Now, about this new Micro Server from this aluminum fruit purveyor....

Discussion in 'Chassis and Enclosures' started by WANg, Oct 30, 2018.

  1. mstone

    mstone Active Member

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    I could not care less what the case is made out of. I guess some people are incredibly image conscious. USB 3.1g2 is basically free these days, and I have no need at all for thunderbolt, which you're paying almost $100 for*. And I don't need a windows license, so there's another $100. If you need a cute case, thunderbolt, and the warm fuzzy feeling that you paid for an OS so someone has to answer the phone and listen to you complain (but not actually fix anything) then this is the system for you. If you don't need those things, why would you be looking at the mac mini in the first place? Bottom line: drop the thunderbolt, windows, and the cute case, and you're down to about $530 if you buy now, less if you wait for sales.

    The real point is that if you're stuck buying a mac you get what apple feels like selling you. If you don't care if you have a mac, you can decide what you want to spend money on and what you want to drop. This is nothing new.

    * USB 3.1, no thunderbolt, $99: ASRock H370M-ITX/ac LGA 1151 (300 Series) Intel H370 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard - Newegg.com
     
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  2. BlueLineSwinger

    BlueLineSwinger Active Member

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    Yeah, you're right. If those are the right choices for you then have fun.

    I wasn't on about the (de)merits of the Mini vs Windows/Linux/whatever and the hardware that makes up such a box. All I was looking to confirm/debunk was whether the price of the Mini is out of whack compared to a NUC or DIY mITX box with like (or as close as possible) components.

    And yeah, it's pretty much a given that if you're all-in or otherwise stuck with macOS it's all basically moot.
     
    #22
  3. Patriot

    Patriot Moderator

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    pm981/my bad

    Got my 512gb drives for $179 ea.

    looks like the price on those has continued to crash and you can get a 1TB for under $250.
    Which is 3000/1800 and 270/420k iops
    1tb has faster writes than 512gb at 2400MB/s
    MZVLB512HAJQ | Samsung Client SSD | Samsung Semiconductor

    Meh, cheap fast TLC drives. And yes they will throttle, but not till after 200GB+
     
    #23
  4. WANg

    WANg Active Member

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    Ah, okay. The XPS15 9570 on my desk at work has a 512GB PM981 (Dell OEM) - if I ran the PC version of BlackMagic Speed Test it scores at around 1700MB per sec / 1400MB per sec read/write respectively while on mains power. That being said, the 9570 firmware does throttle the NVMe down to reduce heat generation/stretch out battery life, so the comparison is a bit unfair. If you are willing to do M.2 SATA (or if you use corporate NUCs and they only support it on their Slot B+Es), Crucial MX500 is only $185 for 1TB. Incredible value if you are looking for acceptable performance at decent values (and you can always reuse the drive on an M2 SATA USB3 external enclosure).
     
    #24
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2018
  5. WANg

    WANg Active Member

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    That's a little rich for my blood - I was thinking more along the lines of the EliteDesk 800G4 - basically a corporate NUC. M.2 NVMe + SATA 2.5" bay, 6 core 35w Core i7-8700T (or its i5 equivalent), regular (not ECC) RAM. I remember seeing an HP SKU for a i7-8700T/16GB RAM (2x8GB DIMMs)/512GB NVMe + 3 Years ProSupport Onsite carepack for about 1200 USD on their site. You can usually shave a few percentage points off if you have a corporate account in the big stateside IT retailers. A similar Z2G4 with Intel integrated video and a 4 year act-of-god ProSupport Onsite carepack will cost about 1350 USD, which isn't bad at all. Both machines do have discrete video options (the 800G4 DM has AMD Vega RX560 graphics, while the Z2G4 have nVidia Quadro options) . The comparative SKU from Apple with AppleCare+ (if the storage is soldered you'll be stupid not to throw an extra benzo up for it) quotes at ~1800 USD. Yeah, it's not cheap.

    Of course, this entire equation assumes that the RAM on the MacMini or the Z2G4 doesn't require some exotic ECC DDR4 module that costs an arm or a leg to upgrade down the line - I don't see specific guidance from HP regarding mandated RAM type...
     
    #25
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2018
    SwanRonson likes this.
  6. WANg

    WANg Active Member

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    Once again, this is not about "image" or being a part of the hipster millenial cortado pourover sipping crowd. At the end of the day, much like the equipment in the homelab, we are assuming that either it's good enough value to buy new, or we got someone else to pay the tab and the amortization on it (i.e. this is corporate hand-me-down or second-hand purchase), it's really more of a question of whether this will be a good machine in a few years. As the original starter post would've said it, if you need it for a living (you dev MacOS or support MacOS devs, use Ableton Live but hate hauling an iMac to music gigs, or need it as a cheap(er) machine for Adobe CC on MacOS versus the 21" iMac), or if you got it at a discount (corporate buy, buy with a hardware trade, using up some corporate credit card reward points), you will buy it new. If you didn't, chances are, you might see it on eBay in 2-3 years at a discount.

    So let's see how the value prop measures out - I would argue that the 2014 Haswell machine is a terrible value (dualcore Haswell, soldered RAM, and overpriced with the maxed RAM allocation which is not the max supported by the CPU anyways), 2012 MacMini / MacMini server are a decent value (Ivy Bridge dual/quadcore, a 16GB RAM ceiling, still a little overpriced, but you might see data center seconds coming up on eBay soon) since it's supported by Mojave, the 2011 (Sandy i5/i7) is an okay enough value (even if you cannot get Mojave to work on it officially), it's someone cheap and hackable, will run ESXi and/or do Linux just fine, and the 2010 and older are just really not good for much. Of course, the old PowerPC G4 MacMinis are decent Retro gaming/AmigaOS machines.

    As for the 2018 Mac Mini? Eh, the verdict looks like this:
    - In all cases, the PCIe SSDs are soldered in place, so either go 128 GB and use the USB-C/TB3 ports to drive external storage later, or get at least 512GB, but that'll be very expensive compared to NVMe M.2.
    - The RAM is replaceable, but swapping RAM is about as painful as swapping HDDs on the 2010+ machines (open it up, pull the internal radio stuff out, take out the fan, insert a tool and pull the main board out of the unibody chassis/cavity, and then remove the shield around the DDR4 notebook RAM, not hard but not for the faint hearted either) - DDR4 is also expensive until at least 2020.
    - On the Core i3 (cheapest) version, it's thermally constrained (it doesn't bench well against the 21" iMac unless you replace Apple's poorly formulated thermal heatsink compound, in which case you'll see much less throttling). The i5/i7 also sees some throttling issues, just not as severe.
    - On the i3 model the Apple tax is around 12% compared to an equivalent NUC, and on the i5/i7 with more SSD capacity, it can reach 50% or more. AppleCare+ is also a joke compared to the Cadillac plans provided by "corporate NUC" makers.
    - It doesn't offer much internal expandability (no PCIe, no M.2 slot), so anything you attach to it to improve it (USB-C or TB3 enclosure) will have its own steep price-tag, but then, NUCs only do M.2 and RAM in most cases. Dear PC master race, can someone please put out more NUC-like, volume produced (read: not custom) chassis with at least 1 or 2 PCIe x16 slots?

    Right now, I wouldn't recommend buying one on your own tab, but in a few years when pricing goes down, it "could" be intriguing. Of course, that is assuming that someone didn't push out embedded Ryzen/Ryzen2 boxes that can compete against the NUCs by then...
     
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    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018 at 8:32 PM
  7. Evan

    Evan Well-Known Member

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    #27
  8. WANg

    WANg Active Member

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    #28
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