My Quiet Obsession (Mac Mini + Custom Razor Core X eGPU)

Leslie Barry
Aug 27 · 3 min read
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Photo by euralíz bravo on Unsplash

I upgraded my Razor Core X eGPU and replaced my Macbook Pro with a Mac Mini for the perfect silent setup. No more noisy, annoying fans spinning up while recording audio.

Working from home for an extended period has made me hyper-aware of everything I can ‘optimise’ in my study. It’s optimised to within an inch of its life, but the final victory was getting my Mac setup silent. I’m using this COVID time to create our first online Pretotyping course, so a quiet environment for recording is a must.

I’ve had a fun time learning all about mics, cameras, recording, lighting, etc., but, as we know, the most important of all is limiting background noise for excellent quality audio.

Enter my trusty Macbook Pro 2018 and Razor Core X eGPU.
Recording course content is an exercise in patience and clarity, and as you think you’ve nailed it — WHHHHHRRRRR — up spins a fan somewhere. Not happy.

So the journey begins.

The Razor Core X eGPU has two fans, one for extracting air from the case and another on the power supply. After much googling (thanks Reddit and eGPU Forum) I discovered that the main culprit is the power supply fan.

I replaced the power supply with the Corsair 750W SF750 Platinum High Performance SFX Power Supply and the Case Fan with the Noctua NF-F12-PWM 120mm Fan.

Voila! Silence. The PSU fan doesn’t spin up unless under at least 30% load and the case fan is silent. This is important as the eGPU is always on if it’s connected to the Mac and unplugging it every night is a pain.

Next up, my overheating Macbook Pro. I considered an upgrade to the latest one, but — and it’s a big but — I’m an occasional gamer, so I need Bootcamp running, and the latest Macbooks are Intel based but moving over to ARM next year, so it’s wasted money for an end of life technology.

Enter the Mac Mini. If you compare performance, drive size and memory this is a no brainer. Much better value than an about to be redundant Macbook Pro, the Mac Mini runs Intel for Bootcamp so is future-proofed, and practically a ‘desktop’ so I’ll get 3 to 4 years usage out of it for my use case.

“But Leslie, that’s dumb. It’s not a laptop”. We’re working from home, so all laptops are now desktops.

And, I still have my trusty 2018 MacBook Pro for when we’re out and about again so win-win.

Absolute silence. This combo very rarely spins up the fan for work and works beautifully for gaming on Bootcamp.

And as a bonus, it’s neat, simple and tucked away, as good technology should be. Almost invisible.

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