Server or i7 better for gaming?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by jgw1283, Mar 5, 2012.

  1. jgw1283 macrumors regular


    Aug 6, 2007
    Tempe, AZ
    I've been researching Mini's a lot and am considering both models but I'm not sure which would be better for my needs. I'd like to game and run windows as well as itunes and web browsing.
  2. Jare macrumors 65816


    Jun 17, 2010
    You should buy a Windows machine then, as you can get a cheap system that's much better then a Mac for gaming.

    Macs are great for everything but gaming.
  3. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
  4. jmcgeejr macrumors 6502


    Oct 7, 2010
    Seattle, WA
    Better off building a hackintosh and then buying a copy of snow leopard, (I have no qualms about not giving apple money for hardware, although I personally own a mini and an air) at least then apple still gets it's money from you and then you have a machine that can boot windows and also is good for gaming.
  5. jgw1283 thread starter macrumors regular


    Aug 6, 2007
    Tempe, AZ
    I didn't mean to make it sound as if gaming and windows are all I'll be doing. I have only had macs and don't really want to build a PC, mainly because it would take up so much space. I have a MBP and a 23'' LED monitor so an imac isn't an option for me, which is why I like the Mini.

    The main point of this topic was to decipher if gaming/windows would be better served with a quad core 2.0 or dual core 2.7. Read some about threading and how the server model is better for certain tasks and the dual core is better for others.
  6. shortcut3d macrumors 65816

    Aug 24, 2011
    There's no doubt that virtualization and encoding tasks are better performed on the 2011 Mac mini server 2.0GHz Quad-Core Intel i7. However, single threaded applications may get a slight edge (questionable because Lion can benefit from all the cores meaning overall system will perform better) with the 2011 Mac mini 2.7GHz Dual-Core Intel i7. With that said, the 2011 Mac mini 2.7GHz Dual-Core Intel i7 with discrete AMD 6630M is by far the better gaming machine.
  7. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    Yeah.... I'd just leave it as a PC. Macs aren't exactly great for gaming in general.

    It doesn't take up that much space. What MBP do you have? Unless you're worried about the temperatures or something on that laptop, I don't see why you would want a mini as well. The server mini's cpu is weaker than the lowest 15" mbp. The gpu is weaker than that in any of the 15" models. The macbook pros aren't exactly built with gaming in mind, but if you have a recent one, I don't see why you would buy a mini as well unless I'm missing some detail on them. Anyway both of those options sound pretty bad for a gaming machine given that you're talking about two very weak gpus. You most likely would not be running at very high settings even on current games. On any games that come out in a year, you'd most likely be stuck to low across the board.
  8. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    Depends on the game. Neither will be great, however I'd be leaning towards the server model, as it will be better for everything else other than gaming.

    Don't totally write off the HD3000 graphics, its all the MBAs currently have, and it can run games that are a couple of years old just fine.

    Given the MBA popularity (and dumbing-down of PC games for consoles, as of late), I suspect any games released on the mac for some time will run fine on HD3000.

    But the quad core is so much better for everything else....
  9. andychelt macrumors member

    Oct 7, 2011
    You need to go for the mid range mini with the 6630 graphics card.

    Don't listen to all the people saying "macs can't game" etc. As long as you understand what to expect then its perfect for gaming.

    I'm running the mid range mini on my 46" Sony in the living room, it's nice and small, tidy with low power consumption and yet i'm playing Counter Strike Source, Team Fortress 2, Day of Defeat, Portal etc in full 1920x1080 with high graphics settings perfectly in OSX.

    I also bootcamp my mini to run other games, and recently been playing Battlefield 3 in 1920x1080 with low settings (which still looks pretty damn good) and also COD MW which runs just sweet. :D
  10. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    Without specifying what types of games, in general, you'd be better off with the i7 due to the gpu it comes with.
  11. the read macrumors regular

    Nov 25, 2009
    For 3D games the i7 is your best Mini. The ATI Graphics cards GPU would be much more powerful than the HD3000 which relays on the CPU. The HD3000 is very very lame when 3D openGL or DirectX is required.

    The server has quad core CPU but most games are still not truly multithreaded, so again no advantage here.

    On a recent post where I asked about 2D graphics applications, most people still feel the i7 is still better, for the sames reasons.

    I think the server is better if your going to use the mini as a server only.
  12. jgw1283 thread starter macrumors regular


    Aug 6, 2007
    Tempe, AZ
    I have a 2008 MBP. 2.5ghz Core 2 duo, 4gb ram. I'm going to be selling it at some point and either getting a mini or a new MBP.

    The main reason I'm considering a mini is because I got a nice monitor for a present and don't use it with my MBP

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