PDA

View Full Version : Nvidia 9400M GPU In 2009 Mini Compared To Radeon 6630M In New Mini ?




Mr.C
Jul 21, 2011, 05:05 AM
I've got a 2009 Mini that's in my signature at the moment. I'm thinking of upgrading to the higher end of the new Mini's. I was wondering if anyone had opinions on the performance difference between the Nvidia 9400M in my old Mini and the ATM Radeon 6630M in the new one. They both have 256MB of VRAM.

On a related note is there a significant performance increase between the 2.53 Core 2Duo and the 2.7 Core i7. Also is there any significant difference between the 5400RPM 320GB HD in the old one and a 7200RPM HD in the new one other then the obvious extra capacity.

To sum up I'm trying to determine the overall performance between the two Mini's. I mostly use it for email, internet, storing my iTunes library plus some games. I do have games consoles so the games part is not significant but I would like to play games like Portal 2 and the upcoming Diablo III. I might also dabble in WOW. I don't use it for any multi media or graphic design applications.

Also anyone have any idea the typical value of the old one if I sell it in particular here in the UK.

I would appreciate any useful insight into this. Thanks.



Chundles
Jul 21, 2011, 05:09 AM
My 2.4 core 2 duo MacBook is about half the speed of the 2.3GHz i5 in Handbrake rips. The 2.7GHz i7 would be a nice % faster than that.

The graphics card in the new mini is a dedicated system whilst the 9400M is integrated using system RAM. The new mini should soundly thump the old ones.

philipma1957
Jul 21, 2011, 05:11 AM
I've got a 2009 Mini that's in my signature at the moment. I'm thinking of upgrading to the higher end of the new Mini's. I was wondering if anyone had opinions on the performance difference between the Nvidia 9400M in my old Mini and the ATM Radeon 6630M in the new one. They both have 256MB of VRAM.

On a related note is there a significant performance increase between the 2.53 Core 2Duo and the 2.7 Core i7. Also is there any significant difference between the 5400RPM 320GB HD in the old one and a 7200RPM HD in the new one other then the obvious extra capacity.

To sum up I'm trying to determine the overall performance between the two Mini's. I mostly use it for email, internet, storing my iTunes library plus some games. I do have games consoles so the games part is not significant but I would like to play games like Portal 2 and the upcoming Diablo III. I might also dabble in WOW. I don't use it for any multi media or graphic design applications.

Also anyone have any idea the typical value of the old one if I sell it in particular here in the UK.

I would appreciate any useful insight into this. Thanks.

I have a 2009 2.66
I have a 2010 2.4 on the way
and a 2011 2.3 on the way.

The 2011 i7 2.7 with a 750gb 7200rpm hdd will crush the 2009 mini.

In every way except two the lack of dvd player and a weaker psu. If you use dvd slots a lot the new mini may not be so good for you. If you buy an external player like the macbook air superdrive it takes up an usb slot and will stress the psu a bit more. To me the only real weakness in the i7 mini you pick is the psu. See my thread


http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1191667

Mr.C
Jul 21, 2011, 06:09 AM
The lack of a DVD player is not a big deal for me. I hardly ever use the internal one in my current Mini. The only time it gets used is to install software on the odd occasion. I have an external SuperDrive that I bought for my MacBook Air which should suffice for that use anyway. The nice thing about the lack of an optical drive is it makes the Mini smaller in size and therefore saves space.

I'm not sure what the significance of the lower rated CPU would be.

I'm not sure whether to order a new one or wait for refurbs to appear on the Apple store. I suspect there might be ones purchased in the next few weeks which may end up on the refurb store as people are not happy with them. That said I'm not sure if the savings would be significant.

The stock high end model is 699 where as upgrading to the i7 and a 7200RPM 750GB HD brings it to 899. I'm not sure how much I can expect for my current one when selling it.

It seems like performance wise it might be a good idea to upgrade to the new model.

