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Old Nov 19, 2012, 03:43 AM   #26
Yanwoo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motrek View Post
It seems there are two schools of thought on the subject:

1) If you can afford it, might as well buy it

2) If it won't make any real practical difference to you, then save your money

I assume that if somebody starts a thread on this message board asking if they should buy something, the implied question is really whether or not the difference it makes is worth the cost. If they were of the mindset that they should just buy whatever they can afford, then they would have already bought it and wouldn't be posting the question.
That's an oversimplification. In reality there's a continuum between those two positions where we all reside (whether we know it or not). For me I lean further towards (1) than (2) than you appear to but I suspect not massively so. For instance, I could afford a mac pro but the differences (and tradeoffs) are not worth it to me given the much higher cost.

(2) is also a subjective conclusion (certainly in this instance). The objective data on the differences (e.g. benchmarks) suggest anywhere from a 10% to 20+% improvement. You don't have both machines so you don't have tangible experience to comment on the differences. Your conclusion is based on general experiences you've had, which is ok but limited.

So I don't agree with your conclusion that by asking the question the poster is automatically in (2). It's just not that simple. I've read many of these posts asking about spec differences and in several people have opted for the higher spec even when others argued it would make no material difference to their experience. If your point was correct, this wouldn't happen

In these situations we're all trying to make the best decision for ourselves given our personal circumstances, cognitive biases and our values. To reduce this to dumping people in 1 of 2 buckets is missing the complexities of human decision making (I can recommend some good books on the subject if you're interested)
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Old Nov 19, 2012, 04:56 AM   #27
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I offer my machine (i7 2.6) for a test. Someone with a 2.3 should be the other contestant of course, lol

We can find some MKV 1080p file in the net and both download it. We can then use the same version of Handbrake to convert it to lets say Apple TV3 preset and see what the actual difference is.

Won't probably be too accurate as other stuff like RAM or hard drive might be influent here but well… that's the only idea I got we can try regular and actual usage, not just running Geekbench which tells me nothing.

(That's why I did these tests, because Geekbench and those tell me nothing)
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Old Oct 28, 2013, 06:59 AM   #28
Oldmacguy1
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I'm about to buy a new mini to replace an old 1.83 Intel Core Duo.
Shortly after I got the Core Duo the Core duo2 came out. Upgrading software today is not possible unless you have the 2 version. I'm stuck on 10.6.8 now.
So for me the big question is which will become obsolete first. No difference between the 2.3 and the 2.6? How about between the dual core and quad core?

Of course the final option is to wait for the new mini to come out but who knows when that will be an how it will be changed.

Would love to have a few thoughts as I want to avoid the same obsolescence if I can.
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Old Oct 28, 2013, 08:40 AM   #29
Schnort
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Originally Posted by Oldmacguy1 View Post
I'm about to buy a new mini to replace an old 1.83 Intel Core Duo.
Shortly after I got the Core Duo the Core duo2 came out. Upgrading software today is not possible unless you have the 2 version. I'm stuck on 10.6.8 now.
So for me the big question is which will become obsolete first. No difference between the 2.3 and the 2.6? How about between the dual core and quad core?

Of course the final option is to wait for the new mini to come out but who knows when that will be an how it will be changed.

Would love to have a few thoughts as I want to avoid the same obsolescence if I can.
The obsolescence of the core duo vs. core2 duo is about the general architecture of the chip. The core2 added 64 bit support and some other architectural stuff that Apple decided was the new baseline, and that left the previous architectures unsupported.

The current processors of the i3/i5/i7 of all generations are pretty similar in terms of the basic architecture, so it would be surprising for apple to cut support on any of the i models for reasons of the processor.

Dual core or Quad core is pretty irrelevant to most use cases and there's no difference in supporting dual core vs. quad.

You might find an older device made obsolete based on its graphics capabilities (HD3000 is pretty meh in this day and age, HD4000 is probably going to be the baseline for a while since it's so prevalent, and the 6630m is slightly more powerful than that)
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Old Oct 28, 2013, 01:47 PM   #30
motrek
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Originally Posted by Oldmacguy1 View Post
...
So for me the big question is which will become obsolete first. No difference between the 2.3 and the 2.6? How about between the dual core and quad core?

Of course the final option is to wait for the new mini to come out but who knows when that will be an how it will be changed.
...
Just to echo and expand on what the other poster said, these chips go obsolete because of features and architecture, not performance.

Between all the models of the Mini available today, they all have EXACTLY the same features and architecture and will thus go obsolete all at the same time. The only difference between the 2.3 and 2.6 is that one is ~10% faster, and the only difference between the dual core and quad core is that one has two more of the same exact cores.

So just buy whatever Mini you want if you have to buy today.

