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Old Feb 3, 2013, 03:16 PM   #1
famous600
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Dual core vs. Quad core

I cant decide which 2012 mini to get. Ive read what other people have said and still am not 100% sure. Im now leaning towards the base model dual core because ill really only be running XBMC and plex server on it 24/7. I have a lot of hi def movies and a few 30gb blu ray rips. The only thing I can think of that would be processor intensive is transcoding with the plex server but should the dual core be able to hand a few transcodings at a time? Or should i just bump up to the quad core? I doubt I would use handbrake for anything honestly. Thoughts? Everything will be pulled from an external USB 3.0 HD. I just dont want to hear the fan all night if a couple friends are streaming from my server and plex is doing a lot of transcoding in the background.

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Old Feb 3, 2013, 06:31 PM   #2
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Honestly I would go for the quad core just because dual core systems are being weened out at this point. Plus you will have a lot more expandablilty for a little extra money so I would go for baseline quad core.








just my 2 cents but what do I know, I edit 1080p footage on a core 2 duo imac
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Old Feb 3, 2013, 06:51 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by famous600 View Post
I cant decide which 2012 mini to get. Ive read what other people have said and still am not 100% sure. Im now leaning towards the base model dual core because ill really only be running XBMC and plex server on it 24/7. I have a lot of hi def movies and a few 30gb blu ray rips. The only thing I can think of that would be processor intensive is transcoding with the plex server but should the dual core be able to hand a few transcodings at a time? Or should i just bump up to the quad core? I doubt I would use handbrake for anything honestly. Thoughts? Everything will be pulled from an external USB 3.0 HD. I just dont want to hear the fan all night if a couple friends are streaming from my server and plex is doing a lot of transcoding in the background.
If this is solely going to be used as an HTPC and/or a Media Server, then it really doesn't matter. You'd be perfectly fine with a dual-core i5. The only reason why you ought to consider the quad-core i7 model ironically has nothing to do with the processor and everything to do with the fact that the quad-core i7 model has better storage options where the dual-core i5 model does not. A fusion or an SSD drive will prove to be substantially nicer than a 5400RPM drive, let alone a 500GB one.
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Old Feb 3, 2013, 07:51 PM   #4
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If this is solely going to be used as an HTPC and/or a Media Server, then it really doesn't matter. You'd be perfectly fine with a dual-core i5. The only reason why you ought to consider the quad-core i7 model ironically has nothing to do with the processor and everything to do with the fact that the quad-core i7 model has better storage options where the dual-core i5 model does not. A fusion or an SSD drive will prove to be substantially nicer than a 5400RPM drive, let alone a 500GB one.
Transcoding (I.e. converting video on the fly to play say on an iPad) will benefit greatly from having a quad-core CPU. Ideally you want a CPU much faster than what you need to transcode so that when you are transcoding other services on the Mini don't slow to a crawl.
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Old Feb 3, 2013, 08:02 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Yebubbleman View Post
If this is solely going to be used as an HTPC and/or a Media Server, then it really doesn't matter. You'd be perfectly fine with a dual-core i5. The only reason why you ought to consider the quad-core i7 model ironically has nothing to do with the processor and everything to do with the fact that the quad-core i7 model has better storage options where the dual-core i5 model does not. A fusion or an SSD drive will prove to be substantially nicer than a 5400RPM drive, let alone a 500GB one.
You can put any of those internal storage options inside the i5.
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Old Feb 3, 2013, 08:06 PM   #6
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You can put any of those internal storage options inside the i5.
Actually no. The i5 model comes with the 500gb 5400 and no other options.
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Old Feb 3, 2013, 08:08 PM   #7
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Actually no. The i5 model comes with the 500gb 5400 and no other options.
He meant that you can install any sized hdd or ssd drive or dual hdd's yourself.
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Old Feb 3, 2013, 08:14 PM   #8
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Yeah, it's a bit more unusual to spend the extra money with Apple than to do it yourself on this forum.

Specifically as you bring up fusion drives, we've come to find, from a variety of the reputable members of this forum, that the fusion drive works much better when using a larger SSD than the options provided by Apple.
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Old Feb 3, 2013, 10:02 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by mdgm View Post
Transcoding (I.e. converting video on the fly to play say on an iPad) will benefit greatly from having a quad-core CPU. Ideally you want a CPU much faster than what you need to transcode so that when you are transcoding other services on the Mini don't slow to a crawl.
Again, as a Server or as a Home Theater PC (HTPC), by which I mean playback and serving of files, a dual-core CPU, let alone a dual-core Ivy Bridge Intel Core i5 processor, is plenty. If the OP is only doing light amounts of transcoding, it won't matter much. If it's an all the time thing, then fine. Frankly, the greater storage reasons make the quad-core model substantially more appealing anyway.

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You can put any of those internal storage options inside the i5.
Not without voiding AppleCare you can't.

