2018 Mac Mini and Intel UHD Graphics 630 GPU

Can anyone comment on the 2018 Mac Mini’s VDMX performance for:
Driving three displays
Playing high resolution content on multiple layers with effects

I’m considering buying one and upgrading the ram to 32GB.


We haven’t picked one up for the office yet, so I can’t speak for the specifics of running 3x displays, but my favorite Mac stats site has just posted its first set of benchmarks compared to other recent Macs,


And since that review mentions eGPUs, here are our notes on that subject,

I’m looking at investing in the same solution for an installation. Need to playback 3 videos on 3 displays, 2 1080p and one 4K. No layering or effects I think, just concerned about straight synchronized video playback. @Veiss or @davidlublin did you ever end up trying this out?

I haven’t used it with 3 displays yet. Need another USB C adapter to get a 3rd display. With 1 4K display, 4 layers, and various FX on each layer I haven’t seen any slow down. I am using a maxed out Mac Mini however. Considering it doesn’t have a very good video card I wouldn’t go with the base model Mini. Unless you’re thinking of adding an eGPU with a cheap video card that has 3 outputs.

Thanks @Veiss! That sounds promising. Configuration I’m looking at is with the 6-core i7 and at least 16 GB of RAM. The GPU is my major concern, just not sure how that will affect UHD video playback (again not concerned about effects for this particular project). I was reading through the write-up @davidlublin linked about using eGPUs. It seemed like the eGPU might not be very effective for video playback due to thunderbolt bandwidth limitations, but I had trouble understanding whether or not that is the case if all displays are going through the eGPU. Any thoughts?

I can’t comment very far on eGPU feasibility with 4K in VDMX, but I have a feeling it’ll work fine with all the extra power. Just be sure to get an AMD GPU.

There is a limitation with Thunderbolt, but that is understandable considering the card isn’t directly attached to the PCI bus which is much faster.

PCIe VS Thunderbolt

You can save some money on the Mac by going with 8gb and upgrading to 16 or 32 yourself. The process is pretty easy. Just get a set of Torx screwdrivers. Lots of videos on YouTube for it.

To try to clear up two points here:

  • In general, you should run both your main display and your outputs off the same GPU; there is a performance hit when textures need to be shared between graphics cards, this includes using preview windows.
  • While there is a potential threshold with regard to movie playback / recording / etc (anytime you go back and forth from the GPU & CPU in some fashion, or between GPUs…), it really depends on how you are using VDMX, the resolution and format of your clips (eg one of the things that makes HAP fast is that it goes from CPU -> GPU in a compressed format, so it is especially good for eGPU systems…).

(and sorry, we’ve yet to pick up one of these systems for ourselves to benchmark!)

I got heckled on the Facebook VJ Union Global for suggesting a Mac Mini + external GPU but this makes sense to me for some situations (desktop, teaching, headless installations, rack mounted touring rigs, etc). I would be really interested in learning if this works and how compact the solution could be made. Also if Apple follow through with a ‘modular’ Mac Pro as suggested in a keynote a couple of years ago this type of set up would be the norm in the future.

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I see! So, using the HAP codec, would you expect better performance generally from a Thunderbolt eGPU or from the integrated graphics card in regard to UHD playback? Basically, 4K high FPS HAP video, only considering playback performance (no effects): expected to be better on eGPU or integrated due to bandwidth issues?

It’s tough to say with 100% certainty, you can try to do the math on specific ‘base’ setups but to be honest they aren’t great metrics of what you’ll get once you start really using the app since VDMX is so open ended. The best I can say is that in some cases you’ll be better off with the eGPU and sometimes you’ll be better off with the integrated – if you reach a bottleneck using one setup, try the other.

The one key thing to note is that you should try to run all the screens off the same GPU whenever possible.

Thanks! Really appreciate your input!