the new Mac Mini and logged in, I was able to select Target Disk Mode from System Preferences > Set Startup and reboot to enable it. At that point, mounting the Mac Mini drive on another system via Thunderbolt showed it unencrypted.
 


I tried unsuccessfully to invoke Target Disk Mode before initializing the computer, by holding down the T key at boot. I didn't seem possible, but invoking special modes via special keyboard keys at boot is a little scattershot - sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. It often takes me several times to get it to happen, and I only tried once or twice.

As far as encryption goes, once I had intialized the new Mac Mini and logged in, I was able to select Target Disk Mode from System Preferences > Set Startup and reboot to enable it. At that point, mounting the Mac Mini drive on another system via Thunderbolt showed it unencrypted.
Thanks, as always, for the information, Ric. Perhaps I should get off my duff and send some more doubloons your way. :-)

I'm still looking forward to answering the bare-metal, never-mounted question, which I suppose will have to wait until I spring for my first T2-equipped Mac.
 



Item number 2 (to archive the "virgin" factory system image) is something I've been practicing and preaching for as long as I've been using Mac OS X. I won't use a new system until I've sector-copied its storage medium while booted from SystemRescueCD (Linux - oops!) or some other OS* that prevents automatic mounting of volumes, using dd or some other sector-copy utility.

It's enabled me to restore a Dell Inspiron that got seriously hosed, and to revert to the out-of-the-box freshness of several of my Macs when my own obsessiveness led me down rabbit holes from which there was no other means of escape.

Do you think that if you'd done the Target Disk Mode thing before "initializing" macOS that the new Mini's internal storage device would have been unencryptedly visible?

Because dd copies sectors and not filesystems, it works even to backup and restore encrypted partitions and/or whole devices, and perhaps, depending upon what the T2 presents to the computer doing the Target(DiskMode)ing, even the encrypted internal storage of the Mini...

(*Even another large-enough macOS startup volume run in Single User Mode and mounted with mount -uw / will work, as long as it has enough free space to accommodate the image you want to create.)
Over and again I hear on Linux podcasts and read on blogs how dd can go so wrong, it is often semi-humorously said to stand for Destroyer of Disks (think Robert Oppenheimer, though on less than planetary scale).

Warned off, I've just stayed away from dd, going so far as to buy a hardware disk replicator that works well on SATA disks, and with adapters might work on m.2 form drives, but not on disks that can't be removed from a system.
David Clinton/opensource.com said:
How to use dd in Linux without destroying your disk
Safely and reliably make perfect copies of drives, partitions, and filesystems with the Linux dd tool.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I'm about to wrap up, but a quick look at the new Mac Mini's HDMI output, courtesy of SwitchResX:
  • It does 4K at 60Hz (and the text is microscopic, yet clear.
  • Then there are crazy-high resolutions, e.g. 6720x3780 at 60Hz
  • And, interestingly, there's a color depth of billions (not just millions) available.
For comparison, it turns out that my 2015 MacBook Pro 15" also has that extreme option available via SwitchResX when connected to DisplayPort (Thunderbolt 2): 6720x3780 at 60Hz - but it doesn't offer an option for billions of colors, only millions.
 


I cringe at buying a brand-new computer and disassembling it to that level to add RAM. No question if my perceived need is 16GB, I'd pay Apple's $200 and not risk my new Mini to save $80 by installing RAM from Amazon.
Agreed. I would expect to buy it with 16 GB from Apple and then, at some time in the future when I decide I need more, buy 64 GB of aftermarket RAM and install it myself. At that point, probably far beyond the end of AppleCare coverage, I won't feel like cringing.

I suspect only high-end pro users (or those setting up Minis as nodes in data centers or compute clusters) are going to have a need for 64 GB, and they should be able to afford the cost, since the computer will be used as a part of a for-profit business.
And, interestingly, there's a color depth of billions (not just millions) available.
I would assume that's for 30-bit (10 each red, green, blue) - about 1 billion colors. This is what HDMI and DisplayPort deep color outputs, and may be useful for driving a high-gamut display or watching HDR video.

I suppose it might be some kind of 32-bit color mode (about 4 billion colors), but I don't know how useful that would be since HDMI and DisplayPort don't have any standard modes with more than 10 bits per pixel per channel.

