I7 or I5 with SSD

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Jona330, Jan 7, 2014.

  1. Jona330 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    #1
    Hi,

    Can't decide whether to go for the i7, or get then i5 and buy an ssd, help?

    Cheers

    Simon
     
  2. danny_w macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #2
    It all depends on what you are going to use your mini for. I just bought a base i7 and may eventually install an SSD. For apps that take advantage of multiple cores (like video encoding) the i7 will show a far bigger speed gain than will the SSD. An SSD is nice for launching programs quickly and for quick (very quick) data access but with today's SSD sizes most of your data will probably be on a rotating disk anyway, so there is no real improvement here. Just my 2 cents, YMMV.
     
  3. blanka macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    #3
    An i7 with default drive will feel like a pretty lousy machine out of the box, where it has lots of potential
    An i5 with SSD will feel snappy and comfy right away, but you will run into rough power limits sooner. For normal work, the i5 option is prefered, but hey, you do want an i7 with SSD.

    My 2 cts: Grab the i7, and mount a simple Kingston SSD Now in the empty slot yourself. 100$ extra compared to the i7, yet you have 1+TB storage, and SSD speed for OS, scratch files etc.
     
  4. danny_w macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #4
    It all depends on what you mean by 'lousy'. Yes of course it is not as snappy as with an SSD but it is certainly much quicker than my late 2007 iMac. Of course a faster drive will be immediately noticeable but for compute-intensive tasks where multiple cores are utilized, the i7 will be of immensely more benefit IMHO. No matter which mini you get however a memory upgrade should be the first priority; Apple should be embarrassed to include only 4GB in the systems. Your suggestion is great as long as you also include a memory upgrade.
     
  5. SoCalReviews, Jan 7, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2014

    SoCalReviews macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2012
    #5
    I like having a 1TB HDD in the 2.3Ghz i7. I found 500GB HDD on my 2011 i5 Mini to be severely limiting if you run multiple VMs and it's really not enough if you want to save a good collection of music and video files internally. Installing 16GB RAM is a quick and easy must do upgrade for maximizing performance of the Mini. I will probably hold off on any SSD upgrade until the 500GB-1TB SSD prices drop in the next few years.
     
  6. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #6
    The CPU is the only thing you can't replace on your own.

    If you can afford the i7, get it.

    Then add the SSD whenever you wish.

    Same with RAM -- get the 4gb "minimum", and add more yourself as needed.
     
  7. agenda893 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    #7
    Also keep in mind the current mac mini is over a year into it's product cycle. It will get a quiet update sometime in 2014. Maybe even this March. If you can afford to wait you'll be better off for the integrated graphics improvement alone.
     
  8. MrGuder macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2012
    #8
    This is all great advice...I still don't know if I should wait for the new mini or just buy now. I really want the SSD but 256 is not enough. If I get the 1TB w/ 128 SSD, I don't know how to add more SSD. I can change the ram but never worked with changing a hardrive.
     
  9. TopKatz macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2010
    #9
    i7 and ssd. Then use an external drive for more storage.
     
  10. shaunp macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2010
    #10
    Depends what you are using it for

    I've been using SSD's since 2008 and I use them for all my storage now except my NAS that I use as an archive and a time-machine repository. Once you've used an SSD everything else seems very slow. A couple of weeks ago I was browsing in an Apple store and had a little play with an iMac running with a Fusion drive. What surprised me was just how fast it was. I know it was using the 128GB SSD, but as older stuff is moved to the HDD it seemed like a good enough compromise to me.

    So if you have less than 128GB of stuff you are using all the time and aren't constantly working on files larger than 4GB I would go with the core i7 and a 1TB Fusion drive. Best of both worlds. If you are using lots of VM's then you might have to stump up and get the i7 and add your own SSD. I got a 1TB Samsung Evo for just over £400 from Amazon. It's not quite as quick in benchmarks as the 840 Pro, but close enough for most people not to notice.
     
