So why get a i7 quad over a i5....

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by gpspad, Nov 18, 2014.

  1. gpspad macrumors 6502

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    #1
    I grabbed a 2012 i5 from best buy a few weeks ago, but almost pulled the trigger on a refurbished i7 from apple tonight.

    So other than having the fastest 2012 mac mini out there, would the average user notice the difference between the i5 and the i7? We are talking browsing and itunes/media server types of uses.

    I could try to return the i5 to best buy and grab an i7 next time, but is it worth it?
     
  2. cfedu macrumors 65816

    cfedu

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    #2
    They only reason I see it being worth it for you may be resale value. Once the refurbs are gone prices might go up even more. for the 100$ difference I would make that bet, plus you will have a faster computer if your needs change.
     
  3. cinealta macrumors 6502

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    #3
    You only need a quad-core if your programs can take advantage of multiple processing cores (eg audio recording, video editing etc). You don't need it for general use.
     
  4. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

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    #4
    I think a quad-core cpu matters less to an average user than a good gpu. A quad-core cpu helps if you're running a lot of processes in parallel, which is the case if you're doing audio production, running an application server or compressing (exporting) big multimedia files.

    The average user wants a good scrolling experience when browsing or having a good frame rate when gaming. In this sense, most users won't note any benefit from a quad-core processor.

    I think we need more applications benefiting from CUDA/OpenCL than from cpu cores. Matrix processing is something usually made on CPUs which doesn't make sense. It's computationally expensive, but would run way faster on GPUs.
     
  5. garylovesbeer macrumors newbie

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    #5
    The quad core Minis come with larger hard drives as well if this is important. Bit of extra value.
     
  6. cfedu macrumors 65816

    cfedu

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    #6

    So which one would be better, the one with the intel HD 4000 or the one with the intel HD 4000. Which one will provide better scrolling?
     
  7. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

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    #7
    I suppose you're asking about HD 5000 x HD 4000. Think about a 50% improvement at best. It's a noticeable difference in some tasks like dealing with transparencies (Yosemite does a lot of alpha blending).

    http://gfxbench.com/device.jsp?benchmark=gfx30&os=OS X&api=gl&D=Intel(R) HD Graphics 4000 Mobile

    http://gfxbench.com/device.jsp?benc...D=Intel(R)+HD+Graphics+5000&testgroup=overall

    It depends if you have some hope that a 2014 Mini will have support to 4K/60Hz. Otherwise, I'd get the less expensive one and invest money on RAM and a SSD.
     
  8. cfedu macrumors 65816

    cfedu

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    #8

    I'm asking about the OP's question he is comparing two 2012 mac mini's. model. So which one will have better scrolling the base 2012 or the quad 2012?
     
  9. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

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    Dec 17, 2009
    #9
    The quad has a slightly higher clocked GPU if memory serves but really that will be undetectable on a day to day basis. Frankly neither will have a better scrolling experience than the other. They are both hd4000s
     
  10. cfedu macrumors 65816

    cfedu

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    #10
    Ok, I'm not sure what BRdeveloper is talking about then since the GPU is not not even a variable.
     
  11. Mr. Retrofire macrumors 601

    Mr. Retrofire

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    #11
    The kernel alone uses many threads.

    +

    Each open application uses at least one thread. VLC plays 4K video on a Quad-Core i7 Mac Mini without problems.
     
  12. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

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    #12
    GPU - Graphics Processing Unit

    It doesn't matter if it's encapsulated into a SoC, it's a specialized processing module anyhow. A 320M GPU is not integrated in the CPU, but it behaves nearly the same as an integrated one. If they used DDR5 RAM, they would perform like a dedicated, "fully independent" unit.

    iGPU and dGPU is basically an alias which means "dedicated DDR5 RAM" x "shared DDR3 RAM".
     
  13. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

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    #13
    Two cores usually can do the job unless there is too much apps requiring 100% of CPU time.
     
  14. corvus32 macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    It's almost 2015, and people are discussing scrolling performance?

    Good job Apple.
     
  15. cfedu macrumors 65816

    cfedu

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    #15
    What does the gpu have to do with the OP's question? Telling him that most users want a better GPU for gaming is not a very helpfull when both of his choices have the same GPU.
     
  16. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

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    #16
    Oh, sorry, I didn't read the OP question carefully.

    An average user would probably benefit from the HD 5000 since Yosemite uses a lot of transparency effects, but the lack "upgradability" of 2014 Minis makes a 2012 one a better balance between performance and price. For just $100 more, I'd get the i7 2012 Mini.
     
  17. vrsixer macrumors newbie

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    Dec 8, 2008
    #17
    I've also been wondering this very thing after buying the 2012 i5 mini from BB. I had a 2012 quad i7 in my cart yesterday on the Apple Refurbished site and couldn't pull the trigger. Strictly looking at the difference in price, the i5 new was $395 vs the refurb i7 for $642. That's with all applicable taxes included. As an average user, I couldn't justify the price difference for what I use the mini for. I added more memory and so far it's done all the basic things I've needed. I figured the money I saved can be put towards the new retina MBA whenever that comes out.
     
  18. cinealta macrumors 6502

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    #18
    Hopefully next Spring or Summer.
     
  19. jakebrosy macrumors member

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    Aug 16, 2011
    #19
    i5 vs i7

    I have a MacMini stack running as servers in the house: one for files, one for iTunes, one a backup server....and I have a mix of i5 and i7s so I have direct experience using both.

    For normal every day use (web browsing, email, watching DVDs, etc.) most people will be happy with the i5. I don't see a difference with the two processors when streaming full-def BluRay or normal activities - and I have never seen any stutter scrolling so I think the mention of scroll rates is a red herring. But, be sure you have 8GB of RAM - any less and you'll hate the little Mini.

    That said, I do video production out of my home office and utilize the processing power of the Minis (with Compressor) to distribute video processing from my main editing station. And the i7 Minis are significantly faster than the i5 versions with comparable memory. It's so slow I don't even pull the i5 into the loop.

    However, since I'm not sure what Mini the OP bought I will mention that swapping the internal spinning disk out for an SSD radically changes the user experience since Apple puts slow 5,400 RPM drives in the base system.
     
  20. Richard8655 macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    I think this is a good point. It's not just the processor adding value, and together for many enough to make it worthwhile.
     
  21. trs0722 macrumors member

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    Newark, DE
    #21
    I've have a 2011 i5 2.3 for 3 1/2 years now. I put 8 GB RAM right away and later an 256GB SSD when the HDD started failing. It's generally run really well with basic surfing, email, iphoto, Garage Band. Never really played many games. Lately many HD videos (You Tube) have had to rebuffer a few times (lag) but that could always be my internet provider.

    I've done a lot more with photography and video in the last 2 years (Lightroom 4 and 5, iMovie, Handbrake, and some Photoshop/Premiere). I've started to see some slow down with these programs. The CPU and fan work very hard at times using these programs (especially when exporting files). I am waiting on a refurbed 2012 i7 Quad I ordered yesterday. Most of what I've read has indicated a QC will help with these programs. I hope this helps the OP.

    As much time as I've devoted to researching this whole 2014 vs 2012 thing had better be worth it!
     
  22. mcnallym macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 28, 2008
    #22
    For what you are running i.e. iTunes/Media Server then I am using a 2009 mini fitted with 8Gb and an SSD.

    If a Core2Duo 2Ghz works this ok then i5 vs i7 in later macs aren't going to show a real difference for your stated use.
     

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