is the i7 quad worth the extra £110 over the i5 dual - for me?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by jamin100, Dec 20, 2012.

  1. jamin100 macrumors 6502

    Sep 22, 2008
    Here's my situation.

    I currently have a 24" 2009 2.66 ghz core2duo iMac with 8GB RAM, 1TB HD and 120GB SSD in the superdrive slot.

    Im looking to upgrade the machine and have settled on getting a mac mini.

    Now, looking at all the specs and the options it comes down to 2 things.

    I need 1TB internal disk space so my options are

    1. buy the i5 dual core and upgrade the 500GB hd myself to a 1TB
    2. buy the i7 quad core which comes with a 1TB drive

    I've worked out the appropriate costs and the difference between the 2 configs is £110

    so, is the i7 worth £110 over the i5?

    I use my iMac to store all my itunes data to stream to my 4 apple tv's.
    I encode films etc using handbrake
    I do some very light VM work
    I use lightroom quite a bit
    I do some basic movie editing in iMovie

    I need this machine to last me at least 4-5 years ideally if not more!

    your thoughts are appreciated...

    (ps: I have searched and read a lot of the other i5vi7 threads but wanted to put my situation out there to get opinions - thanks)
  2. jjhoekstra macrumors regular

    Apr 23, 2009
    You will notice the speed-difference when rendering movies in iMovie, expect it to be around 30% or so faster. But the biggest advantage of the i7-mini is that you can add a fusion-drive as option. And that you will for sure notice. It gives a totally different feel to a computer. But it adds another 250 dollars. In your situation I would save a bit longer and get the mini with fusion-drive. Just my 2 cents...
  3. attis macrumors member

    Nov 18, 2012
    Seems a no brainer to me.

    The i7 be it the 2.3 or the 2.6, has a great deal more processing power over the i5. And even though the i5 has a higher base clock speed by 200MHz, the 2.3 i7 can turbo 200MHz higher (3.3GHz vs 3.1) for when you're running single threaded tasks. The majority of the apps you listed though, seem to be textbook mulit-core-scaleable apps. Data streaming, Handbrake, Lightroom and iMovie really will benefit from the quadcore upgrade.

    And since you need the 1TB drive aswell, I don't see why you should go with the i5. The i7 will seem zippier for more years, although it wont seem as fast in 4-5 years. It will probably still work better than the i5 though.

    Go 8/16GB ram, put the ssd in there with the 1TB and you will be a happy camper!
  4. jamin100 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 22, 2008
    Yeh thanks, money is tight at the moment so the RAM upgrade and SSD will be something that I will do further down the line.....

    im basically looking at spending either £700 on the i5 or £810 on the i7 (includes monitor)

  5. jamin100 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 22, 2008
    Here's what im basing my options on..
    Also, i could manage with a 500GB HD for now as I have plenty of drives knocking around and plenty of space on my server

    Attached Files:

  6. JamSandwich macrumors regular

    May 19, 2006
    You'll notice the speed difference when running Handbrake or anything else that uses a lot of processing power.

    More importantly, if you really want it to last as long as possible, I'd definitely consider the higher-end option.
  7. attis macrumors member

    Nov 18, 2012
    Yup, speaking long term you really are better off with the quad core i7. The 1TB over 500GB is a bonus since you yourself will benefit from it, but -I personally- still consider the i7 worth the extra money over the i5 even if it was just the cpu you were paying for.

    Save on everything else for now, and hold out for good deals on ram or a small ssd. Since the only thing you can't add/upgrade later for a relatively small sum is the cpu.
  8. Towhead macrumors regular

    Nov 3, 2007
    I chose the i5

    I chose the i5 over the i7 - most of what I'll be doing with the computer is lightroom and some photoshop. Maybe some video processing. It's also so my kids can use it with Windows in VM so they're getting something similar to their school experience - a better computer overall.

    In the end, I just couldn't see the benefit of $916.40 vs. 697.20 for the following from BHPhoto:

    564.80 (base model)
    80.40 (16GB Crucial)
    52.00 (Apple Care)
    0.00 (Parallels)



    That's a difference of $219.00 I get to spend on a future upgrade such as a killer wide gamut monitor (for the future Haswell 10-bit capable machine if nothing else) or perhaps an 840 Pro SSD in an external TB enclosure! I will miss the 500GB extra space, but USB3 external drives is what made that part easier and I'll offload that onto an external that's backed up by another external. I've got so many f'in drives laying around why not find a way to use them.

    True I'll miss out on Quad-Core and all that stuff but I'm betting I won't notice the difference for what little I use the computer for - if my Core 2 Duo 2006 iMac 17 wouldn't choke so much on Lightroom with its meager 3GB RAM I'd still be in good shape but I was forced to upgrade.

    My thoughts ...
  9. glasgood macrumors member

    Dec 18, 2012
  10. esskay macrumors 6502

    Jan 3, 2008
    Hi, curious where these prices from B&H are coming from? for example, Applecare shows at $105 on B&H. Thanks!
  11. Towhead macrumors regular

    Nov 3, 2007
    Add the mac to the cart, then hit "Special Savings" and choose your free software, then click "computer accessories" and add the Applecare for $52.

    I think this deal ends 12/31.
  12. Highboy90 macrumors member

    Nov 5, 2012
    It does indeed expire 12/31/2012. Great deal for AppleCare protection plan.

    Attached Files:

  13. misfit356tsw macrumors regular

    Oct 27, 2007
    This is what is most important to me. I purchased the first Intel Mac Mini and it was my main computer until this year. When I buy a Mac, I am in it for the long term. :)
  14. esskay macrumors 6502

    Jan 3, 2008
    Great deal, thanks for sharing!

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