i7/128gb vs i5/256gb

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Ogre_Gandalf, Nov 10, 2018.

  1. Ogre_Gandalf macrumors newbie

    Oct 2, 2015
    Need to keep the cost below £1k when using education discount.

    Options are either the i5/256 or the base model upgraded to an i7.

    Main use is predominantly iOS development as have PC for gaming. Was getting by with a 2012.

    Have NAS and external SSD storage, but wonder whether the impaired write speeds of the 128gb internal SSD bottleneck the i7 and mean the i5 would compile quicker.

    If not, would go for the i7.

    Would appreciate thoughts. Thanks.
  2. saulinpa macrumors 6502a

    Jun 15, 2008
    It sounds like you don't need either upgrade for your workflow. I would go with the bigger SSD for long term value and flexibility.
  3. Mannaerts macrumors member

    Dec 2, 2010
    Belgium, Antwerp
    You don't buy a mac mini for gaming as it needs a eGPU. I would pick the i5 with 256gb, but i don't know what you use for apps. Do you use photoshop, logic pro, final cut?
  4. Ogre_Gandalf thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 2, 2015

    Sorry if unclear, have no intention of using for gaming.

    Xcode, Visual Studio Code, RStudio, and Sketch.

    Maybe a VM on occasion, but mostly use cloud VMs for non-iOS development.
  5. ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

    Sep 5, 2013
    Oregon, USA
    7/128 is a specialist rendering config. You need general purpose, so 5/256.
  6. Maccotto macrumors 6502

    Oct 6, 2012
    I have same question: i will use mini with photoshop/lightroom, little imovie projects and i will insert my asus nvidia 1060 6gb into an egpu box for little gaming/more powerfull lightroom.

    128 will be a small size but i have my lightroom catalog into external HDD and i will install game /cloud files into another HDD
  7. SoCalReviews, Nov 10, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2018

    SoCalReviews macrumors 6502a

    Dec 31, 2012
    I would almost never recommend only 128GB on a modern desktop. At some point in the near future you might really regret that decision when you are running out of space to install programs and updates. 8GB RAM is also ridiculously low. If you are squeezing and pinching your wallet that much and you have to choose between the i7 with 128GB and the i5 with 256GB I would go with the i5 and 256GB.
  8. Ogre_Gandalf thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 2, 2015
    Cheers! Appreciate comments. More the use of external storage than outright penny pinching. 256gb isn’t enough on its own either, hence thinking of using the money to go with the i7 given use of (already present) external storage. Will self upgrade RAM to 32.

    Just not realistically sure whether this will bottleneck compiling to the extent it’s pointless getting a faster CPU.
  9. saulinpa, Nov 10, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2018

    saulinpa macrumors 6502a

    Jun 15, 2008
    Most compling is I/O based linking/pulling in files. Look at your current system and see where the bottlenecks are now. Running the simulator is another story as it is mostly CPU based - don't know if it is better with 12 threads.
  10. tedson macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2002
    I was debating the same question.

    Hex core I5, 8GB, 256GB - $1,099

    • in stock
    • more likely to get discount (maybe $70 – $100 off MSRP from 3rd party advertisers on Mac-oriented sites)
    • larger, super-fast standard storage
    • faster processor than I3, higher Turbo Boost speed, 4.1GHz vs. 3.6GHz(no Turbo Boost)
    • not susceptible to hyper-threading exploits (as unlikely as they are)
    • larger, super-fast standard storage
    • faster processor than I3, higher Turbo Boost speed, 4.1GHz vs. 3.6GHz(no Turbo Boost)
    • not susceptible to hyper-threading exploits (as unlikely as they are)
    • paying for more machine than I actually need

    hex core I7, 8GB, 128GB - $1,099

    • one of the fastest Macs you can currently buy (and faster machines are significantly more expensive, Mac Pro, MacBook Pro and iMac Pro)
    • highest Turbo-Boost clock available for a Mini
    • paying for more machine than I realistically need
    • unlikely to get significant discount compared to two stock models
    • standard storage is tight but adequate (but the $200 difference for $256GB will almost pay for Samsung T5 1TB external SSD - $228, which is a fast as my current SSD)
    • some reported fan noise under heavy load
    • hottest running chip
    • hyper-threading exploits (although this is extremely unlikely)
    Notes on other options:
    8GB memory - enough for current needs and when I need more, I will add it myself at a substantial discount. (I added a second drive to my 2011 Mac Mini so I’m not afraid of taking my machine apart to do an upgrade.)
    Ethernet - Gigabit ethernet is adequate for my current needs and none of my other equipment supports 10 GigaBit ethernet and I don’t anticipate any workloads in the next 5-7 years that would benefit from it. If that changes, I’ll get a new machines.
    processor - see discussions above. The single-core Geekbench scores for the I5 vs the I7 can be attributed to the 12% higher Turbo Boost speed of the I7, 4.1GHz vs 4.6GHz. The multi-cored scores seems to mostly reflect the higher Turbo Boost clock with only a small benefit from Hyper Threading. (insert usual disclaimer about the artificially of synthetic bench marks)
    storage - see discussions above for 128GB vs 256GB, larger sizes beyond 256GB, to me, are not worth it, I will go with external storage if I need more. The Mini will sit on the corner of my desk and hanging an external drive off it is not nearly the issue as having to add external storage to a laptop that you are constantly moving around, there you definitely want to go all internal storage if you can afford it.

    Weighing all the options, if I can grab the standard I5 model discounted to $999 on Black Friday then I will be all over that.
  11. Amazing Ox Space Monkey macrumors regular

    Sep 21, 2015
    Where I live, Last year on Black Friday there were no discounts on the models introduced in September/October. They offered very little discounts on the older iPhones and already obsoleted iPads. That’s how I got my SE with 10€ off.

    But if there’s a nice 10% discount on the i5/256 I’d snatch it.

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10 November 10, 2018