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Originally Posted by MacFanBoi View Post
He meant that you can install any sized hdd or ssd drive or dual hdd's yourself.
Sure, but that voids AppleCare.
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Old Feb 3, 2013, 10:23 PM   #10
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Thanks for the response. I don't really care about the storage because everything will be stored off of it on an external. I'm not afraid of opening it up and changin the ram or hard drive I do CPU support for apple and all of you here on case I was to run into trouble. Just want to make sure a dual core or quad core will satisfy my needs for downloading, streaming, and transcoding smoothly without the fan screaming at me during a movie
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Old Feb 3, 2013, 10:42 PM   #11
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Unless you're keen on silent movies I don't think a "screaming" Mac mini fan is something you need to worry about!
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Old Feb 3, 2013, 10:45 PM   #12
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Unless you're keen on silent movies I don't think a "screaming" Mac mini fan is something you need to worry about!
Haha I just meant to say that I want to make sure it runs smooth without using all of the processor power. And if for what I need it for an I can save money and go for a dual core then I would do that.
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Old Feb 3, 2013, 10:59 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Yebubbleman View Post
Again, as a Server or as a Home Theater PC (HTPC), by which I mean playback and serving of files, a dual-core CPU, let alone a dual-core Ivy Bridge Intel Core i5 processor, is plenty. If the OP is only doing light amounts of transcoding, it won't matter much. If it's an all the time thing, then fine. Frankly, the greater storage reasons make the quad-core model substantially more appealing anyway.



Not without voiding AppleCare you can't.



Sure, but that voids AppleCare.
I think the vast majority of people on this forum will attest to the fact that it's about as rare as a unicorn for a mac to die in the first three years.

However, and correct me if I'm wrong, I believe any apple certified repair place can do the installation without voiding the warranty. Such places will generally do an installation for a reasonable fee and many will put in any hard drives you hand them...
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 12:07 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Omnius View Post
I think the vast majority of people on this forum will attest to the fact that it's about as rare as a unicorn for a mac to die in the first three years.

However, and correct me if I'm wrong, I believe any apple certified repair place can do the installation without voiding the warranty. Such places will generally do an installation for a reasonable fee and many will put in any hard drives you hand them...
Apple can deny you warranty service if they see an aftermarket drive. They do not care nor discern between a repair done by a third party AASP or by your ACMT certified off-hours neighbor; on a non-retina unibody MacBook Pro or any MacBook, the hard drive is considered a user-replaceable part. It is not on the Mac mini nor the iMac nor the MacBook Air (same goes for the SSD on SSD-equipped/only Airs). Similarly, an AASP can deny you Apple warranty service if they see an aftermarket drive. That's not to say that any of them necessarily will, but they'd be well within their rights to.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 12:47 AM   #15
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Apple can deny you warranty service if they see an aftermarket drive. They do not care nor discern between a repair done by a third party AASP or by your ACMT certified off-hours neighbor; on a non-retina unibody MacBook Pro or any MacBook, the hard drive is considered a user-replaceable part. It is not on the Mac mini nor the iMac nor the MacBook Air (same goes for the SSD on SSD-equipped/only Airs). Similarly, an AASP can deny you Apple warranty service if they see an aftermarket drive. That's not to say that any of them necessarily will, but they'd be well within their rights to.
But if your Mac dies you could swap the drive with the original one before you take it to repair.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 12:57 AM   #16
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But if your Mac dies you could swap the drive with the original one before you take it to repair.
True. If you don't break anything or do anything such that a tech can tell that the machine was tampered with by a non-tech, you're golden. But for a lot of people, that's a pretty big if.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 01:34 AM   #17
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Apple can deny you warranty service if they see an aftermarket drive. They do not care nor discern between a repair done by a third party AASP or by your ACMT certified off-hours neighbor; on a non-retina unibody MacBook Pro or any MacBook, the hard drive is considered a user-replaceable part. It is not on the Mac mini nor the iMac nor the MacBook Air (same goes for the SSD on SSD-equipped/only Airs). Similarly, an AASP can deny you Apple warranty service if they see an aftermarket drive. That's not to say that any of them necessarily will, but they'd be well within their rights to.
Apple certified techs can make installations with non oem parts and not void your warranty for the rest of the machine. You seem to be confusing user installations with apple certified technician installations. your neighbor doing it for free might present a problem, you might have to show an invoice but apple's certified tech program would be meaningless if the work they did voided the warranty.

Obviously apple wouldn't cover damage CAUSED by an aftermarket part but I'm not sure that's what you're getting at. You seem to be insinuating, quite incorrectly, that Apple certified techs can't install non oem parts without voiding the warranty for the whole machine. They can make such installations but non oem parts wont be covered by the warranty.

In fact, this is why your average certified tech will offer oem parts or "comparable alternative" parts for less when doing such installation work. This isn't to say parts that aren't comparable alternatives won't void the warranty, they will, but there is an immense difference.

Parts that fundamentally alter or go well beyond products that all offers oem versions of, may very well void the warranty but we're discussing something as harmless as the correct size and types of hard drives, not rearranging the insides to fit a blue-ray player in a 2010 mini.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 02:17 AM   #18
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 02:59 AM   #19
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I'd go quad core

Reasons..

