2012 Mac Mini -vs- 2006 Mac Pro 1,1

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by michael_aos, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. michael_aos macrumors 6502

    Jan 26, 2004
    Summary -- 16GB of RAM is probably OK. 2x CPU performance would be nice. Not sure how the new graphics compare. Doubt I need the performance afforded by the 2013 Mac Pro. Switching to iMac means scrapping one of my existing 3 monitors.
    I didn't see an "All desktops" forum. Hoping this is the best-fit.

    My old / original Mac Pro 1,1 has been humming along great since I purchased it new in 2006. Upgraded to 2x OWC 256GB SSD's, Mountain Lion, 16GB RAM, ATI Radeon HD 5770.

    CPU speed isn't terrible, but I do sometimes notice all 4x cores are pegged in iTunes or iPhoto. It "feels" a little CPU-bound.

    I always run an instance of Windows 7 in Parallels Desktop 8. I occasionally run additional VM's for a specific task and immediately shut them down when not actively being used.

    16GB of RAM has been working pretty well for me. With 17-days of uptime, it shows 798.8MB swap used and 662.4MB Page Outs.

    Mach Virtual Memory Statistics: (page size of 4096 bytes)
    Pages free: 125567.
    Pages active: 1014430.
    Pages inactive: 1135235.
    Pages speculative: 348480.
    Pages wired down: 1570079.
    "Translation faults": 2273053964.
    Pages copy-on-write: 55028679.
    Pages zero filled: 1746466089.
    Pages reactivated: 582976.
    Pageins: 4514338.
    Pageouts: 169582.
    Object cache: 446 hits of 15433337 lookups (0% hit rate)

    I noticed a HUGE boost in video performance both for MacOS X & Windows 7 when I installed the HD5770. Everything seemed faster. I'm pretty much hooked on having 3 monitors now (HP LA1905wg in portrait, Apple mini-displayport Cinema? Display, HP LA2405wg).

    I'm a little leery of being limited to 16GB in the 2012 Mac Mini, but it's not terrible. CPU would be more than 2x faster on the new Mac Mini.

    Any idea how the Intel HD4000 video compares to this old HD5770? I'm not a gamer and I don't do anything particularly graphics-intensive but I don't want something slower than what I already have either.

    My other options are to just wait for the new 27" iMac that supports 32GB of RAM and even faster CPU in December, or keep holding out for the new Mac Pro in 2013.
  2. michael_aos thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 26, 2004
    I'm assuming I can drive 3 monitors with the Intel HD 4000 graphics?

    One @ 1920 x 1080 HDMI, then a Thunderbolt Display, and a Thunderbolt <- > DVI adapter hanging off the Thunderbolt Display driving the 3rd?

    Or do I need 2x Thunderbolt Displays?

    Not sure if the HD 4000 can handle that many pixels.
  3. Quash macrumors regular

    Sep 27, 2007
    Don't know that's a lot of pixels for a 512mb integrated graphics solution.

    The 5770 is a lot faster than a HD4000. The 5770 is comparable to a 650m
  4. Poki macrumors 65816


    Mar 21, 2012
    In 2D, you can drive practically endless pixels with the monitors available now. For example, OSX uses about 120 MB VRAM when using a single 1440p display and many windows - without gaming, of course.
  5. OS-SEX macrumors member


    Jan 12, 2012
    I have the same Mac Pro with the same graphics card as the OP and I was considering the same move. I know the new mini has a far superior processor but I have a feeling i'll be taking a real step back in the graphics department. Sure would love to replace this giant, power hungry, heat producing monster though. If you take the plunge, I'd love to know your impressions.
  6. MatthewAMEL macrumors 6502


    Oct 23, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    It's a HUGE step backwards in graphics performance from a 5770.

    3DMark11 shows a score of 430 for the Intel HD4000 and 2600 for the 5770.

    Once again, it's dependent on your needs. If you think your workflow is processor bound, then the Mini would be an incremental improvement over your 1,1 MacPro.

    Geekbench says the 3Ghz MacPro hits ~5,500. The 2012 Mini is around ~11,000.
  7. bubbleboyjones macrumors member

    Jun 4, 2010
    Id say this is a no brainer.....hold out for the Pro in 2013 or get a used/refurb Pro if its a good deal. I can't imagine why you would switch to a Mac Mini even with the Mini's CPU advantage.
  8. shinji macrumors 65816


    Mar 18, 2007
    I have a Mac Pro 1,1 with a GeForce 8800 GT and am considering the same switch. Most of my workday is in Photoshop...I don't do any video editing, don't play game, etc. Does it make sense to switch? Will the HD4000 affect me in Photoshop at all?

    http://forums.adobe.com/thread/979969 lists the GPU-bound features in Photoshop and I do use some of them.
  9. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    If raw CPU power is the only constraint at this point and you don't need/want USB 3 and/or Thunderbolt, i'd rather upgrade the MacPro to inexpensive x5355 CPU's (SLAEG/G0 stepping), giving 8 cores and a Geekbench score around 9000-10.000, thus being nearly on par again with the 2012 Mac mini.

