Advice for a Mac Mini purchase

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by wrkngclasshero, Jun 14, 2019.

  1. wrkngclasshero macrumors regular

    wrkngclasshero

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2008
    Location:
    Columbia, MD
    #1
    Hey everybody,

    I am looking to upgrade my early 2009 3.06GHz iMac. It’s served me faithfully for a decade but I think it’s time.

    I am evaluating a two tiered approach: 1) a MacMini as a HTPC (Plex, Handbrake, retro gaming) and 2) simple MacBook or MacBook Air for family use (e-mails, web surfing, Roblox for the kids).

    Can anybody speak to the expected difference in computing power between my existing machine and the current 3.2GHz 6‑core i7 Mac Mini? I’ve looked at Geekbench and my current iMac has single/multi scores of 2115/3630. The Mac mini has 5667/24,326. The numbers are much bigger but IRL what should I expect from the following programs.

    Handbrake: I assume that the mini will encode faster

    Dolphin Emulator
    : My iMac cannot run games at full speed, would you expect the Mini to be powerful enough to drive this. Dying to play Wind Waker!!

    OpenEmu: My current iMac has no issue with most systems emulated with OpenEmu, I assume that the Mini should have zero issues here as well?

    Plex: My iMac struggles even with direct play on my local network I am hoping that it will be running smoother even with Handbrake or gaming going on at the same time.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated, Thanks!!!
     
  2. Stephen.R macrumors 65816

    Stephen.R

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2018
    Location:
    Thailand
    #2
    It's hard to judge an upgrade like that, because everything has increased dramatically: CPU core speeds may not have changed much but their efficiency has increased a lot; memory is much faster, and can expand a lot more than the 2009 iMac's 8GB limit; the storage is PCI flash now, rather than a SATA mechanical drive (or SATA SSD if you upgraded); etc.

    I'd imagine even the integrated graphics is probably more capable than the AMD or Nvidia GPU in a 13 year old iMac.

    I don't use most of the things you mentioned but I have used Handbrake, and I have a 2018 i7 Mini, if you wanted to do a comparison, we could run the same convert/parameters on the same source file and compare times/results if you wish.
     
  3. Boyd01 macrumors 601

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #3
    Handbrake will be dramatically faster than your old iMac. I used to have the same iMac at work and it was just slightly faster than my 2008 2.4ghz core2Duo MacBook Pro. My 2013 1.7ghz i7 MacBook Air is a little more than twice that fast, according to geekbench ratings. But ripping a one hour DVD took about 75 minutes on the 2008 MBP and only about 20 minutes on the 2013 MBA. Now, my 2012 2.6ghz quad Mini has about twice the geekbench rating of the 2013 MBA, but it rips DVD's almost 3x as fast as the 2013 MBA.

    So, I think that Handbrake makes especially good use of the Core-i CPU chips and also uses multiple cores very effectively. It's also very good at ramping up the fans to the noise level of a small jet engine. :D
     
  4. wrkngclasshero thread starter macrumors regular

    wrkngclasshero

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2008
    Location:
    Columbia, MD
    #4
    Thank you so much for the comparisons. That is very useful to know.


    Thanks for the generous offer, however I think Boyd basically got at what I needed to know on the HB front. How do you like the Mini?

    Anyone able to chime in on Dolphin?
     
  5. iluvmacs99, Jun 14, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019

    iluvmacs99 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2019
    #5
    Handbrake benefits from a computer with more cores and has a modern CPU. In the case of the new Mac Mini and any computer that has the T2 security chip and QuickSync, Handbrake will encode media at much much faster speeds rather than using the CPU. You must choose this option through the video section under h.264 VideoToolBox/h.265 VideoToolBox, HEVC 10bit. VideoToolBox will utilize the Coffee Lake's latest Quicksync as well as T2 combined to produce faster encoding than using the i7 alone. So looking at benchmarks doesn't tell you much. My old Mac Mini 2011 with Quicksync will smoke my Mac Pro with 8 cores 16 threads. But without Quicksync, my Mac Pro smokes my Mini or even Macbook Air.

    The latest Mac Mini comes with the latest Intel iGPU which is faster than your 2009 iMac's GPU. So I think it should be fine. I didn't realize Dolphin Emulator is a Nintendo emulator.

    Plex. The Mac Mini won't struggle much with this as the Coffee Lake processor is very capable and encoding and decoding is very fast with the Mini. The i7 mini should be able to cope with gaming and handbrake with plex, but you need to upgrade the memory from base to at least 32Gb ram so it doesn't keep paging back to the SSD and slows the system down. More memory is good for running a lot of apps together.

    Hope this helps.
     
  6. glazball macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2017
    #6
    I use Dolphin on my Mini and it works fine for both Gamecube and Wii, though I haven't specifically tested Wind Waker. Not to derail the topic, but OP might be interested in HyperPie 2 instead of OpenEmu for retro gaming. Check out the video below Retro Mac Gamer who did the Mac port. He also has video tutorials to help with setup - and it looks and sounds freakin' amazing.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPce_SP8YJE
     
  7. wrkngclasshero thread starter macrumors regular

    wrkngclasshero

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2008
    Location:
    Columbia, MD
    #7
    I am acutely aware of HyoerPie. It absolutely looks awesome. I am hoping to get that running when i move to the new set up. I think it would most likely kill my existing machine.

    And a big thanks to everyone who weighed in. I think I’m pretty sold on this approach!
     
  8. Stephen.R macrumors 65816

    Stephen.R

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2018
    Location:
    Thailand
    #8
    I like it, it's nice to be back on a desktop (been on just a MBP for years). I still need to get an eGPU and a new TB3 drive array ordered though.
     

Share This Page

7 June 14, 2019