1, multipul transcodes add up
2, quad core will get things done quicker
3, whilst transcoding it won't be maxed out and should be quieter
4, system longevity
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 03:51 AM   #20
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Apple certified techs can make installations with non oem parts and not void your warranty for the rest of the machine. You seem to be confusing user installations with apple certified technician installations. your neighbor doing it for free might present a problem, you might have to show an invoice but apple's certified tech program would be meaningless if the work they did voided the warranty.

Obviously apple wouldn't cover damage CAUSED by an aftermarket part but I'm not sure that's what you're getting at. You seem to be insinuating, quite incorrectly, that Apple certified techs can't install non oem parts without voiding the warranty for the whole machine. They can make such installations but non oem parts wont be covered by the warranty.

In fact, this is why your average certified tech will offer oem parts or "comparable alternative" parts for less when doing such installation work. This isn't to say parts that aren't comparable alternatives won't void the warranty, they will, but there is an immense difference.

Parts that fundamentally alter or go well beyond products that all offers oem versions of, may very well void the warranty but we're discussing something as harmless as the correct size and types of hard drives, not rearranging the insides to fit a blue-ray player in a 2010 mini.
First off, I am an Apple Certified Tech...secondly, I work at an AASP and have at multiple AASPs. Thirdly, while an Apple Certified Tech CAN install a third party drive into a machine in which the drive is not considered a user-replaceable part, YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO! Read: Apple doesn't want us doing that. If Apple gets wind of us doing that, we can lose our AASP status which would be bad seeing as Apple is no longer taking applications to become an AASP in the US.

Functionally, this means that any Apple Store Genius Bar guy can look at your machine, see that an aftermarket drive was installed and deny service (as an Apple Certified Tech would not install an aftermarket drive they are not supposed to for in-warranty machines). It'd be a dick move on their part, but according to the warranty agreement, they'd be well within their rights. Same exact thing goes for the AASPs. Trust me on this.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 04:23 AM   #21
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I'd go quad core

Reasons..

1, multipul transcodes add up
2, quad core will get things done quicker
3, whilst transcoding it won't be maxed out and should be quieter
4, system longevity
one big reason to go quad core is quad core has fusion as an option.

so if an ssd is added by a certified tech in a quad your warranty should be good.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Yebubbleman View Post
First off, I am an Apple Certified Tech...secondly, I work at an AASP and have at multiple AASPs. Thirdly, while an Apple Certified Tech CAN install a third party drive into a machine in which the drive is not considered a user-replaceable part, YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO! Read: Apple doesn't want us doing that. If Apple gets wind of us doing that, we can lose our AASP status which would be bad seeing as Apple is no longer taking applications to become an AASP in the US.

Functionally, this means that any Apple Store Genius Bar guy can look at your machine, see that an aftermarket drive was installed and deny service (as an Apple Certified Tech would not install an aftermarket drive they are not supposed to for in-warranty machines). It'd be a dick move on their part, but according to the warranty agreement, they'd be well within their rights. Same exact thing goes for the AASPs. Trust me on this.

yep so the quad needs a 128gb ssd from samsung added be a cert tech to be a warranty serviceable fusion.

you can't turn the dual into a fusion without voiding warranty.

( setting back to stock can be done but it is not legal if you are doing it to collect a warranty)




BTW this is why buying refurbs have an advantage as they don't always come with oem parts.

So if you want to crack open a mac mini you are better off with a refurb.

I have purchased 200 refurb minis maybe 5 or so had much better parts then specced. Non oem ram and even an few non apple hdds.


____________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________



My own opinion is Apple should offer easy hdd access for consumer diy upgrades. Since they don't they should offer much more choice.


Well Apple does neither and non authorized DIY is the best way to build a far better mac.

(been true for a long time)


If you want to argue that Apple is wrong to sell fusion with a 128gb ssd option and not a 256gb/512gb ssd option

(forget high pricing just more choices)

In moral court I would vote for you. But in a court of law good luck.

Last edited by philipma1957; Feb 4, 2013 at 04:33 AM.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 07:56 AM   #22
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Screw it ill just go with the 2.6 i7 and be done with it!
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Old Feb 5, 2013, 09:24 PM   #23
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Functionally, this means that any Apple Store Genius Bar guy can look at your machine ... It'd be a dick move on their part ...
Just what I think of them ...
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Old Feb 6, 2013, 10:44 AM   #24
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I'll chime in and say I got the base model, this is what I can do with it...

I run xbmc fullscreen all the time, znc, sabnzbd (w/ post processing = cpu intensive), transmission, itunes server (streams to apple tv), i also ssh in and run handbrakecli which uses every spare bit of cpu you got (obviously this isn't super fast being a dual core mobile processor) - all of this works without xbmc so much as dropping a frame and it still (lord knows how) remains incredibly silent during operation...

Anyways, I could have afforded anything, I was just curious what I could get away with on a base model honestly, if it was insufficient I had 14 days to figure it out and get it back to Apple... does what I need though.
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Old Feb 6, 2013, 10:58 AM   #25
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Screw it ill just go with the 2.6 i7 and be done with it!

Good choice. The 2.6 quad-core i7 has twice the performance of the dual-core i5.
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