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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?
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Internal vs. external?

Mac Mini i3 8GB/128GB + 500GB Samsung X5 Portable SSD
$1200 for 628 GB ($799 + $399.99)
and you can swap the 500GB drive to another Thunderbolt 3 computer

Mac Mini i3 8GB/512GB
$1199 for 512 GB
that's soldered in place and probably a little faster
 


Anybody have any experience with these monitors? I know they are not 4K, but I am driving my current Apple Cinema display at 2048x1280, so in my use, I want bigger for size, and screen size over more pixels. (Getting past 40 sucks.)
Don't have that monitor but do have several sets of dual ASUS 27" with the same WQHD specs.

Replaced the dual ASUS 27" on my desk at work with a Sony KD43X720E 43-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2017 Model) currently $498 on Amazon, though I bought mine at Best Buy. I did keep one of the ASUS 27's oriented in vertical (portrait) mode for notifications and desktop icons, leaving the Sony 43" mostly empty (for work). It has three HDMI ports, and I've used it for one Mac Mini and two Linux NUCs, each connected via HDMI. The TV remote enables easy selection of which system is onscreen.

The 43" Sony, even though a 2017 model, remains at the top of TVs reviewed as monitors here. Coverage of use of a 4K TV as a monitor in that article is what persuaded me to give it a try. I'm not a gamer, so ultimate refresh rates aren't important, and while TVs can be color calibrated so they might be adapted for serious photo/video use, my goal in photo editing doesn't require maximum color precision.

In my case, the difference between a "computer monitor" and a 4K TV came down to lack of a DisplayPort, which I can do without.

When I went back to Best Buy to get another Sony for my house, there were none remaining in local or regional inventory, and the price had risen. I decided to take a chance on a 49" TCL, as the TCL brand has been earning high reviews on audiovisual sites. Several weeks of use, and I'm very happy. The TCL, also a 2017 model, is currently $340 on Amazon:


Retailers seem to be pushing their Black Friday deals into a "Pre-Black Friday" frenzy. I saw yesterday a Samsung 4K 50" TV for $300.

I've set the 4K TVs at 1920 x 1080 for monitor use. No way I can use them as monitors in their native 4K setting, which produces tiny icons and fonts. Setting the hardware to 4K and using scaling, or a program like SwitchResX might work. I don't need to do that, because at 1920 x 1080, everything's big, bright, easy to see, and there's lots of screen area on which to work.

One caution. I had been using a 2010-era Mini at work. It didn't seem a good match for the 4K TV. Swapped it for one of our 2014 Minis, which are hardly spec-heavy, and it does well. So does my 2014 (?) 13" "Retina" MacBook Pro from its built in HDMI output.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Very, very simple test with Affinity Photo:

Open 21MB raw file (Sony R100) and play around with lens distortion, scaling, split toning, etc.

The Mac Mini worked fine, nothing spectacularly good or bad - plenty good enough for the job.

2015 MacBook Pro 15" (integrated graphics) worked OK, similar speed... for a short while, and then its fans spun up. That didn't happen with the Mini.
 


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