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Released on October 23, 2012. Core i5 or Core i7 Processor. Apple Fusion Drive.

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Intel HD Graphics Card Upgradability?

What are some ways to upgrade the graphics card? I've read that this Intel might perform worse on some tasks then the 2011 models' AMD cards.

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The Mini's graphics can't be upgraded (internally or externally).

The Intel HD4000 services is part of the processor chip set. Unlike other systems there is no I/O services to install an alternate graphics board within the system.

The Thunderbolt port can drive an external monitor via DisplayPort services.

There is no means to add a second graphics card via Thunderbolt (wishful, not likely)

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Hi, unfortunately u cannot upgrade ur graphics card because it comes soldered to the logic board. Good luck.

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The Intel HD4000 isn't soldered onto the logic board. ;-)

It's an embedded part of the sandy bridge chipset.

But that changes nothing about the non existing upgradeablity.

On the other hand - the HD4000 is a quite potent graphics solution. Some tests shows that even crysis will run on appropriate framerates.

I do personally play games like torchlight, diablo 3 and world of warcraft and these will run very smoothly without raising the system fan to the limits. Absolutely no comparison to the older HD3000 in my MBA.

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Yes. In the future.

You can upgrade the graphics card in the Mac Mini by

using an external graphics card connected via ThunderBolt.

Apple may not wish to support such things themselves, but third

parties might make them work.

The graphics "card" would become a graphics module.

(Note - These modules do not yet exist.)

There would be no PCIe connector, since the bus connections would

all be between a couple of chips on the circuit board.

All you'd see is a ThunderBolt cable leading to what looks like a heat sink.

No power cable. Just great graphics.

They could optionally add an HDMI or DisplayPort connector if

you wanted it to drive an extra monitor.


Redwood City, CA

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Perhaps the best way to phrase it is that the graphics capabilities of

the Mac Mini can be augmented with a second GPU which is external.

So here are some links discussing the possibilities.

In this case, the Mac Mini is essentially no different from any other

MacBook or ultrabook equipped with Intel 4000 graphics.

Lucid Thunderbolt External GPU Demonstrated

Looks like this idea has a name - eGPU (external GPU)

And some company is now selling an expansion chassis which

can house graphics cards.

Magma Thunderbolt chassis




Steve - Knew about the Thunderbolt expansion chassis. The issue is what graphics cards with have OS-X drivers that you could use. So far these products have teased us but will they ship and will PCI card vendors make the needed drivers. Thats why I said it's wishful, not real yet and may never be.


Thunderbolt only operates over 4x PCI Express 2.0 and it isn’t understood whether an external graphics card would get the full 4x bidirectional 16Gbps (2GB/sec) or just 2x. That means HD4000 should be better.

The cost of a thunderbolt "egpu" case + cable + card will be greater than an imac upgrade with discrete graphics and another question would be drivers.

I remember those happy days of macs for professionals.


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It depends on what you need, Intel 4000 is integrated, and uses system RAM to operate. Upgrading to ram increases the ram dedicates to video, for example I'm running 16GB on my 6.2 and that bumped the VRAM to 768MB, the OS may be able to Modulate this up to the intel limit (2Gb I think I read somewhere, but don't quote me) But I haven't seen it yet. Keep in mind this will always be DDR3, which is slower than a dedicated card. If DDR3 isn't fast enough for you, Thunderbolt may someday be your solution.

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Michael - I'd heard that before I put my ram in, but I already had 8GB in my 2010 MBP. I didn't fork out the cash on this thing to leave it comparable to the MBP, and some small part of me hoped that that I'd get 1024MB when I did it, or that the OS/firmware would realocate based on demand, but so far with daily video editing, still 768MB. :-/


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Thanks so much everyone. Your detailed insight is very helpful.

I have a 6 year old base iMac (white) and there is a thin red line running vertically. This happened within a year and a half of owning it.

I'm am afraid if I get this Mac mini with the same type of integrated graphics card as my old imac, then it might fail, with NO chance of repair.

I might just buy the new 27In iMac (higher end) and not have to worry about the integrated card.

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I'm quite sure that your red line on your screen will be a screen issue and not one of your graphics card.



just for information:

you've got 768 MB of graphics memory as well if you put only 8GB into your mini

i have done that yesterday and have got 768 MB too



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Marcelo Macario will be eternally grateful.
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