Mac Mini, Quad-core I7 2.3 or 2.6ghz

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by jlfenton, Jan 5, 2014.

  1. jlfenton macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2014
    Hi Guys,

    This is my first forum experience, so I will apologize in advance if I am doing anything wrong, or if this thread has already been posted.

    Anyway, this might be for the more 'techy' guys, but I'm looking into buy a Mac Mini in the coming weeks. I understand there is a chance of an updated Mini, but that doesn't bother me too much.

    The reason I am buying it is because I would like to upgrade to a more capable machine than I have now, and also I have never owned a Mac before, and would like to now. My main uses would be the usual Internet browsing, word processing and what not, watching movies and music etc etc... along with some home music recording and light video editing.

    I have looked around the Apple Store and I would like to get the quad-core I7 with the fusion drive upgrade for a faster experience. But I have stumbled upon whether I should pay the extra money for a 2.6ghz processor, instead of the standard 2.3ghz processor.

    What would having the extra power achieve? Would it be wise to get it to future proof myself? Where would it come in handy?

    So, can someone please explain to me the perks of getting the upgrade?

    Thank you all very much for your time, it is greatly appreciated :)
  2. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    No. Don't bother. It's only about 10% faster and that's only if doing extremely processor intensive things like Handbrake or audio/video rendering. You will not miss it.
  3. Wahlstrm macrumors 6502a


    Dec 4, 2013
    you get what you pay for

    The increase in cost is about 10% and the gain in performance is about 10%.

    For me it´s worth it, mainly because it´s not a lot of money and the price/performance is 1:1. So why not?

    It´s not upgradable later on and if you want to sell it some day, high spec usually goes for more money.

    I ordered my mac mini 2,6 the other day and this is what it will look like when completed: [​IMG][/IMG]
  4. barkmonster macrumors 68020


    Dec 3, 2001
    You only get one chance to choose the CPU.

    You're much cheaper adding your own RAM at a later date but if you're willing to pay Apple's prices, getting an SSD as a BTO option isn't too bad till you consider a kit is available for £20 to fit a second internal drive and a fast, 256Gb SSD could be added as additional storage if you just kept the 1Tb HDD it comes with.

    £80 is a small price to pay for the fastest CPU a Mac Mini can be configured with and it's the one thing you can't upgrade yourself.

    RAM is by far the easiest upgrade to perform by yourself, adding drives also looks fairly straight forward compared with the prising of clips involved with the 2009 model I currently have.
  5. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    Watching the prices where I live, rarely do upgraded processors go for much more than the base. Generally when a mac hits the used market the processor is already a couple generations old and people buying them are looking for the cheapest they can get. Maybe it's different where you live, but that seems to be the consensus on these forums. You might get a little more for a faster processor but it won't be anywhere near $100.

    Also to the OP, if you feel like you can roll your own fusion drive, you can generally get deals on base mid-mini.
  6. kobyh15 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 29, 2011
    +1. Resale is not a reason to upgrade to the 2.6. When selling the machine years from now a 10% bump from the 2.3 will mean nothing as it will still be generations old and still be "slow". If you use the machine for your livelihood and the 10% increase in performance pays for itself in increased productivity then go for it. Otherwise, use that money to buy RAM and a good SSD. These will give a noticeable performance increase apparent to the user. However, if money is not an issue then I have no qualms maxing it out. I'd do the same if money were no object.
  7. chrfr macrumors 604

    Jul 11, 2009
    I have a 2.3 Mini at home and a 2.6 Mini at work. They're otherwise configured similarly. If you switched the 2.3 and the 2.6 without me knowing, I'd never be able to tell. The speed difference is totally imperceptible.
  8. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    I think the determining factor is, do you have a little extra money you don't mind spending to get the fastest CPU?

    Also -- do you plan on keeping the Mini for a good while?

    When I got my "late 2012" Mini a year ago, I opted for the 2.6ghz i7. I was replacing a PowerMac g4 that I had for -9- years, and wanted another Mac that would be good for -at least- five more years.

    I can't say whether I would "notice the difference" vis-a-vis a 2.3 i7 -- never had to make the comparison. The 2.7 -is- quick and snappy.

    I don't regret buying it, but then again, if I had to replace this machine, I'd probably just get the 2.3ghz, and adjust my "replacement timeframe" slightly downwards.

    One last thought:
    If you need one now, buy now.
    BUT -- if your current setup is working "well enough", consider holding off for about 2/3/4 more months. There may be a nicely-revised Mini coming down the pike before too much longer...
  9. hudson1 macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2012
    Unless you plan on using a computer for a task that is truly dependent on ultimate processor performance (none you list seem to fit that), the best reason to pay more is to get a machine that you think you can hang onto longer than if you spend less money. Would you keep a 2.6 MHz i7 longer than a 2.3 MHz i7? Only you can answer that but you probably won't keep it any longer.
  10. SoCalReviews, Jan 6, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2014

    SoCalReviews macrumors 6502

    Dec 31, 2012
    I purchased two 2.3Ghz i7 late-2012 Minis during the last year. The 2.3Ghz i7 Mini was my preference. In theory the lower clock speed should have slightly lower thermal temperatures within the same Mini form factor design which could be a benefit for long term usage (or not... maybe just in theory). The higher clock speed of the 2.6Ghz i7 Mini would be preferred for performance but CPU clock speed isn't the the only factor. Both of these i7s are suppose to scale up or temporarily boost to faster clock speeds above 3Ghz as needed anyway. The GPU performance is also a critical factor. If the extra cost is a concern then go with the 2.3Ghz i7.

    The other thing you can do after you purchase the Mini is to put the extra money into upgrading the RAM to 16GB. That will have a definite positive performance impact during normal usage of your Mini and probably more than the difference the extra clock speed. I would highly recommend upgrading your Mini to 16GB with high quality RAM. I prefer Crucial or Kingston brands.

    You could also install a 16GB (2 x 8GB) of Kingston HyperX RAM kit (KHX16S9P1K2/16) which has a lower CAS latency (CL9) than the normal PC3-12800 memory (CL11) has. Since the memory is shared for the GPU and CPU the lower latency positively impacts the performance of both. If you don't mind spending the extra money you could go with both the 2.6Ghz i7 and upgrade to the lower latency Kingston HyperX RAM. Remember what others have noted that you can't change the CPU clock speed after your purchase.
  11. spatlese44 macrumors 6502

    Dec 13, 2007
    You might consider computers for what they are: an expense. Every so many years you spend some money to upgrade. On average it probably comes to about $200 a year. I don't think the bump from 2.3 to 2.6 is going to future proof you much at all and you would be better off spending less and upgrading sooner. The fusion drive and quad core bumps are definitely worth it. You will have an extremely capable machine until 4k video becomes mainstream, which may or may not be that important to you.
  12. COrocket macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2012
    I got the 2.3 quad because for an extra $200 I could double the CPU (and HDD) over the dual core. I didn't think adding an extra $100 to add another 10% was necessary.
  13. raystrack macrumors newbie

    Dec 18, 2013
    I'm in process of buying my first Mini as my old iMac can't cope with my home recordings. Geekbench rates the 2.6 roughly 10% better than a 2.3 12618/11524.
  14. Ubele macrumors 6502a

    Mar 20, 2008
    I went through the same dilemma a year ago and decided to save some money and get the 2.3. My uses are similar to the OP's. I have no regrets. My mini feels quite fast, and, without having a 2.6 to directly compare it to, I have no way of knowing whether the 2.3 would feel slow in comparison.

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