So Now the Only Option for a QuadCore Mac Starts at $1700?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by psound, Nov 27, 2014.

  1. psound, Nov 27, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2014

    psound macrumors member

    Nov 5, 2007
    Going through some configurations on the Apple Store and just curious if I'm missing something.

    Now that they've thoroughly regressed the 2014 mac mini, the cheapest option to have a Quad core i7 processor is a $1700 iMac?

    So if you're doing music or video, or anything that benefits from multi-core processing, a 2012 mini will be more powerful than anything under $1700 basically.

  2. MRrainer macrumors 65816

    Aug 8, 2008
    Zurich, Switzerland
    Maybe they'll come up with their own version of AWS next year, where you can seamlessly farm-out all the heavy-lifting to their version of "the cloud"...

    But yes, I was shocked at how much little more powerful a Retina iMac is in comparison to my 2.3 QC i7.
    I have no use for the GPU, it would sit idle most of the year.
  3. cinealta macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2012
    True. There's the quad-core nMP for $3K also if you need 4 cores.
  4. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009

    21.5" imac at 1300 is actually the cheapest quad core
  5. psound thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 5, 2007
    That's an i5 quad which has less processing power than the 2012 i7 quad mini!

    Guess I should have clarified in my original post and stated the cheapest i7 quad Apple computer is 1700+.
  6. cinealta, Nov 27, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2014

    cinealta macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2012
    Are you sure? It's a desktop i5 CPU vs a laptop i7 CPU. I don't know, at the same clock the desktop i5 iMac may outperform the laptop i7 Mini?
  7. psound, Nov 27, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2014

    psound thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 5, 2007
    According to multi-core benchmarks:

    Mac mini (Late 2012)

    Intel Core i7-3720QM 2600 MHz (4 cores) - 12697

    Mac mini (Late 2012)
    Intel Core i7-3615QM 2300 MHz (4 cores) - 11696

    iMac (21.5-inch Late 2013)
    Intel Core i5-4570S 2900 MHz (4 cores) - 10668

    Not even the top end 27 inch retina iMac w/ i5 quad beats the 2012 Mini!
  8. cinealta macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2012
    Ok, thanks for the info.
  9. ilikewhey macrumors 6502a


    May 14, 2014
    nyc upper east
    do what i did, go on ebay and get a 2009 mac pro 8 core for 800 bucks :D
  10. NeilHD macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2014
    That's astonishing. So glad I managed to get hold of a 2.3 i7 mini from the refurb store! Maxed the RAM to 16Gb and put in a Samsung Evo 250Gb SSD as the boot drive and it flies along for a total cost of about £650!
  11. dollystereo macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2004
    This comparison in not correct.
    The imac will be faster in many tasks. The mini has a slower CPU, and it compensates with the 8 threads.
    So the imac is almost as fast but only with 4 threads.
  12. psound thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 5, 2007
    The comparison is correct for multi-core performance.

    For a lot of software the iMac will be faster, but for any substantial audio/video work, multi-threading is important.

    From Apple:
    “Highly multithreaded applications will perform best on processors with a higher core count, even with a slightly lower clock speed.”
  13. ha1o2surfer macrumors 6502

    Sep 24, 2013
    An 8 Core 2009 Macpro is probably slower than a 3720QM QuadCore in the Mac Mini...... lol And yes, I'm talking about the Dual CPU MacPro... so 16 cores. Gotta love tech right?
  14. dollystereo macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2004
    The imac has a desktop CPU, the mini don't.
  15. psound thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 5, 2007
    What's your point? In multi-core benchmarks, the 2012 2.6ghz i7 Quad Mini beats every iteration of the i5 iMac. (Hence the reason they killed it).

    That comparison isn't based on blind opinion or conjecture.
  16. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    The mini beats the i5 iMac in multithreaded benchmarks for very short periods of time... Throttling could be an issue when using for long periods.
  17. psound thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 5, 2007
    How short?

    Wouldn't those involved who spend a substantial amount of time and effort benchmarking these systems be aware of that and account for it?

    If not someone should inform them.

    And wouldn't someone, of the millions of mac users, post some counter benchmarks if the ones available were deemed iffy/inaccurate?
  18. Naimfan Suspended


    Jan 15, 2003
    Please report back with testing data instead of weak language like that.
  19. paulrbeers, Nov 30, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2014

    paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    Many have posted this. I don't have both computers to back it up but I can say my quad core minis both hit virtually their max temps when under load for long periods. They don't shut down, but I question if they are truly running max speeds at that time.

    And many have posted the illegitimacy of geekbench since it only benchmarks your system for very short periods. Thermal throttling wouldn't rear its ugly head of you only bench mark for 30 seconds.

    Edit: here is a thread talking about CPU throttling at full load for extended periods.....


