2011 Mac mini w/ DUAL core+AMD GPU; Thinking of upgrading to Quad i7+Intel HD 3000...

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Crunch, Aug 14, 2011.

  1. Crunch macrumors 6502

    Crunch

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2008
    Location:
    L.A.
    #1
    Hey everyone! I currently have the Mac mini with the dual-core i5 2.5GHz and the discrete GPU, the AMD Radeon HD 6630M with 256MB of GDDR5 of VRAM. I'm trying to make an informed decision as to whether or not upgrading to the server version would make sense for me.

    As you probably know, there is no discrete GPU in the server model. It has the same Intel HD 3000 integrated graphics chip that both the server and the $599 entry model as well as all 2011 MacBook Air models have. I realize that it depends on what I am using it for, which is not gaming and I'm not doing intensive work with Adobe Photoshop or AutoCAD either. Having read this, you may be inclined to recommend the upgrade to the quad core i7. However, I do like to have three browsers with a combined 50 tabs open, along with TweetDeck, Mail, and VLC. I don't really want to have to shut down any of the aforementioned applications when I decide to watch a movie (usually at least in 720p, sometimes 1080p), and this Mac mini allows me to do all of that. A lot of what I have open is perhaps not GPU-intensive and yes, I do have the full 8GB of RAM to make this possible.

    Do you think that the Intel HD 3000 will handle it just fine or should I hang on to the dGPU of my current model? I would like you to consider one other thing, though. When I use Mission Control and swipe between full-screen apps, dragging windows all over the place, there is sometimes a little bit of a lag or delay. Do you think that that has to do more with the CPU instead of the GPU? I don't really know what triggers the AMD graphics chip as opposed to the 2.5GHz dual core CPU that I currently have. In the server model, I would have a quad core CPU and 512MB (double) of DDR3 RAM, which the Intel HD 3000 gets when there are 8GB of RAM installed.

    That's another thing: Assuming the 512MB are always available for the Intel HD 3000, how much of a difference does the fact that it's twice as much as the AMD chip's discrete video RAM make? Of course, it's this GDDR5 video RAM that's probably a lot...what, faster? Or somehow "better" in some other way? I'd love to learn this so that I won't have to bother anyone the next time around. Decisions, decisions. lol...

    Thanks! [​IMG]
     
  2. haruhiko macrumors 68040

    haruhiko

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2009
    #2
    I think it's more related to the amount of RAM installed? :confused:
     
  3. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Location:
    Poole, England
    #3
    None of your use scenarios have anything taxing for a graphics card to do so it's not the bottle neck. I would recommend 8 GBs of RAM. Isn't there a graphics card FAQ on this site? It's exasperating to see how many people do not understand what a graphics card is used for.
     
  4. MacinJosh macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2006
    Location:
    Finland
    #4
    I wonder if you could change the Dual Core to a Quad Core by yourself and have the best of both worlds...? That is, discreet graphics and quad core.
     
  5. Crunch thread starter macrumors 6502

    Crunch

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2008
    Location:
    L.A.
    #5
    Unfortunately, you can't. The CPU is soldered onto the logic board, so it's not user upgradable.

    After more research, I decided to go with the quad. I already have 8GB of RAM and will have 2 SATA III SSD's in RAID 0, and from what I can tell, the HD 3000 is actually pretty powerful and certainly enough for what I need it to do. Quad-core i7, here I come. :D
     

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