When are 6 cores better than 4 cores for home, non-pro use?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by pinkoos, Nov 29, 2018.

  1. pinkoos macrumors 6502

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    #1
    Just trying to decide whether to opt for the $799 model vs. the $1099 model.

    Of course, there are differences in terms of the SSD size and the processor. For the processor specifically, when would the processor in the $1099 model be of benefit to a home user who doesn't do photo or video editing but occasionally performs video transcoding (example, transcoding a video obtained only to be playable on the Apple TV)?

    Thanks
     
  2. leo-tech, Nov 29, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018

    leo-tech macrumors regular

    leo-tech

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    #2
    The way I see it, it all comes down to your personal definition of "to be of benefit".

    Some possibilities, what you can do prior to purchase to see and evaluate 4-cores and 6-cores MM2018 performances for yourself: (1) ask a sales person in your local Apple shop for a demo, bring USB stick with your videos and apps; (1) ask your friends and acquaintances, who own i3, i5 and i7 Mac Mini 2018 models (by mutual agreement you can observe their MM2018 screens locally or remotely).
     
  3. Ploki macrumors 68030

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    #3
    You would shave ~30-40% time of your transcoding process.

    Also, 6-cores will hold better resale values. (Kinda like 2012 Mac Mini quadcore is more expensive than 2014 used, because the 2012 had poor dual-core cpus)
     
  4. archer75, Nov 29, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018

    archer75 macrumors 68020

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    #4
    For any video work it helps. Transcoding and video encoding it absolutely makes a huge difference.
    I do a lot of this, trust me.
     
  5. F-Train, Nov 29, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018

    F-Train macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    It wouldn’t be of benefit, unless you have nothing better to do with your time than babysit the computer while it transcodes, and you’re impatient.
     
  6. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

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    #6
    The $300 difference between the i3 and the i5 models also doubles the size of the SSD, doesn't it?

    My choice would be the i5, with 16gb of RAM, and either the 256gb or 512gb SSD.
    But that "bumps up" the buy-in price to $1,499.
     
  7. FrontierForever, Nov 29, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018
  8. MacWorld78, Nov 29, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018

    MacWorld78 macrumors 6502

    MacWorld78

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    #8
    I see there are two options for you Pinkoos:

    i3: Obviously, you will save money but you will have to wait a bit longer to complete for the video transcoding*.

    i5/i7 expensive but only different between i5 and i7 is 10% more performance for the i7, however, the video transcoding* will be faster than i3.


    *: the duration for the video transcoding that will depend on the file size, if the file size smaller it will be done quicker or if the file size is massive this will take times.
     
  9. shinji macrumors 65816

    shinji

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    #9
    How occasional is occasional? If you're only rarely going to transcode, then it's not really worth the upgrade.
     
  10. Chiromac81 macrumors member

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    #10
    Do you mean like videos to take and work with or videos like movies that are downloaded or purchased that “transcode” from MKV to .mP4??
     
  11. archer75 macrumors 68020

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    #11
    Both. I encode video in handbrake. But I do also stream videos to a variety of devices so transcoding is necessary depending on the device.
     
  12. pinkoos thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #12
    So if we stream occasionally stream from the Mac to the Apple TV, 6 cores would help with that burden?
     
  13. archer75 macrumors 68020

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    #13
    It depends on what you're streaming. The formats. And what program you're using to play it. If it doesn't transcode then a lowly i3 would be fine. And then there's what you plan on doing in the future.
    I use plex to share video inside and outside my home to family and friends. So lots of transcoding. If you do 4k then more power is required.
    You can use infuse and get around most transcoding. I primarily use plex though I also use infuse from time to time.
     
  14. Chiromac81 macrumors member

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    #14
    So I mostly use Apple TV 4K and download torrents to play on it-usually they are converted to mp4 ahead of tome to play on Apple TV. I guess I could/should get infuse? Should I get a i5 or i7 then?? Just rec use...
     
  15. archer75 macrumors 68020

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    #15
    How are you converting them? What are you using?

    Also keep in mind that MP4 is just a container. As is MKV. There is an audio and video file inside that container that you also have to pay attention to. If both the audio and video are supported but not the container then plex can direct stream and it doesn't take much power. If everything is supported it will direct play.

    If the video is supported but the audio is not then only the audio will convert and it doesn't take much power. But if the video file isn't supported then this is where it uses a lot of power for transcoding.
    People get confused here and like to say plex is transcoding and not using much power and therefore you can get by with an old mini. What is happening is plex isn't transcoding the video file so it will play fine on slower hardware. Plex media server will tell you exactly what's happening with a file as it plays.