    See provided link... Philipma is more or less the expert on minis and was able to throttle his 2012s
  20. scottsjack macrumors 68000

    Aug 25, 2010
    He said "could". That is not "weak language" at all.

    I have both 2012 quads. Unlike the 2.3 i7 the 2.6 i7 goes to full fan and ~97°C surprisingly fast in a variety of uses. My dearly departed (and dearly missed) 2010 Mac Pro 3.2 quad was able to transcode movie after movie after movie for a whole day and never go to a high fan speed.

    Those observations do not prove anything but it does bring up the question of how long a mini 2.6 can run near 100°C before it throttles down. A lot of accurate testing would have to be done and personally I do not care whether the 2.6 throttles down or not. Someone using it for intense work would have to consider the possibility.
  21. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    Not really, because GB is not the be-all-and-end-all when it comes to real world performance testing, even though it seems to have become the de facto standard around these forums, sadly.

    Basing all of your buying decisions on a single synthetic benchmark, like GB, is just silly, in my opinion.


    I am aware of it. Most "technical sites" seem to simply ignore it.
  22. dollystereo, Nov 30, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2014

    dollystereo macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2004
    Benchmark is just a one dimensional analysis. It's like comparing countries respect their GDP.
    The right conclusion is, in a particular task, in a particular software that can use all 8 virtual threads, the mini is slightly faster. In any other software, and situation, the imac is faster.
    I would like to see exporting comparisons anyway, maybe ask Rob at bare feasts. It's really disappointing that the mini is only dual core now, and the old 2012 mini is good computer, but the imac it's a nice and powerful machine. The SSD, plus the iris pro graphics are more than welcome in pro software.
    For example, in Final Cut, the imac is going to be faster, The IRIS pro is a nice OCL gnu and the HD4000 is not.
    How much it costs a 2012 quad i7 mini (refurb)?
  23. psound thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 5, 2007

    I certainly don't base my buying decisions strictly on benchmarks but they do point you in the right direction when doing comparisons, despite the protestations voiced here.

    As someone who uses their computer primarily for audio/music production I poured over Logic 9/X benchmarks from REAL WORLD (obligatory buzzword) users on large forum threads ( because they were a direct indication of what I could expect in my own work.

    The 3.4ghz i5, on average, consistently runs around 50-60 tracks (of the agreed upon benchmark session) while the 2.3/2.6ghz 2012 Mac Mini runs 80-90. Same application, same OS, same session. Not even close.

    Did you actually even read that thread? Here are some quotes from Philipma:

    "well I am wrong hate that but I just ran a 15 minute test and could not throttle the mini, I need to figure out why it throttled so easy 2 days ago."

    "In this case running handbrake at 100 percent for hours without throttling will not be doable for all.
    So if you push that mini on handbrake it will throttle in some cases."
    << Sounds definitive.

    "well at the 30 minute mark (of full on handbrake) it has begun to throttle. no longer running 100% mostly running at 83 to 95 % . I will say this much if you have your mini on an open desk in a room about 72f you may not be able to repeat this issue."

    Phillipmas further testing:

    " it took about an hour to get good clean evidence of throttling. my home temp has been 77.9 to 78.7. "
    << Only on one of three boot disks tested mind you. The others were fine—showed no throttling during testing.

    Almost no-one else in the thread had any throttling with the Handbrake test except for one CPU that went to 104 degrees and throttled down, which is normal, protective behaviour for temps that high.

    In REAL WORLD Audio/Video/Photo work, having your CPU at full out max temps for an hour straight rarely happens, if ever. Even sitting at 92 degrees continually is not going to induce throttling.

    Also, that entire issue has nothing to do with the Mac Mini specifically because it is a widespread design flaw throughout most of Apple's laptops, minis, and even iMacs where they sacrificed heat dissipation/temps for sleek, compact design and cramming as much electronics as possible into the smallest space possible.

    So if you're a hardcore Handbrake user, who needs to encode for hours on end—practically the only person who might even be effected by this throttling concern—the solution is simply to run your fans higher using SMC, or build/buy a base cooling device. Still way cheaper than buying the less powerful i5 iMac over the Mini.

    And interestingly enough here's Philipma—the Mini "expert's" more recent words:

    ^^^Which was the point I was trying to make with this thread.

    "Throttling", "desktop cpu is better", "Real World usage" Sounds like arguing for the sake of arguing.

    The fact remains, Apple had a good thing going with the Mini and they canned it to force OS X addicts to spend an extra grand, minimum, in order to enjoy the same power and performance.
  24. macrem, Nov 30, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2014

    macrem macrumors 65816


    Mar 11, 2008
    This seems like quite a major gap in the Apple offering!

    I waited several months for the 2014 Mac Mini but when the specs were announced I was so disappointed that I decided to buy a new PC & run Linux on it. However, I just found a new 2012 i7 quad core Mac Mini & ordered it. I'm planning to max out the RAM & replace the HDD with SSD ;-)

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