Mini 2011 vs iMac 2011 for xcode

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by mamcx, Jul 27, 2011.

  1. mamcx macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2008
    I can't find benchmarks that compare the iMac vs Mac mini for compiling XCode project.

    I have interest in:

    21.5-inch: 2.5GHz
    2.5GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5


    2.5GHz : 500GB
    2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5

    and upgrade any of them to 8GB RAM or more.

    I'm only concerned to have good performance to compiling with XCode. I *suspect* the diference between the two are not big, so my first inclination is the mini (I prefer a mate display, and the posibility to add SSD later look easier in the mini), but and the end development is what matter for me.

    Any benchmarks for this case?
  2. walterp macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2011
    Xcode uses all available cores for compiling, so a quad-core i5 will substantially outperform a dual-core i5. A quad-core iMac is probably at least 50% faster than a dual-core Mini for Xcode compiles.

    If you want to get a Mini, get the server, which has a 2.0 GHz quad-core i7. (The difference in clock speed probably still gives a slight advantage to the iMac, but the server will be much faster than a dual-core Mini.)

  3. Tulpa macrumors regular

    May 11, 2011
    Actually the server mini's CPU spanks the base iMac's in geekbench (9448 to 7241)
  4. Bearxor macrumors 6502a

    Jun 7, 2007
    Probably Hyperthreading. The i5's on the iMac's don't have it. All the Mini's do.

    So you're looking at 4 threads vs. 8 threads.
  5. gooberlx, Jul 27, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2011

    gooberlx macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2011
    Depends on the specific scenario. Someone else was posting how Handbrake was getting slightly faster encodes on the base imac vs mini server, which I think is likely due to the slightly faster turbo clock on the base imac's 4 core/4 thread i5.

    Nonetheless, if Xcode uses threading well, then I'd say the mini server may be a better bet vs the base imac. But I'd definitely take the base imac over the upgraded i5 mini. 4 cores/4 threads > 2 cores/4 threads, not to mention higher turbo clocks.
  6. handheldgames macrumors 65816


    Apr 4, 2009
    Pacific NW, USA
    The slow 5400 Hard drive speeds @60mb/sec will kill you on compile times. The AMD graphics should help the simulator. Figure in a 750GB WD that can hit at least 120MB/sec. In all - you are adding $110 for the HD, $65 for RAM. Take that into account when comparing the iMac to the Mini.
  7. walterp macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2011
    Ah, didn't realize that. Then, yes, the Mini server should be much faster than the i5 iMac for compiles, and, more importantly for the OP's choice, the Mini's i5 with hyperthreading should be essentially equal to the iMac's i5 if it doesn't have hyperthreading.
  8. walterp macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2011
    That's not true; it will have hardly any effect at all. Except for some relatively unusual uses of Xcode, the speed of the disk doesn't matter at all. Xcode compiles are almost always CPU-bound, so having more cores/threads speeds up compiles dramatically, while having a faster drive (even an SSD) makes very little difference.

  9. mamcx thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2008
    Ok, sound good. Anyone can test it? I will buy the system from another country and the minis are not available in my city (only old models in some stores) so I can't compare it myself.
  10. jaykk macrumors 6502a

    Jan 5, 2002
    I got the Mac mini server for exactly for that reason, plus upgrading the Hard Disk seems to be easier on Mac Mini Server than iMac ( I can't imagine taking the glass out and putting it back together without any dust stuck in it)

    The Mac Mini Server comes with 7200rpm 500GB drives, it feels so much faster. But I am going to replace the main drive with a SSD.

    I went with Mac Mini Server over iMac for the following reasons.
    1. SSD replacement - The iMac have a temp sensor, plus its a pain open it up.
    2. You can replace both hard disks to 1TB if you want. There are no temp sensors on either one
    3. I already have couple of monitors (matte screens)

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