Edit: I read that thread and I see what you're saying about the GPU. I'm not sure if that would be a deal breaker for me. I do wish the GPU had at least 512MB of VRAM though. That said as the Radeon is a dedicated GPU unlike the Nvidia 9400M that would make a significant difference I expect. I'm inclined to just order a new one as there is no way of knowing when one with the i7 and a 750MB HD will appear in the refurb store and the savings may not be significant anyway.

Getting an iMac is out of the question as I neither have the space nor need the display plus I already have an Apple Bluetooth keyboard and track pad. I use my HD TV as my display.

One final thing at the moment I cannot get surround sound and having HDMI in the new one should allow me to do that.

philipma1957
Jul 21, 2011, 06:40 AM
Yeah the new machine is really a great upgrade for most all of us. I look forward to playing around with it. I think that the mini is going to be around for a while. Apple has really shown they can make a good piece of gear when they want to.

FrankHahn
Jul 21, 2011, 07:03 AM
It appears that the 2.5 GHz base model of the new Mac Mini line is a good bang for bucks. Right?

Mr.C
Jul 21, 2011, 07:18 AM
It appears that the 2.5 GHz base model of the new Mac Mini line is a good bang for bucks. Right?

It depends what you plan on using it for. Any graphic intensive uses like games, graphic design or multi media production it probably won't do a good job.

Mr.C
Jul 21, 2011, 09:14 AM
I've got another question. I'm now thinking of getting the higher end with a core i7 with just a 256MB SSD and using a larger external FireWire drive or possibly a Time Capsule as the main storage drive. Would that option be OK or is it better to get it with both the internal SSD and 750MB 7200 RPM HDD.

Aegelward
Jul 21, 2011, 09:43 AM
Apple really should have put 512Mb in there, even the most basic of GPUs come with 1Gb of memory now...

I know, this is a sticking point with me

Mr.C
Jul 21, 2011, 09:58 AM
Apple really should have put 512Mb in there, even the most basic of GPUs come with 1Gb of memory now...

I know, this is a sticking point with me

It is one of my concerns too. I wish it had 512MB of VRAM. For reasons I mentioned in another thread I can't get an iMac so if I want an Apple desk top the Mini is my only choice.

Mr.C
Jul 21, 2011, 07:26 PM
Just wanted to bump this thread up. I'm still unsure whether to get an internal combo of a 256GB SSD and a 750GB HDD or just the SSD and use an external FireWire drive for additional storage. At the moment I still have 179GB of free space on my 320GB HDD in my current Mac Mini. That includes my iTunes library and a few apps. So I've only used approximately 140GB's.

I've got an external 320GB FireWire HD with additional media as well as a 1TB Seagate USB HD for my Time Machine back ups. The Seagate can be converted into a FireWire HD with an adapter for additional storage if I get a Time Capsule for back up purposes.

Judging by everyone's enthusiasm on how much faster SSD's are for boot up, opening apps etc. I'm thinking it might be worth the additional expense. I'm just not sure if an internal HDD is significantly faster then an external FireWire for storing media files like photos and movies as well as potentially my iTunes library. Any opinions would be appreciated.

Jimmdean
Jul 21, 2011, 08:52 PM
External firewire is perfect for media - all my Plex and iTunes media run off a Firewire 800 external. SSD is normally worth an expense because of how good a boot drive it is, but not Apple's expense. First of all, if you are working this SSD Boot/Firewire media scenario you do not need a 256GB SSD (and the expense it carries). Consider doing it yourself and getting an OWC Mercury at a more reasonable size/price.

jwhazel
Jul 21, 2011, 08:56 PM
Some thoughts:

That said as the Radeon is a dedicated GPU unlike the Nvidia 9400M that would make a significant difference I expect.
It really doesn't have anything to do with dedicated vs discrete. It's simply that the 6630 is way newer and more powerful than the 9400 was.

