The results are in- Mac Mini I7 vs Late 2015 Imac I5

vidguy7

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 12, 2018
35
21
New York
So I received my MM I7 today and ran tests that are important to me, all revolving around FCP X. My late 2015 iMac has an I5 3.3, 24 Gigs RAM & a Radeon R9M395 with 2 gigs RAM. My MM has an I7, 16 Gigs RAM & I'm using the onboard graphics. So here are my results, all revolving around a 1 minute SDR 4K clip and a 1 minute 4K HLG/HDR clip. I repeated each test 3x and averaged the results. I should also note that I never saw the processor or RAM maxed out:

2015 IMac with a 1 minute SDR 4K clip:
Straight export of the project to H264- 0:53
Export via Compressor H264-H264 (no conversion)- 1:23
Export via Compressor H264>H265- 3:07
HLG/HDR export via Compressor H265>H265- 17:42

Mac Mini with the same 1 minute SDR 4K clip as above:
Straight export of the project to H264- 0:54
Export via Compressor H264-H264 (no conversion)- 2:03
Export via Compressor H264>H265- 1:16
HLG/HDR export via Compressor H265>H265- 16:52

So for me, these results are disappointing. My workflow would almost exclusively revolve around the first and last scenarios. I'd either export the H264 timeline straight, without using Compressor, or export an HLG/HDR project via Compressor. The times for the first scenario are virtually identical. Although the performance of the HLG/HDR scenario is a bit better, it's hardly breathtaking.

Unfortunately the biggest difference in favor of the MM is converting H264 to H265 via Compressor, a scenario I don't use. I'm not sure how any of these results would improve with an Egpu, but these are the results thus far with what I have. I have no idea why the older iMac did better in the Export via Compressor with no conversion.

My current thinking is that if I were to buy an Egpu, my total cost would rise to near $2800...and that's without a monitor. I'm currently using the HDMI input on my 27" 4K HP All-In-One computer. It works well, but it's not what I'd use as a long term solution with the MM. So factoring in a monitor, my cost would now rise to the neighborhood of $3,200. I'm not even factoring in a keyboard & mouse. At this point I'd rather wait for the next iteration of the iMac. Apple allows you to trade in your current computer and mine is worth close to $600.

Of course for others this use case doesn't apply, but for me it is what it is.
 

IngerMan

macrumors 65816
Feb 21, 2011
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Thank you for taking the time to show the results of your test. I have the same iMac with 2TB Fusion. As much as I always wanted a mini and they almost got it right this time. I will wait to hope they improve the iGPU before I would consider a replacement for the iMac.

If you could add to your title I think it would get more traction, I passed over it many times thinking it was a question and not a result.

Mac Mini I7 vs Late 2015 Imac I5 Test Results
 

vidguy7

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 12, 2018
35
21
New York
Thanks, you make a good point about the title. I don’t think I can change the title of the thread, only the body of it.
 

F-Train

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Apr 22, 2015
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Thanks, you make a good point about the title. I don’t think I can change the title of the thread, only the body of it.
Thanks, these are very interesting results. You can change your title, if you want, by clicking on the small gear wheel on the right, just above your post window. It opens a box called Thread Tools, from which you can edit your title.
 

vidguy7

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 12, 2018
35
21
New York
Thanks, these are very interesting results. You can change your title, if you want, by clicking on the small gear wheel on the right, just above your post window. It opens a box called Thread Tools, from which you can edit your title.
Thanks F-Train, didn’t know you could do that. Changed it. :)
 

Partron22

macrumors 68020
Apr 13, 2011
2,468
698
Yes
my cost would now rise to the neighborhood of $3,200.
That's more than I paid for my 128k Mac back in 84'.
Apple's pushed the price of a useful mini a bit too high.
They should knock a thousand or so of the high end, and maybe a couple hundred off the low end.
 

F-Train

macrumors 65816
Apr 22, 2015
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NYC & Newfoundland
Some Compressor results of my own for comparison: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/mac-mini-i5-tests.2153750/page-4#post-26798154

And this Compressor H264 to H265: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/mac-mini-i5-tests.2153750/page-2#post-26790734

I used a Mac mini i5/8GB.

I'll have an eGPU set up on Tuesday and I plan to redo these tests with it. However, I'll be using AMD's Radeon RX 590 GPU, which was just released yesterday. It may not be fully supported by Mojave yet.
[doublepost=1542416083][/doublepost]
That's more than I paid for my 128k Mac back in 84'.
Apple's pushed the price of a useful mini a bit too high.
They should knock a thousand or so of the high end, and maybe a couple hundred off the low end.
I have no problem with the price.

See my Compressor results in the post (#7) immediately below yours.

The computer cost US$1100. It is an i5/256GB/8GB. The only changes that I'm contemplating are to exchange the computer for an i7 (+$200) and to add some RAM (either $150 or $280, haven't decided yet).

