I'm building a fast mini, light gaming, SSD. You want some benchmarks?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by twist0105, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. twist0105 macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2013
    Pre-emptive TL : DR version - getting what I think is a tricked out Mini (2012 i7 2.6, aftermarket 512 ssd, 16 gig for mostly work, will bootcamp on SSD) which I think should be a good demo of a mini's performance chops if you spoil it. Should I share some benchmarks?

    Long version:

    Hey all, long time reader, first time poster. So, I'm a PC admin guy, and have finally had enough of my PCs at home. Decided to go mac (multiple iphone/ipad user for years). Enough little things on the pc annoyed me, iCloud integration made me happy, etc.

    So, let me explain my situation - I do lots of virtualization for work - use VMWare on desktops for teaching beginning server OS concepts, need to tweak these on PC. Recently picked up VMWare Fusion, pretty happy - used on my 2011 iMacs in my lab, felt pretty good. A few games seemed to run well, too, which brings me to...

    I used to game - still do, on occasion, but not a hardcore gamer. The i7 XPS on my desktop is a painful reminder of the last time I bought a pc "as a gamer" with a tricked out vid card (which WAS noisy, until it failed) and aside from firing up a GOG game once in awhile, and WOW every time I promise I'll get back into it (for a day), haven't done much. But I look my neglected Steam account and promise it "I'll get back to you, someday"...

    So: tired of pc. Start looking at macs. I'd pay the price for top-of-line imac, and almost did, but something (as a former system builder) irked me at each step - mostly, as loverly as that screen was, portability and a full on SSD install of Windows Boot Camp more important than a GTX number. End of day, 3k+ vs 900 (well, about to be 1300) I decided to accept what I could, and buy the top of line when I hit lottery.

    So - building a fast mini. Before you shout "you fool!" - I know she won't be a gaming machine with the HD4000, but it'll run em at least in a window, and I thought it could be fun to do an article (my first blog kind of thing). Ordered the i7 2.6, 4 gig mem, 1tb platter disk, and going to swap out the memory for 16, and try to dual disk an SSD (512, with half for mac, half for windows boot camp) + the 1tb as a media drive. This should take out of the equation the performance of boot camp normally running on the slower 1tb.

    My games collection is a little antiquated, but thinking of testing some pc games:

    C&C Generals from origin (pc, cause i'd been waiting for years for a direct download version of generals)
    Rainbow 6 3 (steam)
    (...I know, i know, old games!)
    Rainbow Six Vegas (1 and or 2, forget which ones I have)
    Portal 1 & 2
    One of the modern combat thingies - bought it, too jumpy for this gettin older gamer, but pretty pretty.

    I'd accept requests for 1 or 2 other games, but I've fallen by the wayside on gaming, so other than hearing Witcher 2 is a killer, not sure what I'd get. I'm not buying 100 games though...

    I'm excited, though, to have an opportunity to try to screen record these in Quicktime running under Fusion, and then again under Fraps I guess under PC, at a variety of resolutions each.

    Any interest in this? Post results here, do a blog, a youtube channel?

    Also, picking out a SSD this week, so reading up on performance on anandtech, toms, etc. Any suggestions, performance issues, problems with restore (other than the need to net-restore a clean install onto an aftermarket ssd) I should know about? Yes, I know, expect to spend about 600.

  2. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    First let me start out by saying congrats on the new mini. Now for the "however"... The 2012 mini has been out for 6 months and the processor with HD4000 GPU has been out for almost 10 months. There isn't much more your benchmarking will bring to the table. Just a few weeks ago someone else offered to do any benchmarks people requested and basically got no replies. Fusion had been fully benchmarked by a well know review site, ivy bridge processors have been benchmarked over and over again. About the only interesting benchmark would be a direct comparison of didnt RAM speeds with different CAS lattencies, but I don't think you are interested in buying 3-4 sets of memory.... Just my .02 worth.
  3. twist0105, Mar 15, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013

    twist0105 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2013

    Oh, no offense taken... hey, I'd love some links if you've got some favs; I hadn't seen much about bootcamp gaming on SSD, and was curious for the average gamer. Maybe I don't know the right sites!

    Excited to see where I get.

    Edit: That is, hadn't seen much with SSD native bootcamp with lots of ram (positive) struggling with the hd4000 (negative) - how passable is the end result in videos kind of thing.
  4. Bunyak macrumors member

    Aug 15, 2011
    How about finding the highest benchmark out there and trying to beat it? That would be entertaining.
  5. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    But boot camp would be the same results as any review site running windows.... That's pretty much my point. Go find a laptop review of ivy bridge running windows 7 using the hd4000 graphics and you have your benches. Why would it be different on a mini?
  6. gregorsamsa macrumors 6502a

    Apr 6, 2006
    (Metamorphosing near) Staffs, 51st State.
    If you intend gaming in OS X with the HD 4000, you should find that most recent games run at acceptable FPS in at least medium settings. If using PC versions in Bootcamp, FPS will usually be better.

    As a comparison, here's some footage of Empire: Total War in Ultra settings in Bootcamp on a MacBook Air with the much weaker HD 3000:


    No surprise that the OP admits that during gameplay his MBA runs hot & the fans get loud. :)
  7. twist0105, Mar 15, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013

    twist0105 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2013

    Sorry all, was just excited about joining apple land for realsies for first time since about 1996 with my power computing pro tower...long story. Admittedly, I don't have much time to peruse google/YouTube, but hadn't found much about light gaming on a mini with a few basic upgrades. Didn't know if people like me would consider joining mac land if they knew fair gaming were possible on such a sexy box - I.e. on all low at 1600xwhatwever, if it was possible enough, for old dogies like me to enjoy a few gog on a mini.

    If its been done to death, good to know. Was just excited to join apple land. Was making best of "had to get for work, and couldn't afford that beautiful 27 inch".

    Maybe skip the ssd and still have a sweet usb3 hub/handbrake encoder... Been doing pc hb cli for years.
  8. Mr. Retrofire macrumors 603

    Mr. Retrofire

    Mar 2, 2010
  9. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    And we are happy to have you back in Mac land. We aren't trying to squash your excitement, but just trying to save you a lot of time and effort. It's important to understand that Macs and PC's use the same hardware and there isn't any "special sauce" to Mac hardware to make it any better or worse than PC. Sit back, enjoy your Mac. That's my recommendation and check out some PC benchmarks running the same processors to see how fast (or slow) your Mini is.

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