i5 or i7

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by OldSchoolMacGuy, Oct 26, 2012.


Which processor would you pick?

  1. 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5

    8 vote(s)
  2. 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7

    28 vote(s)
  1. OldSchoolMacGuy Suspended


    Jul 10, 2008
    I know we all want the biggest and best to show off how cool we are to others online in a failed attempt to impress them but real world, is there really a big benefit to the quad-core i7 over the dual-core i5 mini? For 99% of us that aren't doing advanced graphic encoding or large software compiles, shouldn't the i5 be more than enough? Is the i7 really worth $200 more (yes you do get a 1TB drive too over the standard 500GB).

    If you vote for the i7, please tell us why it's really worth the premium over the i5.
  2. jshbckr macrumors 6502

    Apr 20, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    I used to have an 8-core Mac Pro. Currently have a quad-core MacBook Pro i7, which I even bumped from 2.6 to 2.7ghz.

    I bought the dual-core Mac Mini. I'm using it as a media/home server and I won't be transcoding a lot of stuff. It's not a primary computer, so I don't need the power.

    But speaking from experience, if you're going to be doing any editing, animation, encoding videos... the quad-core is going to be so much nicer. In addition to that, if you want the computer to last a long time without having to replace it, the quad-core will probably get an extra few years of useful life without feeling like it's crawling.
  3. Poki macrumors 65816


    Mar 21, 2012
    I bought the new Mini because my mid 2009 2,66 GHz C2D MacBook Pro is too slow for photo and video editing. Developing 14 MP RAW files in Aperture is already slow, but 24 MP (NEX-7) or 36 MP (D800E) is actually pain in the ass.

    As for Final Cut Pro X, I have to produce 1080p videos weekly, and in that, I literally spend much more time waiting for my MacBook to render or apply the commands I made than with actual working, so every bit of power is absolutely viable for me.
  4. fa8362 macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
    I voted for and bought the i7 quad because I frequently do audio and video encoding. Some audio encoding I do takes 10-15 minutes per 40 minutes of audio on a late 2009 mini.
  5. GR33NIE macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2008
    I voted i7, primarily because it will last longer in terms of performance over the years vs the i5. If you can afford it I would say go for it, it's not like you can update the processor further down the line
  6. chuckd83 macrumors regular

    Jul 12, 2010
    the i7 is more future proof. If you buy a new Mac every year and don't need the processing power, go with the i5. I buy a new Mac every 6-7 years, so I went with the i7.
  7. rkahl macrumors 65816

    Jul 29, 2010
    Neither, I picked up the 2.6 i7 for Handbrake purposes.
  8. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    I think it has all been explained fairly well, but I'll recap:

    1. i5 is fine if it is a basic machine. Word processing, surfing the internet, etc.
    2. i7 if you are going to do a lot of video encoding, VM's, or other heavy processing
    3. i5 if you replace your Mac Mini every couple of years, i7 if you plan to hold on to it for longer than a couple of years

    To each his own. If I was in the market, I'd buy the Quad core simply because I usually run a couple of VM's at any given time. Right now my 2011 dual-core Mac Mini is simply used as an iTunes server because I couldn't run more than 1 VM without serious slow down of the system.... I knew I should have gone with the Mac Mini Server last year, but I went cheap.
  9. limesmoothie macrumors 6502

    Apr 20, 2009
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    i5 as I normally replace machines after 3 years and I just don't do the real heavy duty stuff like video/audio work. I have quite a few apps running but its a lot of browser/pdf stuff when doing research and the rest of the time its spreadsheet/WP work when doing data analysis and writing reports (work in education). i7 would be nice, but overkill. Also I've half a mind to buy the base MBA for travel, so need to save the pennies.
  10. OldSchoolMacGuy thread starter Suspended


    Jul 10, 2008
    Still on the fence. Ordering one today. Already ordered 16GB of RAM and the OWC kit to add a second drive. I do forensic work, code compiling, and some video and graphic fun but I'm planning on using the mini for long. Just until new MBPs come out and I grab one. Right now I have one of the original Intel minis that is horrid to use. It's been fine for an iTunes server for the past couple years but it even struggles to browse the web at this point. I'd likely use the new mini for encoding and other stuff as a server when I move along to another machine in a couple months.

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