    Only with the advantages of staying quiet under load (which the mini won't), allowing for more Ram (albeit at a higher price), offering more room for internal drives and PCIe expansion cards including _FAR_ superior graphics.

    This should be sufficient until the revamped MacPro will be presented in 2013 (if at all). If the 2013 MP will be disappointing or not appear at all, chances are that you could instead switch to the then current Mac mini with Haswell architecture, offering significantly improved performance over 2012 Mac minis.

    Significantly worse! Due to specialized hardware it shines in video decoding, though.
  10. Poki macrumors 65816


    Mar 21, 2012
    First, the Mini has a completely new fan, so it might stay relatively quiet under heavy load. Would be nice to hear a real test from somebody who already got the Mini.

    And yes, if you don't want to game, you shouldn't notice the HD 4000 negatively at all.
  11. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    The best Apple could come up with is a cooling system similar to that in the rMBP. According to a variety of tests that one is better than in the predecessors, but still no match for what the MP has to offer. Even more so as it is using some psychoacoustic tricks to bring noise down by distributing it over a wider frequency band, making it only seemingly better, whereas the cooling system in a MacPro actually _IS_ better due to the whole construction.

    Therefore i seriously doubt that the 2012 mini will be able to compare, even if it may be a tad quieter than the 2011 machines...
  12. Poki macrumors 65816


    Mar 21, 2012
    Well, but the CPU cooling of the Mac Pro alone is bigger than the whole Mac Mini, so ...
  13. comatory macrumors 6502a


    Apr 10, 2012
    I was waiting for new Mac mini to become my desktop machine. I decided to buy used 2009 Mac Pro - figured expansion is more important to me. Still the CPU in that machine should be on par with 2012 Mac mini and if I need to upgrade to more cores, I can get hex-core xeon for it (albeit very expensive upgrade).

    From what I see, Mac Pro's, even 1.1 machines seem to hold their value and ability to do high-end, CPU intensive stuff. This fact alone seemed very important to me. I know I will use my Mac Pro for at least 3-4 years, by that time new "Pro" machine should be out. But I think in 3-4 years Mac mini will outperform my MP in every department, at that point I'll just by cheapo mini with some fast external RAID (who knows, maybe Thunderbolt will drop to FW800 RAID enclosure prices by then).

    That's my plan, I just had to bite the bullet and acknowledge I'm not getting the latest and greatest, that's all. For what I do (HD video editing and compositing), it should give me enough power. There are still options to make these machines go really fast - Accelsior card being one, CPU swap being two. It's not cheap but at least I don't have to shell out $$$$ at once, I like to upgrade machines gradually, as budget allows.
  14. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    So...? This thread is about the comparison between a Mac mini and a MacPro. The cooling system of a rMBP or Mac mini may be great in relation to the case size - but absolutely viewed the cooling system of the Mac Pro is significantly superior. Simple as that.
  15. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    This may be true for comparing current-gen minis to 2006 Mac Pro's or future-gen minis to current-gen Mac Pro's, but unless Apple is dragging its feet again the Mac Pro in 3-4 years should be vastly superior to the Mac mini of the same generation.

    A current Mac Pro (2010) still sweeps the floor with any Mac mini available today (talking of the dual CPU variants).

    The MP has had no love for about 3 consecutive years now (considering that the 2012 MP is effectively a 2010 MP which is basically a spec-bumped 2009). The mini however has seen yearly updates with at least two significant hardware generation changes and at best still is just as powerful as entry-level Mac Pro's of today.

    Unless someone manages to link a couple of Mac minis together as one cluster computer, i don't see it overtaking the Mac Pro performance wise for a few more years to come...
  16. Omnius macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2012
    The current model mini is superior to the Mac Pro 1,1 unless you're making heavy use of the graphics card.

    Totally stock 2006 Mac pros can sell for between 300-400 dollars. However, upgrading the ram to 8-16gb is a few hundred dollars. Adding a SSD drive is almost a necessity. Swapping out the processors is necessary for an 8 core 3.0 ghz model, a pair of those is a few hundred dollars.

    You can't use mountain lion or more modern software as it continues to come out. You don't have turbo boost. You draw substantially more energy. The 1,1 had a 32 bit EFI.

    The 1,1 Mac Pro is a dinosaur.
  17. comatory macrumors 6502a


    Apr 10, 2012
    I will have 4 core variant so I guess it will be about the same. The reason why I went for it is GPU expandability and ability to create cheap internal RAID.

    I might go with 6core in the future but I would have to research more if my Apps take advantage of more than four cores (CS5 video apps mostly, converting in Encoder, Handbrake and Streamclip).

    I also want some computer that is not too loud, Ive been using MB Air in desktop mode for few months now and that thing gets hot, even if you use nonheavy apps and have bunch of them open at once the fans will kick in. Its a bit annoying.

    I think I will really enjoy a computer where I can upscale if i need to.
  18. Omnius macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2012
    Really the Mac Pros that have some value left to them are 2009 or better.

    If you're not investing in a 4,1 or better mac pro, you'd probably be better off getting a mini.

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