Mac mini dual-core vs quad-core

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by HappyIslander, Nov 10, 2012.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Nov 10, 2012
    I'm planning on buying a Mac mini. Is there much difference in performance between the 2.5 GHz dual-core i5 and the more expensive 2.3 GHz quad-core i7?
  2. macrumors 65816


    Jun 18, 2012
    It'd be useful to know what you plan to use the computer for.
    Web browsing? Then no need for the i7. Handbrake 24/7? Hell yes.
  3. macrumors 6502a


    Apr 6, 2011
    Go for Quad-core with Fusion drive. I really dont see why one would not make this configuration
  4. macrumors regular

    May 18, 2010
    The Quadcore is 45W and the Dualcore is 35W.

    The average temps of the quadcore on full load = -+98C.
    Others have seen temperatures of 105C and then the cpu begins to throttle(lower speed) to lower the temps. And... The cpu's in the 2012 Mac Mini line have all a TJUNCTION of 105C...

    I would choose the Dual, but only because of the high temps of the quadcore and you save money too.

    The cpus:

    Dual-core spec:

    Quad-core spec:

    For social media, browsing, iTunes and watching movies the Dualcore is more than enough.
  5. macrumors member

    Nov 4, 2012
    Personally i would go for the quad, but obviously everyone doesn't have as much money as some people in here to trow at a computer.
    Take a look at this, swedish prices translated to US dollar for the mac minis..

    Dualcore no option: 859$
    Quad with fusion: 1520$

    Almost twice as expensive, but of course much more power.
  6. macrumors 65816


    Jul 10, 2008
    Picking a machine based on temp is just stupid. That's like picking a car based on thermostat opening temp.
  7. macrumors 6502a


    May 8, 2010
    West Midlands, England.
    I bought the i7 2.6 and I only use it for basic stuff, and I added my own 16gb of Crucial memory and a 256gb Samsung 530 SSD.
    The option is there now however should I choose to use it for other things.
    Plus resale value.
  8. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 10, 2012
    Thanks for the replies! All really useful. I am only planning on using it for web coding and nothing intensive.

    Thanks again.
  9. macrumors regular

    Aug 6, 2006
    My usage is pretty 'gentle' too but I'm going for the 2.6GHz i7 with 256gb ssd. I like my machines to be super snappy across the board and it gives me some comfort that if I need the extra grunt in the future it's there. I've never regretted bumping up the spec but have regretted not doing so... (I got the base 11" macbook air in 2010 and wish I'd gone for more ram)
  10. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 4, 2012
    Yup, kind of like with a car, you usually don't need to use all of it's horsepower but there are those times when you merge into traffic and 500 horsepower gets you there a lot easier than 150. Especially when there is a big truck coming at you!

    I thought about getting the dual core for a few seconds then decided that the base quad will be a nice mid-range option. I rather have to much than to little. Basic web stuff and some photo management. Nothing heavy at all.
  11. macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
    If you're only using it for web coding, I doubt you need the quad core. Moreover, you should be wary of people advising you to spend hundreds of dollars more than you need to spend. You'll never get that money back, even if you resell the computer. The vast majority of people who buy used are motivated by price, not sizzle, so the extras will have little value to them.
  12. macrumors regular

    May 18, 2010
    Sigh... If you live in a environment where it is 35C or more. Than you have to be stupid to go for the 45W quadcore version since it use 10W more than the dualcore. Hell, it can easily go to 105c or more.

    Also Apple let the cpu getting too hot and that is bad for the lifespan.
    Hot laptops and pc always die much sooner than cool laptops/pc's.

    Apple just want to make money if your Mac fails. That is how it works.

    It is much more likely that your cpu fails at high temps then at low temps.

    So not stupid at all, you clearly have no insight at the failure rates for pc's or laptops. (And the reasons) :rolleyes:

    Apple and overheating are pretty common. Apple thinks design is more important than heat.
  13. macrumors newbie

    Aug 21, 2012
    Sorry to be flip (you can see from my history that I haven't been), but the solution to the referenced climate issue is AIR CONDITIONING.

    I agree on the money / CPU capacity trade-off; buy the base dual-core if you're doing basic tasks (which are broad nowadays--web, office, light photo work)--don't spend extra if you're computing needs don't require it. Likewise, I guess if you're using a machine in an unairconditioned warm environment temperature might play a role; but I don't understand why no one in the tropics should buy a quad-core.

    I am the first to resent gear-heads who think they need every last toy for thir machine even when they never need the power (e.g., heavy graphics, etc.) Myself aside from a lot of RAM for a Windows VM I don't need that much power although on the balance enjoy the 2011 server quad-core at home (for the record, I may need to insource some SAS routines shortly that make this worthwhile). But I agree--I can't see why temperature should guide a purchase decision absent exceptional circumstances.
  14. macrumors regular

    May 18, 2010
    Simply: Because of much higher failure-rates if the cpu is used heavy due to high temps. But if you can live with that go for the quad.
  15. macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    Do you have any evidence that this is a problem for the Mini or any other Apple computer?

