Which is the better all round machine? I7 dual or quad ?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by heliocentric, Sep 1, 2011.

  1. heliocentric, Sep 1, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2011

    heliocentric Guest

    Nov 26, 2008
    High end mini with the i7 or the mini server?

    I can't decide....

    I know one is dual and one is quad core, but the dual i7 has a much higher clock speed plus a discrete gpu...
  2. jamesryanbell macrumors 68020


    Mar 17, 2009
    The quad-core is MUCH, MUCH faster. Look at the benchmarks. However, if you need a discrete GPU, well, there's not a way around that on the server.
  3. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    my hope is that the server i purchased will have two pieces added.

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    these two could make the server have a good not great gpu and a very fast raid0 ssd
  4. Vermifuge macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2009
    The server is not as fast as some people would make it out to be. If you follow synthetic benchmarks like Geekbench the 64 bit edition scores like this

    i7 /w AMD ~8300
    i7 Server ~9700

    Thats not a huge difference IMO. It all depends on how you plan to use the system. Some people make use of the extra cores (4 Extra threads) of the server and some people make use of the desecrate graphics of the dual core.
  5. heliocentric, Sep 2, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2011

    heliocentric thread starter Guest

    Nov 26, 2008
    Those geek bench scores are very close! Would anyone actually see any real would difference between the 2?

    Am I right in thinking that the dual i7 will be quicker than the quad i7 in programs that are only programmed to take advantage off dual core (which seems to be most at the moment)?

    Also do the fans run louder in the i7 quad v the i7 dual?

  6. japtor macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2010
    Depends on your usage/load, like something computationally intensive and multithreaded on the quad would likely kill the dual, like Handbrake. For single/dual threaded stuff it probably wouldn't be a huge difference. The dual can turbo clock faster but the quad isn't that far behind, and has two more cores to spare for anything else that's running.

    And if you don't really push the CPUs in your normal usage you should probably just save a few hundred bucks and get one of the i5s.
  7. Vermifuge macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2009
    Sure if you are encoding movies with Handbreak or outputting a project in FCP you will see a drastic reduction in over all time. This is really dependent on how well the application takes advantage of multithreading.

    I doubt most people would see it in every day use. Email, chat, iTunes, Browser, that sort of stuff? These systems are all plenty powerful. If you plan to do any gaming I would lean towards the ones with desecrate graphics.
  8. heliocentric, Sep 2, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2011

    heliocentric thread starter Guest

    Nov 26, 2008
    Aren't the fans louder on the server edition ?

    I wanted too run Dolphin on the mini

  9. heliocentric thread starter Guest

    Nov 26, 2008
    How loud do the fans get on the 2011 mac minis btw? Comparable to MacBook pros or iMacs?
  10. lilsoccakid74 macrumors 6502

    Apr 13, 2010
    They run very similarly. The amount of power in these new machines does cause more frequent high fan speeds, but always seem to last no longer than 3-5 minutes
  11. heliocentric thread starter Guest

    Nov 26, 2008
    Think I'm gonna go with the dual i7

    Reasons are -

    £70 Cheaper
    Quieter fans (can't stand fan noise)
    Better gpu

    If anyone has any input on that, that would be great...

    Are the fans louder on the server model for sure?
  12. MJL macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2011
    Not trying to upset anyone - and I can understand where the OP is coming from - but frankly these questions can only be answered by yourself.

    Perhaps you are asking the wrong question: do you have at present a Mac mini? If so then did you determine what it is that is the bottleneck in your current use of the computer?

    Is it processing something that takes to long? Is it graphics that gets jerky when you play a game or play some video? Is it the data that needs to be moved off and to the disk? Is it something in cache that is repeatedly shoved in and out of the CPU (different architecture)?

    Or is it: I want something that is bigger / faster / whatever than yours but my present one does everything fine now in which case there is no real need to change your platform.

    Once you determine that then you have your answer.

    PS do not forget that new technology brings a certain amount of risk with it. In this case Lion is not yet totally fully mature and has not 100% backwards compatibility and there are also some rumors these machines run warmer than the mid 2010 model.
  13. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    this is a huge point 2011 minis don't run snow leopard at full speed. About 35% the speed of lion. so it is a commitment if you have one computer with only lion. I know for a fact the serato sl2 does not use lion so dj's beware


    my mac pro has a lion hdd and a snow hdd. it also took me a while to fix my synology nas to accept both lion and snow.
  14. sam2428 macrumors 6502

    Mar 8, 2011
    Houston, TX
    Just FYI, the scores are actually:

    2011 mini server - 8573
    2011 mini i7 - 6980

    To be exact....http://www.primatelabs.ca/geekbench/mac-benchmarks/

    It all boils down to what you plan on doing with the computer. I personally would probably go for the server as it's quad core, has 2 hard drives, that would make it easy to install an SSD myself later. Also, the price difference is not huge but the speed of the machine is significantly better I think.

    If you need a dedicated gpu, then go with the dual core, if not the server is a no brainer to me.
  15. Vermifuge macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2009
    If you look at the detailed view for each system as tested with 8 gb ram you will see the better numbers
  16. MJL, Sep 4, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2011

    MJL macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2011
    Thank you for the link - I've been trying to find the detailed information.

