i3 vs i7 Mac mini 2018

natazar

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 23, 2019
7
0
Hi all,

Please help me choose.

I am switching from Windows to macOS.

I'm not living in USA, but will convert all prices into dollars to make it more clear.
Option 1: used 2018 mac mini with i3 8gb ram(will upgrade to 16gb), SSD 128gb +magic trackpad 2 space gray + magic keyboard space gray - great condition, from a colleague for 900$.
or
Option 2: new 2018 mac mini with i7, 8gb ram(will upgrade to 16gb) 128gb SSD + no accesories included for 1300$.

I won't lie, I would rather go with option 1 cause it is more affordable and I have all accesories I need ready. However I'm not sure if it will be enough for my needs.

What are my needs?
Visual studio code, web develpoing, alot of Safari tabs open, 3440x1440 (ULTRAWIDE) resolution monitor, movies, Office applications.
no video editing, no uploading videos.

Will the i3 be enough for it? Please share your thoughts.

Thank you.
 
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natazar

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 23, 2019
7
0
I amended my post to ask about the specs. The specs on the i3 would also be helpful.

Am I right that you VAT is at least 20%?
Yup, you are quite right. It's 23%. For both machines that would be 8gb of ram(will upgrade in feature to 16gb) and 128gb SSD + external disk plugged in. I should include all of this information in my first post, sorry for that. Will edit it straight away.
 

opeter

macrumors 68000
Aug 5, 2007
1,714
620
Slovenia, EU
I have the i3 (basic config) and using it for doing 2D graphics and some video editing (1080p). It works for my needs.

I myself upgraded the RAM to 16 GB and also have connected an cheap external SSD for using Windows 10.
 

adamk77

macrumors 6502a
Jan 6, 2008
515
156
You wont be compiling any code so the i3 should be fine for your needs.

If you only care about the OS not Apple hardware, and you wont be writing apps for the Apple ecosystem then I would recommend seriously considering the Hackintosh route. For 900 you can build a far superior machine.
 
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adamk77

macrumors 6502a
Jan 6, 2008
515
156
Get an i7 for web-development. i3 won't be enough for you if you do a lot of code compiling.
Web dev doesnt involve code compilation. It will be interpreted.

Im assuming he means web as in front end development.
 

ofarlig

macrumors regular
Jun 23, 2015
237
196
Sweden
The i3 will most definitely be powerful enough for you. Even if you would be compiling it would be fine although a tad slower. I have been doing Xcode on a 12” Macbook and although it took longer on the first compile ever it wasn’t too bad after that. Almost all machines today will work for most things unless we are talking big computational loads like calculations, video editing or renders and such, they are made for small compiles and other short sprint to finish loads.

I have the i3 Mac Mini right now and have no problems with Xcode and such, also use it to run various servers.
 
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F-Train

macrumors 65816
Apr 22, 2015
1,457
1,017
NYC & Newfoundland
In the US, the i3 is $800. Add 23% VAT and the total is $985.

Your price is US$900. This includes a trackpad and keyboard, which have a new retail value of $250.

You say that you are coming from Windows. If you already have a mouse and keyboard, your saving is only $85. Also, you can purchase an Apple trackpad and keyboard used for a lot less than retail. Re the keyboard, you might also consider whether it’s worth it to you to get a numeric keyboard, which I assume this one is not.

While you can get by with the i3, I’d suggest that you consider future needs and whether the i7 will come in handy. If money is tight, you could defer purchase of additional RAM. For your current needs, 8GB is plenty. I also wouldn’t dismiss the i5 out of hand, which is the same price as the i7 you are considering, but has a 256GB solid state drive.

Cheers
 
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adamk77

macrumors 6502a
Jan 6, 2008
515
156
I guess you're a php / python user. If you use Java / Golang or any frontend framework with webpack you have to build/compile code.
I assumed he meant web dev as in lot of Javascript, HTML, CSS etc. I'm a mobile developer so I was thinking of compiling code in Xcode, Android studio, etc which would benefit greatly from the extra cores.
 

avxkim

macrumors regular
Nov 5, 2017
119
18
Kazakhstan
I assumed he meant web dev as in lot of Javascript, HTML, CSS etc. I'm a mobile developer so I was thinking of compiling code in Xcode, Android studio, etc which would benefit greatly from the extra cores.
Well, if you use frontend frameworks like react or vuejs (they both use webpack) you will benefit a lot in a build times, when hot module reload triggered. Also frontend devs are using Docker heavily these days, so CPU and RAM is very important. I've tried to build ios apps in Xcode / npm builds when i was using dual-core macbook i5 (3.5ghz) and current MM, it's thrice as faster now.
 

natazar

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 23, 2019
7
0
I assumed he meant web dev as in lot of Javascript, HTML, CSS etc. I'm a mobile developer so I was thinking of compiling code in Xcode, Android studio, etc which would benefit greatly from the extra cores.
That's exactly what I meant.

In the US, the i3 is $800. Add 23% VAT and the total is $985.

Your price is US$900. This includes a trackpad and keyboard, which have a new retail value of $250.