Traditional computers offering a "32 bit" display mode are actually 24 bit color, with the remaining 8 bits used either for an alpha channel (transparency) or for a Z-buffer (for 3D layering). I would hope that Apple would report such a mode as "millions", since it doesn't actually produce "billions" of colors.
it is for the reasons I noted you go with a Xeon solution: where you really need 18 processor cores, or multiple multi-core processors, or ECC memory. And in those conditions you will leave the i-Series in the dust in regards to benchmarking.
Case in point: the largest desktop processors Intel sells go up to 6 cores with hyperthreading (12 threads).

In contrast, you can get Xeon processors with 28 cores and hyperthreading (56 threads) and they can be used on an 8-socket motherboard (meaning 224 cores and 448 threads total). It also sports things like 48 lanes of PCIe 3.0 (384 Gbit/s) per socket, up to 768 GB of RAM per socket and a TDP of 205W per socket (!).

You won't be buying a system based on this at your local Best Buy, but for those who need that kind of capacity, that's where the state of the art is. At least for another six months when Intel releases a 48-core Cascade Lake Xeon and AMD releases a 64-core Epyc server/data-center processor.
As far as encryption goes, once I had intialized the new Mac Mini and logged in, I was able to select Target Disk Mode from System Preferences > Set Startup and reboot to enable it. At that point, mounting the Mac Mini drive on another system via Thunderbolt showed it unencrypted.
That's not surprising to me. Apple never ships systems with FileVault enabled. The T2's encryption is going to be part of its SSD controller functionality. Target Disk Mode would have to pass all the data through the T2 in order to access the flash memory, and I would expect it to perform all of its encryption/decryption at that time. If it didn't, then Target Disk Mode would be completely useless.
 



Not yet, but we can make some educated guesses. The CPUs involved are (based on what we know so far), Intel's i3-8100H, i5-8500 and i7-8700.
All three of these processors include an Intel UHD Graphics 630 GPU. This is where the display limits come from. It supports a maximum of three displays (Apple wired one to the HDMI port and the other two for Thunderbolt) at 4K 60Hz resolution. Apple is also advertising support for a single 5K display - Intel doesn't mention this on their spec sheet, but it stands to reason that a GPU capable of three 4K displays should be able to drive a 5K display with a 4K display.

All three of these CPUs offer 16 lanes of PCI Express 3.0. So that's what we have to work with (plus, of course, the DisplayPort/HDMI output of the GPU).

We don't know what chipset Apple is using, but it is probably one of their 300 series chipsets, because only they support USB 3.1.

Looking at those chipsets, only the Mobile HM370 supports a maximum of 16 lanes of PCIe 3.0. It would be logical to assume Apple is using this one, because the others have fewer lanes (which would cripple the I/O of the CPU) or more lanes (which would result in consuming more board space for no good reason).

Looking at all of Intel's Thunderbolt 3 controllers, they are all single or dual-port. They have no 4-port controllers, so the article I originally cited must have been in error - it was probably referring to the fact that they all share a single GPU. Looking more closely, only three of the Thunderbolt 3 controllers support DisplayPort 1.4 - the JHL7340 (single port), JHL7440 (dual-port) and JHL7540 (dual-port).

Unfortunately, I don't think we can dig much deeper than that. The links I found don't say how many lanes of PCIe the chips consume.

I think we can safely assume that Apple is not feeding 4 lanes (32Gbit/s) of PCIe to each of four single-port chips (assuming the single-port controller even has this configuration), because doing so would use all PCIe bandwidth, leaving nothing for the SSD.

I would also like to assume that Apple is not feeding 2 lanes to each of four single-port chips, because doing so would limit the ports to 16Gbit/s of PCIe bandwidth, undermining the point of Thunderbolt 3 and putting a severe limit on any eGPU applications.

So, I think we can assume that Apple is using two of the dual-port controllers and that each controller is connected using 4 lanes of PCIe. This will allow each pair of ports to share up to 32Gbit/s of PCIe bandwidth, leaving 8 lanes available for internal devices (like the SSD).

