Performance of the Mini!

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by prvt.donut, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. prvt.donut macrumors 6502a

    prvt.donut

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    #1
    So I am looking for a media center/home Mac and am split between the 2.5Ghz mini or a MBA.

    Background: I bought my wife a late 2010 11" MBA (128GB SSD) last year and it is great.

    I recently sold my aging 17" PowerBook G4, and transferred my user profile to the MBA until I got something to replace it.

    I really love the MBA, but space is getting a little tight on it now so I am thinking of getting my own system again.

    I live in Tokyo and space is very limited in our apartment, so I want something small (Mac Pro, Mac Pro, Mac Pro). If I get the mini, it will hook up to the 40" Bravia as its display. This will mean the Mini doesn't have to connect to the TV anymore for Dailyshow viewing pleasure.

    Questions:

    1, I find the MBA can't display Flash video through the 1080p HDMI port smoothly. This is resolved by using Plex for these streams. Also, the MBA can't smoothly playback full HD video content to the TV (for watching 3D movies). Again, Plex solves this issue, but can the Mini with the Radeon GPU handle this kind of usage? Or will it be only possible in Plex?

    2, How well does the mini handle games? I haven't played in years, but if it is capable, it would be nice to play a few games, Call of Duty, Command and Conquer, Dirt etc. I am not expecting to have the levels up on high, but would like to play at 1080 with a playable frame rate. What is expected from the mini?

    3, Does the Mini come with Lion on a USB? I would like to get a SSD and install at the system drive and then change the 2nd drive (getting the cable first) to a TB range drive.
     
  2. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #2
    NUMBER 3 IS A BIG NO! I Love my mini's but the lion on them is not the standard lion. Thus the usb stick for lion will not work. Also unless you clone the hdd recovery must be done via the net.
     
  3. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #3


    Based on needs 1 and 2, I would highly recommend the mid-range Mini. The discrete GPU will help in both situations. It won't let you play games on "high", but it will probably double the frame rate you would get compared to the integrated graphics of the MBA or base Mini.

    And no it doens't come with Lion on USB. Instead it uses "internet recovery", which basically will download Lion from the internet. So as long as you have a good broadband connection (and from what I hear you have some wicked fast internet connections in japan compared to us in the US), you should be fine. The alternative is using something like SuperDuper or CarbonCopy and just transfer all of the data from one drive to another...
     
  4. shortcut3d macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2011
    #4
    You can use the OSX Lion Recovery partition on the original drive to launch Disk Utility and Restore the original drive to the new SSD. The only limitation is you can not restore to OSX software RAID arrays.
     
  5. shortcut3d macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2011
    #5
    Both the Intel HD 3000 and AMD 6630M will handle HD content without a problem. The i5 and i7 processors have no trouble handling flash content, you may notice the mid-range Mac mini get a little warm watching a flash HD movie, however that is normal operation.

    Obviously, the AMD 6630M with 256MB of dedicated memory will perform better in games than the integrate Intel HD 3000 with up to 512MB of shared memory. I would not say twice that performance for the AMD 6630M over the Intel HD 3000. The Intel HD 3000 can play WoW, Duke Nukem, BF3 in my experience, so its not like the integrated graphics are a complete waste.

    Once last consideration, which I'm unaware if Japan has this issue with OTA HD or subscribed HD TV is the 29/59 frame rate issue. This problem has been documented for quite sometime for Windows Media Center dating back to Vista in the US and Europe. The problem is fairly frequent on premium content like HBO and Showtime in the US. However, it is noticeable on US network television from time to time. The issue exhibits itself as flickering between light and dark through to stuttering of the picture, similar to dropped frames. The mid-range 2011 Mac mini with AMD 6630M does a reasonable job handling the issue, some may not even notice the problem (my wife did not). The Intel HD 3000 is much more obvious, but its not headache inducing like some GPUs.
     
  6. prvt.donut thread starter macrumors 6502a

    prvt.donut

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    #6
    Thanks for the replies,

    For the gaming performance question, I was hoping that someone on here would have hooked up to their 1080p TV and played some games. I did some YouTube searches and only found videos of 720p game playback.

    Shortcut3d:
    What does the US Over the Air/HD TV issue have to do with the Mini?
     
  7. andychelt macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2011
    #7
    The mini plays games great!

    I got the mid level mini which I bought partly for gaming, and have it hooked up to my 46" Sony by hdmi. Everything is stock except the ram which I upgraded to 8gb.

    So far have tried Half Life 2, Counter Strike Source and Team Fortress 2 in Mac Steam and all play well with pretty much every setting high at 1920x1080

    For other games i've put a bootcamp partition on and so far have tried BF3 which i'm running in low everything at 1920x1080 and is silky smooth and looks great on the big screen. It could probably cope with a few settings on medium but I havent tried yet.

    :D
     
  8. Liquinn Suspended

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    #8
    Damn right. I have a Call of Duty game for my Mac and GTA Vice City for it and it works flawlessly with no problems and mine is the base model. :)
     

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