    However it is not that simple: In case of the server - most of the gain comes from floating point performance.

    The i5 with gpu has a memory stream performance that is higher than of all the others and the server is the lowest. To give an example: If you have a database that is loaded into memory and you are doing continous calculations on this (e.g. stock market) then the memory data stream is the most important and the i5 2.5 Ghz will outperform all the others. If searching in a database loaded in memory then the i7 2 core will be a better choice. If doing statistical work with lots of floating point calculations then the server has the highest performance.

    Hence my earlier remark: Know where your bottleneck is.
  17. heliocentric thread starter Guest

    Nov 26, 2008
    So in certain situations the i5 is better than the i7?

    Will the dual i7 have quieter fans than a iMac?

    Definelty ruled out the server model after reading the fans on it run quite high on it.

  18. Vermifuge macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2009
    Here you go. Both with geek Bench 64-Bit. 8GB Ram.

    Mac mini i7 Dual Core

    Mac mini i7 Quad Core (Server)
  19. MJL, Sep 4, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2011

    MJL macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2011
    Let's get back to your original question: What is the best all round Mac mini?

    If you know you are going to do 80+ % of the time statistical work with lots of floating point calculation then select the server.

    If you know that you are going to do 80+ % of the time some database streaming (like stock market) then select the i5 2.3.

    In all other cases it would be a toss up between the i5 or i7 with GPU.

    Only you can decide if you require an i7 over the i5.

    I would rather put the money aside for a SSD than a faster CPU. In February I moved my windows laptop to a SSD, got in July the Mac mini 2010. After two weeks I took out the Apple HDD and put in the SSD: once used to a SSD you have difficulty going back to a HDD.

    My son has an iMac Pro 2010 and I would not go near it personally but that's just me: I require a matte (non reflective) screen for my eyesight. He complains a lot about the noise of the HDD and the fan.
  20. mounds macrumors newbie

    Apr 3, 2010
    What if the use is mainly for a media center, leaving it hooked up to an HDTV?

    I just got a new HDTV and I want the most solid mac mini option to hook up to it.
  21. heliocentric thread starter Guest

    Nov 26, 2008
    Still can't decide lol so many differing opinions on everything.

    3 questions -

    I can get a iMac for the same price it would cost me to buy a mini plus all it's bits I.e. Screen, keyboard, trackpad , external optical drive. Which is the better option ?

    Which is louder iMac or mini?

    For mini Is dual i7 worth it over dual i5?
  22. lickitysplit, Sep 5, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2011

    lickitysplit macrumors regular

    Sep 26, 2010
    Thats what I decided to buy for my HTPC. I went with it because i will be using CPU intensive tasks and only using it for a TV so there was no need for a discrete video card.
  23. kaibob macrumors regular

    Jun 21, 2010
    Prescott, Arizona
    The following is from the specs for the Mac Mini:

    Typical acoustical performance
    Sound pressure level (operator position): 16 dBA at idle5
    Acoustics measured from typical operator position sitting in front of standard Mac mini system.

    And for the iMac:

    Typical acoustical performance
    Sound pressure level (operator position): 18 dBA at idle4
    Acoustics measured on standard 21.5- and 27-inch iMac systems. Acoustics may vary by configuration.

    The Mac Mini has the obvious advantage that it can be moved out of the way if the noise is bothersome.

    I looked but couldn't find any data on the AMD and server Mac Mini's.
  24. MJL macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2011
    Also Vermifuge:

    Not to be picky but please check your spelling:


    Desecration (also called desacralization or desanctification) is the act of depriving something of its sacred character, or the disrespectful or contemptuous treatment of that which is held to be sacred or holy by a group or individual.

    The proper word is "Discrete":

    Discrete in science is the opposite of continuous: something that is separate; distinct; individual.

    Thank you.


    trouble is that those figures only tell a part of the story - 18 dBa at 100 Hz is different than 18 dBa at 1000 Hz due to the sensitivity of our ears at different frequencies. I cannot stand the high pitched whine of some HDD yet others do not bother me. Similarly some HDD have loud clicking when they're seeking / moving the heads yet others do not have this annoying sound. Although the Mac Mini is very quiet it is even better with a SSD because most of the noise is from the HDD. Note also that the figures are given for the computer at idle, under load it can be quite a different story.


    Screens take several years to wear out and if you decide to upgrade next year then you do not need a new screen. if you want to use the computer with your TV then you do not want a screen (imho).

    The price difference between the i5 and i7 goes a fair way towards replacing yourself the internal HDD with a 80 Gb Intel SSD and would be money better spend. But if you can live with the slow HDD for a while then next year the SSD will be cheaper, at least you'll get more capacity for the same money.
  25. Vermifuge macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2009
    Seriously? Your going to harp on spelling? Dude I'm dyslexic and I should not have to say any more than that. But I'm going to blame Lion's autocorrect in this instance. Your little spelling lesson was pointless.

    With that out of the way (and over) The links I posted are not in error. The Geekbench scores though synthetic do represent the maximum potential of both systems.

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