Mini i5 base vs i5 with dedicated GPU for workhorse

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by LaunchpadBS, Aug 8, 2012.

  1. LaunchpadBS macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    Location:
    iLondon/iDurban
    #1
    I'm at a crossroads, I started out waiting for the Mini refresh which never came, I need to get a workhorse to replace my aging 15" Unibody MBP, still a nice machine and working fine but far too slow for my needs now. XCode alone slows it to a shudder even with 8GB ram.

    Anyway I decided to get a 2011 Mini middle of the range with discrete GPU till I saw the base level going for £200 cheaper, that's a 16GB ram and 240GB SSD upgrade right there.

    So granted the monitor I'll be using is 27" and I almost never play games on OS X as my PS3 is hooked up to the same monitor my question is this.

    Is the dedicated GPU and fractional speed bump worth it if I don't game or do and graphics intensive design work?
    All it NEEDS to be able to do on that front is play 1080p movies without lag and perhaps half a dozen apps open in the background?
    Also would photos load any different in iPhoto? I have lots of hi-res images from my camera and my MBP almost dies when I try flip through them now.

    Oh BTW this is all assuming both would be fitted with 16GB 1333mhz ram and a 240GB SSD right off the bat.

    Thanks guys
     
  2. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #2
    The HD3000 is pretty bad. Unfortunately the discrete graphics option seen in the mini is terrible. I wouldn't invest extra to get that unless it enables a specific feature that you require. The HD4000 was a nice step up. I'm not sure what is holding the imacs up. In desktops the mini usually drops after the imac. I'd expect it with the imac here. They will not hold out for Haswell. That could be a year from now, and I don't see Apple placing these product lines on a 2 year refresh cycle. I'd probably wait as long as possible, pick up the base mini, and return it if a refresh pops up within the return period. 2012 would have a minor speed bump, usb3, and a bump to the HD4000 which may last a little longer given that it supposedly supports OpenCL (not sure if it's been implemented yet though). I would expect one of Apple's requirements for a future OS revision will be an OpenCL compliant gpu which would potentially axe the 2011 model. I don't think they'd try to shove the discrete on in either given that it's the low end of low end discrete cards. It is a low end notebook card that is significantly outpaced by $60 desktop cards.

    By the way, minis seem to hold their value pretty well simply because they start low and tend to cater to the people who want a mac yet can't afford one.
     
  3. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #3
    can you wait?

    I know it is tough but the mini is long in the tooth.

    The base graphics hd 3000 is a bit less then okay and the discrete card is merely okay. To be honest right now mac has a bad choice for just about all of its gear.
    Most every piece of pc gear costs too much underperforms is old or is a combo of the previous three flaws. I looked at all of mac gear and the only one that has decent power and is new is a macbook pro. It is costly but it does have a lot to offer.
     
  4. LaunchpadBS thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    Location:
    iLondon/iDurban
    #4
    Agree with the new new bit but not looking to get another laptop as my current one never leaves my desk. The mini would be the perfect space saver.
     
  5. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #5
    I agree it also is a lot lower cost. I just have worked with all the 2011 minis modding testing selling using for myself etc.

    The 2011 mini machine is just a bit short for the op's needs. ( ie you )

    Oh yeah the 2012 15 inch macbook pro would have the testicles to do the work you want but it is 2k. If it were early aug 2011 I would say grab it.
     
  6. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2011
    #6
    Unless I missed something in your post the base model 2011 Mac Mini should be fine for your needs.

    I have the Intel HD3000 in my early 2011 13" MBP running a 24" NEC display. I run Aperture, Photoshop and myriad other apps without a problem. The HD3000 will be fine with a 27" display. The discrete GPU is a problem only if you play games or tend to do 3D rendering with your Mac. You can still do those things albeit with limitations.

    The Intel HD4000 GPU is approximately 40% faster than the HD3000. It's an improvement but nothing to get excited about...

    Assuming you can purchase a new or refurbed Mini directly from Apple you would have 14 days to throughly test the Mini and return it if it doesn't cut the mustard for you.

    I am patiently waiting for the release of the upgraded Mini but I can afford to wait because I have the MBP and an aging 2006 iMac. But if I needed a Mac right away I wouldn't hesitate to get the 2011 Mini.
     
  7. HMI macrumors 6502a

    HMI

    Joined:
    May 23, 2012
    #7
    Update?

    When might this next update be released?
     
  8. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #8
    well first guesses were;

    late june early july

    next set were august - early sept.


    some of us are holding out for oct.


    My advice is wait if you can buy if you need.
     
  9. blanka macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    #9
    January/ February.
     
  10. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2011
    #10
    The Bottom Line: No one outside of Apple knows when the Mac Mini will be released.
     

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