The $450 “Mac mini’ You Wish Apple Sold


the entry config has eight gigs of memory a 3.6 gigahertz quad-core processor and 128 gigabyte SSD and it starts at just $7.99 [Music] to say that I was underwhelmed by the base model 2018 I three Mac Mini would be well it’d be an understatement while the machine did OK in artificial benchmarks any sustained workload caused major thermal throttling now I was able to fix that by replacing the stock thermal paste but even then the performance was dismal for an $800 computer even one from Apple so I built my own Mac Mini using an Intel nook and in the spirit of Christmas I’m calling this build the Nutcracker and yes it’s freaking nuts this video is sponsored by privacy calm create virtual bank cards and set restrictions on your terms sign up today with the link below this build is actually rather simple you need an eighth generation Intel nook more on the exact specifications later but I opted for the i5 bek kid model for 365 dollars you get everything you need saved for the RAM and storage so I also got 8 gigabytes of 24 hundred megahertz g.skill ripjaws ddr4 memory now using only one Ram stick provides us with just single channel memory unlike Mac Mini which uses two dims and gets dual channel which may put this machine at a disadvantage but I did one the ability to upgrade to 16 gigabytes later down the road lastly we’re going to need an m2 SSD now you can get cheap SATA drives in this form factor but I wanted to get an SSD with speeds comparable to the Mac Mini rather than spend more money on a 4-lane nvme SSD I opted for a cheaper off-brand tulane nvme SSD which netted me 250 gigabytes of storage for just $49.99 this will be an excellent value if it performs as promised which we’ll benchmark later in the video so in the end we’re ending up with a PC that has a quad core i5 processor with turbo boost eight gigabytes of RAM double the storage capacity in a smaller form factor at just over half the price of its competition the entry-level Mac Mini this is already looking good now you might be wondering well how does Intel make their mini pcs so much smaller than Apple well for one the power supply which is internal on the Mac Mini is external on the Intel nook now the obvious downside is that you have a pretty major power brick but a big positive is that it removes the heat generated by the power supply away from the main computer case and even when you compare the PSU and the nut combo side-by-side to the Mac Mini it’s still quite a bit smaller io isn’t shabby either for such a tiny computer with 4 USB 3.1 gen2 ports that’s double what the Mac Mini has Gigabit Ethernet HDMI 2.0 a Thunderbolt 3 port which yes does work in Mac OS and it also supports DisplayPort 1.2 over USB C although somewhat sadly there is only one such port versus four of them on the Mac Mini you get a headphone jack and you even get dual onboard microphones something that not even the Mac Mini has see not bad for such a tiny package and Mac OS installation is a breeze there is a thriving community of nook enthusiasts that have even compiled one-click post install scripts which make this perhaps one of the easiest hackintosh installations I’ve ever seen furthermore there are several excellent step-by-step guides available to this specific hardware built for beginners I will link the best ones down below but if there was ever a hackintosh to build as your first hackintosh this is the one now we do have to get to the point of the video where I say it just works asterisk because at date of this video’s publication this is not yet a golden build USB C devices work is expected however Thunderbolt 3 devices which used the same port can’t yet be hot-swap so you have to shut down the computer then plug your Thunderbolt device in and then reboot not ideal furthermore the onboard Wi-Fi and Bluetooth module is not supported by Mac OS and unlike larger PC motherboards the Knox Wi-Fi module is not swappable it’s soldered on so this means that you’re either going to need to use Ethernet or a third-party Wi-Fi USB module and both of those options work great however they do not support airdrop and they probably never will so that’s the single biggest shortcoming of this build and not having an airdrop may seem like a deal-breaker to you but hold your thoughts until you see the performance results because it’s gonna blow your mind starting with the SSD nutcrackers inexpensive drive surprisingly performs exactly as advertised with a pretty reasonable leg up on the right speeds over Mac Mini however the minis read speeds do absolutely crush the nutcrackers of course if you opt to spend another $70 or so you can get a 512 gigabyte Samsung 970 Evo that will obliterate the Mac minis