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A Mac Mini with an eGpu and external drives is the closest thing to a normal desktop machine in the Apple universe, but it still is a very inelegant solution compared to if Apple offered a desktop machine between the Mini and the Pro. Also, while the Mini got a nice upgrade, for a real desktop, the processor isn't ample - the iMac at least offers an 8-core i9.

I just have a thought. What about building a case for Mac Mini. Like you could put there Mac Mini, your drives, your GPU and then connect all that stuff via thunderbolt, all in a single enclosure. Also few fans to cool everything. Did someone make something similar?

Hehe, I was thinking the same. First of all, I am surprised that none of the eGPU housings do have some space for storage drives, either 2.5" SATA or for NVMe cards. But when one is at it, make a bay for the Mini too :). Which also shows why it is so annoying that Apple doesn't just basically offer the Mini motherboard in a larger box.

You could probably build an eGPU box with the same footprint as the 2018 Mini for stacking above it: it should be just possible to fit a small-form-factor GPU in that space. It would be a lot less unwieldy and weird-looking than plunking a normal full-sized eGPU next to the Mini.

The Sonnet Puck pretty much has that form factor (just not a matched case material) but tops out with an RX570 and uses MXM form factor cards so a bit less than ideal.

especially, if the card would be in vertical, there should be place for a full-sized gpu.

I wish OWC made an updated ministack (https://www.owcdigital.com/products/ministack) that supported Thunderbolt and had a built in PSU.

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