Noticeable performance hit going from my 2.5GHz MacBook Pro?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by el-John-o, Mar 17, 2015.

  1. el-John-o, Mar 17, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 17, 2015

    el-John-o macrumors 65816

    Nov 29, 2010
    So I haven't really kept up with all that intel is doing in the last two years or so. Here's the deal, I have a Mid-2012 MacBook Pro with 2 SSD's and 16GB of RAM. No plans on upgrading. I do some video editing (light), some photo editing, and other productivity related stuff in addition to all of the other junk one does with their laptop. (From gaming, especially now that Steam in-home streaming is here! Streaming from my gaming PC. Suh-weet!; to just plain old web browsing).

    I also lug this thing to my office every day. Not that it's a huge burden, but, you know. At my desk I have a monitor and a nice mechanical keyboard, good setup! But I've got some expense account money for technology and I'd like a desktop. Just so that I don't HAVE to lug my laptop all the time. At the office we're talking about basic productivity. Word processing, web browsing, etc. Nothing insane at all. I'm not a developer or artist or designer or anything (the photo/video editing is my own personal stuff.)

    So the new $499 Mac Mini is tempting. My question is, and I know it's a dumb question but before I pull the trigger I need to ask; am I going to have a noticeable performance hit going from my 2.5GHz MacBook Pro to the new Mac Mini? Considering the light duty usage, should I go with 8GB of RAM? I may pop an SSD in there. Looks like a few fancy screws and liberal use of the spudger but it can be done. Suppose I COULD opt for the $184 PCI-e drive option (It's $184 bought through discounts available to my employer. Buying through an account.)

    What are your thoughts? Is it really worth the extra $200 to spring for the 2.5GHz/8GB version? For a basic office PC / basic productivity? I know a cheap PC is an option; heck that's what my secretary uses. But I really don't like Windows, and I want to keep the platform the same. In other words, I want to use iCloud and syncing features with my apps so that I can come to either machine and be ready to go. (Though, Windows 8 does this exceptionally well as well.)

    Thanks guys!
  2. chogue23 macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2015
    Waco, TX, USA
    I think you would really notice a performance hit moving from the Macbook Pro to the base model Mini. Not only does the base model have only 4 GB of RAM, but it only has a 1.4GHz Processor. I think that the upgrade to the 2.6GHz would be well worth it, while the 2.8 would not be beneficial for the price. Remember that the RAM in these new Mini's are soldered on and can not be upgraded later. The upgraded processor, memory, and 1TB drive would be very beneficial, and the Iris graphics would give you a little extra kick on your games.
  3. el-John-o thread starter macrumors 65816

    Nov 29, 2010
    I appreciate the response! But it sounds like you might've missed a few points on the original post. I'm talking about an office computer. Basic productivity. It won't be used in the same ways I use my MacBook Pro. It'll simply be used INSTEAD of my MacBook Pro at the office. Web browsing, e-mail, word processing. Basic accounting. That sort of thing. Zero need for 'gaming performance'
  4. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    For the usage you are describing it will work more than fine. Neither CPU nor ram will limit you.
    An ssd would increase general resonpsivnees, for example when opening apps.
  5. xylitol macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2013
  6. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    You'll notice a performance hit, but only because of the lack of an SSD/Fusion Drive.
  7. Micky Do, Mar 17, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2015

    Micky Do macrumors 68000

    Micky Do

    Aug 31, 2012
    An island in the Andaman Sea.
    Bear in mind that the while the processor generally idles along at 1.4 Ghz, it can lift its act to 2.7 Ghz for a bit when a boost called is for.

    The HDD in the basic Mac Mini may seem a bit laggy compared to the SSD you are used to. If that is going to bother you, consider springing another $250 to order the Fusion drive version.

    If you have a bit more petty cash available for something more peppy, look at the mid range model (2.5 Ghz; 8 RAM; $699) and spring another $200 to order the 256 GB SSD option.
  8. Altis macrumors 68030

    Sep 10, 2013
    +1 for it's fine but needs SSD over the 5400RPM base hard drive.
  9. el-John-o thread starter macrumors 65816

    Nov 29, 2010
    Thanks guys! Thanks especially for the benchmark link. The base model benchmarking close to the 2012 MBP makes the base model more tempting for sure.

    An SSD is certainly going to happen, I can't go back to a spinning hard drive. Yuck. At $184 (we have a partnership through Apple and order at a discounted rate. Not a big discount but every bit helps!), the 256GB SSD seems like the way to go.

    Thanks for the info! I think I may end up just springing for the 8GB, 2.5GHz model with the 256GB SSD. Probably significantly more horsepower than I need for what I'm using it for but; more is always better! Ha!
  10. bbnck, Mar 20, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2015

    bbnck macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2009
    I have a 1.3 GHz MacBook Air with a 128 GB SSD and I needed a desktop Mac as I wanted to use multiple monitors (which isn't possible on a MacBook Air unless you want to purchase expensive Thunderbolt Displays!)

    At the time I decided I needed a Mac mini, we only had the 2012 models to choose from, so I was waiting for the new Mac mini's to arrive hopefully with better graphics. When the new Mac mini line was announced last year, I was happy to see the price drop so I opted for the base Mac mini, thinking it would give me similar levels of performance to my MacBook Air. That really wasn't the case. The SSD in the MacBook Air makes such a big difference you will not believe it until you try the base Mac mini. It was choking with even reasonably light use - the SSD clearly makes a remarkable difference (obviously!). I am surprised Apple sell such an under-powered model. All I can say is, it is good for very light use only and even your requirements may outstrip what the base model can offer coupled with the 4 GB of soldered memory. Maybe the limited memory was the main problem, I am not sure.

    From personal experience and briefly reading through what you need your Mac mini for, I would push you towards the middle model - this is the one I have and the performance is so much better even with the spinning hard drive. As you have an SSD in your MacBook Pro, you will most certainly notice slower computer start, shutdown and app launch times if you don't upgrade to either a Fusion Drive or an SSD. At best, I can get 100 MB/s for Read and Write with my 2.6 GHz Mac mini 2014 (1 TB 5400-rpm). On my MacBook Air, we're talking over 500 MB/s (not checked in a while, so a rough guess!)

    I'm personally happy with my Mac mini, after choosing the right model. Would I choose an SSD if I wanted to spend more? Yes I definitely would, because it would give me better overall performance and snappiness. However the 2.6 GHz model with 1 TB HDD serves me well and can cope with relatively heavy multitasking with ease. Bear in mind if the operating system starts paging memory on a PCIe-based SSD, you may not even notice it because of how fast the storage technology is.

    If you want the best I/O speed and storage space isn't an issue for you, I'd recommend you look into buying your Mac mini with a 256 GB SSD instead of the 1 TB 5400-rpm HDD. Or if that's too small, get a Fusion Drive which combines a 128 GB SSD with a 1 TB 5400-rpm hard drive - OS X then presents both drives as a single logical volume and moves files and applications to the SSD if it sees you use them often.

    Lastly, to help you stay away from the base Mac mini (heh), see the stat differences between Intel HD 5000 and Intel Iris 5100:

    (Not entirely representative, but it gives you an idea of the better performance offered on the Iris IGP).

    I hope this helps you with your buying decision.

Share This Page