    I know philipma1957 got a defective Mini and wrote about 34252345723 posts about it but so far I haven't read about any other Minis overheating and it's not clear to me if philipma1957's Mini was failing because of heat or simply because he happened to be running a stress test on it when a non-heat-related failure occurred.
  16. macrumors 6502

    Feb 5, 2010
    I canceled my Dual Core and went for a Quad instead. Simply because I plan to use it for more than 3 years. (like how my intel Q6600 served me for more than 5 years)
    I did not need to processing power that much, especially in the beginning. But recent years there were time the extra CPU came in handy (for instance the higher resolution video that is now standard).

    History repeats itself I'd think. I have no need for a faster CPU than a dualcore now, but what about 2-3 years?
  17. macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    only 100 posts. LOL

    i suggest you buy istat menus 3 to monitor your temps. and set a more aggressive fan speed for cooling if you run hot a lot.

    here is the bottom line ;

    pushing the dual core to the max and running your fans at 3000rpm the cpu temps go to 180f.

    room temp was 83f and I am not running ac in nov in New Jersey.

    on my bad quad pushing it to the max with the fans at 5500rpm the temps went to 217f and the cpu

    failed in under 2 hours. house temp was 78f.

    I will get a replacement quad on Sat or Mon. I will re test it. It will be a lot hotter then the dual. I just

    hope it does not fail.
  18. macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    You keep your house quite warm; your heating bills must be enormous!
  19. macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    no it was 70f yesterday in new jersey and my home is crazy monster insulated
    [diy all walls with dow great stuff]

    and i was slow cooking ribs in the oven. so the house was hot.
  20. Snowcake, Nov 13, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2012

    macrumors regular

    May 18, 2010
    Mac Mini has the same hardware as pc's. Pc's/laptops who always run hot have always higher failure rates.

    All the quadcore Mac Mini's under full load have max temperatures of 98c-105c+ and the Tjuction for the Ivy Bridge processors in the Mac Mini is 105C. They are running at their limit. Never read about it? :rolleyes: Link>

    The temperatures of the defective cpu from philipma1957 are the same in comparison to other similar Mac Mini's, even if it has some miscalculations. It can't be that if a cpu has some miscalculations that it wil run much hotter because of that. If that was the case, you couldn't even start the Mac Mini. Like i said: Another similar (good) Mac Mini is going to have the same temperatures under the same circumstances as the faulty Mac Mini from philipma1957.

    The heat that philipma expirienced during the test should be good. Because Apple says specific that the Mac Mini can operate correctly in environments where the temperature is as high as 35c max. The room temperature in the room of philipma was 27/28c. His cpu never got warmer as the tjuction of 105c afaik. So The cpu should be operating correctly under heavy load and high temperatures. Some people like to run folding home or other intensive tasks.

    non-heat-related failure? If the cpu show errors it will likely also give errors if the cpu is under load cooled under 40c. The problem is obvious the cpu.
  21. macrumors regular

    May 18, 2010
    Whatever, maybe you lived in Africa. :D
  22. macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    I don't know that hot PCs/laptops have higher failure rates. People used to think that running a hard drive hot was bad but then Google published empirical data about how hard drives last longest if they are between 35-40C which was previously thought much too hot.

    While I don't *like* the idea of running a CPU at its temperature limit, I'm not convinced it's a bad thing. Chip specifications are sort of like guarantees. If Intel says the chip will run at 105C then that means they are confident that the chip will run for a million hours straight at that temperature and still work correctly. Plus, all modern CPUs have failsafes to protect themselves from overheating--they will either slow down or turn off completely. So I am not worried about the CPU overheating but I would be interested to know if a hot CPU puts undue stress on, for example, the board it's mounted on.
  23. macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Bingo My major concern is the mobo's cpu socket.

    for all I know my failed quad cpu is fine and it is just a case of the solder job to the mobo socket. still when I get the replacement. I will run the torture test in such a way that the cpu maxes at 190 to 200 f.
  24. macrumors 6502

    Jul 23, 2010
    I have 4 days left on my 14 day evaluation of the 2.6 mini quad and I am leaning towards getting the extended Applecare and keep it....

    I am a recovering engineer (did power supply design for 25 years) and know these thermal issues very well! Much as I would prefer this unit had much better heatsinking I think it will work for me. I generally run a constant load (40% max probably) and under my test cases the CPUA temp hovers around the low 90's (just letting the built in fan do what it wants - hitting around 4000rpm by itself). Hot for sure but 10degC+ under limit.

    Adding a 120mm Silenx 18dBA fan - pretty darned quiet) blowing on the back left of the mini (where the proc is) and running a constant 50% load gets me CPUA ~91degC and internal fan ~ 2750rpm.

    Other reasons I have are
    1) In three years (applecare) it will either fail and i get a new one or at the end of the three years I will want a new one anyway!
    2) There are many methods I can use to aid the cooling if I really want to.
    3) The alternative of a MacPro (I am selling my 2009 MP) is just way too big a price tag and footprint to warrant going that way for me.

    I feel for the serious handbrake and video users! That is a different story for sure!
  25. macrumors 68040


    Nov 2, 2007
    Los Angeles
    Hyperthreading in i7 Quad Mini?

    I'm a little confused. Not sure if I've got this wrong or not.
    Does the 2.3Ghz i7 Quad Mini have Turbo Boast and Hyperthreading or is it just a Quad Core with Turbo Boost?

    I thought it had Hyperthreading based on the verbiage on the Mac Mini page.

    Can anyone clear this up for me?

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