Buying a Mini: 2012 i7 with upgrades or 2014 loaded?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by gdourado, Jan 7, 2015.

  1. gdourado macrumors 6502


    Apr 22, 2010
    Hello, how are you?
    I need your help here.
    I want to buy a mini.
    I currently have two options:
    Option 1 is buy a 2012 2.3 i7 Mini and upgrade the RAM and install a SSD.
    This would be:
    - 2012 i7 2.3 Mini
    - Kingston HyperX Impact 16gb CL9 1600MHZ RAM Kit
    - Samsung 840 EVO 500GB

    This would set me back around 1000 Euros for the full kit.

    Option 2 is to buy a 2014 with the following specs:
    - 2.6 Dual core i5
    - 16gb of ram
    - 256GB PCIe SSD

    This would set me back around 900.

    So, to get the 2012 with upgrades it would cost 100 more.
    I would get a quad-core that scores around 11000 in geek bench and a bigger SSD, although it would be SATA 3.

    The 2014 comes with a dual core that only scores around 6500 in geek bench. Big difference... But it comes with PCI SSD and faster graphics. The Iris is supposed to be a big step up from the ageing HD4000...

    All in all, I don't know what to do...
    I would use the machine for general web-browsing, email, some iWork and then some photography, with lightroom and photoshop.
    I work with 16mpx raw files from my fuji X camera.

    I already own a monitor, magic mouse and apple keyboard.

    I guess what I am mostly asking is if the i7 quad of the 2012 is that much better outside the geek bench aspect and if it is worth it for me?

    Thanks for helping out.

  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I'd say its a toss up beaded on your usage, I don't think LR will fully take advantage of the quad core processors. I could be wrong, but I think buying newer for less makes more sense.

    Do you think you can live within 256GB of storage?

    While I lament the loss of quad core processors in the mini, you are spending a lot of money on an older model (granted nicely upgraded).
  3. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    I can confim what Mike said.
    Lr makes no relevant use of quadcore and 16gb RAM.
    Same goes for Ps for mere photoediting.
  4. dont24 macrumors regular

    Jan 17, 2005
    I'm in the same boat. Looking to replace my aging 2007 24" iMac with a mini. Been looking for a refurb'd 2012 quad with a fusion drive. They don't show up often on the Apple site. Mid level 2014 with 16GB and a 1TB fusion is $1033 for me. 2012 quad with a fusion is $759, plus the cost to upgrade to 16GB. I'm leaning towards a 2014, since what I use doesn't make use of a quad.
  5. gdourado, Jan 7, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2015

    gdourado thread starter macrumors 6502


    Apr 22, 2010
    Hello, thank you for your replies!
    Here's an update on my part.

    To try out the waters, I took my gaming PC and did a quick hackintosh install.
    Here's what I did:

    With VMWare workstation I used an OS X 10.8 image to create a Yosemite install drive with the Clover Bootloader. Used clover to get full UEFI boot.

    Took out my windows install SSD and installed an old 2.5 inch hdd I had laying around.
    Took out my data drives and both the GTX 970's.
    Plugged the monitor to the onboard display port and fired away the machine.

    Accessed the BIOS and tweaked it around.
    Think god for Asrock bios profiles. Have my Windows config saved.

    Installed Yosemite, did the post install (Took around 1 hour).

    Then booted OS X 10.10.1.

    It worked with some minor issues, like:
    - Onboard sound doesn't work. I guess it is because my board has the SoundCore 3D chip. I disabled onboard audio in the Bios and my Fiio E17 USB works great.
    - Sleep doesn't work. I put the computer to sleep, it goes down, comes back up immediately and the screen stays black.

    Other than that from my quick tour, everything else seems to work.
    - The computer does not freeze or hang.
    - I can use the App Store (downloaded some of my old purchases)
    - I am typing this post from Yosemite
    - With my Trust Bluetooth USB dongle, the Apple Keyboard and Magic Mouse work.
    - Ethernet works. I loaded a KEXT I found for the Killer Network adapter in Clover. The Intel adapter is disabled in the Bios.