I have also added an external GPU. This has cost $600, although this reflects preferences - I could have done it for $400. I do not believe that I actually need an external GPU. Dedicated graphics are mostly about saving time.

I have a keyboard and trackpad and a monitor. I plan to purchase a new monitor, but haven't decided what. I'm hazy on price at the moment, because my preference is a second-hand Eizo Color Edge, a monitor that is extremely expensive and that I also don't need.
 
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vidguy7

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 12, 2018
35
21
New York
Looking at your results, they're quite consistent with mine. Mine are somewhat faster, but that would be expected with the I7 vs the I5.

At this point I'll be returning mine next week due to the lack of any real performance improvements over my late 2015 Imac.
 

redheeler

macrumors 604
Oct 17, 2014
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The Late 2015 is only one generation behind the iMacs Apple is currently selling, and is still a decent performer. I'm not interested in downgrading from a 5K display to a 4K display, so for me the cost to get a Mac mini with comparable specs + an LG 5K display is over $3.5K.

It's simply not worthwhile, and you're better off waiting for the next iMac.
 

macdos

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Oct 15, 2017
213
288
My current thinking is that if I were to buy an Egpu, my total cost would rise to near $2800...and that's without a monitor. I'm currently using the HDMI input on my 27" 4K HP All-In-One computer. It works well, but it's not what I'd use as a long term solution with the MM. So factoring in a monitor, my cost would now rise to the neighborhood of $3,200. I'm not even factoring in a keyboard & mouse. At this point I'd rather wait for the next iteration of the iMac. Apple allows you to trade in your current computer and mine is worth close to $600.
If you go from a one-in-all solution to a more modular setup, there will be an initial cost. The beneftis come later, when you can swap your GPU or monitors without replacing the entire computer.

I wouldn't give up a 2015 machine either, computer evolution is not that fast anymore. In fact I just replaced my MacPro 2008 with the new Mac Mini. The latter is about 2.5 faster, which is what I would expect for an upgrade.

By the way, HEVC is here to stay. You may consider reevaluating your workflow.
 

Tigerman82

macrumors 6502
Jul 27, 2010
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I really wanted to get the i5 Mac Mini to replace my Mid-2010 iMac but the bottleneck that is the Intel 630 GPU is just too much. I do get the value in a modular setup. However, getting the Mac Mini, a 500-dollar monitor, 2x8 gigs of RAM and a eGPU costs pretty much the same as the current base 27" 5K iMac with BTO 256Gb SSD. So the question is if I want a clean all-in-one or the Mac Mini with inferior (WQHD-4K) monitor and a separate large plasticy-looking box that is the eGPU. Gee, let me think...

Don't get me wrong, I'm just looking for a general-purpose computer and can accept that I cannot do gaming or other stuff that demands GPU power. However, as the Mac Mini has trouble driving scaled 4K/5K displays (without a eGPU or possible without 16-32 gigs of RAM), we enter into the realms of basic stuff that Mac Mini cannot do properly/without struggling. I did think about getting just the i5 Mac Mini and a 27" WQHD monitor for $1.5k but while the price/performance ratio of this setup would be okey in 2015, it's certainly not okey in Q4/2018.

I guess I just continue to wait for the next iMac.
 

vidguy7

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 12, 2018
35
21
New York
The Late 2015 is only one generation behind the iMacs Apple is currently selling, and is still a decent performer. I'm not interested in downgrading from a 5K display to a 4K display, so for me the cost to get a Mac mini with comparable specs + an LG 5K display is over $3.5K.

It's simply not worthwhile, and you're better off waiting for the next iMac.
After the testing I’ve done, I tend to agree with you. You might say I have a new found respect for my late 2015 IMac. There is one interesting footnote though regarding a 4K vs 5K display. Since I like to watch my 4K footage in full screen, the image is slightly sharper on a 4K screen than a 5K screen like my 27” IMac. The 4K screen gives you pixel to pixel imagery with no scaling, whereas a 5K screen must upscale the 4K footage to fit the 5K real estate. Of course if you don’t go full screen on a 5K screen, you can avoid this, but I just like the image filling the entire screen as it does on a UHD TV.

This is certainly not to say the image doesn’t look great on the 5K IMac, it does, but it just lacks a bit of the sharpness in full screen I see on my wife’s 21” 4K IMac or my 27” HP 4K display. OTOH I prefer the more accurate color of the IMac.
[doublepost=1542457184][/doublepost]
If you go from a one-in-all solution to a more modular setup, there will be an initial cost. The beneftis come later, when you can swap your GPU or monitors without replacing the entire computer.

I wouldn't give up a 2015 machine either, computer evolution is not that fast anymore. In fact I just replaced my MacPro 2008 with the new Mac Mini. The latter is about 2.5 faster, which is what I would expect for an upgrade.