    I don't convert anything for the sake of the ATV. I'm perfectly happy to let plex transcode. Or use infuse as there is no transcoding. If it's 4k then I use my shield or oppo to play it so I have atmos or DTS:X.
    All my rips are MKV, H.265 with forced subs burned in and I keep the HD audio track.

    FYI, look in to sonaar. Coupled with plex media server and then either plex or infuse on the ATV, it's a beautiful thing ;)
     
  16. boomspot macrumors newbie

    boomspot

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    #16
    Why do you need to convert to MP4 to play on Apple TV? I have a plex server running on an old i7 2600 CPU and it can stream anything to the Apple TV Plex app without advance transcoding. 1080p to UHD rips stream without a problem. I'd say the i5 or i7 2018 mini CPUs would work well.

    D
     
  17. Chiromac81 macrumors member

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    #17
    I
    guess because I import stuff to iTunes to play on the Apple TV-isn’t that the best way? Has to be converted though..that’s how I kee my library organized...maybe I am not taking advantage of better ways (Plex, infuse)
     
  18. archer75 macrumors 68020

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    #18
    Use plex. Much better. And it can also make the content available on everything. Any streaming device, most smart tv's, phones and tablets. Just about anywhere. Even if you only watch on the ATV it's still a better choice. Install plex media server and point it to your content. Then on the ATV you can use either plex or infuse to connect to it.
    Sonarr will even make all the folders and automatically download and drop the shows in the folders. Nothing for you to do.
     
  19. jtara, Nov 29, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018

    jtara macrumors 65816

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    #19
    More cores will almost always be of benefit. For any task. Period.

    The caveat is that more cores typically comes with some degradation of single-core performance, due to thermal constraints.

    There is also a point of diminishing returns as cores compete for access to memory. Don't expect two cores to double single-core performance, 4 cores to quadruple, etc. There is overhead.

    I'm glad nobody brought up the argument that "most applications can't make use of multiple cores". That hasn't been true for at least 10 years, and probably 20. When I was writing desktop code (for Windows) 20 years ago, we were extensively using multiple threads. (And now that I write - sometimes - server code in Ruby - it is SO easy to create a thread - one line of code - that... why not?)

    Plus, the OS itself uses multiple threads to satisfy user code requests - such as any kind of I/O.

    There are almost NO desktop apps or background tasks today that do not use multiple threads, which can take advantage of multiple cores.

    Right now, Activity Monitor shows 1464 threads and 407 processes...

    More cores will always help responsiveness when there is some "batch" type of task going on. So, e.g. if you want to do video rendering AND browse the web at the same time.
     
  20. rmdeluca macrumors regular

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    Oct 30, 2018
    #20
    Indeed - it's been responsive UI 101 to use threads for nearly as long as we've had proper pre-emptive multitasking support in our operating systems. Many of us are looking at reasonably priced 8+ core CPUs and thinking "geeze, took you long enough."
     
  21. ElectronGuru, Nov 29, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018

    ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

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    #21
    The question isn’t whether there is a benefit. There is always a benefit sooner or later. The question is if it’s worth the cost. If you are already going 256, 6 cores is $100 = worth it for any reason. If you are shaving dollars and don’t mind an occasional extra second once in a while it is probably not.

    Edit: you didn’t mention time scale. Keeping it for over 5 years will benefit from extra power
     
  22. Spectrum, Nov 29, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018

    Spectrum macrumors 65816

    Spectrum

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    #22
    6 cores is never worse than 4.
    4 cores is not always worse than 6.

    In general terms, more cores IS better, even for basic stuff, because there are many jobs that the macOS gets on with in the background that can add up. Both Dropbox background syncing (which can easily hit >100%CPU) and, in particular, finder icon previews is a heavily multithreaded process (just check activity monitor). Quick look also uses as many cores as you've got to render PDF pages for quick viewing.

    If you are coming from a dual core, then 4-core will already seem like a big boost. But if coming already from a quad core...then I think it is i5 or i7 all the way.
     
  23. Chiromac81 macrumors member

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    #23
    How much for all of those?
     
  24. nutmac macrumors 68040

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    #24
    For traditional H.264 transcoding, 4-core on Mac mini is more than sufficient.

    But if you want to be more future proof, such as transcoding H.265 (HEVC) 4K HDR contents in real time, 6-core will give you a healthy room to grow.
     
  25. archer75 macrumors 68020

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    Oregon
    #25
    The only cost is with infuse. There's an outright purchase price which I don't know what that is. Or the subscription which is $6.50/year.
    Everything else is free.
    You can expand Sonarr by using newsgroups and there's a cost for those but it can be a few bucks. Or use torrents.
     

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