Assembling the worlds fastest Mac Mini DualCore i7 2011/2012

AT0MAC

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 4, 2011
135
0
Copenhagen, Denmark
Inspired by a guy known to the Internets as MKBHD I have started to build the worlds apparently fastest Mac Mini computer.

This is my 3rd Mac Mini I'm upgrading to the max so am no novice in that department.

If interested to see what "the opponent" have done, check out his videos:
Worlds Fastest Mac Mini Part1

What he have done to now claim to have the fastest Mac Mini is to get the build-to-order Intel Core i7 2.7GHz Mac Mini 2011, upgrade it with 2x8 GB OWC DDR1333 RAM and throwing in a OCZ Vertex 3 MAX IOPS Edition SSD drive.

Is that enough? Not if you ask me....


SPOILER ALERT:
There will not be any modding or actual building, but more like a step by step plan to chose the right components and how it goes after assembling the thing. Sprinkled with a bunch of benchmarks.

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[/COLOR]I will benchmark it and compare to both my former Mac but also compare it to the bench MKBHD have put on his Google+ and YouTube.


The machine I'm upgrading from is a Mac Mini 2010 server unibody (model ID 4.1) with specs as follow:

2.66 GHz Intel Core2Duo
nVidia GeForce 320M 256MB graphics
2x 4 GB Corsair DDR1066 RAM
2x Seagata Momentus XT 7.200RPM 500GB HDD / 4GB SSD in RAID0
OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Server

The opponent have:

Mac Mini 5.2 2011
2.7 GHz Intel DualCore i7
AMD Radeon HD6630m 256MB graphics
2x 8 GB OWC DDR1333 RAM
OCZ Vertex 3 MAX IOPS Edition SSD (I think it's 240GB)
OS X 10.7 Lion

I have just received the new Mac Mini, in standart it is:

Mac Mini 5.2 2011
2.7 GHz Intel DualCore i7
AMD Radeon HD6630m 256MB graphics
2x 2 GB DDR1333 RAM
5.400 RPM 500GB HDD
OS X 10.7 Lion

But the main event is the build:

Mac Mini 5.2 2011
2.7 GHz Intel DualCore i7
AMD Radeon HD6630m 256MB graphics
2x 8 GB Corsair Vengeance DDR1600 auto-overclocking RAM
2x Intel Series 520 240 GB SSD in RAID0
OS X 10.7 Lion

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2011 Mac Mini 8GB or 16GB RAM?

SSDs in RAID0 - what disc to choose?

Screw Types /Screwdirvers needed for a MacMini 2011

Thermal paste upgrade any difference?

Selling my Mac Mini


Also run this whole thread @Bit-Tech link
And on 123macmini

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Info:


Geekbench:


DiskSpeed:


NovaBench:


XBench:


CineBench OpenGL:


CineBench CPU:


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The GeekBench test scores on the old Mac is not that impressive, mostly because I tested it in Snow Leopard Server and only testet the 32bit edition of GeekBench.

I did however for a while run the machine with Lion and got some pretty amazing results:

4612 points 64bit
and
4316 points 32bit

To compare the new build to the machine I now sold is not the biggest deal, more to see how much the upgrading in this machine change.

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This is the stock version build-to-order DualCore i7 2.7GHz with the slow 5.400RPM drive and silly 4GB RAM.

Info:


Geekbench 32bit:


Geekbench 64bit:


DiskSpeed:


NovaBench:


XBench:

Something strange happened, I waited forever but could not get it to make the Thread test, so here it is without and were it got stuck.
Later on I learned that a SandyBridge CPU can't run the Thread test, so that mystery is now solved :)





CineBench will probably not change so much before/after upgrading, but am testing it anyway.

CineBench OpenGL:


CineBench CPU:


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Saturday when I saw that my preferred SSDs had gone a few $ up in price I decided to order them.

My guess is that because of the newly released iPad there will be a bit higher demand for good NAND the next few weeks/month and therefor prices atm will not fall as much as they used to.