By the way, HEVC is here to stay. You may consider reevaluating your workflow.
You’re right, things haven’t progressed all that much from my 2015 IMac. Keep in mind though with the newest IMacs you can now upgrade the GPU with an eGPU. That’s a luxury I don’t have on my current IMac. So hopefully my next IMac will still have that capability as long as Apple doesn’t remove it as they did the ‘target display’ feature that would have enabled me to use my 27” IMac as a monitor. Thanks Apple. ;)

Regarding HEVC, absolutely! I shoot a lot in 4K HLG/HDR, which utilizes HEVC. Maintaining the same quality in a far smaller file size is a great thing. However it can be a bear to edi and it really can tax a computer. The new Intel processors certainly help on the playback front. However, just look at the export times of a native H265 project via Compressor (the only way I know of to export an HLG project from FCP). They can be 16x real time! Yikes!

This might be a function of Compressor, since using my HP All-In-One, I can export a 4K HLG project in Edius Professional (a high-end PC editing program akin to FCP), in a bit less than 2x real time. That’s a huge difference relative to Compressor. I was hoping the MM would bring these times closer, but it really didn’t. I prefer using FCP, but when I shoot HLG I may just use Edius on my PC.
 
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Do365

macrumors newbie
Nov 15, 2018
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0
So I received my MM I7 today and ran tests that are important to me, all revolving around FCP X. My late 2015 iMac has an I5 3.3, 24 Gigs RAM & a Radeon R9M395 with 2 gigs RAM. My MM has an I7, 16 Gigs RAM & I'm using the onboard graphics. So here are my results, all revolving around a 1 minute SDR 4K clip and a 1 minute 4K HLG/HDR clip. I repeated each test 3x and averaged the results. I should also note that I never saw the processor or RAM maxed out:

2015 IMac with a 1 minute SDR 4K clip:
Straight export of the project to H264- 0:53
Export via Compressor H264-H264 (no conversion)- 1:23
Export via Compressor H264>H265- 3:07
HLG/HDR export via Compressor H265>H265- 17:42

Mac Mini with the same 1 minute SDR 4K clip as above:
Straight export of the project to H264- 0:54
Export via Compressor H264-H264 (no conversion)- 2:03
Export via Compressor H264>H265- 1:16
HLG/HDR export via Compressor H265>H265- 16:52

So for me, these results are disappointing. My workflow would almost exclusively revolve around the first and last scenarios. I'd either export the H264 timeline straight, without using Compressor, or export an HLG/HDR project via Compressor. The times for the first scenario are virtually identical. Although the performance of the HLG/HDR scenario is a bit better, it's hardly breathtaking.

Unfortunately the biggest difference in favor of the MM is converting H264 to H265 via Compressor, a scenario I don't use. I'm not sure how any of these results would improve with an Egpu, but these are the results thus far with what I have. I have no idea why the older iMac did better in the Export via Compressor with no conversion.

My current thinking is that if I were to buy an Egpu, my total cost would rise to near $2800...and that's without a monitor. I'm currently using the HDMI input on my 27" 4K HP All-In-One computer. It works well, but it's not what I'd use as a long term solution with the MM. So factoring in a monitor, my cost would now rise to the neighborhood of $3,200. I'm not even factoring in a keyboard & mouse. At this point I'd rather wait for the next iteration of the iMac. Apple allows you to trade in your current computer and mine is worth close to $600.

Of course for others this use case doesn't apply, but for me it is what it is.
Many thanks for share your results with FCPX

I had the same doubt about the Mac Mini, you can see my question here:

https://forums.macrumors.com/posts/26812007/

And I think I will wait for Mac Pro, because for this price Mac Mini (i7, 64 GB RAM, 512) and eGPU (Vega 64) for about $4,000 I prefer to wait for new Mac Pro
 

vidguy7

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 12, 2018
35
21
New York
Many thanks for share your results with FCPX

I had the same doubt about the Mac Mini, you can see my question here:

https://forums.macrumors.com/posts/26812007/

And I think I will wait for Mac Pro, because for this price Mac Mini (i7, 64 GB RAM, 512) and eGPU (Vega 64) for about $4,000 I prefer to wait for new Mac Pro
Yup, at that price what you say makes sense. However keep in mind that the new Mac Pro may be a costly proposition too once you include the monitor and any performance upgrades (RAM, processor, etc.)
 

ElectronGuru

macrumors 65816
Sep 5, 2013
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I’m a fan of and run both the iMac and the mini. The imac wins the value race when and if you need an iMac configuration: one of everything. I have one job that needs one of everything so it gets an imac. I have another job that doesn’t need one of everything so it gets a mini.

Side note: people have a pattern of spec’ing the best possible core piece, then cutting corners on the accessories. Then 5-10 years later are still using only the accessories. It sometimes makes more sense to get premium externals and less in the middle.