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Old Nov 19, 2012, 10:41 AM   #1
stephanoaragao
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Mac Mini Base vs Mid Intel HD 4000

I'm interested in buying a Mac Mini but I'm not sure which one to get.

I plan to use it for web surfing, ms office, torrenting, streaming media to my ps3 and roku box via plex and to play a few games that are not available for the ps3 like starcraft 2, diablo III, civilization and such.

I know both systems use the integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics, but is there any difference in graphics performance between the i5 and i7 models?

Will the base version with 16GB of ram and a 1TB hard drive be enough for what I need?
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Old Nov 19, 2012, 10:52 AM   #2
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to me getting the upgraded processor to quad from dual is the dealbreaker for me. you get double the storage and a much better processor. however if your budget doesn't allow i'm sure you will be happy with the base. the extra 200 dollars could be spent on an ssd and a memory upgrade. 16gb can be had for 60-90 dollars depending on ram and super easy to do. good luck!
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Old Nov 19, 2012, 11:07 AM   #3
stephanoaragao
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Thanks.

I think it's a good deal to pay the extra 200 dollars for the i7 processor and extra 500 GB hard drive. But I'm afaid that the i7 won't make much of a difference while playing games and won't make the mini more "future proof" for me...

I know the ram available for the graphics card increases when more ram is added to the system. Does the i7 also contribute to the graphics performance of the Intel HD 4000?
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Old Nov 19, 2012, 11:19 AM   #4
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Ram is only an advantage if you need more memory. It should be considered separately from cpu options as it affects different things. We're talking about how much can be loaded into memory at a given time as opposed to instructions performed per clock cycle. It shouldn't be so much of an either or, especially when upgrading ram to 8 or 16GB is extremely cheap if you need it. If you're going to set up VMs via parallels or something like that for other tasks, I'd probably just max out ram at 16 rather than concern yourself if 8 will always be enough. The quad cpu is considerably faster. I don't know whether or not you'll really notice it. If you're trying to determine if you can manage with something, but it and return it if your needs are not met.
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Old Nov 19, 2012, 11:20 AM   #5
paulrbeers
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanoaragao View Post
Thanks.

I think it's a good deal to pay the extra 200 dollars for the i7 processor and extra 500 GB hard drive. But I'm afaid that the i7 won't make much of a difference while playing games and won't make the mini more "future proof" for me...

I know the ram available for the graphics card increases when more ram is added to the system. Does the i7 also contribute to the graphics performance of the Intel HD 4000?
You are probably just as well served with the Base Mini. The i7 will do nothing for the graphics which will be the bottleneck for gaming anyway. For everything you mention, the Base will be fine.

You can see for yourself that the i5 @ 2.5ghz and the i7 @ 2.3 have the same speed GPU:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivy_Bri...dge_processors

Edit: Get yourself a nice External hard drive, and then the issue of storage space isn't even an issue especially now that the Mini has USB3
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Old Nov 19, 2012, 11:47 AM   #6
stephanoaragao
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Ram is only an advantage if you need more memory. It should be considered separately from cpu options as it affects different things. We're talking about how much can be loaded into memory at a given time as opposed to instructions performed per clock cycle. It shouldn't be so much of an either or, especially when upgrading ram to 8 or 16GB is extremely cheap if you need it. If you're going to set up VMs via parallels or something like that for other tasks, I'd probably just max out ram at 16 rather than concern yourself if 8 will always be enough. The quad cpu is considerably faster. I don't know whether or not you'll really notice it. If you're trying to determine if you can manage with something, but it and return it if your needs are not met.
I'm going to max the ram anyway since it's easy and cheap. Returning is not an option for me since I'm buying during a trip to the U.S. and won't have time to test it there.


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Originally Posted by paulrbeers View Post
You are probably just as well served with the Base Mini. The i7 will do nothing for the graphics which will be the bottleneck for gaming anyway. For everything you mention, the Base will be fine.

You can see for yourself that the i5 @ 2.5ghz and the i7 @ 2.3 have the same speed GPU:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivy_Bri...dge_processors

Edit: Get yourself a nice External hard drive, and then the issue of storage space isn't even an issue especially now that the Mini has USB3
I guess you're right. The base it is then.
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Old Nov 19, 2012, 11:53 AM   #7
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I'm going to max the ram anyway since it's easy and cheap. Returning is not an option for me since I'm buying during a trip to the U.S. and won't have time to test it there.
I didn't know that. They're both good. I find the overall value of the mini to be a little weak for a desktop. If it was quad cpu + 640m, that would be a much better purchase. Obviously Apple isn't going that direction. As someone mentioned, games are likely to be bottlenecked by the graphics rather than the cpu here.
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Old Nov 19, 2012, 12:08 PM   #8
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I didn't know that. They're both good. I find the overall value of the mini to be a little weak for a desktop. If it was quad cpu + 640m, that would be a much better purchase. Obviously Apple isn't going that direction. As someone mentioned, games are likely to be bottlenecked by the graphics rather than the cpu here.
Yeah, I really hoped they would offer a version with a dedicated graphics card like they did last year.

Today I mainly use a HP Laptop with an i3 processor, 4GB of ram and 500 GB hard drive and it's doing fine for me, except for gaming.

I'm really interested in the mini for a small, low power consumption, home server and to play some strategy games. I think the integrated graphics card will be ok.
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Old Nov 19, 2012, 12:11 PM   #9
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I guess you're right. The base it is then.
I should point out that there is a SLIGHT increase in turbo speeds (only) by the GPU by upgrading to mid-mini. You do gain 100mhz by going to the quad core 2.3ghz over the base and an additional 150mhz by going to the 2.6ghz quad core. With that said, due to memory bandwidth limitations (since it uses system RAM) and doing the math that additional speed is only 9% or 13% increase so you MAY see something like 30fps with the Base and maybe 32fps or 33fps with the mid. However, I haven't seen any benchmarks to prove or disprove this and either way the GPU will be memory bandwidth starved above all else.
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Old Nov 19, 2012, 12:22 PM   #10
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This increase in fps wouldn't be noticeable by me...

Maybe the i7 would be better for ia or to handle a lot of soldiers/constructions in a starcraft match? While playing Age of Empires 3 on my current laptop i do get a slowdown when the armys get big. Even when they're not showing on the screen.
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