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Old Nov 1, 2012, 02:24 PM   #1
JoeCanadian
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Is the 2.6 GHz i7 upgrade worth the cost? (2012 Mac mini)

I'm planning on getting the middle configuration (2.3 GHz i7, 1TB HD, 4GB memory for $799) but I couldn't decide if I should upgrade the CPU to the 2.6 GHz i7 for the $100 more.

I went into my neighbourhood Apple store last night to buy a new Mac mini and decided to get which ever one they had in stock. I was surprised to learn they are still selling the older models with USB2.

So now I am back to ordering online but I'm still faced with the same question. Is the upgrade to the 2.6 GHz i7 CPU worth it?
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 02:32 PM   #2
treyjustice
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Depends what you will use it for.
In most cases I'd say probably not.
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 02:32 PM   #3
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I'm sure I won't really feel the upgrade, but I got a 12% off thanks to my university and though 88 wouldn't be such a big deal when it's a part of the Mini I won't ever be able to upgrade myself.

As I plan to keep this Mini as long as I can (upgrading the RAM or the drives as needed) I went for it.
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 02:43 PM   #4
propower
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For doing pro audio 2.6 means 13% less processor load for a session keeping me 13% further away from hearing the fans ramp up... worth it to me... YMMV
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 03:14 PM   #5
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Figure about an 8-10% average speed boost. The i7 is more CPU than most of us really need anyway... I spent the money that I saved on 16GB RAM from Crucial ($82). I can tell you from personal experience that the stock 4GB isn't going to cut it if you do anything beyond web surfing and e-mail...

Last edited by Mojo1; Nov 1, 2012 at 06:48 PM.
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 03:27 PM   #6
mystic man
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I do not know where you people get your numbers, but the performance increase from the 2.3 (3615QM) and the 2.6 (3720QM) is 25% in processing power

3615QM benchmark
http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?...QM+%40+2.30GHz

3720QM benchmark
http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?...2.60GHz&id=895

from what you can see from the graphs the 3720QM is better than the i7-2600K too!

Another thing that these graphs do not tell you is that the 3720's HD4000 GPU clock is clocked at 1250MHz where as the 3615's clock is at 1100MHz. A small gain but the 3720 chip runs faster

So all in all I do not see why NOT to invest the extra money for that processor

Do not forget that for every day applications like web browsing, movie watching, audio, word processing etc where computers use 1-2 cores you will be able to see the difference too because the cpu is clocked at a higher frequency

So it s not only faster on more cpu dependent tasks but for simple tasks too
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 03:37 PM   #7
propower
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I just did the simple math that 2.6 is 113%X2.3...

Those test results are way better than I would have thought! Sounds like there may be co factors contributing to an overall higher score (higher turbo, faster HD4000, etc...)... Yay!!!! even better!
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 04:15 PM   #8
ant69
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Originally Posted by JoeCanadian View Post
I'm planning on getting the middle configuration (2.3 GHz i7, 1TB HD, 4GB memory for $799) but I couldn't decide if I should upgrade the CPU to the 2.6 GHz i7 for the $100 more.

I went into my neighbourhood Apple store last night to buy a new Mac mini and decided to get which ever one they had in stock. I was surprised to learn they are still selling the older models with USB2.

So now I am back to ordering online but I'm still faced with the same question. Is the upgrade to the 2.6 GHz i7 CPU worth it?

will you notice the difference? probably not... is it expensive? no! - i upgraded to the 2.6 only because i was going back and forth on it and went with the 2.6 as i didn't want to regret only ordering the 2.3 and more speed can only be a good thing!!

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Old Nov 1, 2012, 04:52 PM   #9
rezinous
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Yeap. Get the 2.6, you can't upgrade it later. Planning to keep mine for a while. Depends on how often you upgrade too.
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 04:57 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by JoeCanadian View Post
I'm planning on getting the middle configuration (2.3 GHz i7, 1TB HD, 4GB memory for $799) but I couldn't decide if I should upgrade the CPU to the 2.6 GHz i7 for the $100 more.

I went into my neighbourhood Apple store last night to buy a new Mac mini and decided to get which ever one they had in stock. I was surprised to learn they are still selling the older models with USB2.

