Dual core i5 v i7 dual core mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by heliocentric, Sep 30, 2011.

  1. heliocentric, Sep 30, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2011

    heliocentric Guest

    Nov 26, 2008
    Gonna get a high end mini.

    Is it worth upgrading (using for handbrake, some games, music production)?

    What can the i7 do that the i5 can't?

    Was gonna get sever model but lack of discrete gpu and higher fan noise (still not sure how much louder the server is over the normal mini?) put me off.

  2. shortcut3d macrumors 65816

    Aug 24, 2011
    The server model is great. Definitely much faster for CPU intensive task. The server model is in iMac territory in terms of CPU performance. Nearly comparable (10708 vs 9762[Winx64 - 11662]) to last years top of the line iMac (based on my own Geekbench results).

    The fan speed is not much different. It depends on the surface, and surrounding noise. For example, my Samsung HDTV is louder than the Mac Mini Server at idle. However, I can hear the Mac Mini Server sharing my 27" iMac screen. I still consider it reasonable, but not silent. Mac Mini i7 is silent in all situations.

    The Intel HD 3000 is NOT a good choice for gaming. I would think about how much handbrake vs gaming you will be doing and make that the deciding factor. Also, consider rare situations you may encounter with video playback (likely under Windows 7 bootcamp) such as 23.976 frame rate for blu-rays or the 29/59 frame rate bug on some premium CableCARD broadcast content. In these situations, the discrete graphics is far better option. Personally, I went with both i7 models (5 Macs in the home now).
  3. heliocentric thread starter Guest

    Nov 26, 2008
    Thanks for your reply ! :)

    Would love to go for the server but I don't think it's a viable option due to noise and the gpu...

    Just trying to decide between i5 and i7 and if it's worth the upgrade. I also get student discount so that helps...

    I will be using handbrake a lot and logic...
  4. monokitty macrumors regular

    Sep 16, 2011
    Frankly, I would go for the i7 - for a minuscule extra $100, it's a no brainer in my opinion (especially since it can't be upgraded after the fact). It'll perform better with Handbrake and Logic, and in addition to that, it makes your mini a little more future-proof, so to speak.
  5. Silverhawk macrumors member


    Oct 16, 2007
    Something tells me, if you're planning this model as an investment, get all the internal parts you'd ever want because this is not a model that you can easily replace the processor and other internals (aside from the RAM) :apple:

    But I too think it's tempting to get the server model only because of the dual-hdd's that you get in them
  6. shortcut3d macrumors 65816

    Aug 24, 2011
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    I usually go with the fastest CPU Apple offers for a particular model because it can not be upgraded later. There will be a marginal increase in performance using Handbrake between the i5 dual core and i7 dual core. The i7 quad core is a beast though. The hard drive and RAM are really easy to upgrade. The Apple "tax" on the hard drive is not bad.
  7. Buckeyes1995 macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2011
    I understand the hesitation with the server in regards to GPU. I went back and forth on this as well and ultimately decided on the server. There is at least one company working on an external thunderbolt GPU.. which tipped me towards the server.

    It really depends on what you are using it for. I use my Windows machine for gaming, so it wasn't that big of a deal for me.. that said, the Intel 3000 is pretty bad for gaming. I tried running WoW on it and the best I could achieve running at my Cinema display native resolution was putting in on LOW settings and running around 30 fps. Definitely not the machine you want if you want to game. But CPU intensive tasks, it smokes the dual cores.
  8. heliocentric thread starter Guest

    Nov 26, 2008
    Just went for it and ordered the high end mini with the i7 upgrade :)

    Should be a big improvement over my old 2.4ghz c2d MacBook right?

  9. Mr.C macrumors 601

    Apr 3, 2011
    London, UK.
    It should be. I went from a 2.53GHz Core 2Duo Mini to the 2011 Mini with the dual core i7. With the upgraded CPU, GPU and extra RAM there was a big improvement.
  10. shortcut3d macrumors 65816

    Aug 24, 2011
    Should be a big difference. I sold the exact same MB at the beginning of the year. It was not very good at Handbrake and or iMovie.
  11. heliocentric thread starter Guest

    Nov 26, 2008
    For another £64 I could of got the server...hope I made the right choice!
  12. sascha h-k macrumors 6502

    sascha h-k

    Apr 26, 2004
    vienna / austria
    i have a mini i7 with the original 500gb snail-hdd; here instead will be shortly 2 ssd's.

    so don't choose the 5.400rpm hdd, it destroys i7 speed completly.
  13. heliocentric thread starter Guest

    Nov 26, 2008
    cancelled the dual i7 and ordered the quad i7...do not intend on using for gaming much and from what i can tell the 6630m wouldnt help much for gaming anyway.

    just hope the fan noise doesnt do my head in lol

    for £64 it seemed worth it to get a 2nd hard drive and a quad core cpu...
  14. Osamede macrumors 6502a

    Oct 28, 2009
    The way the choices are on this model its a waste of time to get the faster CPUs. The I5 is allready quite fast, the i7 dual core doesnt add much more in practical usage, nor the i7 quad core.

    For normal tasks you will not notice a difference. If you are encocoding video or something, a large file you would not sit there watcing the screen anyway to, you'd be doing something else. So saving 2 minutes of a 10 minute task or even 10 minutes from a 1 hour tast is not all that meaingful.

    All the faster CPUs give you really is more heat, more fan noise and more risk. I'd avoid them - especially in the Mac Mini which is a very small physical package and very suceptible ot overheating. You're just asking for trouble in the short and long run.

    The i5 may be a "base" model but truth is it's still screamingly fast for most computing and well past the threshold of taking on the added difficulties of the other CPUs. In effect any CPU offered on this computer is already "high end".
  15. SR45 macrumors 65832


    Aug 17, 2011
    Agree completely with Osamede, having gone through the same back and forth decision between the i5 and i7. After finally doing my home work, asking a bunch of questions about the i5, I finally got the i5 with the slower 5400 rpm hdd, and upgraded the memory to 8 GB. Boy, glad I did not spend more for what I would never need and the box is so very quite, not to mention cool to the touch (No heat).

    Buy what you want, but be careful on which one for your needs, not others
  16. heliocentric thread starter Guest

    Nov 26, 2008

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