Is the 2.6 GHz i7 upgrade worth the cost? (2012 Mac mini)

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by JoeCanadian, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. JoeCanadian macrumors member

    Jan 1, 2002
    I'm planning on getting the middle configuration (2.3 GHz i7, 1TB HD, 4GB memory for $799) but I couldn't decide if I should upgrade the CPU to the 2.6 GHz i7 for the $100 more.

    I went into my neighbourhood Apple store last night to buy a new Mac mini and decided to get which ever one they had in stock. I was surprised to learn they are still selling the older models with USB2.

    So now I am back to ordering online but I'm still faced with the same question. Is the upgrade to the 2.6 GHz i7 CPU worth it?
  2. treyjustice macrumors 65816


    Jun 14, 2009
    Depends what you will use it for.
    In most cases I'd say probably not.
  3. dasx macrumors 65816


    Jun 18, 2012
    I'm sure I won't really feel the upgrade, but I got a 12% off thanks to my university and though €88 wouldn't be such a big deal when it's a part of the Mini I won't ever be able to upgrade myself.

    As I plan to keep this Mini as long as I can (upgrading the RAM or the drives as needed) I went for it.
  4. propower macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2010
    For doing pro audio 2.6 means 13% less processor load for a session keeping me 13% further away from hearing the fans ramp up... worth it to me... YMMV
  5. Mojo1, Nov 1, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012

    Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    Figure about an 8-10% average speed boost. The i7 is more CPU than most of us really need anyway... ;) I spent the money that I saved on 16GB RAM from Crucial ($82). I can tell you from personal experience that the stock 4GB isn't going to cut it if you do anything beyond web surfing and e-mail...
  6. mystic man macrumors member

    Nov 1, 2009
    Athens, Greece
    I do not know where you people get your numbers, but the performance increase from the 2.3 (3615QM) and the 2.6 (3720QM) is 25% in processing power

    3615QM benchmark

    3720QM benchmark

    from what you can see from the graphs the 3720QM is better than the i7-2600K too!

    Another thing that these graphs do not tell you is that the 3720's HD4000 GPU clock is clocked at 1250MHz where as the 3615's clock is at 1100MHz. A small gain but the 3720 chip runs faster

    So all in all I do not see why NOT to invest the extra money for that processor

    Do not forget that for every day applications like web browsing, movie watching, audio, word processing etc where computers use 1-2 cores you will be able to see the difference too because the cpu is clocked at a higher frequency

    So it s not only faster on more cpu dependent tasks but for simple tasks too
  7. propower macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2010
  8. ant69 macrumors regular


    Feb 2, 2009

    will you notice the difference? probably not... is it expensive? no! - i upgraded to the 2.6 only because i was going back and forth on it and went with the 2.6 as i didn't want to regret only ordering the 2.3 and more speed can only be a good thing!!

  9. rezinous macrumors member

    Oct 25, 2010
    Yeap. Get the 2.6, you can't upgrade it later. Planning to keep mine for a while. Depends on how often you upgrade too.
  10. kdoug macrumors 6502a


    Jun 2, 2010
    Iowa City, IA USA
    I've got both and I can't tell any difference.
  11. hartgeh3 macrumors newbie

    Dec 26, 2006
    Got my 2.6 i7 today, already added a 256gb Crucial M4 and 16gb ram.

    OEM geektest came in at 11715 iirc

    Will do another once ML has done installing!
  12. iMas70 macrumors 65816

    Sep 4, 2012
    What is $ better spent, going with the 2.6 or using that $ for 16GB of Ram?
  13. kdoug macrumors 6502a


    Jun 2, 2010
    Iowa City, IA USA
    Definitely RAM. Huge improvement.
  14. propower macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2010
    I would go so far as to say unless you are a power user in some category (audio, video, transcoding,math etc) , not worth it (as in you will never notice).

    If you only have $100 and have to choose... no brainer... RAM first.... even go on to say... SSD second... proc upgrade 3rd.
  15. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2011
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    In terms of bang for the buck, yes - but proc is an upgrade you can ONLY do when you buy, so if budget is limited I would personally go for proc and plan to buy the RAM and/or SSD when budget allows.
  16. rkahl macrumors 65816

    Jul 29, 2010
    You can always buy ram later if money is concerned, you cannot with the processor.
  17. albert1028 macrumors 6502

    Jun 29, 2007
    I am curious though for those folks that are here and buying a good amount of apple products. Does the $150 cost for ram (deal at newegg today for 16gb ram) and processor upgrade cost that much that most people have to think about it?

    I am not trying to hate at all. But are we counting pennies here and spending much more on random stuff anyways?

    Just my $.02
  18. lcseds macrumors 6502a

    Jun 20, 2006
    NC, USA
    I had to get the 2.6. If not I would always wonder if I should have. Since I will keep it a few years, I can't second guess max'ing the system out. 2.6, 16GB (aftermarket), 256 SSD.
  19. chrfr macrumors 604

    Jul 11, 2009
    #19 has 16GB for about $80.
  20. fa8362 macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
    Geek bench says it's only 9-10% faster. Not worthwhile imo.
  21. rezinous macrumors member

    Oct 25, 2010
    2.6ghz just arrived today, on it now. Snappy as. No idea if the extra 2.3ghz makes the difference, however I feel better having the 2.6.
  22. USB123 macrumors member

    Oct 18, 2012
    Good point. I will be hopefully getting a Mac mini "soon" (within 2 and a half months hopefully:)), so I would feel better myself getting that extra processor power, even though it's only 0.3 GHz. RAM can always be updated later (I will be either getting 8 or 16 GB ).
  23. kappaknight macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2009
    I know the mini is way too powerful for a regular HTPC; however, if one were to stream 5 to 10 streams at the same time, would the extra CPU boost help?

    I guess the question is, if push comes to shove and there exists a bottleneck, would it be in the CPU, the RAM, or the network?
  24. Jeff Charles macrumors member

    May 21, 2009
    Even though I don't think it makes sense, I find myself feeling the same way. Apple likely knows that that's the way many people think. The 2.6 is their way of getting an extra $100 in exchange for not much. They may well pay the same price for the 2.3 as for the 2.6. If it was a serious performance upgrade, it would offer more than a max 13%, and what in practice will be an 8-10% performance boost. But in that case, Apple would have to put in a more expensive processor, and either charge more or pocket less.

  25. Mojo1, Nov 2, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2012

    Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    Recent Geekbench results and the Macworld comparison of the 15" MBP models that use 2.3GHz and 2.6GHz i7 processors indicate an average speed difference of at best 10%. And that isn't something that most people will be able to notice...

    If a .3GHz speed bump is worth $100 to you, So Be It... But the money is much better spent on increasing the RAM to at least 8GB, if not 16GB.

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