which mac mini? question about processor

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jojoba, Nov 11, 2013.

  1. jojoba macrumors 68000

    Dec 9, 2011
    I'm leaning towards a mac mini. I'd like 8GB RAM and a fusion drive, but not sure which processor to get. What is the difference between the 2.3 and the 2.6GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 in terms of performance? Is it worth the extra money?

    I do a lot of multitasking, and will typically run ten to fifteen apps at the same time, plus some background stuff like Hazel, BTT, Alfred and so on. I don't do gaming, and only occasionally work with video editing. If I go ahead with this purchase, I'd like it to last me for a while, especially since the RAM can be upgraded.
  2. LaunchpadBS macrumors 6502a

    Nov 11, 2008
    300MHz or about 900 odd points on geekbench if that means anything.

    I've got the 2.3 i7 and run Xcode and MS Visual Studio on VMWare on 2 screens without the slightest lag.

    Oh and it's worth upgrading the ram yourself.
  3. jojoba thread starter macrumors 68000

    Dec 9, 2011
    Thanks, that sounds pretty good, then.

    About the RAM, is it easy to do that yourself? I've never opened up a computer before. I was thinking of getting 8GB when I order and maybe upgrade to 16 down the road, but maybe I should just order the 4GB and upgrade myself now.


    Was just looking online how to change the RAM. Looks like even I could do that :D
  4. LaunchpadBS macrumors 6502a

    Nov 11, 2008
    Upgrading the ram in the mini is about the easiest upgrade you can do, it's the hard drive that's tricky.

    Ram has gone up abit since I did mine but it's still WAY cheaper than paying apple for it.
  5. jojoba thread starter macrumors 68000

    Dec 9, 2011
    Great, so I'll get the 4GB RAM and upgrade it to 16 myself.

    Does anyone know if an update is around the corner?

    I realise there's "always" an update at some point, but I saw rumours that there might be one by the end of the year - in which case, I might wait. But if it's expected at some unknown point in 2014, I'll just get one now.
  6. chrfr macrumors 604

    Jul 11, 2009
    Most likely, yes an update is imminent. The parts that would go in it exist today and the current model is over a year old, but there's no telling what Apple will do, so if you need one today, and the current model serves your needs, it will continue to serve your needs even after a revised computer is shipped.
  7. jojoba thread starter macrumors 68000

    Dec 9, 2011
    Thanks for that. I need a stronger computer but can wait for a month or two, so I might stay on the fence for a little bit.
  8. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030


    May 20, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    The short answer is no, it doesn't really matter which CPU as they are both extremely similar; both are Ivy Bridge Mobile Core i7 CPUs with Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics in tow and with 6MB L3 Cache. It's really just a 300MHz difference, which, given that it's not 2000 anymore, isn't all that big of a deal. That said, for $100, if you have it to blow, that could give you a subtle speed bump on your more intensive tasks.
  9. grandM macrumors 65816


    Oct 14, 2013

    Did you put in a ssd? I was considering it but some technicians told me it had few use for programming? Is the compiling fast? I also have the impression the mac mini is more powerful than most imac's? (i5 versus i7 but apparantly the boost is different or so?)

    I'm using Xcode
  10. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    Yeah problem with the mini really is that we've really no idea when it will get updated. January at the earliest, but it could not be selling well and they could skip a whole generation for all we know (like they did with the Mac Pro).

    The current ones are fine, especially if you get 3rd party pricing or a used one. Just the new ones should come with faster graphics and pci-e ssd options making them quite the performance step up for a lot of uses.
  11. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    I don't think they'll do that. I guess I wouldn't be that surprised if they delayed it until after the mac pro, but they have consistent on the mini for some time. It just seems like it's always the last priority.
  12. barkmonster macrumors 68020


    Dec 3, 2001
    I think the recently updated Macbooks are an indication of at least the CPU/GPU combination you can expect in the next Mac Mini and the Haswell CPUs seem to be performing roughly on a par with previously faster clocked CPUs of the 2012 range so the 2Ghz 2013 Macbook Pro CPU is equivalent to the 2012 2.3Ghz Mac Mini CPU and so on.

    They'll more than likely get a minor bump to Haswell but there won't be the great leap in CPU power that happened when they went from dual core i5s to quad core i7s with the 2012 update. I also think they'll add Thunderbolt 2 or possible even 2 Thunderbolt 2 ports at the expense of Firewire 800. There's also the vastly faster integrated graphics and posibility of a discreet GPU.

    I'd just pay the £80 extra for the 2.6Ghz CPU if I was buying one now and upgrade the RAM yourself at a later date. In the UK on Amazon the 16Gb RAM kit is £117 and the RAM is added very simply but there's videos online if you need a guide.
  13. And macrumors 6502


    Feb 23, 2009
    92 ft above sea level, UK
    If you look on the mac mini forums, you'll see there are a lot of people patiently waiting for the next mini. I was expecting the next one in Sept, but it didn't come and so the waiting game continues. In the mean time I can still still surf, write & listen to music with my 2009 mini.
  14. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    I hope they don't, but I don't feel confident they will update it any time soon. They are just never in a rush to release stuff these days. Hopefully it comes in December with the Mac Pro and they just didn't say anything so not to stall current sales. We'll see.
  15. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    I'm one of those who spent the extra $$$ to upgrade from the 2.3ghz CPU to the 2.6ghz.

    Was it worth it?
    Hard to say. In my case, it cost me $80 -- I reasoned that I would be keeping the Mini for at least 4-5 years, and since the CPU was the only component that couldn't be upgraded later on, I'd spend the money "up front" and be done with it. But I made that purchase last January.

    Having said that, I don't think I'd miss the .3ghz if I was buying today.

    Also -- new Mini's may be coming, not that far around the bend, even though right now their arrival date is uncertain.

    If you're going to buy a "late 2012" Mini, I'd advise that it's worth spending the money for the 2.3ghz i7 (over the i5), but the 2.6ghz probably isn't going to "wow you" in day-to-day usage.

    If you're still doing ok with your _current_ setup, and can hold out until late January/February next year, you might consider waiting for the Haswell version of the Mini, which should appear around that time frame.
  16. raniel macrumors regular


    Jan 2, 2011
    Just wait for a couple of weeks for the new minis.
  17. jojoba thread starter macrumors 68000

    Dec 9, 2011
    Thanks, everyone! Appreciate the input, it's helping me think it through. If I get enough money on my December salary, I might just go for it if an upgrade hasn't been announced.

    One thing, though: I'm wondering if I'm over estimating the performance gap between my current Air and the mini. The Air I have now is a mid 2011 model, 4GB ram and 1.8 GHz Intel Core i7. If I get a mini, I'd upgrade (3rd party) to 16GB ram and probably get the fusion drive (I'm a bit worried about changing the SSD drive myself and mess it up). Still not quite sure about which processor I'd go for. If I get the late 2012 model with 2.3, how much of a difference would that be to my Air? I've looked at the geekbench numbers, but I'm not sure what they really translate to in 'real life'.

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