cuad-core i7+3000HD or dual-core i7+AMD Radeon 6630

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by jonjon1, Jul 20, 2011.

  1. jonjon1 macrumors newbie

    Jul 20, 2011
    Hi there!
    I study architecture. And i really was waiting for the new Macmini. Graphics are really important for my career, but now i really dont know which one to buy!
    MacMini 2.0GHz quad-core i7 with Intel 3000HD or MacMini 2.7GHz dual-core i7 with AMD Radeon 6630M.
    Wich one would be better for me, thinking the price difference is only 100 dollars!
    Thanks a lot!
  2. richmlow macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2002
    I would recommend getting a MacMini configuration which contains the AMD Radeon 6630M. Of course, there are many "Build To Order" options that you need to consider. However, I think that the most important ones (relative to current MacMini offerings) are:

    1. GPU: The discrete AMD Radeon 6630M is much more powerful than the integrated Intel 3000HD. There is no question about that.

    2. RAM: 4GB worth of RAM is fine...especially with the memory hogs of current-day software and operating system.

    With regards to CPU, I wouldn't worry to much about the differences between 2.5GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5, 2.7GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7, and 2.0GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7. These different CPUs have negligible speed variations, and slightly different L2 caches.

    Again to reiterate, get a configuration which contains the AMD Radeon me on this one!!

    As for me, I am also planning to purchase a new Mac Mini within this week. The configuration that I'm planning to get is as follows:

    2.5GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5
    4GB RAM memory
    500GB hard drive
    AMD Radeon 6630M
    OS X Lion

    Activities that I'll be using it for include: web-browsing, webpage design, word-processing, email, Mathematica programming, LaTeX typesetting, music, video, and gaming.

    Good luck on your decision! =)


  3. srf4real macrumors 68040


    Jul 25, 2006
    paradise beach FL
    For me, knowing that I watch movies on my big flatscreen not my Apple, and I play video games on my PS3 not my Apple, but I work heavily with Photoshop and other digital imaging apps.. the HD3000 will do me fine.

    I weighed the benefits of having four multi-threaded cores running 64 bit apps on a SSD when ordering the mini server over the high end mini.
  4. jonjon1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 20, 2011
    Sorry, didnt get that last part. So you say the high end mini isnt good enaugh? But the high end mini runs for multi-threadad cores in 64bit. Am i right?

    What would be better at the end... cuad core with turbo boost to 3.4GHz. or dual core with AMD Radeon 6630M 256MB?

    Thanks a lot richmlow! Your post was very helpful!
  5. srf4real macrumors 68040


    Jul 25, 2006
    paradise beach FL
    Yep, the i5 is multi thread as well. Just four threads at once as opposed to eight in the i7. I don't know if I'll ever be able to load up the whole chip at once in my lifetime- but I feel very far away from obsolete. I get my new macs with specs timed to last most of a decade...
  6. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    I have a 2.3ghz dual-core laptop, with the 6630m GPU. It's pleanty fast. For some comparisons, where I can get 40+ FPS in Rift, I can get about 0-1fps if I use the 3000 GPU.

    It's not that I would pick the 6630m, as much as I would never ever ever try to use the 3000 GPU for anything 3d related.
  7. srf4real macrumors 68040


    Jul 25, 2006
    paradise beach FL
    0-1 fps? Seriously? Anyways, I probably don't belong in this thread.. as I stated I do games on ps3 and movies on bigsreen, bluray ps3, etc..

    If 3D performance is that inhibited and important to your needs I'd have to consider these guys with real world experience.
  8. obsidian1200 macrumors 6502


    Jun 19, 2010
    Albuquerque, NM
    Just out of personal curiosity, how much RAM does the GPU in your laptop have? If it's only 256MB, like the card in the Mac Mini, then those numbers are quite impressive.
  9. flyer05 macrumors newbie

    Jul 20, 2011
    I have the same question: server quad-core i7 with 3000HD or high-end dual-core i7 with Radeon 6630M.

    I primarily want the mini to use as an HTPC and to serve my music/video content to other computers/tablets/iphones around my house, but I'd also like to do some video editing in the future. Which would be better for final cut pro x - the better gpu or the extra cores? Will I take a hit on viewing HD content if I don't get the discrete gpu? The HTPC aspects are definitely the priority for me.

    Any help would be much appreciated!
  10. Tulpa macrumors regular

    May 11, 2011
    Quad core is probably the biggest difference-maker for encoding video, as long as you're using an app that uses all the cores. Which makes me wonder about this statement:

    I can't imagine that a quad core and dual core i7 from the same generation are comparable in speed.
  11. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    Slight differences between quad core and dual core? Ok.
  12. AustinZ macrumors member


    Aug 6, 2008
    If the application can run four to eight threads the quad-core chip should blow the other two out of the water, even if each core is running at a slightly slower clock frequency. But if you're talking about light Microsoft Office 2011 and iTunes usage I daresay there won't be much of a difference.
  13. japtor macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2010
    Luckily the CPUs (the quad 2.0 and dual 2.7 at least) were already in the MBPs for months and benchmarked, such as with Geekbench. Looking at the 64-bit numbers, the quad 2.0 is about 25% faster than the dual 2.7. Depending on the task it'll vary but the dual seems to hold it's own decently considering it has half the cores/threads...I imagine the higher clock (and turbo clock) helps a bunch. If the graphics are a good enough bump above the HD3000 I'll probably get the 2.5 or 2.7.
  14. moxxey macrumors regular

    Feb 27, 2011
    One key area where the quad-core chip excels is virtualization.

