Base 2012 or Mid 2012, worth the $200 jump?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Pierrel, Dec 1, 2013.

  1. Pierrel macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2011
    #1
    Hi,

    I'm looking at buying myself a Mac mini during the upcoming holidays. But I'm fighting a conflict between buying the base or the mid level Mini.
    I will be using the computer to edit images and some video, browse the internet, and as a media center to my TV.

    The plan is to upgrade the computer with 8 or 16gb ram, and install an SSD to run as boot disk. If I go with the cheaper base model, I can fit a 250gb SSD and 16gb memory in the budget, whereas if I go for the mid level i7, I can put a 120gb and 8gb ram into it.

    I will most likely trade the computer within 2-3 years.
    Maybe, since I'm asking the question if the i7 is justified, I will be fine with the i5 and it will do good these next few years?

    Thoughts, comments etc are much welcome!

    Thanks!
     
  2. mvmanolov macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2013
    #2

    ok so the i5 is based off of the i5 MBP which i have and am unimpressed with the performance... using the MBP as HTPC was not so amazing. the fans would spool up way too often and things would run less than smoothly )with a 840 Pro in it)

    i currently use my 2.6 i7 mini and the thing is fantastic - best machine i have ever had in fact...

    I say go with the 2.3 i7 and get apple's 256 SSD (which will cost you less than a 256 SSD outside of the same quality 830 or 840). MAV's memory management is fantastic and you will be able to survive with the 4gig for a little while until you have the $$$ to upgrade that...

    just my 2 cents :D

    good luck
     
  3. Elho macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2013
    Location:
    Belgium
    #3
    What about an i7 without ssd, is that also as impressive? Or do you really need the ssd to profit from the speed?
     
  4. mvmanolov macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2013
    #4
    Well, once you go SSD you never go back...

    to be quite honest you can live without it but it really will make a world of a difference..

    So even if you don't buy it now, i would definitely have that as my first upgrade down the line... also don't get a 128 SSD a 256 will be much faster and worth the extra... you can then partition it and use the extra space for other non OS related files that can benefit from the speed like using your iTunes library on the mini as a server library...
     
  5. Elho macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2013
    Location:
    Belgium
    #5
    Hmm I see. I was doubting about the i7 with fusion drive, just to avoid the hassle of building one in a brand new Mac. But with fusion drive the price is going up...

    Better to buy the stock i7, and save some money, and update it after a couple of months to a 256ssd.
     
  6. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604

    SnowLeopard2008

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #6
    You don't need an i7.

    I don't know why and i7 is needed for a HTPC unless you are ripping DVD/Blu-Ray discs and encode them. For multimedia playback, the integrated Intel graphics are more than sufficient.

    The biggest net gain in performance/speed is the addition of an SSD. I'd advise to wait for Haswell Mac minis but no one knows for sure when they will be released. Haswell + SSD is a pretty good performance jump.
     
  7. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #7
    the i7 with the ssd is a very fast machine . you can run an external ssd as the boot drive. thus move it to the next machine.

    ----------

    yep
     
  8. Elho macrumors regular

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    Oct 22, 2013
    Location:
    Belgium
    #8
    Dont need the i7 for media playback? Try to encode a 6gb mkv with iflick on a 2008 MacBook 2.0 core2duo... Takes like 6-7 hours!!
     
  9. mvmanolov macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 27, 2013
    #9
    well anything CPU intensive the quad will kill..

    my i5 MBP scores about 5500 on GB3 and the mini does 13k....

    soooo, if you are doing a lot of cpu intensive/ multitasking the i7 is worth it by a long shot..

    and yes waiting for SSD won't kill you but once you buy it you'll never want a HD for os :D
     
  10. Schnort macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #10
    That's media conversion, not media playback.

    An i3 w/HD4000 is plenty good for 1080p playback.

    If you're doing lots of media conversion and can't wait, then an i7 is the best bet.

    if not, the i5 is good enough for whatever you're doing. The extra cores aren't that useful for most tasks, and the top speed of the i5 vs. i7 is pretty close.
     
  11. mvmanolov macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 27, 2013
    #11
    right, that is top speed per core at 32 bit but most apps are designed to use multi-core 64 bit..
     
  12. Pierrel thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2011
    #12
    Thanks for the input all you guys! Really appreciate it!

    Sadly, I cannot BTO a Mac mini. The reason is because a friend of mine will buy the machine while on a business trip to the US. Apple actually wants over $800 for the base model here! That way, I can either save some money, or spend about the same as in Sweden, but get a faster machine!

