Quad core vs Dual core mac mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by mpjberkhout, Nov 30, 2011.

  1. mpjberkhout macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011
    #1
    Hi all,

    After reading through several posts on this forum, I still don't completely understand if/why the quad core mac mini (i7 2.0 ghz - server) is faster than the dual core mac mini (i7 2.7 ghz).

    For software that makes use of all the four cores (i.e. adobe video editing software) it is clear that the quad core should out perform the higher clocked dual core.

    I assume that for applications that don't make use of the four cores, the dual core will be faster?

    Or has the quad core also more profit when using several applications at once? What are examples of software that don't make use of the four cores?

    So, when I'll not make use of gaming software, will the quad core always perform better than the dual core?

    Any ideas?

    Michel
     
  2. toxic macrumors 68000

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    Nov 9, 2008
    #2
    yes, since the dual core is clocked higher (2.7 vs 2.0 GHz).

    several applications using the CPU at once, or several instances of one application, could potentially use up all the cores even if the application is single-threaded.

    most software won't use four cores.

    the quad will perform better only if you use multi-threaded applications heavily.
     
  3. mpjberkhout thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 22, 2011
    #3
    @toxic
    Thx for the clarification. I am going to use the mac mini for office applications (iWork + MS office), Filemaker pro and some basic/light video/photo editing (Adobe premiere/photoshop elements 10 suite).

    So, probably I would be ok for choosing the dual core 2.7 ghz processor.
     
  4. dylin macrumors 6502a

    dylin

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    #4
    Yup, for what you mentioned for your needs, the dual core model will be just fine. So happy shopping!
     
  5. fa8362 macrumors 65816

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    Jul 7, 2008
    #5
    The base model is more than enough for your needs. Equip it with 8 GB of RAM.
     
  6. dylin macrumors 6502a

    dylin

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    #6
    Yes yes yes, since the price of ram has been getting lower these days, this would be a must to do
     
  7. mpjberkhout thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 22, 2011
    #7
    Thx for the tips.
    Here in holland i can buy 2x 4gb (certified to work on mini) for 44 euro (which is ~59 dollar)
     
  8. OldMike macrumors 6502

    OldMike

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    #8
    It is my understanding the Filemaker Pro still can only make use of 4GB of Ram and 2 cores. If that is going to be your most demanding app (depends on how you will be using it) - then the dual core is definitely the right choice, since it will benefit from both cores having the higher clock speeds.
     
  9. mpjberkhout thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 22, 2011
    #9
    @oldmike
    Thx for this information. Yes, filemaker is an important application for me. For me it's now completely sure to choose for the dual core 2.7 ghz . For fast file i/o, I'll also opt for the ssd.
     
  10. TrollToddington macrumors 6502

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    Feb 27, 2011
    #10
    The quad-core server mini also has 2 500GB disk drives which can be configured as RAID if that's important to you.

    PS aaaaahhh I saw you're going to get a SSD anyway. OK so you won't have problems with disk I/O
     
  11. penguy macrumors 6502

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    CA
    #11
    for me, looking at the refurbished units on Apple's site, the core i7 is $759 vs the quad core at $849...the server gives you two HD's instead of one and most benchmark s/w shows a 25% + performance boost with the quad core. It seems to me that there are some definite advantages to the server, but acknowledge we all have differing needs.

    My question is that given the fact that quad core computers are more and more common, won't software be updated to take advantage of these features? For instance w/ dvd encoding, the quad core is a signficant step up...

    edit...It looks like I missed your need for an SSD, so the dual drives may not be something you want
     
  12. LeandrodaFL macrumors 6502a

    LeandrodaFL

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  13. larryposh macrumors newbie

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    Nov 27, 2011
    #13
    I am new to Mac ... I have a refurb 2.5 i5 here and a 2.0 QC lion server on the way , the return date for these is Jan9 so I was intending to compare the 2 units and keep the 'best ' one

    but it is all kind of confusing to me , I don't do any gaming or heavy photoshop work just 'regular' Inet and office type of computing ...
    so I am not sure how to really compare .In the past I have always bought the fastest latest PC sometimes overclocking etc . again probably never having SW that took advantage of the extra cores
    Also I read of the heat issues of the AMD GPU in the i5 and worried about that , then I noted some threads where advice was given to new buyers and many were persuaded to go with quad just 'cuz' it was the best value for a longer period of upgrade free computing .

    Now this thread has me questioning whether I need the server at all ??
    any and all thoughts appreciated !
     