You can wait for a new Mini, which I assume will be out within the next 2-3 months and be exactly the same as the current one, but have a Haswell CPU. They will probably do a semi-silent refresh, exactly the same way they updated the iMacs. If you can afford to wait, might as well. But it won't be a significant upgrade, so if you really want a new computer now, you won't really be missing out. Haswell has much better power consumption but not much more performance. Since the Mini is a desktop computer that already has relatively very low power consumption (and is thus very quiet), you probably wouldn't ever notice the difference between a current Mini and the next one.
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Old Oct 29, 2013, 06:47 AM   #31
Oldmacguy1
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Originally Posted by Schnort View Post
The obsolescence of the core duo vs. core2 duo is about the general architecture of the chip. The core2 added 64 bit support and some other architectural stuff that Apple decided was the new baseline, and that left the previous architectures unsupported.

The current processors of the i3/i5/i7 of all generations are pretty similar in terms of the basic architecture, so it would be surprising for apple to cut support on any of the i models for reasons of the processor.

Dual core or Quad core is pretty irrelevant to most use cases and there's no difference in supporting dual core vs. quad.

You might find an older device made obsolete based on its graphics capabilities (HD3000 is pretty meh in this day and age, HD4000 is probably going to be the baseline for a while since it's so prevalent, and the 6630m is slightly more powerful than that)
Thanks so much for the information. I've owned a Mac ever since they started selling them and keep up with most of the technology but some of it is just over my head. It's great to have a forum like this where you can ask people who know what they're taking about.

I think they only other thing I need to consider is the 802.11ac Wi-Fi as I do have a new Time Capsule.

As others have pointed out in this thread there will always be a reason to wait for the next thing to come along. I will wait another month and then buy as I can use it as a tax write down.
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Old Oct 29, 2013, 08:14 AM   #32
Schnort
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I think they only other thing I need to consider is the 802.11ac Wi-Fi as I do have a new Time Capsule.
Every new wifi standard has been backwards compatible with the previous so you shouldn't have to worry about suddenly being unable to communicate.

But your mac mini doesn't talk directly to the time capsule(both it and the time capsule talk to your router), so what wifi standard it and the time capsule have is pretty irrelevant.

The only real impact of having not having 802.11ac on your mac mini will make is that backups from it will be slower than they could be on a newer (or wired) one.
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Old Oct 29, 2013, 08:41 AM   #33
hudson1
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Originally Posted by Schnort View Post
Every new wifi standard has been backwards compatible with the previous so you shouldn't have to worry about suddenly being unable to communicate.

But your mac mini doesn't talk directly to the time capsule(both it and the time capsule talk to your router), so what wifi standard it and the time capsule have is pretty irrelevant.

The only real impact of having not having 802.11ac on your mac mini will make is that backups from it will be slower than they could be on a newer (or wired) one.
The Time Capsule is the router.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by motrek View Post
Just to echo and expand on what the other poster said, these chips go obsolete because of features and architecture, not performance.

Between all the models of the Mini available today, they all have EXACTLY the same features and architecture and will thus go obsolete all at the same time. The only difference between the 2.3 and 2.6 is that one is ~10% faster, and the only difference between the dual core and quad core is that one has two more of the same exact cores.

So just buy whatever Mini you want if you have to buy today.

You can wait for a new Mini, which I assume will be out within the next 2-3 months and be exactly the same as the current one, but have a Haswell CPU. They will probably do a semi-silent refresh, exactly the same way they updated the iMacs. If you can afford to wait, might as well. But it won't be a significant upgrade, so if you really want a new computer now, you won't really be missing out. Haswell has much better power consumption but not much more performance. Since the Mini is a desktop computer that already has relatively very low power consumption (and is thus very quiet), you probably wouldn't ever notice the difference between a current Mini and the next one.
I think that's right in a lot of cases but not all of them. The one that comes to mind is photo editing. As photo files get bigger, they tax the hardware more so this is one area where differences in machine horsepower can be become more apparent over time.
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Old Oct 29, 2013, 08:47 AM   #34
Oldmacguy1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schnort View Post
Every new wifi standard has been backwards compatible with the previous so you shouldn't have to worry about suddenly being unable to communicate.

But your mac mini doesn't talk directly to the time capsule(both it and the time capsule talk to your router), so what wifi standard it and the time capsule have is pretty irrelevant.

The only real impact of having not having 802.11ac on your mac mini will make is that backups from it will be slower than they could be on a newer (or wired) one.
The Time Capsule is my router so would the faster Wi-Fi not affect my speed?

I also have Apple TV and stream movies from my Mini to the Apple TV which right now a bit slow. Lots of spinning wheel time. Not sure why but I'm guessing mostly the fault of a very old Mini being pushed too far.