2 pcs. Intel 520 Series 240GB top-of-the-line SSDs on the way to me




8)

Link to test

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Over at 123macmini another user pointed me to this site:

philiparcario said:
Here is a guy there with the most evil mini I have yet seen, shortcut3d, he have a 2011 Mac mini server
2.0GHz Quad-Core Intel i7
8GB 1866MHz Kingston Hyper X
Dual (2) 240GB OCZ Vertex 3 MAX IOPS!!!

That gives him a staggering 9730 points in GeekBench!

I think he have the score to beat...
The Server mini have slower graphics but a Quad-Core i7 instead (wich in raw MHz terms is also slower), he have faster RAM, but only half the size as me...


Hmm wondering if I can beat that...
 
Last edited:

philipma1957

macrumors 603
Apr 13, 2010
6,268
190
Howell, New Jersey
Well Let us see the posts when you test it.

BTW I am the philiparcario poster on the other site.

I have seen a few 8000 plus scores for the mini you are souping up. good luck maybe you can get to 9000
 

AT0MAC

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 4, 2011
135
0
Copenhagen, Denmark
Well Let us see the posts when you test it.

BTW I am the philiparcario poster on the other site.
Hi Phil, I definitely will post.
Just received RAM today, they look bad-ass!

Not sure if I should test now with only the RAM upgraded or if I should wait till I get the whole deal assembled, what do you think?
 

philipma1957

macrumors 603
Apr 13, 2010
6,268
190
Howell, New Jersey
Hi Phil, I definitely will post.
Just received RAM today, they look bad-ass!

Not sure if I should test now with only the RAM upgraded or if I should wait till I get the whole deal assembled, what do you think?
do it without the new ram. then just put the ram in and look for improvement. there is a question about the corsair ram and whether it upclocks like the kingston does. you should see an improvement on your geekbench score. i have only used the kingston but IIRC someone said the corsair does not stay at 1600 it downclocks to 1333.
 

AT0MAC

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 4, 2011
135
0
Copenhagen, Denmark
I have a 9746 on my 2011 Mac Mini Server....

http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/530386
That's VERY nice!

What disc's are you using?

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do it without the new ram. then just put the ram in and look for improvement. there is a question about the corsair ram and whether it upclocks like the kingston does. you should see an improvement on your geekbench score. i have only used the kingston but IIRC someone said the corsair does not stay at 1600 it downclocks to 1333.
Really? So my sparkling new 1600MHz is downclocked to 1333? I have to try that out... Anywho, if it does that - my CL timings should be really really good right?
 

shortcut3d

macrumors 65816
Aug 24, 2011
1,112
15

shortcut3d

macrumors 65816
Aug 24, 2011
1,112
15
I was hoping to hear from you. They both seems very interesting, do you have DiskSpeed test screen dumps I can see?
Traveling for work so I will not be in front of my 2011 Mac minis for a couple of days. However, ATTO Disk Benchmark in Windows 7 64-bit with AHCI enabled his the advertised speeds (550/500). I'm not running RAID 0 on the 2011 Mac mini server because of dual boot. If I could get bootcamp working over Thunderbolt my problems would be solved.
 

shortcut3d

macrumors 65816
Aug 24, 2011
1,112
15
More Windows Index Scores for both the 2.7GHz Dual-Core Intel i7 and the 2.0GHz Quad-Core Intel i7. If you pay attention to the memory scores the 1866MHz nets 7.6 on the Dual-Core and a perfect 7.9 on the Quad-Core. You'll see why the Primary Hard Disk Score is a perfect 7.9 as well in the ATTO Disk Benchmark results.

I also included ATTO Disk Benchmark for the 240GB OCZ Vertex 3 MAX IOPS FW 2.15. Writes:517MB/s Reads: 560MB/s - Outstanding results. Please note that this bootcamp partition is highly optimized with AHCI enabled and the latest Intel Rapid Storage Drivers.
 

