Mac Mini 2011 with AMD Radeon HD 6630M?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Beliblis, Sep 24, 2014.

  1. Beliblis macrumors regular

    Dec 31, 2011

    My 2011 Macbook Pro has a broken GPU ('Radeongate') and I want to move on to a MacMini, but don't want to splash out too much money.
    Looking at a used 2011 MacMini model, which has an AMD Radeon HD 6630M built in.

    Is the AMD Radeon in that MacMini prone to failure, i mean: is this a "known problem" similar to the 2011 MBP?
    I'm thinking it may be wiser to go for a Mac Mini with built-in Intel 3000 graphics ? Less performance, but longer-lasting – right?
  2. QWERTYMac7 macrumors regular

    Nov 20, 2012
    The AMD graphics card is excellent - and it's really the only MM that can drive three monitors.

    I personally sought out a 2011 midgrade MM for this purpose.

    The 2012's with the Intel chip had HDMI issues for some users, though it is sorted out now.

    Good luck, hope you like yours as much as I like mine!
  3. DiscoMcDisco macrumors regular


    Jul 31, 2013
    I've never really had any issue with mine at all, runs like a dream (when I'm not using my external HDD setup). Performance is good, stable, even on Yosemite it's working really nicely.

    Hope you enjoy yours!
  4. crsh1976 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2011
    The 6630M is about as powerful as the HD 4000 found in the 2012/current mini, why not go with the latest available instead (especially if you can manage to grab a refurbished mini)?
  5. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    As this poster writes the 4000 is close to the 6630.

    So to the op what do you do with the gear?

    I own the 2011 with the 6630
    I own the 2012 with a stock I5 4000 graphics
    I own the 2012 with the i7 quad 4000 graphics

    None of the above are terrible all of the above have +'s and -'s
  6. fuchsdh macrumors 65816


    Jun 19, 2014
    In terms of specs and probably real-world performance, the 6630M is better than the HD4000. Not by much, but it's noticeable.

    My 2011 is still running like a champ (upgraded to an SSD and 16GB RAM.) I use it for capturing game footage and networked AE renders and I haven't found any issues with the graphics.
  7. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    Based on benchmarks, neither are significantly better than the other. What doesn't run well the HD4000 won't magically run on the 6630M and vice versa. They are both within spitting distance of each other. Any "real-world" benefit is more likely placebo based on my own experience. The only real benefit is the ability to run 2 Thunderbolt displays AND an HDMI display at the same time whereas the 2012's can only run 2 displays (either two thunderbolt, or one TBD and one HDMI).
  8. crsh1976 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2011
    The Radeon is also limited to its 256 MB of dedicated memory, where as the HD 4000 can access up to 1 GB of system memory - depends which is best suited for one's usage.
  9. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    the above reports are pretty acurate.

    If you want to run vmware or parallels get 16 gb ram and the quad i7.

    if you are big with external drives needs and do not mind paying for a tb external they are all okay. if you really want that external to not use the tb port but need a fast external get the 2012 as it has usb3. I built some killer recording rigs with 2012 quad 7's. I used 1tb samsung ssd's with 1.5tb hitachi's in a 2.5tb fusion. 16gb ram and I plugged in a pair of 4tb external usb3's and a pair of screens. to the hdmi and the tb port

    I can you these rigs were used to help create some hit songs. But i am not allowed to say what songs
  10. scottsjack macrumors 68000

    Aug 25, 2010
    I would like to have better video performance out of my 2012 i7. Who wouldn't? One thing I really like is Thunderbolt. I have occasional connectivity issues with USB 3 but not TB.

    I bought an OWC ThunderBay 4 since I use independent drives rather than RAID. I have to comment that the ThunderBay 4 is wonderful.

    It is fairly quiet, thought the drives make noise when working. It awakes with the mini, sleeps with the mini, shuts down and starts up (actually sleeping and waking I believe) with the mini. Having no on/off switch it just sits there on the desk and does nothing except work.

    Here is a quick test using drives are almost mirrors of each other, WD 4TB RE. Black Magic shows Write/Read as 137.0 MB/s and 134.7 MB/s in the ThunderBay 4 and 119.9 MB/s and 120.3 MB/s in the OWC Mercury Rack Pro on USB3. In theory both TB1 and USB 3 far exceed the maximum performance of the 7200 RPM HDDs' speeds but back here in the real world there is a difference.

    For that reason alone I would (and may) get another 2012 i7 mini.
  11. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    Real world difference? Those are different enclosures with different chipsets. Further, how many times did you run the tests? 137 vs 119.9 isn't even statistically significant unless you ran the test something like 100 times. Let's also compare copying 1GB worth of data based on those numbers, 137 MB/s would complete in 7.5 seconds, and 119.9 would complete in 8.6 seconds. I highly doubt anyone would even notice a 1 second difference.

    I love Thunderbolt. I have an extremely fast RAID 0 for my VM's setup on it and a docking station, but for basic hard drive use USB 3.0 is better and cheaper. TB should only be used for Docking stations and where you need extremely fast storage. Otherwise there is little to no benefit.

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