  11. SoCalReviews, Jan 7, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2014

    SoCalReviews macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2012
    #11
    Since it's a desktop and not a portable machine I like to leave my Mac Mini on 24/7. I also like to keep multiple VMs open. Therefore I don't wait for OS X or the VMs on my desktop to boot up. In other words there is zero boot time since what is being utilized is being stored in available RAM as long as the machine stays on. From the resource monitor I notice that over time the RAM usage often gets above 12GB. Even for average users 4GB is not enough RAM to avoid memory page outs to the main storage drive. Using an SSD would make those page outs seem less noticeable but it doesn't matter how fast your SSD seems to be because the DDR3 memory is going to be much faster than page ins and outs to a SSD. The CPU, GPU and the available RAM are the most critical components since they determine the working speed of your machine and more RAM means less long term wear and tear on your main drive.

    Regardless what some believe is inferred by their significantly better MTBF specs modern SSDs are capable of wearing out from over usage and when they fail you are more likely to lose your data and less likely to be able to recover it from that failed drive than standard HDDs. If you do regular Time Machine backups then this is less of a concern. What is promising is the new 500GB and 1TB SSDs that are available now and with each new generation of SSDs the capacity and reliability has been improving. I like what I have read so far about the Samsung EVO 1TB SSD.
     
  12. Jona330 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    #12
    Thanks for the replies, decided to go with the i7 and get the ssd later:D

    Simon
     
  13. Lesser Evets macrumors 68040

    Lesser Evets

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    #13
    Good job/ I have an i7 w/SSD which arrived almost 2 weeks ago.

    Fantastic machine compared to my old MacPro 1,1 from 2006.
     
  14. cmeisenzahl macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2005
    #14
    Very happy here with i5 and SSD. The thing smokes for all but games.
     
  15. El Hikaru macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2013
    #15
    i5 & i7

    It's tempting to upgrade CPU but the difference between i5 and i7 in term of value is not as great as CPU generation gap. I love mid range which is i5 where the price is right and performance is significantly better than say 2 years ago.
     
  16. barkmonster macrumors 68020

    barkmonster

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2001
    Location:
    Lancashire
    #16
    If you get the base 2.3Ghz i7 system with the 1Tb HDD, you can find it as low as £585 on eBay stores new.

    The savings over the retail cost could buy the flex-cable kit and a decent, fast SSD to boot from. The kit comes will all tools needed for £20 and 120Gb+ SSDs like the Samsung 840 Evo can be had for under the remaining price difference.

    Apple charge £160 more than retail to roll the 1Tb and a 128Gb SSD into a Fusion drive or trade £50 worth of HDD for £70 worth of SSD. With a little shopping around for the system and some after-market tinkering, you can pay less than the retail cost of a 2.3Ghz Mac Mini and have a faster SSD than Apple offer and your choice in whether it's configured as a Fusion or as a seperate drive.
     
  17. SoCalReviews macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2012
    #17
    Excellent choice. ;)
     
  18. shaunp macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2010
    #18
    Since 2008 and 9 SSD's I've only had 1 go bad on me and I reckon that was because I was hot swapping it. I've had very bad performance from a Crucial M400 in a Mac because of lack of native Trim support - the drive worked fine after running trim enabler. Other than that I've had no issues with SSD's wearing out.

    I do a lot of prototyping in VMware Fusion. Building backup servers and test labs of clients then backing them up. This creates more data churn on the drives than the average user would have and they've all been good so far (touch wood).

    I wouldn't be worried at all about wearing on SSD's especially with the new ones. But like anything they can fail so a backup is necessary.
     
  19. danny_w macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #19
    Just got my Samsung EVO 250GB ssd installed today in my new i7 mini (replaced the original 1TB drive) and it is super fast! I'm still running with 4GB of memory until my upgrade gets here this week but the beach balls are completely gone and the frequent Safari crashes are gone as well (surprising since all I did was to clone the original disk to the new ssd).

    OP you will love it!
     

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