2012 (2.3GHz i7 Quad) vs 2014 (2.6 GHz i7 Dual)

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by brandon8u, Oct 22, 2014.

  1. brandon8u macrumors member

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    #1
    Benchmarks are showing better performance from the 2012 model in both singe and multi-core support. However, there is something discerning about buying a 2 year old computer when a supposedly "new and improved model is out."

    In both models the HDD is upgrade-able so that's fine, but ram is sodered on 2014. IMO I don't really need more than 8GB anyways. Both models are selling at the same $699 price right now (the 2012 was just lowered by $100).

    So the big question is should I buy the old machine and upgrade the ram to 8GB (and probably pay $775 total) with higher multi-core support, or is the new models Intel Iris graphics, and pre-paid 8Gb ram a better deal for a price of $700.

    I will mainly be doing office and business tasks (Word, iTunes, Multiple browsers open). It's a secondary computer to my 2013 rMBP. However, I do want to use Photoshop a couple times a month and do light video editing monthly. When I mean light... I mean like cutting and pasting, adding some transitions, music, and that's it. No special effects or crazy stuff.
     
  2. cinealta, Oct 22, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2014

    cinealta macrumors 6502

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    #2
    From the outside it would be difficult to discern the difference between the 2012 & 2014. It would be disconcerting to buy a 2 yr old computer now though.

    IMO, you wouldn't really benefit from 4 cores unless general use programs (Word, web browser etc) could multi-core balance like more intensive A/V software (eg Logic X, FCPX etc). It doesn't sound like you'll be doing much rendering (to take advantage of the extra cores) either.
     
  3. Cape Dave macrumors 68000

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    Northeast
    #3
    Your needs seem similar to mine. I have the 2012 and am considering updating. I do not hate the new mini at all. I think the benefits far out weigh the lack of cores.

    My big decision is to get the fastest i5 or the i7, as well as to decide between 512GB and 1TB. I will be getting the 16GB Ram for sure as I like a little extra and for future proofing it will be good.

    So I would venture that you too are in a similar (but not exact) situation and would benefit most from the new mini. That second Thunderbolt alone could come in quite handy at one point or another for reasons not yet known. :)

    Just my 2 coppers.
     
  4. jamesthegator macrumors member

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    #4
    What about for photo editing in Lightroom and Photoshop?
     
  5. mvmanolov macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 27, 2013
    #5
    i'm with Cape Dave on this one...

    the new mini's are not bad! yes there is no quad... most people do not need a quad core machine... and the Iris is a really nice bump up from 4000...

    how often have you used a dual core mac and said to yourself man this feels like it needs another couple of cores...? (maybe if you are heavy on the hand break or the CAD but other than that...)

    for your kind of usage, i say go with the new ones...
     
  6. Crosscreek, Oct 23, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2014

    Crosscreek macrumors 68030

    Crosscreek

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    #6
    Go with the new one. :)

    Purchase Apple Care because it is no longer user repairable without voiding warranty.
     
  7. CausticPuppy macrumors 65816

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    May 1, 2012
    #7
    I often feel like I need a couple more cores when I'm importing RAW photos from my camera and applying a default preset.

    The new models are essentially the same guts as my Haswell rMBP (13"), so there's no reason for me to get a 2014 mini since I basically already have that the same level of computing power in my laptop.

    My Mini isn't used as much these days, but when I do, it's for running handbrake and windows VM's so I need cores. Other than that it's just serving iTunes content doing server stuff. The 2011 server performs very well despite its age, and I'm torn on swapping it with a 2012 model (and upgrading my wife's 2007 mini to the 2011... not getting rid of it!)

    At this point I might just keep my 2011 and save my pennies for a broadwell-based retina iMac. :eek:
     
  8. brandon8u thread starter macrumors member

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    #8
    Ok so think I will pickup the 2nd teir 2014 model toady. I've been waiting to purchase for months.

