new to macs- processor vs windows?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by yuppietrash, Nov 2, 2009.

  1. yuppietrash macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    #1
    sorry to be a total newbie asking this, but.... ive really fallen for macs after getting an iphone, their design and UI has prompted me to buy a mac since my current windows desktop is beginning to show its age. im looking at the mac mini, (id love to have an imac, but i cant afford it.)

    my question is, the entry level mac mini is a 2.26 Ghz machine with 2gig of ram. im currently using a 2.6Ghz pentium 4 emachine with 1 gig of ram. this probably sounds foolish, but will i notice a big difference in performance by going with the mac mini? i dont really want to make a lateral move, and i assume it will be a big improvement over what i have, but just wanted to know for sure before i buy.

    it seems like macs will do more with less processor, and i asked a mac user in my office about this and he disagreed, but also admitted he didnt know much about his imac, other than "he likes it."

    thanx for any insight you can give me. :)
     
  2. akm3 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    #2
    Yes, it will be faster. You will be surprised at the performance improvement.

    I went from a 2.8 Pentium 4 to a 1.83 Core 1 Duo and was expecting a sluggish, dragging system. I was very happy.
     
  3. Cboss macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Colorado
    #3
    The core2duo processor in the mini is MUCH more powerful than your current Pentium 4. They have completely different architectures (not to mention the mini has two processors instead of the one of the Pentium 4) so you can't compare them directly using only their clock speed.

    Yeah, it's a little confusing, but the bottom line is that you'll be getting a major upgrade with the mini.
     
  4. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #4
    The thing is, in the Pentium 4 era, Intel's marketing department went all-in on the "Mhz battle", implying that larger numbers equaled a faster computer. This isn't the case, and they effectively hit a dead end with the Pentium 4, where they had huge Mhz numbers but really weren't very fast at all. There's a reason Intel itself ditched the line and went with the Core architecture used in Macs today--it's just plain faster in almost every measurable way, both Mhz-for-Mhz and in absolute terms. (There's also a reason that Apple switched from the PPC to Intel chips only AFTER Core processors started shipping.)

    Among other things, the mini you're looking at has a drastically faster system bus than your old Pentium 4, which would make it somewhat faster even if the processors were equivalent. The mini also effectively has two processors instead of one, which can make it anywhere from a little to twice as fast as a comparable single-processor machine.

    Synthetic benchmarks aren't a very good way of measuring the speed of a computer, but if you want numbers for the sake of comparison for the processors themselves, have a look at this website:
    http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_list.php

    ...where you will see a Pentium 4 2.6GHz score a 409 on their benchmark, where a Core2 Duo P7550 2.26GHz, which is what the mini uses, scores 1668--over four times faster. So, if it only had one core instead of two, it would still be twice as fast (in fact, you can find a Core2 Solo 1.4GHz on that list, which is only a single processor; it scores 483, still faster than a 2.6GHz P4).

    So there you go.

    Incidentally, if you're shopping for a mini, I'd seriously consider the 2nd-tier mini--the extra money gets you a 10% faster processor, maxed out RAM, and a bigger hard drive, without the hassles of physically upgrading it yourself. My dad just bought one, and he loves it.
     

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