You say that you are coming from Windows. If you already have a mouse and keyboard, your saving is only $85. Also, you can purchase an Apple trackpad and keyboard used for a lot less than retail. Re the keyboard, you might also consider whether it’s worth it to you to get a numeric keyboard, which I assume this one is not.

While you can get by with the i3, I’d suggest that you consider future needs and whether the i7 will come in handy. If money is tight, you could defer purchase of additional RAM. For your current needs, 8GB is plenty. I also wouldn’t dismiss the i5 out of hand, which is the same price as the i7 you are considering, but has a 256GB solid state drive.

Cheers
Thank you for your opinion.
It's 900$ because it is used. I would have to swap my keyboard and mouse anyway later on as it has to match rest of the setup.
 

F-Train

macrumors 65816
Apr 22, 2015
1,457
1,017
NYC & Newfoundland
Thank you for your opinion.
It's 900$ because it is used. I would have to swap my keyboard and mouse anyway later on as it has to match rest of the setup.
Yes, I realise that it’s used. But you are saving only $85, after VAT, on the computer, ignoring the accessories. On the accessories, they don’t have to “match”. If you want them to aesthetically, as you say it can wait until later; and you can certainly purchase an Apple trackpad and keyboard used for a lot less than full retail.
 

adamk77

macrumors 6502a
Jan 6, 2008
515
156
Well, if you use frontend frameworks like react or vuejs (they both use webpack) you will benefit a lot in a build times, when hot module reload triggered. Also frontend devs are using Docker heavily these days, so CPU and RAM is very important. I've tried to build ios apps in Xcode / npm builds when i was using dual-core macbook i5 (3.5ghz) and current MM, it's thrice as faster now.
That's an excellent point about Docker. The extra cores will be very helpful in that use case.

I originally come from the C/C++ world so when I hear code compilation, I'm thinking of a high level language compiled to machine code. I thought webpack is a module bundler and doesn't actually do the work of actual code compilation -- that's what I meant. Though it's been a while since I've been in the web world.
 

avxkim

macrumors regular
Nov 5, 2017
119
18
Kazakhstan
That's an excellent point about Docker. The extra cores will be very helpful in that use case.

I originally come from the C/C++ world so when I hear code compilation, I'm thinking of a high level language compiled to machine code. I thought webpack is a module bundler and doesn't actually do the work of actual code compilation -- that's what I meant. Though it's been a while since I've been in the web world.
You're right about webpack, it just builds the code, still - the more cpu power you got, the faster it could be done :)
 

twalk

macrumors regular
Apr 22, 2009
160
153
People often just see the i3 label and assume it’s slow which isn’t really accurate.

The mini uses desktop processors so the i3 isn’t slow.
This is entirely correct. These 8th gen Intel parts are really great and many still really haven't grasped how much of a jump in power they are

Basically:

i3: The low-end, "garbage", "junk", "piece of ****" i3-8100 is faster than all previous Minis, by a nice amount. It's roughly the same speed as the 2017 (last generation) iMac i5 processor. Previous gen i5's were pretty much the standard for software development at most companies and the current i3 is just as good. My own experience confirms that

i5: This is a really powerful processor, being roughly at the level of the highest end i7 2017 iMac. Last year, this was pretty much the limit on the amount of processor power Apple would offer for a more "consumer level" Mac. Now you can get it for $1100 US with a 256G SSD

i7: Just last year, this amount of processor power was in the realm of desktop pro machines (Mac Pro / iMac Pro). That said, hyperthreading is variable in it's benefit and it will thermal throttle under high load. So while it's faster than the i5, it's questionable about how much it's really worth above the i5. One area it's significantly better at is virtualization that uses vcpus (such as Virtualbox) that you run on your own machine. Vcpus are limited by the number of threads, not cores, so the i7 can have 12 vcpus while the i5 only has 6
 

ofarlig

macrumors regular
Jun 23, 2015
237
196
Sweden
This is entirely correct. These 8th gen Intel parts are really great and many still really haven't grasped how much of a jump in power they are

Basically:
This guy gets it.

If I was getting this for work (either through my employer or being self employed) I would obviously get a tricked out version with i7, 64 GB RAM and 2 TB SSD.

If we are talking a side business or just a smaller business in general where we are talking basically no time savings at all, I would most likely go the i3 route. I did this for my own personal coding computer, only reason I was contemplating the i7 was because I wanted to use an eGPU and replace my gaming desktop with it. But since Nvidia haven’t released any drivers for Mojavo or the RTX cards that couldn’t be done.
 

WC7

macrumors newbie
Dec 13, 2018
22
5
The i3. I bought this because both your selections have the 128 GB drive. I think, if or when you go to 256 GB they read /write in parallel to the 'drive' (two 128 slices). That will be faster, but I finally said it will not be important for the stuff I perform ... low level Xcode. Yes, it will be compiled but for my coding it may make little difference (after the 1st cycle compile it really is good). Also, I was sensitive with the tax costs, and, furthermore, the i3 is the holdover until Apple builds their A chip Mini ! Haha!
 
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