Nvidia 9400M GPU In 2009 Mini Compared To Radeon 6630M In New Mini ?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Mr.C, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. macrumors 68040

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    London, UK.
    #1
    I've got a 2009 Mini that's in my signature at the moment. I'm thinking of upgrading to the higher end of the new Mini's. I was wondering if anyone had opinions on the performance difference between the Nvidia 9400M in my old Mini and the ATM Radeon 6630M in the new one. They both have 256MB of VRAM.

    On a related note is there a significant performance increase between the 2.53 Core 2Duo and the 2.7 Core i7. Also is there any significant difference between the 5400RPM 320GB HD in the old one and a 7200RPM HD in the new one other then the obvious extra capacity.

    To sum up I'm trying to determine the overall performance between the two Mini's. I mostly use it for email, internet, storing my iTunes library plus some games. I do have games consoles so the games part is not significant but I would like to play games like Portal 2 and the upcoming Diablo III. I might also dabble in WOW. I don't use it for any multi media or graphic design applications.

    Also anyone have any idea the typical value of the old one if I sell it in particular here in the UK.

    I would appreciate any useful insight into this. Thanks.
     
  2. macrumors G4

    Chundles

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2005
    #2
    My 2.4 core 2 duo MacBook is about half the speed of the 2.3GHz i5 in Handbrake rips. The 2.7GHz i7 would be a nice % faster than that.

    The graphics card in the new mini is a dedicated system whilst the 9400M is integrated using system RAM. The new mini should soundly thump the old ones.
     
  3. philipma1957, Jul 21, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2011

    macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    #3
    I have a 2009 2.66
    I have a 2010 2.4 on the way
    and a 2011 2.3 on the way.

    The 2011 i7 2.7 with a 750gb 7200rpm hdd will crush the 2009 mini.

    In every way except two the lack of dvd player and a weaker psu. If you use dvd slots a lot the new mini may not be so good for you. If you buy an external player like the macbook air superdrive it takes up an usb slot and will stress the psu a bit more. To me the only real weakness in the i7 mini you pick is the psu. See my thread


    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1191667
     
  4. Mr.C, Jul 21, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2011

    thread starter macrumors 68040

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    #4
    The lack of a DVD player is not a big deal for me. I hardly ever use the internal one in my current Mini. The only time it gets used is to install software on the odd occasion. I have an external SuperDrive that I bought for my MacBook Air which should suffice for that use anyway. The nice thing about the lack of an optical drive is it makes the Mini smaller in size and therefore saves space.

    I'm not sure what the significance of the lower rated CPU would be.

    I'm not sure whether to order a new one or wait for refurbs to appear on the Apple store. I suspect there might be ones purchased in the next few weeks which may end up on the refurb store as people are not happy with them. That said I'm not sure if the savings would be significant.

    The stock high end model is £699 where as upgrading to the i7 and a 7200RPM 750GB HD brings it to £899. I'm not sure how much I can expect for my current one when selling it.

    It seems like performance wise it might be a good idea to upgrade to the new model.

    Edit: I read that thread and I see what you're saying about the GPU. I'm not sure if that would be a deal breaker for me. I do wish the GPU had at least 512MB of VRAM though. That said as the Radeon is a dedicated GPU unlike the Nvidia 9400M that would make a significant difference I expect. I'm inclined to just order a new one as there is no way of knowing when one with the i7 and a 750MB HD will appear in the refurb store and the savings may not be significant anyway.

    Getting an iMac is out of the question as I neither have the space nor need the display plus I already have an Apple Bluetooth keyboard and track pad. I use my HD TV as my display.

    One final thing at the moment I cannot get surround sound and having HDMI in the new one should allow me to do that.
     
  5. macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    #5
    Yeah the new machine is really a great upgrade for most all of us. I look forward to playing around with it. I think that the mini is going to be around for a while. Apple has really shown they can make a good piece of gear when they want to.
     
  6. macrumors 6502a

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    May 17, 2011
    #6
    It appears that the 2.5 GHz base model of the new Mac Mini line is a good bang for bucks. Right?
     
  7. thread starter macrumors 68040

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    #7
    It depends what you plan on using it for. Any graphic intensive uses like games, graphic design or multi media production it probably won't do a good job.
     
  8. thread starter macrumors 68040

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    #8
    I've got another question. I'm now thinking of getting the higher end with a core i7 with just a 256MB SSD and using a larger external FireWire drive or possibly a Time Capsule as the main storage drive. Would that option be OK or is it better to get it with both the internal SSD and 750MB 7200 RPM HDD.
     
  9. macrumors 6502

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    UK
    #9
    Apple really should have put 512Mb in there, even the most basic of GPUs come with 1Gb of memory now...

    I know, this is a sticking point with me
     
  10. thread starter macrumors 68040

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    #10
    It is one of my concerns too. I wish it had 512MB of VRAM. For reasons I mentioned in another thread I can't get an iMac so if I want an Apple desk top the Mini is my only choice.
     
  11. thread starter macrumors 68040

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    #11
    Just wanted to bump this thread up. I'm still unsure whether to get an internal combo of a 256GB SSD and a 750GB HDD or just the SSD and use an external FireWire drive for additional storage. At the moment I still have 179GB of free space on my 320GB HDD in my current Mac Mini. That includes my iTunes library and a few apps. So I've only used approximately 140GB's.

    I've got an external 320GB FireWire HD with additional media as well as a 1TB Seagate USB HD for my Time Machine back ups. The Seagate can be converted into a FireWire HD with an adapter for additional storage if I get a Time Capsule for back up purposes.