right and read speeds and you get four times the storage capacity but for $50.00 I’ve gotta give props to this little drive it’s pretty good of course an SSD does not a computer make so how does the CPU perform well in Geekbench everyone’s favorite synthetic benchmark Nutcracker and Mac Mini trade blows on single core scores but after an average of five tests Mac Mini does slightly edge at the hackintosh multi-core score however is a completely different story with Nutcracker averaging an 18 percent improvement over Mac Mini that is not insubstantial now furthermore as we mentioned in my previous Mac Mini video Geekbench does not simulate a sustained workload like video editing and so while Mac Mini scores well in Geekbench it really falls apart in Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere thanks to those thermal throttling issues and I mean if the Mac Mini throttled look how big it is comparatively nutcrackers bound to throttle – right actually no part of this is thanks to the much lower TDP of the chip it’s a high-end laptop chip rather than a desktop chip and subsequently just doesn’t put off as much heat but the nock also has a larger fan exhaust and intake in terms of surface area than the Mac Mini despite it being a much smaller computer and at 70 degrees Fahrenheit ambient room temperature nutcracker never thermally throttled now it would dial down the boost clock ever so slightly from about 100 to 400 megahertz after about two to three minutes but unlike Mac Mini it never even got close to the base clock speed let alone below it furthermore the Knux BIOS just has better thermal management way more aggressive fan curves that don’t let the cpu temperature get above 90 degrees Celsius which I know PC guys is still really hot but for a tiny computer it’s it’s not bad it’s a far cry better than the 100 degrees Celsius t-junction maximum operating temperature that Mac Mini is consistently redlining against so knowing that you may assume that nutcracker shines in video editing and well you’re right in both Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro Nutcracker does a superb job ranging from at minimum a 20% improvement to maximum a 35% improvement over Mac Mini I even tried an HEV C h.265 test because the hardware accelerated T to chip inside the Mac Mini should have given the machine the upper edge and it did help a lot but Nutcracker still took the crown now in GPU heavy workloads neither machine is going to be fantastic as they both lack a dedicated graphics card however the Intel iris + graphics 655 on the neck do you get the upper leg on the Mac minis you HD graphics 6:30 in both Cinebench GPU and Unigine heaven and it’s also my suspicion that the faster GPU is responsible for the Final Cut Pro results being further apart than the premiere results premiere is pretty much CPU only however Final Cut Pro uses the eye GPU pretty heavily and the nut clearly has the better GPU which gives it a better upper hand than Apple’s own Mac now if you’re more into external GPUs both machines support them however you really just be better off building a hackintosh tower instead for both cost and performance reasons than this little nook build all in all Nutcracker blew me away for about 450 dollars you can get a legitimately excellent Pico pc thats better at being a mini Mac then Apple’s own Mac Mini about a month ago I bought a very expensive pair of japanese-made electrostatics tax headphones from tab out the massive Chinese only shopping website now in the US these headphones cost about $1,500 but on Taobao they were selling for about 800 that’s almost half price so using Google Chrome’s translate function I found a reputable seller and tried to purchase the headphones but Ally pay wouldn’t cept my us billing address and credit card number so I used privacy instead privacy lets you generate card numbers on your own terms for example by merchant spending limit usage frequency etc so I created a new card number told Ally pay my billing address was in China because privacy doesn’t care what you put and I successfully and safely paid the money to get my headphones they took a few weeks for them to arrive but arrived they did they’re genuine they are new they sound freakin incredible and they were basically half off thanks to privacy the best part is that privacy is free because they charge the merchants not you so get started today with the link in the video description well folks that’s all for me thank you so much for watching if you enjoyed this video please give it a like if you didn’t that other button seems to work okay to get subscribe for more awesome tech videos like these but most importantly and as always stay snazzy [Music] where do we go [Music] we’re