2.5 i5 or 2.3 / 2.6 i7 Quad Core for Mac Mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Ward H, Jan 13, 2017.

  1. Ward H macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2017
    Location:
    South Jersey
    #1
    First post. Hello All,

    In 2013 I abandoned my Windows laptops for a early 2013 rMBP w/ 2.4Ghz i7 Quad Core, 8Gb ram and 256SSD.
    Later upgraded to 500 Gb SSD.

    Now I am ready to replace my home built 2009 Windows desk top. Looking at a late 2012 Mac Mini. Interested in the MM for the ability to upgrade ram and storage. Have been reading a lot about the mini on this site and others. Sounds like what I am looking for since I have all the peripherals and a 500Gb SSD to go into it.

    While I probably don't really need the quad core, I would like to keep up with the strength of my laptop. I frequently have a Windows 10 session open via VMware while having Safari, Mac for Excel, Mail and iTunes playing on El Capitan.

    There are a lot more 2.3 i7s for sale than the 2.6 i7s. Is there much difference between the two?

    With what I am doing would a 2.5Ghz i5 dual core be zippier because my use won't benefit from the quad core?

    I've always leaned towards the more power and overkill is better thinking but in this case I have more purchase options if I went with the 2.3 Ghz i7. Even more if you all said anything more than the 2.5 i5 was extreme overkill.

    Appreciate any and all advise.
     
  2. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #2
    I recently got a used 2012 2.6ghz quad Mini with the original Apple 256gb internal SSD. It's a really fast little machine. :) I dedicated this computer to video editing, so my usage is different from yours. I went with the 2.6 because I wanted the fastest possible Mini, however I've read that the difference is not very great with the 2.3 quad.

    I was using a base model 2.5hgz 2012 i5 Mini before that and the 2.6 quad renders video almost exactly twice as fast. This is a big deal for me, a couple weeks ago I did a Compressor export that took 15 hours, so it would have taken 30 hours on the base mini. No idea whether you would see something similar for your use, but it seems directly proportional to the geekbench ratings for my application.
     
  3. Celerondon macrumors 6502a

    Celerondon

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2013
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    #3
    As you know, the relatively rare i7s will cost more than the base model i5. For your usage, the 2.6 is good only for bragging rights (On a >4 year old computer). You already have the SSD so...
    1. If you want to keep up with the strength of your laptop then SSD storage is more important than any differences between the processors for your usage case.
    2. No! There is very little difference between a 2.3 Ghz i7 and a 2.6 Ghz i7. The 2.6 is a bit faster. That is all.
    3. Rather than paying a premium price for the 2.6 you should purchase one of the others and max the RAM.
    If I had to choose between the 2012 i5 and i7 models with your usage pattern I would get the i7, load the RAM up to 16GB, and install an SSD. If you choose the i5 instead it will run okay but VMware can take advantage of additional processor cores. :D
     
  4. now i see it macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2002
    #4
    I never want to own a dual core machine ever again.

    Cores do matter. I used to own a 2009 2.26 ghz 8 core Mac Pro. That machine was awesome and fast fast fast. Waaaaay faster and more responsive than any 2.x ghz dual core consumer chip stuffed into a tiny enclosure.
     
  5. Ward H thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2017
    Location:
    South Jersey
    #5
    Good advice. Gave me something to think about. Here's what I did this weekend.

    Started out using the "Similar Threads" section to find other similar threads (how about that) for more reading. In one of them was a link to Geekbench scores. I did a little spreadsheet to compare my rMBP 2.4Ghz QC i7, the MM 2.5Ghz DC i5, 2.3Ghz QC i7 and 2.6Ghz QC i7. I also searched eBay and Macsales.com.

    Macsales didn't have any 2.6s but had several 2.3s in "good condition". Considering the small speed boost a 2.6 would offer, I chose a 2.3 w/ 4Gb ram knowing I could upgrade it to 16Gb and keep the total cost under $1k. eBay would be $110 to $150 cheaper but I felt Macsales would be safer. Placed the order.

    I was watching a 2.6 i7 on Saturday and ruled it out as the Macsales deal would be a safer deal, even though the 2.6 i7 would top out at the same price after the ram upgrade to the 2.3 i7.

    Then on Sunday the price dropped $50 on the 2.6 i7. It was a BTO A+ condition MM with 16Gb ram and 256 SSD drive. If I wanted a 2.6 i7 this was my chance.

    I Googled the seller, isellimacs, found nothing bad about them and they have a 99.9% Positive Feedback rating. They got some good comments from posts in this forum.

    I cancelled the Macsales order and bought the 2.6 i7 w/ 16Gb ram for only $20 more than the cost of the 2.3 i7 w/ 4Gb ram.

    Kind of like buying a muscle car. Rarely will I push its limits but I know it will kick butt when I want it to.

    Thanks for the help.
     
  6. Celerondon macrumors 6502a

    Celerondon

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2013
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    #6
    Yes, power is fun. Enjoy your 2012 Quad core mini. :)
     
  7. Sean869 macrumors member

    Sean869

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2012
    Location:
    Dorset, United Kingdom
    #7
    I bought my 2012 Mac Mini new and decided to go for the I7 2.3 and used the cash I saved over the 2.6 to upgrade the RAM. Its the family Mac and is used for everything. When I ordered it I did spend a few days thinking about the 2.6 but convinced myself that I would notice the extra 0.3 on the clock speed. I don't regret my decision the 2.3 is a very fast and capable machine.
     
  8. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #8
    Of course the math is a little different today. I upgraded a 4gb 2012 Mini from 4gb to 16gb last year and the RAM only cost $65. :)
     
  9. Algus macrumors regular

    Algus

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2014
    Location:
    Arizona
    #9
    Good luck with your mini! I'm still using a dual-core i5 unit that I bought new to drive my desktop. I've added my own RAM and SSD so it's a little beast and does a very good job for media, which is its main job. The only bone I have to pick with it is the graphics chip is pretty poor these days. It was quite an adequate chip 5 years ago though.
     
  10. satchmo, Feb 12, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2017

    satchmo macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2008
    Location:
    Canada
    #10
    I was looking at this model as a possible option, since I'm coming from a lowly 2010 MBP Duo Core 2.4.

    But given the high cost for the i7 2012 Mac mini, I'm wondering if it's worth spending so much on an older machine.
    Yes, I know the CPU is better and more upgradeable than the current one, but how does the video card compare?
     
  11. tibas92013 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2013
    Location:
    Costa Rica
    #11
    This Refurbished MM(Late 2014) 2.8GHz,8GB Ram,256SSD "light" user that I bought from the Apple On-Line Store in June, 2015 which makes me one Mac-Happy User. I paid around $1000 which included AppleCare.

    In August, 2013 I also bought a Refurbished MM(Late 2012), 2.5 GHz,4GB Ram, 500GB HD from the Apple On-Line Store which has also served me well but the MM(Late 2014) runs circles around-it.

    Now I personally would not buy ANY Computer without an SSD.
     

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