Which Mac Mini is better? 2011 Mid-level or 2012 Base?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by dmk1974, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. dmk1974, Oct 23, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2012

    dmk1974 macrumors 68020

    dmk1974

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #1
    2011 Mid-Level
    Apple Refurb: $549
    i5 2.5 GHz dual-core
    4GB RAM
    500 GB HDD
    AMD Radeon HD 6630M graphics
    USB 2.0 ports
    Sandy Bridge

    2012 Base
    Apple New: $599
    i5 2.5 GHz dual-core
    4GB RAM
    500 GB HDD
    Intel HD 4000 graphics
    USB 3.0 ports
    Ivy Bridge
     
  2. blanka macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    #2
    If you dont need USB 3, the 2011 is better. Same speed, runs Snow and speedier graphics capable of medium level gaming. It only runs a little hotter, but still very silent and low power.
     
  3. oldtime macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    #3
    Yeah, I'd agree with this. The Radeon in the 2011 is a really nice perk over the 2012.
     
  4. TWO2SEVEN macrumors 68040

    TWO2SEVEN

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    Location:
    Plano, TX
    #4
    I was wondering the same thing.

    I just bought the i5 2.5 and upgraded the RAM to 8gb. I don't do any gaming. I use it mostly for online school and general web browsing.
     
  5. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #5
    I'm fairly certain many benchmarks have put the HD4000 on par with the 6630M (especially since the 6630M only had 256MB in Apple Mac Mini's). Since Ivy Bridge is about 5-10% faster that would put the Base 2012 Mini more or less on par with the Mid-level 2012.
     
  6. tredstone macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2010
    #6
    I think the fact that we have to have this discussion at all reflects how unimpressive this upgrade is. :(
     
  7. chiguy20002 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2012
    Location:
    MI
    #7
    Very good point. If the new Mac Mini had a Radeon graphics card, it may have been a little bit better. A direct comparison between the two would be helpful.
     
  8. blanka macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    #8
    Those are PC notebook benchmarks, and their radeons use shared DDR3. Apples GPU did dedicated DDR5, which takes it above HD4000 quite a bit.
     
  9. EDarkness macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #9
    I totally agree. Man, they really screwed the pooch on this one. I'm not really sure what to do now.
     
  10. Wicked1 macrumors 68040

    Wicked1

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2009
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #10
    the Base 2011 will run Snow Leopard? I thought since it came with Lion, you had to hack the system to get it to run SL?

    Is there someplace here that gives direction, I hate Lion, and not bothering with ML
     
  11. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #11
    Do you have benchmarks to prove that? Last I saw though, that he 6630M is also hampered with only 256MB of RAM where as most PC laptops have 512MB or more.
     
  12. blanka macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    #12
    Those PCs take 512Mb of the main RAM. If the Mini runs out of the 256, it still can talk as fast as the PC radeons to its full system memory. See the 256 as ultra fast level 2 cache.
     
  13. hipnetic macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2010
    #13
    OP: You left out Sandy Bridge, though I don't know what that actual means in terms of real advantages.

    Can anyone comment on how the Intel 4000 compares to the AMD 6630M as far as video codec support/smoothness? I don't care about gaming, but am thinking about buying a Mini to act as an HTPC running Windows 7 Media Center. Currently I have a large tower PC serving this purpose, but wouldn't mind dedicating that to ripping my Blu-rays in my home office, and have my bedroom HTPC be much smaller, quieter, and power-efficient. I've got a SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime network-based cablecard tuner and a few external USB HDs. Would the Intel 4000 be more/less capable then the 6630M in terms of playing back vc-1 Blu-ray encodes, MPEG2 HD video, 24Hz support, etc.?
     
  14. blanka macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    #14
    Hack is a big word. You need to install it in target disk mode from a SL capable mac.
     
  15. Wicked1 macrumors 68040

    Wicked1

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2009
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #15
    Ok, so I have a MacBook that has a superdrive, but where do you get all the drivers etc.

    I am technical, just that last I knew that one guy on this forums had to go thru a lot to get it working, I am just looking for a simple install, if now, I guess I will stick with Lion
     
  16. Hrududu macrumors 68020

    Hrududu

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Location:
    Central US
    #16
    You don't have to find any drivers. The ones needed will be installed along with the OS.
     
  17. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68020

    dmk1974

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #17
    Thanks, I added the bridges to the initial post.

    For the video benchmarks, I found this PassMark site that listed some bench.
    http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/gpu_list.php

    Per that site:
    Intel HD 4000: 523
    Radeon HD 6630M: 572

    Also, from Windows 7 benchmarks, I found:
    Intel HD 4000: 6.4/6.4
    Radeon HD 6630M: 5.8/6.6
     
  18. Wicked1 macrumors 68040

    Wicked1

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2009
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #18

    So you can load SL on a 2011 Base Mini and create a Boot Camp Partition and load Windows, but can it be XP instead of Win 7?
     
  19. blanka macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    #19
    Again, that is with Radeon 6630 cards on shared DDR3 main memory. With DDR5 like in the 2011 mini's the difference is bigger.

    ----------

    You only need 2 mac-type definition files, that are part of your pre-installed Moutain Lion. Just put them on an USB thumbdrive before installing Snow, and put them back in the same place.
     
  20. California macrumors 68040

    California

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2004
    #20
    The 2011 Mini's run Snow Leopard?
     
  21. jshbckr macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2007
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    #21
    I'm also torn between the two...

    Looks like Apple is sold out of last year's mid-level. But I might try calling some Apple stores around here.

    I'm planning on using it for a home media center/server and will install two internal drives. No desire to connect external, so USB 3.0 doesn't do much for me.

    I would buy the new one if the processor is actually better, though... As long as the HD4000 is close to the Radeon. Hmm, decisions, decisions.
     
  22. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68020

    dmk1974

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #22
    The more I look at it, I think of these two, I am leaning towards the 2012 model. The main reason is the inclusion of the USB 3.0 ports. I can easily install a SSD internal drive and then keep all my media files in an external USB 3.0 drive without losing much speed vs an internal 5400 RPM drive.

    We'll see. :)
     
  23. jack92029 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2012
    #23
    Fusion Drive in 2012

    If I understood correctly the "Fusion Drive" available in the Mac Mini w/ 1TB or more HD, is really managed by Lion software.

    Therefore, If I buy the mid range 2012 Mini and attach an external thunderbolt Flash drive, can I establish a Fusion drive? How?

    I want to use the mini to do post processing of photos and Apple indicates that the fusion drive expedites the uploading of photos.

    Suggestions?
     
  24. virtu macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2011
    Location:
    Brazil
    #24
  25. kappaknight macrumors 68000

    kappaknight

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2009
    #25
    Gross... why would you run Windows 7 MC when there's Plex?
     

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