    For example, I'm able to allocate two cores to OS X and two cores to Windows 7, making both operating systems rather fast. Under a dual core machine, you can't do that.

    So, for this example, I can't figure if the dual core i7 (with Radeon) will be better or worse than the quad core i7 (with Intel)?
  15. TheRdungeon macrumors 6502

    Jul 21, 2011
    I'm seriously considering getting one of these for Logic Pro 9, graphics doesn't matter at all. Currently using it on a 2.4GHz C2D MBP but it's maxing out with the plugins I'm using, Most likely going for the Quad Core but will be running Logic in 32bit mode as that's what some of the plugins run in.

    You guys reckon it's worth it? I already plug this into a screen, mouse and keyboard and run dual 500GB HDDs with an optibay so it seems almost identical setup wise, just much faster. Sorry for thread hijack haha, but similar.
  16. biosci macrumors 6502a

    Apr 16, 2010
    Chicagoland, IL
    Does the radeon at all helps with pushing out the HDMI or video out more than the integrated graphics? I want to push out mkvs through the HDMI but have the standard monitor be able to work. What about encoding iMovie's or working with your photo libraries etc? Does the Radeon help that much more over there? Or should I best go with the quad core?

    Going a 4gb quad core with 750gb + 256gbssd is cheaper than the same with the 4gb 2.7 i7....

  17. Mr.C macrumors 601

    Apr 3, 2011
    London, UK.
    I presume that games don't make use of the additional cores in the quad core so for running games the dual core with the more powerful Radeon GPU will be much better. One thing I noticed was that the integrated Intel GPU only supports Direct X 10 where as the AMD Radeon 6630M supports Direct X 11. In games I imagine that will make a difference.
  18. Nanker/Phelge macrumors regular

    Dec 6, 2010
    I believe there is a massive difference in speed between the dual core and the quad core i7's...go to and check out the Geekbench scores for the 13" high end MPB and the 15" base MBP, those machines use the same respective chips.
  19. Nanker/Phelge macrumors regular

    Dec 6, 2010
    Also, in terms of video encoding have a look at this thread:

    With these results for the "Big Black Bunny" test:

    13" MBP 2.3GHz Dual Core i5 4GB RAM - 10 mins 22 secs @ 23.06 fps (Base Mini +2GB RAM)
    13" MBP 2.7GHz Dual Core i7 4GB RAM - 9 mins 53 secs @ 24.18 fps (Upgraded Mini w/ i7)
    15" MBP 2.0GHz Quad Core i7 4GB RAM - 6 mins 44 secs @ 35.31 fps (Mini Server)

    I would expect to see similar results with the Minis
  20. gpat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 1, 2011
    The Mini seems pointless to me, aside from the $599 model and the Server one for Server purposes. If you plan to get the AMD 6630 or the Quad model for workstation purpose, you could as well get a base iMac with IPS LED screen for little more.
  21. azentropy macrumors 68020


    Jul 19, 2002
    Some people already have their own screens and/or prefer better/matte screens.
  22. Mr.C macrumors 601

    Apr 3, 2011
    London, UK.
    That maybe so but at the same time it all depends on personal needs. I wouldn't mind getting an iMac however there are two issues for me in this respect. Firstly I neither have space for or need the display and it's not like I can just sell the display on it's own to get rid of it. Secondly I already own an Apple Bluetooth keyboard, Magic Mouse and Track Pad. Granted this is a small issue as I can just sell the included keyboard and mouse but I can't do that with the display.

    If Apple offered an option like the iMac but with the display as a separate option then I would go for that. The Mac Pros are way over my budget not to mention overkill for what I use the computer for. My only option is a Mac Mini.

    Please don't assume the iMac is the best or the right option for everyone.
  23. biosci macrumors 6502a

    Apr 16, 2010
    Chicagoland, IL
    What other tasks are better benefitted by the quad 2.0 vs the dual 2.7 i7? Also, is the graphics card diff important to running VLC or boxee/plex/htpc duties via HDMI AND use as a comp on the other display?
  24. localoid macrumors 68020


    Feb 20, 2007
    America's Third World
    After checking the specs of the new minis yesterday my first thought was that the i7 quad system would seem to have great potential if used as a DAW. If it's using the Intel Core i7-2635QM it should benchmark in the same ballpark as some 4-core Mac Pros in terms of raw CPU power. I look forward to seeing more detailed specs and the Geekbench results for it.
  25. youarethegovt macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2009
    You plan on running Revit? If so, how will you be running Windows?

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