Apple really should have put 512Mb in there, even the most basic of GPUs come with 1Gb of memory now...
Something to keep in mind: Apple is using the much faster GDDR5 ram compared to the slower ddr3 you see in your 1gb el cheapo systems. I can't forsee a situation where more vram = more performance given the rest of the units specs. Higher resolutions would be where it counts most and at that point the raw power (or lack of) on the gpu becomes a much higher concern.


Judging by everyone's enthusiasm on how much faster SSD's are for boot up, opening apps etc. I'm thinking it might be worth the additional expense.
I'll say it's definitely not worth the expense. I went from 5400rpm to 7200rpm in my 2009 mini and it made a huge difference. Then went from 7200rpm to intel 160gb SSD. Is there a noticeable difference? Sure. Was it worth the ~$200 I paid for the drive? No. Is it worth the $600+ apple is charging for an SSD? H*ll no.

Mr.C
Jul 21, 2011, 09:01 PM
External firewire is perfect for media - all my Plex and iTunes media run off a Firewire 800 external. SSD is normally worth an expense because of how good a boot drive it is, but not Apple's expense. First of all, if you are working this SSD Boot/Firewire media scenario you do not need a 256GB SSD (and the expense it carries). Consider doing it yourself and getting an OWC Mercury at a more reasonable size/price.

That's good to know although OWC is no good to me as I live in the UK. They won't ship overseas and even if they did the shipping cost wouldn't be worth it. After a quick check online looking at SSD prices here in the UK it seems like Apple charges about 100 more for the same capacity. They charge 480 where as 256GB SSD's elsewhere seem to go for around 380 as far as I can tell. As I'm not keen on opening up a Mini to install my own after market SSD and most likely voiding the warranty I'm more inclined to go with Apple's BTO option.

WilliamG
Jul 21, 2011, 09:16 PM
I'm pretty sure the 6630M is faster than the 9400M, but the 3000HD Intel chip is likely slower than the 9400M.

Mr.C
Jul 21, 2011, 09:20 PM
Some thoughts:


It really doesn't have anything to do with dedicated vs discrete. It's simply that the 6630 is way newer and more powerful than the 9400 was.


Something to keep in mind: Apple is using the much faster GDDR5 ram compared to the slower ddr3 you see in your 1gb el cheapo systems. I can't forsee a situation where more vram = more performance given the rest of the units specs. Higher resolutions would be where it counts most and at that point the raw power (or lack of) on the gpu becomes a much higher concern.


I'll say it's definitely not worth the expense. I went from 5400rpm to 7200rpm in my 2009 mini and it made a huge difference. Then went from 7200rpm to intel 160gb SSD. Is there a noticeable difference? Sure. Was it worth the ~$200 I paid for the drive? No. Is it worth the $600+ apple is charging for an SSD? H*ll no.

Dedicated and discrete is the same thing. The AMD Radeon 6630M is such a card with it's own 256MB GDDR5 VRAM. The Nvidia 9400M is not a dedicated or discrete GPU and shares memory with the main RAM as I understand it. This makes the Radeon a lot more powerful especially for graphic intensive applications such as games. I understand what you're saying about the Mini's Radeon having GDDR5 VRAM as opposed to the 1GB cards having the slower GDDR3 VRAM.

It's good to know what you're saying about the SSD. Maybe I should just go with a 7200RPM 750GB HDD instead. I don't do any heavy duty work like graphic design, video editing or any other multimedia type work. I don't rip DVD's or blue rays either. If the SSD really is not worth it for what I use the computer for then it's best to save that money. I can get the dual core i7 with a 750GB HDD for 899 or with that and the SSD for 1379. That's a 480 difference.

FrankHahn
Jul 21, 2011, 09:28 PM
That's good to know although OWC is no good to me as I live in the UK. They won't ship overseas and even if they did the shipping cost wouldn't be worth it. After a quick check online looking at SSD prices here in the UK it seems like Apple charges about 100 more for the same capacity. They charge 480 where as 256GB SSD's elsewhere seem to go for around 380 as far as I can tell. As I'm not keen on opening up a Mini to install my own after market SSD and most likely voiding the warranty I'm more inclined to go with Apple's BTO option.

