Mac Mini i5 2.5ghz 2012...what's it actually like?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Slippery Gimp, Jan 13, 2014.

  1. Slippery Gimp macrumors member

    Aug 2, 2008
    Leeds, UK
    Greetings all,

    I currently have a 2008 20" 2.66ghz iMac with the Radeon HD2600 256mb graphics card in it, but am looking to get a new Mac Mini to replace it: whether it's the i5 or i7 model I don't know yet. It's been an expensive 3 years for me so budget is a consideration...though I may be able to get the i7 if I need to.

    But all I read about in the forum is what the quad core i7 is like. So, does anyone have the i5 version, and if so what's it like to use? Is the standard HDD slow at all? I don't see any problems with the i5 processor, and it's certainly better than my current one, so I'm not fussed about that.

    I won't be gaming on it at all, it'll just sit underneath my HDTV and be used for the usual iLife/iWork/iTunes stuff, maybe playing the odd TV show or film, including through Netflix. For these reasons I'm thinking the i5 will be plenty, especially as I'll max out the RAM eventually.

    I have Windows on my current iMac running through Bootcamp and I have used it many times over the years to do work on 3D Studio Max (visuals of commercial interiors, furniture, retail interiors etc). It'd be nice to still be able to do that, but not essential. Obviously to this end I'm wondering whether the Intel HD4000 is better than what I've got. Please remember that budget is an issue or I'd get an iMac or better!

    Anyway, back on topic, what is the i5 actually like please?!
  2. haravikk, Jan 13, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2014

    haravikk macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2005
    It should be just fine for what you want it for!
    The only thing you've listed that it may be a little slow for is iWork if you're using the '09 version, otherwise the newer versions should run pretty well, though some features have been lost; if you've got iWork '09 already then I'd recommend installing it as well just in case.

    Drive speed depends on how you look at it; there are definitely much faster drives out there, but I wouldn't call it slow personally. It's a laptop type 2.5" drive running a 5400rpm, but it's more than enough for loading up HD movies. If you want to be sure you could consider the Fusion Drive options as they're not too expensive and give a great boost for boot-time and most common tasks. A Fusion Drive is something you can technically add yourself later, but if you don't like the idea of anything more complex than upgrading RAM then it's probably not for you.

    4gb of RAM should be plenty for what you've listed; of course more never hurts performance, but Mavericks also gives you a free boost of up to 50% thanks to memory compression. On that note actually Mavericks should keep the Mac Mini nice and responsive; personally I'd wait for 10.9.2 to come out, but it's not necessary.

    So yeah, as long as you're not heavily multi-tasking while you use it the i5 model should be plenty IMO. I've got one my family uses for browsing, iPhoto and YouTube videos mostly, and it runs beautifully, even more so with Mavericks installed. Just don't let my dad near it, he installs all kinds of crap without asking ;)

    The only thing I'd say is that we're due a Mac Mini update sometime soon™, and while Haswell won't make a huge difference to CPU speed on its own, it will add much better graphics and if any models have Iris Pro then that means better performance all round. Probably not such a big deal as the i5 should meet your needs, but if your purchase isn't urgent you might consider waiting to see as you'll either be able to get an even better entry level Mac Mini for the same money, or maybe get the i5 for less, giving you more room for extra RAM/SSD or whatever.
  3. SimonUK5 macrumors 6502

    Nov 26, 2010
    an i5 is flipping powerful.

    I moved from a Quad i7 MBP, and a Quad i7 Windows Desktop, down to the baseline Mac Mini and the Baseline Macbook Air (with 8gb).

    The only thing thats been slower is Handbreak encodes, but it isn't really an issue.

    The Baseline Mac Mini is perfect for virtually everything, its a little slow on encoding, but it isn't really an issue, converting a DVD rip into iTunes takes around 20 min, including Tagging time, thats not bad.

    I did put a small 120gb SanDisk SSD into the Mini, thats mainly because i'm used to the speed, but even with the stock hard drive, it ran great.

    I'd suggest the Mini, leave the RAM for now, put a small SSD in, and put the original drive in a USB3 enclosure. Sorted.
  4. Crosscreek macrumors 68030


    Nov 19, 2013
    I have the 2.5 and it will easily do every thing you want it to do. I actually replaced a new rMBP with it and I hardly notice the difference except for boot up time and file read/write. I added 8gb of ram. The 4gb is really not enough. It will cause paging to the HD in some programs. I bought the base system to resell when refresh happens. I added a Samsung 840 Evo 256 SSD as a USB boot drive and it really fast compared to the HD. I didn't add it inside because I plan to use it in the refresh.
  5. Slippery Gimp thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 2, 2008
    Leeds, UK
    It all sounds good then. Obviously I'm praying and hoping for an update ASAP, but I've been waiting so long to get a new Mac and I can finally get one on Wednesday.

    Dear Apple, please release an updated Mac Mini before Wednesday. Thanks.
  6. CH12671 macrumors 6502

    Dec 29, 2013
    Southern US
    My son has one, and it's awesome. He captures 1080p game footage live with his elgato, and then edits/uploads to u-tube. I'd say that's pretty impressive for a computer you can almost put in your back pocket!
  7. Rodster macrumors 68040

    May 15, 2007
    I bought one from Amazon less than a month ago. It's zippidity do dah as far as performance goes. No issues whatsoever and i'm running Mavericks. I even have Microsoft Office and everything loads just fine and the system feels quick.
  8. andresen.eric macrumors newbie

    Jan 13, 2014
    Mac Mini update Agony

    I keep hearing that an update for Haswell may be coming, but its been agony for me. I am SO close to just pulling the trigger on a base i5 500GB Mac mini. Its really a *very* good configuration for the money, so many of the PCs you see today are still selling with Core 2 Duo, Celeron or Pentium processors, so in terms of being up to date Apple has it sewn up.

    I keep thinking the second I do pull the trigger they will release the Haswell version, but I WONT wait until October and I think even waiting for April will be hard for me. Is there any signs in the market it could be sooner than April?
  9. Slippery Gimp thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 2, 2008
    Leeds, UK
    You and me both...I can walk into the Apple store tomorrow and buy a Mac Mini if I want to, but again I know as soon as I do they'll release an updated version. Ho hum, first world problems and all that.
  10. Slippery Gimp thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 2, 2008
    Leeds, UK
    Took the plunge yesterday and bought the i5 base model...even though the wife gave me clearance (!) to get the i7.

    I figured I could try the i5 and see how it is for me and if I need to take it back within the next two weeks to get the i7 instead then fair enough.

    I even asked, "If Apple then release an updated version can I take the i7 back within two weeks and swap it as well?" He smirked and said I could. Either way I'll be happy. Just waiting on it transferring over all my files now.
  11. Rodster macrumors 68040

    May 15, 2007
    Wise choice all around, enjoy your purchase. He probably smirked because there's almost no chance of that happening. More likely scenario is after the Broadwell MBP's are released, the Mini's will be updated.

    I like my Mini so much, it's a keeper regardless and will just buy another. :cool:
  12. Jambalaya macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2013
    I see you've already bought but I use my "ancient" 2009 Mini for the same purpose and it's great so your machine will be perfect.

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