Attachments


theSeb

macrumors 604
Aug 10, 2010
6,963
83
Poole, England
I'm running the Samsung 1TB 5400rpm drives...HN-M101MBB Model Number. With GeekBench, HDDs don't matter as much.
They don't matter at all. Memory and CPU are the things that matter.

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I have two insane 2011 Mac mini builds that bench quite well.

2011 Mac mini
2.7GHz Dual-Core Intel i7
8GB 1866MHz Kingston Hyper X
240GB OCZ Vertex 3 MAX IOPS
750GB 7200RPM Western Digital Scorpio Black
http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/491465

2011 Mac mini server
2.0GHz Quad-Core Intel i7
8GB 1866MHz Kingston Hyper X
Dual (2) 240GB OCZ Vertex 3 MAX IOPS
http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/488313
http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/504241
Interesting difference between windows and osx.

Edit: Here are my results

2011 Mini Server with 1600 MHz Kingston RAM - 9783
http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/530246

2011 Mini Server with stock RAM - 9521
http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/530175

Cinebench 11.5 CPU benchmark (all cores) - 4.5 pts - memory does not impact this benchmark

 
Last edited:

AT0MAC

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 4, 2011
135
0
Copenhagen, Denmark
Wondering if I should invest in a pair of "spare" 8GB 1866MHz Kingston Hyper X PnP RAM, just to see were my mini would get the best scores?

They cost less than half of the Corsairs here in Denmark, so might be fun to try them out also...

Just received my SSDs today, the boxes them self are a whole lot smaller than I thought they would be. Will not plug them in until I get Easter holiday.



Nice to see some scores from my fellow evil mini builders, I couldn't really believe when MKBHD, that guy from YouTube I linked to in the beginning, claimed he had the worlds fastest Mac Mini - we just proved him wrong.
He seems to be all-in on getting hyped and famous trough YouTube, not an actual geek/builder/modder like the people I have found here on MacRumors, 123macmini and Bit-Tech - thanks for the awesome posts, keep it coming!

I'm learning a LOT from this project
 

AT0MAC

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 4, 2011
135
0
Copenhagen, Denmark
Decided to just order the Kingston DDR1866 before going to bed, in hope of that I can have them before the weekend were I have some time for benching them up against the Corsairs.

For short:



vs.

 

shortcut3d

macrumors 65816
Aug 24, 2011
1,112
15
A lot of performance can be gained through software tweaks, drivers, etc. That's why my Windows 7 scores are insane. Every driver possible from the bootcamp 4 driver load was replaced with the OEM driver and the settings tweaked. I also enabled AHCI and installed the entire Intel Management Engine and Rapid Storage Drivers.
 

Magrathea

macrumors regular
Aug 21, 2008
193
0
I have the i7 dual core and threw in the cheapest SSD I could find, C300 Corsair 126Mb. I now get 250Mbps writes and 500Mbps reads! Insane. OWC drivers raided will get you 1 Gbps I've read!

THe SSD remade this machine, it rocks but for video you still need a quad core or greater for encoding and editing 1080p 60 - sure you can do it fine but takes a long time to do anything what that footage. I'd be overjoyed if I could buy a 12 cpus Mac Pro beast!!!
 

shortcut3d

macrumors 65816
Aug 24, 2011
1,112
15
I have the i7 dual core and threw in the cheapest SSD I could find, C300 Corsair 126Mb. I now get 250Mbps writes and 500Mbps reads! Insane. OWC drivers raided will get you 1 Gbps I've read!

THe SSD remade this machine, it rocks but for video you still need a quad core or greater for encoding and editing 1080p 60 - sure you can do it fine but takes a long time to do anything what that footage. I'd be overjoyed if I could buy a 12 cpus Mac Pro beast!!!
Even my 2010 27" iMac 2.93GHz Quad-Core Intel i7 and the modified 2011 Mac mini server above struggle with 1080p encodes. Turning off decomb and detelecine on Blu-Ray will give an extra few fps and is completely unnecessary. A 12 core Mac Pro will not give you the big speed advantage as Handbrake does not scale linear with cores.
 