But to be sure, we're going to have to wait to see benchmarks and/or a teardown.
David, now that we have the teardown, any further thoughts on the possible performance and limitations? For example I didn't see a Mobile HM370 chip on the list.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I booted ElementaryOS 5.0 on the Mac Mini from a flash drive.
  • WiFi didn't work - it didn't seem to recognize any WiFi hardware (unlike with other Macs). But hooking up Ethernet (via a power-line adapter) worked great.
  • Everything on the screen was microscopic (the 27" monitor was probably set to 4K resolution). I found some display options to change, but nothing happened, and you're supposed to "restart the monitor" to have changes take effect - couldn't figure out how to do that.
  • Elementary doesn't see the Mac Mini internal drive, even though there are unencrypted DOS and HFS+ partitions on it. Gparted couldn't either. (The only visible drive is the USB flash boot drive.)
Bash:
diskutil list
/dev/disk0 (internal):
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:      GUID_partition_scheme                         500.3 GB   disk0
   1:                        EFI EFI                     314.6 MB   disk0s1
   2:                 Apple_APFS Container disk1         458.6 GB   disk0s2
   3:       Microsoft Basic Data DOSVOL                  29.2 GB    disk0s3
   4:                 Apple_Boot Boot OS X               134.2 MB   disk0s4
   5:                  Apple_HFS UnEnc12_HFS_Mini        11.9 GB    disk0s5
   6:                 Apple_Boot Boot OS X               134.2 MB   disk0s6
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Some network testing...

Verizon FiOS via Ethernet power-line adapters to router:
27.9 Mbps download
26.3 Mbps upload
Verizon FiOS via WiFi to AirPort base stations:
27.7 Mbps download
19.4 Mbps upload
 



Does the 2018 Mini support DisplayPort Alt-Mode? It's not listed on the Apple website. I am trying to hook up 3 computers (one being a 2018 Mini) through DisplayPort KVM to an LG or Dell Monitor 4K Monitor.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Does the 2018 Mini support DisplayPort Alt-Mode? It's not listed on the Apple website. I am trying to hook up 3 computers (one being a 2018 Mini) through DisplayPort KVM to an LG or Dell Monitor 4K Monitor.
You can connect a DisplayPort monitor to the 2018 Mac Mini via a Thunderbolt 3-DisplayPort cable. Works great. I did exactly that with my LG 4K monitor, although I prefer to use the Mac Mini's HDMI port, because that leaves the other three USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports available for different uses.
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Can you link to that cable? Am I missing it on Apple Website?
Here are two that I bought.
These support 4K/60Hz and much more (e.g. 6720 x 3780/60 Hz) and billions of colors on an LG HDR 4K display (LG 27UK650-W).

The Cable Matters version has a locking DisplayPort connector, so it's important to push the unlock button when trying to unplug it....
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
One of the big issues with a new Mac, like the 2018 Mac Mini, is migrating and coordinating existing data. In the Storage topic, I just finished reporting and summarizing the results of benchmark tests on different file-transfer options.
 


I booted ElementaryOS 5.0 on the Mac Mini from a flash drive.
  • WiFi didn't work - it didn't seem to recognize any WiFi hardware (unlike with other Macs). But hooking up Ethernet (via a power-line adapter) worked great.
  • Everything on the screen was microscopic (the 27" monitor was probably set to 4K resolution). I found some display options to change, but nothing happened, and you're supposed to "restart the monitor" to have changes take effect - couldn't figure out how to do that.
  • Elementary doesn't see the Mac Mini internal drive, even though there are unencrypted DOS and HFS+ partitions on it. Gparted couldn't either. (The only visible drive is the USB flash boot drive.)
Intel's NUCs are very Linux-friendly. Nonetheless, the first set I bought just didn't work out of the box, because they were purchased slightly before the Linux kernel was updated with support.

Elementary OS 5 is based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, which ships with kernel 4.15+. DistroWatch confirms Elementary 5 uses kernel 4.15. Ubuntu 18.10 ships with 4.18+, which added more hardware support.

iFixit reported finding the "Murata 339S00458 Wi-Fi / Bluetooth module" on the new Mac Mini logic board. I visited the Murata website and found varied Muruta Wi-Fi / Bluetooth modules, but none matching the part number that iFixit Part identified.

Murata lists only one Wi-Fi Bluetooth module that supports Bluetooth 5.0, which Apple lists as a Mac Mini specification. The Murata chip LBEE59B1LV information says it is intended for IoT devices.

It's possible a Linux kernel update could enable the Murata module in the Mac Mini. That likely depends on how unique and locked to Apple it is.

Which says nothing about inability of GParted to see the internal drive, other than the possibility the 18.10 kernel in your previous Ubuntu test makes a difference?
 


Amazon disclaimer:
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Latest posts