    Ran geek bench in trial 32 bit mode and got this:

    Pretty sweet.
    And this is with a very old, very slow 2.5 inch 5400 rpm Hard Drive.
    With an SSD, it should improve I guess...

    Guess if I want to pursue this, I should get a recommended mackintosh Gigabyte board.
    I haven't found any mackintosh builds with my Asrock Z97 Fatality Professional.

    Any thoughts on this?

  6. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    What was the purpose of this exercise?
  7. gdourado thread starter macrumors 6502


    Apr 22, 2010
    To try and see if a mackintosh would be a viable alternative to a Mini.

  8. Celerondon macrumors 6502a


    Oct 17, 2013
    Southern Cal
    Did you mean to type...

  9. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    Geekbench bases it's measurements on CPU, RAM speed and OS.
    From my experience there is no significant connection to real world performance (for the apps you are planning to use)

    I would not base a buying decision on it at all.
  10. gdourado thread starter macrumors 6502


    Apr 22, 2010
    Yes, I meant Mackintosh. It was a typo. :)

  11. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    As someone with a tricked out Hackintosh (i7-4770K @ 4.3ghz, 24GB RAM, Dual SSD's for OS, dual AMD 7870's), I can tell you that if you are planning on it being a day to day work machine then you are better off with a real Mac. A Hack is great as a secondary machine, and gaming in OSX. It's a great machine to turn on and really rip thru some handbrake encodes, but in the end I rarely turn it on. The power states do not work right and thus is burns a lot of power at idle and can't come out of sleep. I have to use some old ethernet "drivers" because if I use the newest ones it fails to transfer my handbrake encodes after it completes them (starts copying and then just stops).

    Once the 2014's came out and could drive two 1440P monitors, I basically only use my Hack now in Windows 8.1 on the rare occassion I need to use Windows. Kinda sad.

    And yes before you ask, I followed a Tony Mac build to be sure to use a proper motherboard before I even began.
  12. spatlese44 macrumors 6502

    Dec 13, 2007
    Why isn't there a real world benchmark? Seems we need one. Stretching way back in my old PC days, I thought I recalled things like that existed. Nothing is going to be perfect as there's always going to be some balance between CPU, graphics and IO speed, but some sort of metric would be useful. People might be missing the boat on the 2014 Mini because all that's available is the Geekbench and the specs. It's like digital cameras. Everybody thought more pixels was better. There's more to it than a number.
  13. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    There is no one perfect benchmark (really there never has been even in the PC world). The problem is benchmarks need to looked at based on what you do. For example, if you do a lot of 3D work, then Unigen might be your best benchmark since it stresses the GPU. If you do a lot of handbrake then geekbench probably is your best bet (although my problem with Geekbench is that the benchmark only stresses the CPU for a short period before throttling would really begin), if you do more IO intensive stuff then maybe BlackMagic is more important.

    The other problem with benchmark programs is that they aren't really real world experience. Most are just synthetic numbers which really doesn't mean much. They are more for 16 year old boys to run around spouting off about getting X number in Y program and Number B in program C.
  14. kanewtz macrumors member

    Nov 10, 2014
    Northern Ontario
    Lightroom makes no difference on either machine.

    LR5 doesn't even make use of my 750m on my rMBP when in use.
  15. LaloG macrumors member

    Mar 29, 2013

    Same situation for me so let me ask... would the 2.6 i5 mini and only upgrading to 1TB fusion drive be enough for photoshop and lightroom? I was thinking of trying to get a quad core 2012 but it looks like there's no need for this.This is for my wife and a mini fits in our budget (under 1k since we still need to buy a monitor) just trying to find the right one for photoshop and lightroom.
  16. kanewtz macrumors member

    Nov 10, 2014
    Northern Ontario
    I use LR5 on my MacMini (see sig for specs) with no issues.

    I paid:
    MacMini - $629
    RAM - $129.99
    SSD - $89.99

    Not too shabby to have a powerful little MAC

    I already had a 1920x1200 Monitor.
  17. LaloG macrumors member

    Mar 29, 2013

    That's a good price. Gotta keep my eye out for the apple store!

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