Mac Mini 799 Base gaming benchmarks

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by YellowDart, Jul 29, 2011.

  1. YellowDart macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    #1
    Hi All-

    I got a $799 base mac mini listed here:

    4gb memory
    2.5 i5
    6630M
    500gb 5200rpm hdd

    Looking to replace a 2 year old windows desktop that has an original i5, Nvidia GTS 250 that is mostly used for gaming. The reason I am switching to mac is because I started iOS development on my old old old macbook air and looking for a desktop.

    I installed windows 7 with bootcamp for some of these tests (the futuremark tests) and installed two steam games in osx, team fortress 2 and left 4 dead 2. These games are about 2-3 years old but are still played today.

    3dMark Vantage: 3142 - default settings
    3dMark 11: 902 - default settings
    l4d2: 20-25 FPS steady with max settings at 1920x1080
    tf2: 25-30 FPS steady with max settings at 1920x1080

    For comparison my desktop got about 2x these settings. If anyone was wondering, these are "okay" numbers for gaming and will get by for the causal gamer. Personally, I am going to upgrade to a iMac with the 27 inch screen and hope that plays out a little better, but I am still doing research on it.

    Thanks!

    Yellow Dart
     
  2. Vermifuge macrumors 6502a

    Vermifuge

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2009
    #2
    I only have access to the trial but my i7 Dual core system didn't score much better. I got

    P3281 3D marks in Vantage .

    There may yet be some driver issues
     
  3. Tutorer macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2011
    #3
    Since you are interested in gaming benchmarks, BareFeats is one of the better sources in that regard.

    Ciao!
     
  4. JamSandwich macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 19, 2006
    #4
    If you're up to it, I'd be interested to see how those games perform in Windows, as well.

    Mine may arrive today (if UPS rings the doorbell... apparently it's well hidden)... good performance with moderate detail at a resolution that looks OK on my TV (720p) is suitable for my needs in terms of gaming. So I'm not too worried...
     
  5. Akula971 macrumors regular

    Akula971

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    Aug 25, 2006
    Location:
    Perfidious Albion
    #5
    mmm.....

    When you say max setting, is that with 8xMSAA and 8xanisotropic, shaders set to max too? I play a lot L4D2 and my HD4870 in a Mac Pro manages about a constant 60fps in OS X.
     
  6. Tucom macrumors 65816

    Tucom

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2006
    #6
    Yeah MSAA can kill framerates and honestly isn't that necessary, it's just "fake" resolution to smoothen out the jaggies but at 1080P I think it's just adding unecessary slow down to the performance.



    What about keeping the Mac Mini and the gaming PC?
     
  7. YellowDart thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    #7
    As for the max settings, yes everything was maxed. I noticed more that I play it though there are about 3-4 times per round the fps will drop to about 10fps.

    As for keeping both the mac mini and the gaming PC... long story short, it is in the kitchen and the gaming pc has been deemed an eye sore. the mac mini is okay, but the wife really wants me to upgrade to the iMac ;-)
     
  8. DarwinOSX macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2009
    #8
    Thats a dog slow hard drive. Apple could have put a 7200 rpm drive in but they like to keep noise and vibration down plus give people reason to buy an iMac instead.
     
  9. Akula971 macrumors regular

    Akula971

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    Perfidious Albion
    #9
    Frame rate at 1920x1200-not maxed out?

    Does the frame rate with the AA and stuff turned down but still at 1920x1200 increase much on Left 4 dead 2?
     
  10. MisterDisney macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 20, 2010
    #10
    Eh. It handles Portal(2) and Minecraft just fine, so I'm happy with it.
     
  11. Akula971 macrumors regular

    Akula971

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    Perfidious Albion
    #11
    Subjective statement

    Question was for YellowDart Misterdisney. I'm interested in FPS, a "just fine" is too subjective.
     
  12. Vermifuge macrumors 6502a

    Vermifuge

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    Mar 7, 2009
    #12
    I can't comment on Portal but i'm running a 128x128 pack in Minecraft and still getting 60+ FPS
     
  13. redscull macrumors 6502a

    redscull

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2010
    Location:
    Texas
    #13
    Mac gaming is "held back" by the fact that the mini and iMac use laptop video cards, not the beasts that dekstop gaming PCs will typically use. So relatively speaking, a just-released top-of-the-line iMac will offer gaming performance similar to a 1-yr-old, budget-at-the-time gaming PC.

    From a hard-core gaming perspective, the upgraded mini's 6630M is pretty dismal compared to the iMac's 6970M which itself is on par with current $160 (low-budget) desktop cards.
     
  14. YellowDart thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    #14
    Hi All-

    Just an update. I tried the games on windows as requested and found that windows with directx was getting almost double the framerates as macosx with the same settings (50-60fps).

    I also noticed both OS's would have some slow downs where the fps would drop to 10-15 fps every ~3 minutes. Finding this weird I did some research and found they were paging to the hard drive. Normally, this wouldnt be a huge problem but I also found the 5400 RPM drive would only transfer at about 20 megabytes per second.