    If the mini gets a major upgrade (Broadwell. maybe) or I feel the need to upgrade later on, I will probably end up re-selling the mini next year or in two. I should only take a $100-$200 hit... But I need a new desktop now.
     
  9. fa8362 macrumors 65816

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    #9
    I wouldn't buy the new one under any circumstance. For me, it's a joke compared to the 2012.
     
  10. dotme macrumors 6502a

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    Iowa
    #10
    For most people, memory gives better performance than CPU but I just bought another 2012 i7 quad core because I run VMs, and the quad allows me to allocate more CPUs to my virtual machines while leaving enough for Yosemite to be happy too. So yes, all depends on your needs.

    The i7 I use for my workstation has 16GB RAM and I gave 6GB and 2 cores to Windows 8.1 on VMWare Fusion, while leaving 2 cores for Yosemite.
     
  11. reco2011 macrumors 6502a

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    May 25, 2014
    #11
    I think this is the correct choice.
     
  12. oneMadRssn macrumors 68040

    oneMadRssn

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    #12
    From my understanding, people who use their Minis as media servers of sorts benefit greatly from having a quad-core. Handbreak re-encodes DVD and Blu-ray rips much quicker with quad-core. iFlicks re-encodes mkv or whatever much quicker into itunes compatible formats with quad-core. Or for those that use Plex to serve their movies and tv shows, a quad-core will be able to stream with on-the-fly re-encoding to more devices at once.

    I don't know if that qualifies as power-user territory. It's certainly not "professional" - I'm not editing movies, just organizing and cataloging them, and then streaming them to 2 or 3 TVs. Not exactly ground-breaking usage, but usage that is made much more efficient with more cores.
     
  13. Cherish macrumors member

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    Sep 27, 2014
    #13
    Is the i5 2.8ghz/8gb ram/256gb pcie ssd setup worth $100 more compared to the i5 2.6ghz/8gb ram/256gb ssd?

    The i7 3.0ghz cost nearly $300 more but without quad core so that's out.
     
  14. Fishrrman macrumors G4

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #14
    Slightly off-topic, but is there a list available of which Mac apps actually can use all four cores?
     
  15. BJonson macrumors 6502a

    BJonson

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    #15
    I'll list one. OS X.
     
  16. reco2011 macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    While it may be more "efficient" the question is does the efficiency buy you anything other than being more efficient? If not paying for that efficiency wouldn't make sense.
     
  17. magbarn macrumors 68000

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    Oct 25, 2008
    #17
    Well it's older versions of final cut, LR, and PS but you should get the gist:
    (The 2012 2.3ghz quad would be in-between the 2.2/2.6 benchmarks obviously)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I bought a new-old stock 2012 mid tier quad yesterday...

    BTW the performance difference between the HD5000 (2014 mini) and HD4000 (2012 Mini) really isn't that big in real life gaming. (You're going something from 10 fps to 13fps - big deal) It's Iris Pro that's found in the lower tier 21 iMac and rMBP 15 that really begins to show what Intel's best iGPU can do.
     
  18. oneMadRssn, Oct 23, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2014

    oneMadRssn macrumors 68040

    oneMadRssn

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    #18
    I see your point, a cost-benefit analysis of sorts. However, as they sit now, the 2012 quad-core cost is closer to the base-level 2014 model than the mid-level 2014 model. The models with Iris cost a good amount more than the quad-core 2012 model. So I'm not sure there are much cost-savings on that end.

    Unlike the cost discrepancy, the efficiency gains aren't minor. In my example of re-encoding movies, it's about 2x because it's directly related to number of cores.

    As for the value of efficiency, it's always valuable. If I can cut the time it takes to transcode a Blu-ray from 2 hours to 1 hour, there are many benefits: On the productivity end, it means I can do more movies per night. On the energy end, it means my computer can spend more time in idle or sleep mode which saves electricity and saves burn (time running at full power) which might mean it will last longer. Then there is the scaling benefit, once movies are more commonly available in 4K, 8K, 10K, etc, the flexibility to increase my transcoding times without interfering with the workflow (some call this future-proofing).

