iMac (2008) vs Mac Mini

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by mixel, Aug 4, 2011.

  1. mixel macrumors 65832


    Jan 12, 2006
    Leeds, UK
    Just asking for advice on whether I should upgrade..

    Here's my specs currently;

    Model Name: iMac
    Model Identifier: iMac8,1
    Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
    Processor Speed: 2.8 GHz
    Number of Processors: 1
    Total Number of Cores: 2
    L2 Cache: 6 MB
    Memory: 6 GB
    Bus Speed: 1.07 GHz

    Chipset Model: NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GS
    Type: GPU
    Bus: PCIe
    PCIe Lane Width: x16
    VRAM (Total): 512 MB
    24" display

    Geekbench - 4320


    Is a new Mac Mini going to work better? Specifically for a) Photoshop b) Gaming c) Video encoding ?

    I see one 2011 Mac Mini (quad core!?) with a 8573 Geekbench score. Is that going to be a real world performance increase of 50%.. Because that's ridiculously tempting.

    I'm guessing it would beat my iMac at photoshop and video editing but the Mac Mini's intel graphics have me a little concerned. Is that likely to perform worse than my 8800 when I dual boot for gaming?

    This is all pretty funny. My Mac journey so far goes G4 Quicksilver PowerMac, low end G5 PowerMac, iMac 8,1, now I'm considering a Mini. I'm constantly 'downgrading' models but still getting much better performance.

    I'm guessing the resale value for the iMac could take a big chunk out of the upgrade cost - it's a good machine.. Just trying to work out if now is the time to move on or not.

    Thanks in advance :D
  2. Norphy, Aug 4, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2011

    Norphy macrumors newbie

    Mar 18, 2011
    All those Geekbench benchmarks prove is that one machine is faster in Geekmark than the other. The answer to whether or not the Mac Mini Server will be faster for you than your iMac or not is a big fat "It depends".

    Anything that's CPU bound will obviously be faster. You've got twice the cores and the Sandy Bridge CPU is much faster per clock than the Core 2 Duo was. Video encoding will be a lot faster. Photoshop will probably be faster depending on how you use it although I believe that there are some GPU accelerated bits in Photoshop these days. Gaming will be a lot worse, the inbuilt graphics on the Sandy Bridge are significantly slower even than the 8800GS.

    The other thing to take into account is the storage subsystem. Even though the iMac must be at least two years old now, it will still probably have a faster hard disk than the Mac Mini does. The iMac will have a 7200rpm 3.5" drive while the base Mac Mini has a 2.5" 5400rpm drive. Anything that heavily uses the storage system will be most likely be slower, possibly including Photoshop. Even though the Server version has a 7200rpm drive it will still most likely be slower than the iMac.

    Bear in mind that the new Mac Mini will come with Lion which means that any Photoshop version older than CS5 will have compatitibility issues of one kind or another.
  3. mixel thread starter macrumors 65832


    Jan 12, 2006
    Leeds, UK
    Thanks. :) The fact the mini server has two 500GB HDDs tempted me too, but yeah, looking up the benchmarks for the intel 3000s makes it seem too much of a step backwards that could seriously impact things like running Motion, and I wouldn't want that.

    Considering the only thing my iMac does excruciatingly slowly is encode video I might get one of those Elgato HD dongles rather than retiring the iMac. It's still serving me well.. It's just so tempting seeing things get so much smaller and faster!

    I'm running CS5 so that's no biggie. I suspect I'll hold off to the next revision of the mini if they carry on improving at the current rate.
  4. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    The difference in cost between the mini server and a new 21.5" base iMac is $200 in the US (£150 UK), would give overall better performance in every respect but one, and you get a new keyboard and Magic Trackpad (great for Lion) or Mouse (not so great for Lion). Also has a Superdrive if you want it.

    The mini would win for the disk drives being 1TB total capacity (base iMac is 500GB) and might for performance if configured RAID 0. I've got a 2009 server which has dual 5200 RPM drives and even in RAID 0 isn't quite as fast as my iMac, but the new server uses faster drives.

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