I realize I'm getting way off topic here. Just want to make sure I cover my bases before I buy.
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Old Oct 29, 2013, 09:24 AM   #35
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I think that's right in a lot of cases but not all of them. The one that comes to mind is photo editing. As photo files get bigger, they tax the hardware more so this is one area where differences in machine horsepower can be become more apparent over time.
Photoshop and other image editors are RAM intensive, not CPU intensive. There are a few procedures that require significant CPU horsepower, but most people aren't using them and never will.
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Old Oct 29, 2013, 10:36 AM   #36
Schnort
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The Time Capsule is my router so would the faster Wi-Fi not affect my speed?
My bad. I hadn't realized that's what the time capsule product was. Your Mac mini will as fast as it ever was talking to the router, but it won't be as fast the router could support.

Quote:
I also have Apple TV and stream movies from my Mini to the Apple TV which right now a bit slow. Lots of spinning wheel time. Not sure why but I'm guessing mostly the fault of a very old Mini being pushed too far.
I had a Roku box that was trying to use my Wifi, and the performance was horrible. The wifi router wasn't close enough, and I solved my problem by switching to wired ethernet.

And I don't know if apple has improved the mini wifi performance, but my 2006 core solo mini's wifi is absolutely crap-tastic. It can't pick up a signal in the next room.
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Old Oct 29, 2013, 11:43 AM   #37
hudson1
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Photoshop and other image editors are RAM intensive, not CPU intensive. There are a few procedures that require significant CPU horsepower, but most people aren't using them and never will.
Aperture often goes into the high 90s for CPU usage (for me).
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Old Oct 29, 2013, 12:05 PM   #38
Oldmacguy1
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My bad. I hadn't realized that's what the time capsule product was. Your Mac mini will as fast as it ever was talking to the router, but it won't be as fast the router could support.


I had a Roku box that was trying to use my Wifi, and the performance was horrible. The wifi router wasn't close enough, and I solved my problem by switching to wired ethernet.

And I don't know if apple has improved the mini wifi performance, but my 2006 core solo mini's wifi is absolutely crap-tastic. It can't pick up a signal in the next room.
I would seldom have more than one or two bars on my mini until I got the Time Capsule and now I get full bars all the time with no drops. It has beam forming which is supposed to sense where devices are and then increase the strength of the signal to that direction. Way over my head but it seems to work.
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Old Oct 29, 2013, 12:27 PM   #39
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Aperture often goes into the high 90s for CPU usage (for me).
I don't use Aperture, so I wouldn't know. I wouldn't, however, be surprised to find that you're copying/generating previews/managing your data base when that happens, and not doing photo editing.
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Old Oct 29, 2013, 01:17 PM   #40
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Don't do it. Insignificant increase. I'm trying to decide between the Dual core i5 and the i7. Worth $200, probably not, for wife to do email, internet and picture editing. JMHO


Although, $100 for Quad core and $100 for bigger drive probably worth it.
Generally speaking, dual-core mobile i5 processor can cover daily needs for every home user (not only wife....husband, too!)

...a dual-core i5 can handle photo and home video editing, too....with excellent results and very fast.

If you are a professional artist, you need something better. Quad-core i7 + very good dGPU + high RAM + Pro Monitor....
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Old Oct 29, 2013, 02:47 PM   #41
hudson1
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I don't use Aperture, so I wouldn't know. I wouldn't, however, be surprised to find that you're copying/generating previews/managing your data base when that happens, and not doing photo editing.
I'm speaking of photo editing in Aperture but it doesn't matter if those other operations are causing such high CPU loads, too. A load's a load.

Mind you, mine is not a current machine... early 2009 mini. Will upgrade once there's some credible info on when the next refresh is coming.
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Old Nov 3, 2013, 09:01 PM   #42
Dan156
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To reply to the original post, it's worth mentioning that if you use RAM intensive programs, once the 16 GB sticks come out the 2.6 will accept 32 GB while the 2.3 maxes out at 16 GB.
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Old Nov 3, 2013, 09:16 PM   #43
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To reply to the original post, it's worth mentioning that if you use RAM intensive programs, once the 16 GB sticks come out the 2.6 will accept 32 GB while the 2.3 maxes out at 16 GB.
Where did you get that info? According to the Intel website every processor model available in the 2012 model, including the dual core in the base mini, supports 32GB of RAM.
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Old Nov 4, 2013, 06:10 PM   #44
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Where did you get that info? According to the Intel website every processor model available in the 2012 model, including the dual core in the base mini, supports 32GB of RAM.
I stand corrected. I saw a processor comparison that stated the 2.3 accepts only 16 GB but will take ECC, however I can't now find it. You are correct, all take 32 GB. Please disregard previous post with my apologies.
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