    --------------------------

    Edit: I want to add to the above that I don't think the quad-core is better for everything. For example, there is no doubt that for gaming the Iris is leaps better than the Intel HD 4000. I just wanted to argue against the point that quad-core is beneficial only to professionals in hollywood editing in Final Cut Pro. There are many computationally expensive tasks that benefit from quad-core where even home users will notice a benefit.
     
  19. BJonson, Oct 23, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2014

    BJonson macrumors 6502a

    BJonson

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  20. dandingo macrumors newbie

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    Oct 17, 2014
    #20
    Can you please tell me where you picked up your 2012 i7's? Thanks!
     
  21. magbarn macrumors 68000

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    Oct 25, 2008
    #21
    I agree with most of what you said as I'm not a big shot video producer and quads make lightroom much faster, but don't believe Intel's Iris gaming hype. Taken from the same article:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Notice the low resolution on these benchmarks. Iris is faster, but not faster 'enough'
    Borderlands 2 - which uses an outdated gaming engine - is probably the most strenuous title above and the gap between the HD4000 and HD5000 narrows considerably.

    Granted this is with the HD5000 which is found in the $499 Haswell Mini, but real world benchmarks haven't shows a big performance gap between the HD5000 and HD5100.

    If you really plan on gaming, get a different machine with a dGPU or Iris Pro at the minimum.
     
  22. Cape Dave macrumors 68000

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    Northeast
    #22
    Better GPU, additional Tbolt port, PCI SSD, I say that is a clear win. Not a huge win, but a clear win.
     
  23. reco2011 macrumors 6502a

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    May 25, 2014
    #23
    These arguments are not being made on the basis of efficiency for efficiencies sake. You are providing examples where the additional cores offer tangible benefits. The way I read your streaming example was the dual core would be utilizing the two cores, say, 60% whereas the quad core would be utilizing the four cores, say, 40%. These are just made up numbers to illustrate what I believed you to had been saying. Assuming, for the sake of argument, these numbers are representative of efficiency does it matter to the end user? Not really as the work is being completed as needed either way.

    With that said it's unlikely the base 2012 quad core would be 2x faster transcoding video. Why? Because the base 2012 quad core:

    • Is, on average, 8% slower (based on Anandtech benchmarks) than the Haswell processor used in the 2014 based on IPC improvements in Haswell.
    • Has a base clock speed which is 18% slower than the base clock speed of the 2014 i7. For transcoding all cores will be utilized therefore keeping the clock speed near the base.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see the base 2012 quad core to be about 150-160% faster at transcoding.

    I'm not against the quad core Mini. I used to own one and found it a great system. And if I had to do it again I'd be looking at it as some of the work I do does scale well with each core (I have an 8 core, 16 thread Z600 system that rips through video transcodes).
     
  24. brandon8u thread starter macrumors member

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    #24
    For my case I think the 2014 second model was enough. I did a simple 10 minute 1080p (1.5GB) video in iMovie and it exported using 50% of CPU. Wasn't bad at all. However the only thing I can vouch for is please get the SSD no matter what. I upgraded my 2009 mbp to SSD and have a SSD in the 15 rMBP. Wow! What a words difference... I found importing videos to by slightly more annoying as well as opening applications. I will for sure be upgrading to SSD or trading Apple back for a SSD mini.

    I'll post benchmarks later, I'm sure some of you guys aren't intrested (quad-core and 3.0GHz i7 users)- but others might be.

    ----------

    They are offered at MicroCenter and BestBuy for these prices. You can check stock and availability on the website.
     
  25. dandingo macrumors newbie

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    Oct 17, 2014
    #25
    Thanks, but I'm seeing it for $749 at Best Buy ...

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/apple-m...548287565&skuId=4840689&st=mac mini&cp=1&lp=2
     

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