OWC ships internationally!

Mr.C
Jul 21, 2011, 09:31 PM
OWC ships internationally!

That's good to know. I assumed they didn't like most US online retailers. I'l have a look at their site. Thanks.

jwhazel
Jul 21, 2011, 09:44 PM
Dedicated and discrete is the same thing. The AMD Radeon 6630M is such a card with it's own 256MB GDDR5 VRAM. The Nvidia 9400M is not a dedicated or discrete GPU and shares memory with the main RAM as I understand it. This makes the Radeon a lot more powerful especially for graphic intensive applications such as games.

My mistake, I meant to say integrated v. discrete. Again, the difference between 9400 and 6630 is purely in the fact that the 6630 is a much smaller, newer, more complex, more powerful chip. The 9400m did share system memory but the fact that the gpu portion was on the same die, and right next door to the memory controller, alleviated alot of performance concerns. The 9400m was a good chip for what it was back in its time. The 6630 is simply more powerful despite whether or not its discrete or where it gets its memory from.

philipma1957
Jul 21, 2011, 09:45 PM
.... I can get the dual core i7 with a 750GB HDD for 899 or with that and the SSD for 1379. That's a 480 difference. please do this and nothing else

That's good to know. I assumed they didn't like most US online retailers. I'l have a look at their site. Thanks.

owc has good service but you don't want to get an ssd right now just buy the 750gb 7200rpm hdd direct from apple. the machine will be leaps and bound better then the 2009 with just the 750gb hdd in it.


Then in a few months you can look into t-bolt options for an external screamer ssd. Maybe even 8gb ram as an add on.

japtor
Jul 21, 2011, 09:48 PM
It's good to know what you're saying about the SSD. Maybe I should just go with a 7200RPM 750GB HDD instead. I don't do any heavy duty work like graphic design, video editing or any other multimedia type work. I don't rip DVD's or blue rays either. If the SSD really is not worth it for what I use the computer for then it's best to save that money. I can get the dual core i7 with a 750GB HDD for 899 or with that and the SSD for 1379. That's a 480 difference.
SSDs are worth it...they're not worth what Apple is charging for theirs though. I don't know about UK pricing, but in the US the SSD option is $600, while you can get a good third party one (same capacity) for $400, or much less if you go with a smaller drive.

Mr.C
Jul 21, 2011, 09:56 PM
SSDs are worth it...they're not worth what Apple is charging for theirs though. I don't know about UK pricing, but in the US the SSD option is $600, while you can get a good third party one (same capacity) for $400, or much less if you go with a smaller drive.

Apple charges 480 or approximately $780 for the 256GB SSD.

Mr.C
Jul 21, 2011, 10:03 PM
please do this and nothing else



owc has good service but you don't want to get an ssd right now just buy the 750gb 7200rpm hdd direct from apple. the machine will be leaps and bound better then the 2009 with just the 750gb hdd in it.


Then in a few months you can look into t-bolt options for an external screamer ssd. Maybe even 8gb ram as an add on.

Thanks for the advice. I think that's actually the best option for me right now having gone back and forth between three different options of storage. I will probably buy extra RAM and upgrade to 8GB as well. As I do more consumption then production that should be fine. Boot up times are not that important either as most of the time my Mac is in sleep mode and only really gets shut off if I'm away for long periods. Having been use to a 5400RPM drive in both my MacBook Air and Mac Mini I think the 7200 RPM 750GB HDD will make a big difference. As you say down the line I can look at external Thunderbolt options or even an internal SSD if they become cheaper.

philipma1957
Jul 21, 2011, 10:04 PM
SSDs are worth it...they're not worth what Apple is charging for theirs though. I don't know about UK pricing, but in the US the SSD option is $600, while you can get a good third party one (same capacity) for $400, or much less if you go with a smaller drive.

