Power Saving: Macmini8,1 > MacPro4,1->5,1

This why I got a 2018 Mac Mini.

Yes, my 2009 Mac Pro was getting to the end of life regarding official support for software upgrades (as it’s deemed vintage), but It was also for the power savings.

When I got my new little MacMini, I upgrade it to 64GB of RAM, and I set it to work. It’s been brilliantly fast, and I’m quite glad that I didn’t get the M1 chip MacMini. This wasn’t because I didn’t want the latest and greatest, but because the M1 device still can’t do what I need. Firstly, there is the lack of RAM, with presently a maximum of 16GB is allowed. Secondly, and this is the most important at the moment, is that on an M1 chip, you still can’t do x86 emulation to a good level. There have been a few projects doing this, and while there is an ARM version of Windows, it still just can’t do it yet. Running VirtualBox and VMWare Fusion are now a daily part of my workflow, and they run amazingly fast. With the exception of a small audio blip in Audition at the start of playback, you wouldn’t know you were running a VM. This a great change from the MacPro. While I was running an SSD in the cMP (classic MacPro), it just doesn’t have the hard drive speed of the i7 MacMini. It really is a remarkable little box, and bang for buck, it’s an excellent buy.

Don’t underestimate it. It’s got USB C ports, and if you need extra storage, get a NAS, or a HDD expansion bay if you really need it. It’s really only let down is that graphics card in it, which can be easily solved with an eGPU.

If you do get one, get one that is Apple Refurbished. There is nothing wrong with those products and they come with a warranty. Stock changes daily, so you may have to wait for what you want though.

Now, on to the power consumption stats – straight from Apple.

Mac mini (2018)
3.2 GHz 6-core Intel Core i7, 64 GB 2666 MHz DDR4, 2 TB SSD, Intel UHD Graphics 630

Idle Max – Idle Max
19.9W – 122W
68 BTU/h 417 BTU/h

Mac Pro (Early 2009)
8-core 2.26GHz configuration: Two 2.26GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon “Nehalem” 5500 series processors, 6GB memory (six 1GB 1066MHz DDR3 ECC DIMMs), 640 GB Serial ATA 3 Gb/s 7200-rpm hard drive, 18x double-layer SuperDrive, NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 with 512MB of GDDR3 memory

Idle CPU Max – Idle CPU Max
146 W – 309 W
496 BTU/h – 1051 BTU/h

As you can see, the amount of power usage that a MacPro uses is more than double that of a MacMini, and, this is without a special graphics card that you may have added, such as an RX580, or lots of other hard drives.

I’ve seen a slight reduction in the power bill, and so I think it’s a step in the right direction. It’s also quieter, generates less heat, is smaller, and is faster – yes. It’s faster.

I have recently got a BlackMagic RX580 external graphics card, which makes video editing fly, and better improvements with graphics all-round, but does it help and add to the power saving measures I have done… time will tell.

The other thing that’s fantastic compared to the old mac pro, is the SSD hard drive speed. This, along with the 3.2Ghz processor brings Windows VMs to native speed. I can even run multiple VMs with no slow down. Can’t complain at all. I think it’s still ahead of the M1 chips for x86 virtualisation – the real reason I got it.

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