    I ran over to frys (like walmart of electronics) and picked up a solid state drive and 8gb of ram. The SSD was $200 and the ram was $70. With these upgrades the machine is noticeably faster in loading and no longer has the shuttering issues from paging. The upgrade itself for the SSD took me about 20 minutes and was only 6 screws and no seals. Just remove the fan, the cover and replace... didnt even have to move the motherboard. Very Very easy.

    Thanks
    Yellow Dart
     
  15. xheathen macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #15
    I wonder if a 7200 RPM HDD like a Scorpio would keep those same paging issues from happening.
     
  16. Vermifuge macrumors 6502a

    Vermifuge

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2009
    #16
    I have the BTO 7200 RPM drive and i experience the paging issues from time to time.

    mini i7 dual core / 8gb ram
     
  17. xheathen macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #17
    Ah damn... I guess the best route to go really is to either spend the $ on a SSD, or get the 2010 lower server cable and just add a smaller SSD to house the OS.
     
  18. Vermifuge macrumors 6502a

    Vermifuge

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2009
    #18
    This is a 1.0 OS on fresh hardware. I wouldn't do anything drastic just yet. 7.1 or 7.2 may yet fix many of these issues. and a firmware update could very well be in the works.
     
  19. MacinJosh macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 29, 2006
    Location:
    Finland
    #19
    I would be interested in knowing how the OP's Mini would stack up against my Mac Pro if it had a 5770,5870,6870 in it.

    Could anyone enlighten me? I just have a garbage 7300GT and will update next year.
     
  20. Akula971 macrumors regular

    Akula971

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    Aug 25, 2006
    Location:
    Perfidious Albion
    #20
    BareFeats

    Head over to Barefeats and check out the FPS.

    http://www.barefeats.com/wst10g6.html


    There is no way that a stripped down mobile GPU is going to do better than a dedicated card such as the 5870. But it all depends on what level of gaming or graphics performance you are looking for?
     
  21. MacinJosh macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 29, 2006
    Location:
    Finland
    #21
    Thanks. That was interesting. So the Mini will be limited to a degree. I just want to run games at FullHD at High Quality. Games like Civ5, WoW, SC2, upcoming D3. Not a HC gamer by any means.
     
  22. Akula971 macrumors regular

    Akula971

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2006
    Location:
    Perfidious Albion
    #22
    HC gamer

    I've toyed with the idea of selling my MacPro 2008 model and getting a 2011 MacMini. But by the time you've shelled out for the CoreI5 or I7, the extra ram, the SSD, you could have bought a 5870 or better and still had change left. So I'm sticking with my MacPro and 4870 until the mini can push out 60FPS at 1920x1200. The only thing I hate about running the Pro is the power consumption. If the machine is on constantly through the day, every day, my electricity bills go up considerably. So I have my 2010 mini running mostly. 20w vs 220w.
     
  23. dh2005 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    #23
    Interesting thread. Thanks, everyone.


    I'm gonna sit tight a while longer. This new Mini - with its genuinely 'okay' graphics card - is a step in the right direction, but I need just that little more clout.

    If the next Mini has something that performs, say, somewhere akin to the 6970M, I'd buy one immediately. That sort of gaming power, combined with the tiny form-factor and the HDMI socket, would make it the ideal 'living room' computer for someone like me.


    Fingers crossed, for six months from now.
     
  24. Mr.C macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2011
    Location:
    London, UK.
    #24
    It's not going to be 6 months from now. The new Mini's just came out so it will be at least until next Summer before news ones are released possible even later.

    To be honest whilst the Mini and it's 6630M GPU is no match for higher end cards in iMacs and Windows PC's it's no slouch either. I just got mine set up yesterday and was playing Portal 2 with all settings on high and it was running very smoothly. For some reason Lion didn't want to co-operate with my demo of Star Craft 2 or trial of World Of Warcraft, not sure why. I've deleted them and in the next day or two download them again as they are compatible with Lion and I will report how I get on.

    I'm planning on buying a few more Mac native games as well as installing Windows 7 under Bootcamp. I think the 6630M does a pretty good job. That said up coming games like Battlefied 3, Diablo 3, Deus Ex:Human Revolution may struggle as they will recommend GPU's with 512MB but they should run well on medium to low settings. I gues for me it's not as big a deal as I do most of my gaming on the PS3 and Xbox 360 as well as the iPad. :)
     
  25. dh2005 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    #25

    Thank you for your insights.


    The average turnaround on the Mini is just under nine months. The last cycle was conspicuously long, without doubt, but the two previous refreshes came after less than eight. I have the feeling that February/March 2012 won't be so wide of the mark... but we'll see.

    Punters have been asking for a gaming Mini for a while, and I think Apple are beginning to listen. If the 6630M model sells well, I reckon we might see a more feisty card in the next lineup.

    At least, I hope so!
     

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