I am a big ssd fan I use a 600gb intel in my mac pro,but right now t-bolt is a game changer when it comes to ssds. the raid0 lacie and the raid0 sonnet will be faster then anything on the market. I can understand using the internal ssd if you absolutely want a 1 box mini, but I will wait and see about the t-bolt as an add on. I grabbed a base 2.3 but I may buy a 2.5 and leave it stock. Then add a t-bolt on down the road.

jwhazel
Jul 22, 2011, 07:34 AM
I am a big ssd fan I use a 600gb intel in my mac pro,but right now t-bolt is a game changer when it comes to ssds. the raid0 lacie and the raid0 sonnet will be faster then anything on the market. I can understand using the internal ssd if you absolutely want a 1 box mini, but I will wait and see about the t-bolt as an add on. I grabbed a base 2.3 but I may buy a 2.5 and leave it stock. Then add a t-bolt on down the road.

I'm sure a raided ssd thunderbolt setup will be good for some tasks. Not so much for the OP's.

I mostly use it for email, internet, storing my iTunes library plus some games... I don't use it for any multi media or graphic design applications.

philipma1957
Jul 22, 2011, 07:38 AM
I'm sure a raided ssd thunderbolt setup will be good for some tasks. Not so much for the OP's.

yes that is why just putting in a nice big 750gb 7200rpm hdd is best. he can set and forget it.

In a year or 2 he can sell the machine or then add the raid0 t-bolt as a booster or even a 1 bay ssd in a t-bolt case yet to be invented but by 2012 or 2013 it will be.

ryguy92250
Jul 22, 2011, 08:54 AM
I was wondering if anyone had opinions on the performance difference between the Nvidia 9400M in my old Mini and the ATM Radeon 6630M in the new one. They both have 256MB of VRAM.



I just wanted to add my thoughts for this. I just read in either one of the links posted in this thread or another thread that the radeon hd 6630m is supposedly? equivalent to the desktop radeon 5570. The 6630m is based on 5xxx series architecture and has 480 steam processors. The 256gb ram it has on it is gddr5 ram, not gddr3, so that would make a difference since its pretty much 2x as quick.

However, 256mb isn't a whole lot of ram and even though its faster, I think more would be needed to play higher resolutions and game.

So, if I was guessing, well I know that the 9400m is alot worse, and you would probably be able to play portal 2 and diablo 3 at low-medium settings, depending on how big your resolution is. That would gobble up the v-ram.

Mr.C
Jul 22, 2011, 11:00 AM
I just wanted to add my thoughts for this. I just read in either one of the links posted in this thread or another thread that the radeon hd 6630m is supposedly? equivalent to the desktop radeon 5570. The 6630m is based on 5xxx series architecture and has 480 steam processors. The 256gb ram it has on it is gddr5 ram, not gddr3, so that would make a difference since its pretty much 2x as quick.

However, 256mb isn't a whole lot of ram and even though its faster, I think more would be needed to play higher resolutions and game.

So, if I was guessing, well I know that the 9400m is alot worse, and you would probably be able to play portal 2 and diablo 3 at low-medium settings, depending on how big your resolution is. That would gobble up the v-ram.

I think you make some good points there. I myself have done some research on that GPU and found the same information and come to pretty much the same conclusion. Two things that come to mind though. Firstly the Mini is not going to be my main gaming platform as I have a PS3 and an Xbox 360 for that. Second my 2009 Mini is pretty under powered in my mind. When I bought it just over a year ago it was just before it got discontinued and was replaced with the 2010 model which was not really any better.

At the time and even now an iMac is out of question for reasons I have gone over before. The main reason being I don't have space for or need the display and I refuse to pay for something I'm not going to use. Therefore a Mini is my only choice as far as a desktop Mac goes. It's actually very annoying that Apple does not offer iMac level models without a display.

If I have to play some games on low to mid level settings then so be it. There are only a handful of games I would be interested in playing on the Mac. At the end of the day the AMD Radeon 6630M is going to be a lot better them the Nvidia 9400M. Not to mention the more powerful CPU, faster HD, and extra RAM ( after upgrading to 8MB ) will also make a difference. Also whilst 5.1 surround sound is not as important having an HDMI out that should give me that is also a plus. All in all the new model is a vast improvement to what I already have.