AT0MAC

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 4, 2011
135
0
Copenhagen, Denmark
A lot of performance can be gained through software tweaks, drivers, etc. That's why my Windows 7 scores are insane. Every driver possible from the bootcamp 4 driver load was replaced with the OEM driver and the settings tweaked. I also enabled AHCI and installed the entire Intel Management Engine and Rapid Storage Drivers.
In the end I will give Windows 7 Ultimate a test run for benchmarking, I have a image file directly from Microsoft that allows me to use it for 30 days before activating.

Exactly what drivers do I have to swap out to get better performance under Windows 7?
 

lali

macrumors regular
Oct 14, 2007
161
17
It would be great if you could test your progress. It is an old post I made, handbrake is now at 0.9.6 but still it would be nice to see the results, AT0MAC and everyone:

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1119583

thanks

François

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A 12 core Mac Pro will not give you the big speed advantage as Handbrake does not scale linear with cores.
Really? I thought that in handbrake, encoding was indeed threaded (decoding not threaded)?
thanks
 

shortcut3d

macrumors 65816
Aug 24, 2011
1,112
15
It would be great if you could test your progress. It is an old post I made, handbrake is now at 0.9.6 but still it would be nice to see the results, AT0MAC and everyone:

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1119583

thanks

François

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Really? I thought that in handbrake, encoding was indeed threaded (decoding not threaded)?
thanks
Handbrake is multi-threaded, but does not scale linearly with the number of cores. In fact, after 8 processing units including HT, people turn off HT to get better performance.

SSDs dramatically speed up remuxing. For example, remuxing to the same HDD takes +20 minutes, HDD to SSD +14 minutes, SSD +8 minutes, SSD to SSD +4 minutes and the CPU is the bottleneck. When I have a full queue of remuxing my systems sounds like its encoding in handbrake!

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In the end I will give Windows 7 Ultimate a test run for benchmarking, I have a image file directly from Microsoft that allows me to use it for 30 days before activating.

Exactly what drivers do I have to swap out to get better performance under Windows 7?
You need the Broadcom drivers for network components, latest Intel or AMD graphics drivers, and Intel Rapid Storage Drivers. The last needs to be installed after performing the AHCI hack to enable AHCI. This will break bootcamp control panel and prevents sleep and hibernation. However, AHCI is the single biggest boost to disk performance. I would never hit 560MB/s with a single drive without AHCI enabled.
 

AT0MAC

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 4, 2011
135
0
Copenhagen, Denmark
It would be great if you could test your progress. It is an old post I made, handbrake is now at 0.9.6 but still it would be nice to see the results, AT0MAC and everyone:

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1119583

thanks

François
I will give it a go.

Anyhing else you think I can bench?
Atm I'm downloading the beta trial of Photoshop CS6, anyone have a good bench test to do in that?

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You need the Broadcom drivers for network components, latest Intel or AMD graphics drivers, and Intel Rapid Storage Drivers. The last needs to be installed after performing the AHCI hack to enable AHCI. This will break bootcamp control panel and prevents sleep and hibernation. However, AHCI is the single biggest boost to disk performance. I would never hit 560MB/s with a single drive without AHCI enabled.
The AHCI, Intel Rapid Storage and AMD graphics drivers should be well easy enough to find - but Broadcom is a HUGE company, exactly what drivers/types should I look for?
 

AT0MAC

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 4, 2011
135
0
Copenhagen, Denmark
I have been running benchmarks most of today but decided to make them into comparison graphs to cut down on the amount of stills added to the thread.

Will post them when I have ran more benchs.

Just installed the 16GB DDR3 1600MHz right now and will over night run a couple of Rember tests to see if they work as expected.
Can though already tell that they DO run 1600MHz even in a Mac Mini, the auto overclock thingy seems to work.