  14. shortcut3d macrumors 65816

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    #14
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

    It's much more close when you consider both i7 models. The price difference is only $100. So the question comes down to graphics vs better CPU and two better HDDs. Many opt for the server because the AMD 6630M with 256MB is definitely not a high performance gaming GPU, much more casual gaming where the Intel HD 3000 is fine. Those wanting to stretch the Mini and play BF3 or similar tend to opt for the 2.7GHz dual core i7. The other reason for the AMD 6630M is the 29/59 frame rate issue where its much better than the integrated graphics. However, this is a rare use case and specifically found under bootcamp
     
  15. toxic, Dec 2, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2011

    toxic macrumors 68000

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    #15
    of course the quad will do well on a benchmark. benchmarks tell you the maximum capability of whatever hardware is being tested, but that doesn't always translate to actual usage. see dual channel memory in benchmarks vs real life.

    a lot of software has, but those aren't for consumption, they're for production. most people don't do heavy photo editing or video transcoding, they use Office and annotate PDFs. the extra cores would just sit around and only get used when making zips or something, and the occasional movie in iMovie. is it worth paying more for an extra two cores that will rarely be used? I don't think it is, not when giving up a GPU that would lead to more of a difference in user experience. and you're actually losing by getting a quad since it's slower - everything you're doing is single-threaded, so you spend more to get a slow quad core instead of a cheaper and faster dual??

    same thing happens with Mac Pros all the time. PS doesn't scale past four cores, so buying a 12-core is stupid. smarter to just buy 4 or 6 and invest in IO. planning based on what Adobe might do in the future (better multicore support) doesn't help your productivity now, and there's no guarantee that it'll happen while your hardware isn't outdated.
     
  16. penguy macrumors 6502

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    CA
    #16
    I hear you...but for $90, you get 2 hard drives, both of which spin 30% faster (7200 vs 5400 rpm). That alone makes a HUGE difference in user experience. Personally I use Aperture and photoshop and have been ripping my dvd collection for the past two weeks. My C2D 2.0 is pushed pretty hard and it generally takes me several hours to rip and encode one disk. In fact, my 2009 mini is encoding a DVD now while I browse and my kids are streaming LOTR on the :apple:TV2.

    I just want to do it all faster...to me, the two drives and the greater overall processing power is worth it...but I know that's not for everyone. For your typical use that you described, I doubt you would notice 'waiting' on the quad-core...it's rare to notice that on this old machine (encoding time excluded :D )
     
  17. larryposh macrumors newbie

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    Nov 27, 2011
    #17
    I am thinking that the extra cash for the server w/ the 2 fast HDs ....
    a guy could buy the dual core i5 or 7 and put in an SSD for the faster access of data for close to the same money .... and if no quad C optimized SW used then it may be a more efficient alternative ...?
     
  18. penguy macrumors 6502

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    #18
    well...not sure what size SSD you are thinking of, but the 256 from Apple puts the core i7 at $1499 vs 999 for the server (or 849 on refurb) I don't think you can get any decent sized SSD for less than $100...OWC is closer to $400. But if you go that route, you already have a 500gb drive it comes with, so you might as well add the kit to allow for two internal drives (or just get an iMac) :eek:


    I just don't see how that will pencil out.
     
  19. larryposh macrumors newbie

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    Nov 27, 2011
    #19
    the refurb 2.5 is 700 + 200 for a vertex 120 , not from Apple = about the same as the refurb server at 850 ...
    I'm just trying to make some kind of rational decision with these 2 models ...actually the imac is another possibility to cloud it all
     
  20. TrollToddington macrumors 6502

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    Feb 27, 2011
    #20
    Guys, compare the 2 processors (links point to Intel site)
    Quad core i7 2.0GHz
    Dual core i7 2.7 GHz

    When comparing both you should take into account the QC has 6MB of cache whereas the DC has only 4MB.

    (I hope I've picked the right processors from the Intel site, I can't find mac mini detailed specification)
     
  21. lali macrumors regular

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    Oct 14, 2007
    #21
  22. Mojo1, Dec 3, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2011

    Mojo1 macrumors 65816

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    Jul 26, 2011
    #22
    A question: when I upgraded the RAM in my 13" MBP with the HD3000 GPU the VRAM increased from 384MB to 512MB. Does that occur with the MM Server? Would the increase in VRAM offset the advantage of the 256MB discrete GPU?
     
  23. penguy macrumors 6502

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    #23
    others have posted that it does increase to 512...I doubt it would fully offset the advantages of the discrete GPU, though
     
  24. philipma1957, Dec 3, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2011

    philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    Howell, New Jersey
    #24
    yes but to further muddy the water this ram works and gives even better graphics for the server or even the base mini.


    http://www.amazon.com/Kingston-Modu...XAAK/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1322979791&sr=8-3

    see my thumbnail this also works
    and is faster yet

    http://www.amazon.com/Kingston-Modu...8ZQE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1322979946&sr=8-1




    neither of the above fully catch up to the disctret gpu but the discrete gpu use more power and runs hotter.

    the server and the base use less power. the discrete can drive 2 thunderbolt screens. the server and the base can't.

    the server is the king of handbrake. so if you use handbrake just buy the server as it is way faster then any other mini.

    I have 2 servers one with the faster ram and one with 16gb of samsung ram to run windows 7 and lion with vmfusion. I may add a third mini a base with an add on ssd.
     

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  25. Confuzzzed macrumors 68000

    Confuzzzed

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    #25
    People seem to forget the 4 MB shared level 3 cache vs. 6 MB shared level 3 cache. 50% more. And the 2 hard drives on 7200rpm. That'll do me just fine. I am not a gamer. Others may prefer a different set up depending on their needs. But I'd imagine serious gamers are on PCs anyway.
     

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