So now I am back to ordering online but I'm still faced with the same question. Is the upgrade to the 2.6 GHz i7 CPU worth it?
I've got both and I can't tell any difference.
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 04:57 PM   #11
hartgeh3
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Got my 2.6 i7 today, already added a 256gb Crucial M4 and 16gb ram.

OEM geektest came in at 11715 iirc

Will do another once ML has done installing!
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 05:01 PM   #12
iMas70
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What is $ better spent, going with the 2.6 or using that $ for 16GB of Ram?
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 05:02 PM   #13
kdoug
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What is $ better spent, going with the 2.6 or using that $ for 16GB of Ram?
Definitely RAM. Huge improvement.
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 05:04 PM   #14
propower
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I would go so far as to say unless you are a power user in some category (audio, video, transcoding,math etc) , not worth it (as in you will never notice).

If you only have $100 and have to choose... no brainer... RAM first.... even go on to say... SSD second... proc upgrade 3rd.
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 05:31 PM   #15
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If you only have $100 and have to choose... no brainer... RAM first.... even go on to say... SSD second... proc upgrade 3rd.
In terms of bang for the buck, yes - but proc is an upgrade you can ONLY do when you buy, so if budget is limited I would personally go for proc and plan to buy the RAM and/or SSD when budget allows.
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 05:35 PM   #16
rkahl
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You can always buy ram later if money is concerned, you cannot with the processor.
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 05:39 PM   #17
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I am curious though for those folks that are here and buying a good amount of apple products. Does the $150 cost for ram (deal at newegg today for 16gb ram) and processor upgrade cost that much that most people have to think about it?

I am not trying to hate at all. But are we counting pennies here and spending much more on random stuff anyways?

Just my $.02
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 06:00 PM   #18
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I had to get the 2.6. If not I would always wonder if I should have. Since I will keep it a few years, I can't second guess max'ing the system out. 2.6, 16GB (aftermarket), 256 SSD.
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 06:19 PM   #19
chrfr
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Does the $150 cost for ram (deal at newegg today for 16gb ram)
Crucial.com has 16GB for about $80.
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 06:41 PM   #20
fa8362
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I do not know where you people get your numbers, but the performance increase from the 2.3 (3615QM) and the 2.6 (3720QM) is 25% in processing power
Geek bench says it's only 9-10% faster. Not worthwhile imo.
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 07:23 PM   #21
rezinous
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2.6ghz just arrived today, on it now. Snappy as. No idea if the extra 2.3ghz makes the difference, however I feel better having the 2.6.
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 09:17 PM   #22
USB123
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2.6ghz just arrived today, on it now. Snappy as. No idea if the extra 2.3ghz makes the difference, however I feel better having the 2.6.
Good point. I will be hopefully getting a Mac mini "soon" (within 2 and a half months hopefully), so I would feel better myself getting that extra processor power, even though it's only 0.3 GHz. RAM can always be updated later (I will be either getting 8 or 16 GB ).
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 09:26 PM   #23
kappaknight
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I know the mini is way too powerful for a regular HTPC; however, if one were to stream 5 to 10 streams at the same time, would the extra CPU boost help?

I guess the question is, if push comes to shove and there exists a bottleneck, would it be in the CPU, the RAM, or the network?
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 11:06 PM   #24
Jeff Charles
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2.6ghz just arrived today, on it now. Snappy as. No idea if the extra 2.3ghz makes the difference, however I feel better having the 2.6.
Even though I don't think it makes sense, I find myself feeling the same way. Apple likely knows that that's the way many people think. The 2.6 is their way of getting an extra $100 in exchange for not much. They may well pay the same price for the 2.3 as for the 2.6. If it was a serious performance upgrade, it would offer more than a max 13%, and what in practice will be an 8-10% performance boost. But in that case, Apple would have to put in a more expensive processor, and either charge more or pocket less.

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Old Nov 2, 2012, 04:42 PM   #25
Mojo1
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I do not know where you people get your numbers...
Recent Geekbench results and the Macworld comparison of the 15" MBP models that use 2.3GHz and 2.6GHz i7 processors indicate an average speed difference of at best 10%. And that isn't something that most people will be able to notice...

If a .3GHz speed bump is worth $100 to you, So Be It... But the money is much better spent on increasing the RAM to at least 8GB, if not 16GB.

Last edited by Mojo1; Nov 19, 2012 at 09:31 PM.
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