Turn Your Mac Mini into a Powerful Machine with This Insane Dock

BY Asif Shaik

Published 27 Dec 2019

Animaionic docking station for Mac mini

Do you want to add more power to your Mac mini? Well, now you have an option – the Animaionic – a docking station that can add the power of two Radeon 5700XT graphics cards and 8TB of NVMe storage to Apple’s compact PC.

If you want a desktop computer from Apple, you have two options to choose from – the Mac Pro and the Mac mini. While the Mac Pro is one of the most powerful pre-built PCs on the planet, it is also extremely costly – starting at $5,999 and going up to a jaw-dropping $53,000. At this point, most people would go for the relatively cheaper Mac mini, which costs $799 for the base model and goes all the way up to $3,199 for a maxed-out configuration.

While the Mac mini has a decently powerful processor (at least for most day-to-day tasks), it is extremely weak when it comes to graphics performance, since it relies on the inbuilt Intel UHD 630 GPU. Yup, you’ve read that right, the Mac mini doesn’t offer a dedicated graphics card, even when you opt for the top-end model. And that’s where you start facing problems. Intel’s UHD 630 is so underpowered that you can’t even edit a video on it properly.

This is where the Animaionic comes into play. It is a mini-ATX-like enclosure that has a dedicated place on the top to dock a Mac mini. It connects with Apple’s desktop computer via the Thunderbolt 3 connection. Inside the Animaionic is space for up to two 8GB Radeon 5700XT graphics cards and four NVMe M.2 drives (max 8TB storage). There is also an SD card reader at the front for you to quickly import and export your media.

Anyway, with two beastly graphics cards on board, the Mac mini gains a tremendous amount of graphics power. Animaionic claims that with the Radeon 5700XT duo, the Mac mini offers 78% better performance in the Apple Final Cut Pro X and 96% performance gain while using the Apple Motion and the Blackmagic Resolve. In short, the performance charts showcased by the brand show that with the Animaionic, the Mac mini performs as good as the Mac Pro’s base model.

Although, all of this comes at a premium cost. The barebone Animaionic costs $910, where you can add up to two Radeon 5700XT graphics cards, and four 2TB NVMe M.2 storage drives yourself. However, if you don’t want to go through the hassle of purchasing and installing the add-ons, you can get the Animaionic XE – it has 2x 8GB Radeon 5700XT graphics cards and 8TB of NVMe M.2 storage — at $3,365. Add that up, and your Mac mini now costs almost $6,000.

At this point, why not just get the Mac Pro since it costs and performs almost the same as the Animaionic-equipped Mac mini? Well, because the base model of the Mac Pro comes with only 256GB of storage and 32GB of RAM, whereas, the top-end Animaionic and Mac mini combo offer 8TB of storage (apart from the Mac mini’s inbuilt storage) and 64GB of RAM. The Animaionic-equipped Mac mini will also have a much smaller footprint compared to the Mac Pro.

The Animaionic is currently listed on Kickstarter, where you can back the project by pledging to purchase any of the two configurations on offer (barebone and Animaionic XE). According to the brand, it will start shipping the product by May 2020, if it manages to gather enough funding for the project through the Kickstarter campaign.

[Source: Animaionic, Kickstarter]