All that really remains is for me to click the buy button online. My only reluctance being I've spent so much money this year already and best I will probably only get around 300 for my existing Mini when I sell it. This means spending another 600 on something that is not a necessity but more of a luxury.

richpjr
Jul 22, 2011, 11:20 AM
It's very tempting to pick one of these up and use it as a media and file server (already have an iMac for my main computer use).

HawtTuna
Jul 22, 2011, 12:56 PM
It depends what you plan on using it for. Any graphic intensive uses like games, graphic design or multi media production it probably won't do a good job.

Graphic design isn't taxing on most modern systems, at least 2d design isn't. I think 6630m will be fine for games such Portal 2 which are optimized very well. I think you're underestimating the power of Mac Mini.

Mr.C
Jul 22, 2011, 01:16 PM
Graphic design isn't taxing on most modern systems, at least 2d design isn't. I think 6630m will be fine for games such Portal 2 which are optimized very well. I think you're underestimating the power of Mac Mini.

Maybe so. I've been out of the loop when it comes to GPU's as most of my gaming over the last five or six years has been on games consoles. I use to won Windows PC's but got tired of upgrading all the time, not to mention all the other headaches that go with them like viruses, spyware, blue screen of death, hard drive getting clogged up with no longer needed files that couldn't be easily deleted.

Anyway I digress. I tried playing Portal 2 today on my current Mini and put the settings all the way up. Needless to say the game chugged along at a very slow pace. Even changing the settings became really slow. I tried reducing the various options one notch at a time and it was only until I got to the default settings which were almost the bare minimum that game actually ran with a decent frame rate and even then it had a few hiccups. I've got the game on the PS3 as well but I rather play it on the Mac. If I get a new Mini it will be the one with the Radeon GPU and an i7 with probably the 750GB HDD.

HawtTuna
Jul 22, 2011, 01:46 PM
At that point, wouldn't it just be easier to buy an iMac? Considering the price, you'll get a better GPU, a desktop processor instead of a laptop processor, and an optical drive. Unless you really need the HMDI port, I really can't see how getting that config would give you the most bang for your buck.

Mr.C
Jul 22, 2011, 03:48 PM
At that point, wouldn't it just be easier to buy an iMac? Considering the price, you'll get a better GPU, a desktop processor instead of a laptop processor, and an optical drive. Unless you really need the HMDI port, I really can't see how getting that config would give you the most bang for your buck.

I would if they sold it without the display. I don't have space for the display and really don't need it as I use my HDTV. Unfortunately the way they are designed you can't sell the display. I have to emphasise that gaming is not a top priority for me just that I want to be able to run the few games that I will play on it at a decent level. My main uses are email, internet, word processing, storing iTunes library, viewing photos and maybe watching a movie now and then. For all those uses it's more then adequate.

CubeHacker
Jul 22, 2011, 04:26 PM
According to the preliminary benchmarks over at barefeats, the dedicated ATI graphics chip in the new Mini appears to be about 2x faster than the 320M, which is itself 2x faster than the 9400M. Thus, you would be looking at about 4x performance improvement for GPU's. This is NOT taking the new CPU's into account, which should also help performance.

Mr.C
Jul 22, 2011, 04:36 PM
Well I bit the bullet and just ordered the 2.7Ghz dual core i7 with a 750GB 7200RPM HDD. I know it's going to be a significant improvement over my current Mini and should be more then adequate for now.

The better GPU, more powerful CPU, potentially double the RAM, bigger and faster HDD, HDMI port, SD card slot and Thunderbolt port all should make it a big improvement. I'm also looking forward to using Lion.

Now I just got to look at how to use Migration Assistant to migrate the settings and data from my current Mini. I guess I will have to go get a FireWire cable as I don't have one right now.