    I'm thinking, getting the i7 with a 256 gb SSD like the 840 evo, and "just" 8 gb of RAM might just be everything I need. Since I will be doing photo/video edits with the machine, maybe it's not the appropriate time to be "cheap" ? :D


    Indeed I'd want to wait for the Haswell mini, and I'm hoping for a silent update before Christmas. But, I don't believe apple will launch a new mini this year. (I'd be more than happy to be proven wrong though!!)
     
  13. mvmanolov macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 27, 2013
    #13
    you are not the only one to take advantage of the cheaper prices in north america, its pretty crazy what you guys have to pay over the pound...
     
  14. EdwardC macrumors regular

    EdwardC

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2012
    Location:
    Georgia
    #14
    Buy the i5 and spend $ 140.00 on 16GB of RAM!!
     
  15. mvmanolov macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 27, 2013
    #15
    1) with MAV management code 8 gig becomes virtually 10 gig
    2) with an SSD swap files become less of a pain
    3) OP can always upgrade ram at a later point but will never be able to do anything about the CPU and give that this is coming from the US it would be a shame for him to find out that he actually needed the i7...

    my 2 cents :D
     
  16. Schnort macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #16
    32 or 64 bit has nothing to do with it. It has to do with the thermal dissipation ability of the silicon & package. For single and/or lightly multithreaded applications the difference between the two chips is pretty minimal, boiling down to some minor gains from more cores and a larger cache on the i7, plus a slightly larger thermal envelope.

    Almost all apps are single threaded, and only a few really benefit from multithreading beyond 2 cores. Video encoding is one of those. Source code compilation can be one (though poor IO implementation of the compilers can hold that back)

    Spreadsheets? nope. Watching video? Not really. games? Mostly nope. Websurfing? nope.
     
  17. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #17
    If you're going to buy a "late 2012", get the i7.

    You will never regret having spent the extra money up front.

    The CPU is the only thing inside that isn't user-replaceable in the future.
     
  18. corvus32 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #18
    Until they're updated and the new base model Mini has as much CPU performance as you just paid $200 extra for.

    However, as a stockholder, I encourage this activity.
     
  19. hudson1 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2012
    #19
    How many years/revisions will it take for a base mini to match the CPU power of the current i7, considering the current i7 has about double the CPU scores as the current i5?

    ----------

    Please help me understand this better. It seems from the OP's needs, he/she is looking to use this future mini as a media storage and playback device. There's also the image/video editing need mentioned but those are very storage intensive, too. Is spending money on an SSD going to help this person in a tangible way or will he/she simply have to go with external storage anyway which might defeat the purpose?
     
  20. mvmanolov macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2013
    #20

    What is not up for debate is the fact that an SSD will make the OP's machine "tangibly" faster...

    What is up for debate is whether the cost/benefit analysis means that it's worth it...

    But that is not something you or i can determine! It's for the OP to decide....

    Personally an extra 150-250 for an SSD is something that to me it is worth it, even though i do not use the mini for "pro" purposes... To you that may not be worth it... a valid position indeed (nothing i can say about it).

    What i think you need to clarify is what exact purpose is being defeated by buying an SSD and then using a HDD for storing large media libraries?

    And if the OP buys a 256 SSD why would he/she not use part of it (as the OS only takes up about 30gig, with apps) to store the various image/video files that the he/she will be editing, thereby profiting significantly from that ver "tangible benefit" of the SSD's speed?
     
  21. hudson1 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2012
    #21
    I guess what I was getting at is a movie only plays at one speed regardless of what drive is used. If that's the only or primary use, it's hard for *me* to see how an SSD becomes a valuable upgrade for the OP considering they are anything but free and there's a real limit to how many can go on an SSD.
     
  22. Schnort macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #22
    The value with the ssd is having the system files on it, not that you're playing movies off of it.

    It also valuable if you're doing content creation.
     
  23. mvmanolov macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2013
    #23
    yeah, i know what you mean in terms of the cost. and do think that the OP needs to make a decision on the basis of his budget/need/want :D
     
  24. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000

    Santabean2000

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    #24
    I'd get the i7, 8GB RAM and the save again for an SSD. SSDs will only drop in price and increase in capacity.
     
  25. corvus32 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #25
    Don't confuse synthetic benchmark scores with real world performance.

    Macworld has some real world benchmarks for the past three generations of Mini's located here, and nowhere is the current 2.3 i7 even close to being twice as fast as the current i5. In fact, you really need to go from dual core Sandy Bridge to quad core Ivy Bridge to see a significant difference. By comparing each model's results from that page, it's pretty obvious that the next base model Mini will slide in very similar to (if not above) the 2.3 i7 plus have MUCH better graphics.

    For most people, the current i5 Mini with a SSD and 8GB of RAM is more than adequate.
     

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