    Judging by everyone's enthusiasm on how much faster SSD's are for boot up, opening apps etc. I'm thinking it might be worth the additional expense. I'm just not sure if an internal HDD is significantly faster then an external FireWire for storing media files like photos and movies as well as potentially my iTunes library. Any opinions would be appreciated.
     
  12. macrumors 6502

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    #12
    External firewire is perfect for media - all my Plex and iTunes media run off a Firewire 800 external. SSD is normally worth an expense because of how good a boot drive it is, but not Apple's expense. First of all, if you are working this SSD Boot/Firewire media scenario you do not need a 256GB SSD (and the expense it carries). Consider doing it yourself and getting an OWC Mercury at a more reasonable size/price.
     
  13. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    #13
    Some thoughts:

    It really doesn't have anything to do with dedicated vs discrete. It's simply that the 6630 is way newer and more powerful than the 9400 was.

    Something to keep in mind: Apple is using the much faster GDDR5 ram compared to the slower ddr3 you see in your 1gb el cheapo systems. I can't forsee a situation where more vram = more performance given the rest of the units specs. Higher resolutions would be where it counts most and at that point the raw power (or lack of) on the gpu becomes a much higher concern.


    I'll say it's definitely not worth the expense. I went from 5400rpm to 7200rpm in my 2009 mini and it made a huge difference. Then went from 7200rpm to intel 160gb SSD. Is there a noticeable difference? Sure. Was it worth the ~$200 I paid for the drive? No. Is it worth the $600+ apple is charging for an SSD? H*ll no.
     
  14. thread starter macrumors 68040

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    #14
    That's good to know although OWC is no good to me as I live in the UK. They won't ship overseas and even if they did the shipping cost wouldn't be worth it. After a quick check online looking at SSD prices here in the UK it seems like Apple charges about £100 more for the same capacity. They charge £480 where as 256GB SSD's elsewhere seem to go for around £380 as far as I can tell. As I'm not keen on opening up a Mini to install my own after market SSD and most likely voiding the warranty I'm more inclined to go with Apple's BTO option.
     
  15. WilliamG, Jul 21, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2011

    macrumors 603

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    #15
    I'm pretty sure the 6630M is faster than the 9400M, but the 3000HD Intel chip is likely slower than the 9400M.
     
  16. thread starter macrumors 68040

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    #16
    Dedicated and discrete is the same thing. The AMD Radeon 6630M is such a card with it's own 256MB GDDR5 VRAM. The Nvidia 9400M is not a dedicated or discrete GPU and shares memory with the main RAM as I understand it. This makes the Radeon a lot more powerful especially for graphic intensive applications such as games. I understand what you're saying about the Mini's Radeon having GDDR5 VRAM as opposed to the 1GB cards having the slower GDDR3 VRAM.

    It's good to know what you're saying about the SSD. Maybe I should just go with a 7200RPM 750GB HDD instead. I don't do any heavy duty work like graphic design, video editing or any other multimedia type work. I don't rip DVD's or blue rays either. If the SSD really is not worth it for what I use the computer for then it's best to save that money. I can get the dual core i7 with a 750GB HDD for £899 or with that and the SSD for £1379. That's a £480 difference.
     
  17. macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    OWC ships internationally!
     
  18. thread starter macrumors 68040

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    #18
    That's good to know. I assumed they didn't like most US online retailers. I'l have a look at their site. Thanks.
     
  19. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    #19
    My mistake, I meant to say integrated v. discrete. Again, the difference between 9400 and 6630 is purely in the fact that the 6630 is a much smaller, newer, more complex, more powerful chip. The 9400m did share system memory but the fact that the gpu portion was on the same die, and right next door to the memory controller, alleviated alot of performance concerns. The 9400m was a good chip for what it was back in its time. The 6630 is simply more powerful despite whether or not its discrete or where it gets its memory from.
     
  20. macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    #20
    please do this and nothing else

    owc has good service but you don't want to get an ssd right now just buy the 750gb 7200rpm hdd direct from apple. the machine will be leaps and bound better then the 2009 with just the 750gb hdd in it.


    Then in a few months you can look into t-bolt options for an external screamer ssd. Maybe even 8gb ram as an add on.
     
  21. macrumors regular

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    Jun 29, 2010
    #21
    SSDs are worth it...they're not worth what Apple is charging for theirs though. I don't know about UK pricing, but in the US the SSD option is $600, while you can get a good third party one (same capacity) for $400, or much less if you go with a smaller drive.
     
  22. thread starter macrumors 68040

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    #22
    Apple charges £480 or approximately $780 for the 256GB SSD.
     
  23. thread starter macrumors 68040

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    #23
    Thanks for the advice. I think that's actually the best option for me right now having gone back and forth between three different options of storage. I will probably buy extra RAM and upgrade to 8GB as well. As I do more consumption then production that should be fine. Boot up times are not that important either as most of the time my Mac is in sleep mode and only really gets shut off if I'm away for long periods. Having been use to a 5400RPM drive in both my MacBook Air and Mac Mini I think the 7200 RPM 750GB HDD will make a big difference. As you say down the line I can look at external Thunderbolt options or even an internal SSD if they become cheaper.
     
  24. macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    #24
    I am a big ssd fan I use a 600gb intel in my mac pro,but right now t-bolt is a game changer when it comes to ssds. the raid0 lacie and the raid0 sonnet will be faster then anything on the market. I can understand using the internal ssd if you absolutely want a 1 box mini, but I will wait and see about the t-bolt as an add on. I grabbed a base 2.3 but I may buy a 2.5 and leave it stock. Then add a t-bolt on down the road.
     
  25. macrumors regular

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    Sep 22, 2005
    #25
    I'm sure a raided ssd thunderbolt setup will be good for some tasks. Not so much for the OP's.

     

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