Will the i5 or i7 last me longer?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by gooberwilson, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. gooberwilson macrumors regular


    Jul 21, 2012
    So I'm looking into selling my current MacBook Pro and getting a Mac Mini because I don't need the portability anymore. I want the computer to last me as long as possible. It will mostly be used for non-intensive tasks but I will likely do a little gaming on it. Having said this, would it be better to get the quad-core i7 instead of the i5 and update the RAM/hard drive as needed to increase the amount of time before I need to upgrade?
  2. COrocket macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2012
    If you are doing non-intensive tasks and gaming, then the i5 should suffice. The fact that the mini has an integrated GPU is the greatest gaming limitation of the mini, not the processor power.

    Something else to consider is that you can do the same upgrades to both machines. They can take the same amount of RAM and both have the option to install 2 hard drives/SSD's. Looking farther into the future, the operating system/software compatibility will phase out at the same time. When apple discontinues support for a machine, it is usually by model year, not necessarily machine speed/power. On the other hand, the i7 is nearly twice the processing power, so thats nice to know you have it because thats one thing you can't upgrade that down the road.
  3. phoenixsan macrumors 65816


    Oct 19, 2012
    Seems to me....

    that takes between 3-5 years to discontinue a Mac computer, based only in current CPU/OS X updates. That said, the CPU is not user upgradable in the mini, so future proofing can be more effective going with the CPU upgrade, if you can afford it. RAM and HDD upgrades can wait and done when needed. And having extra raw power cant be bad, IMHO

  4. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000


    Nov 20, 2007
    The Intel HD Graphics 4000 will be the thing that lose these computers' official Apple software support/upgrade path in a few years time. It's common to both computers, so really both will last as long as each other.

    However, for my mind, getting the quad is an easy buy over the i5. Not much more for a smoother experience in the useful life that it has.
  5. pine88 macrumors member

    Feb 15, 2013
    i5 is more than enough. Its only a bit slower (10-15%) than a desktop i3 3220 which has a whole pile of grunt for basic tasks. You won't be doing much AAA gaming with HD 4000, unless they are indie games or something similar.
  6. gooberwilson thread starter macrumors regular


    Jul 21, 2012
    Thanks for the replies. I don't need to do this right away, so would it be better to wait until they put Haswell chips in them? Aren't the Haswell chips supposed to have much better integrated graphics?
  7. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    "Will the i5 or i7 last me longer?"

    The i7 will, of course.
    If you can afford it, get it.

    Also, perhaps the ONLY thing worth paying extra for when ordering the Mini is the 2.6ghz i7 CPU upgrade. It's the one thing you _can't_ "add later" on your own...
  8. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    The useful life of both CPUs are the same. Whether the $200 spent on an i7 is a good investment depends on what you plan to do with the Mini. Unless you run software that takes full advantage of a quad-core CPU and you require a 1TB internal drive the i5 is all you need.
  9. spatlese44 macrumors 6502

    Dec 13, 2007
    I'm thinking about this choice myself. It's a $200 upgrade to get twice the processing power, but then looking longer term, couldn't I save that $200 and just plan on upgrading again in a couple of years? In 2015 you might be able to sell the i5 for $400 and get the Broadwell Mini with the $200 you saved now. The drop from 22nm to 14nm is the biggest shrink in the tick-tock plan and the graphics will only get better with Broadwell. The die shrink will mean more processing with less power. I hate fan noise and though in short bursts the i7 would be snappier, left to run at 100% will sound like a jet taking off, which is not something I want to spend $200 on. It's a hard call, but for now I think I can sell my 2009 Mini for $200 and get the i5 for only $400 more and see what happens in the future. That's pretty cheap compared with the $1000 machine I dreamed up going fusion and i7.
  10. benwiggy macrumors 68020

    Jun 15, 2012
    Depends how long you plan to keep your Mac. I've had a succession of Macs that have lasted six years or longer. Some people change as soon as a new model comes out.

    Generally, the more-powerful CPU will be able to cope with the increasing requirements of modern software for longer. If you want your Mac to last as long as possible, get the top-rated CPU.
  11. 0007776 Suspended


    Jul 11, 2006
    Since you say you don't need to do it right away, the best way to get your computer to last the longest possible is to wait until you actually need it and then get one right after they update it. So I'd recommend waiting until the next update unless something changes and you really need it before then.
  12. BookEmDanno macrumors 6502


    Nov 9, 2010
    State of ~Aloha!~
    Non multi-media related use for the mini (I5 or I7?)

    I'm considering buying either an I5 or I7.

    I will not use this as a media server nor be doing any video and photo related conversion or editing and gaming. My planned use for this is just to complement my MBA and do the following:
    * Hosting a couple of VM machines - Windows 7 and CentOS/Ubuntu
    * Java and iOS software development
    * Perhaps setup as an simple OSX server (install the server app from the AppStore).

    I will be upgrading the RAM to either the 8 or 16 as well as the HD to the 1TB (not the Fusion option)

    So based on the above, will I be ok with the I5? :cool:

    Anyone out there with a similar/intended use for either?

    Thanks and ~Aloha~!
  13. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000


    Nov 20, 2007
    I would, if you can. The graphics on the next round are def much better.
  14. benwiggy macrumors 68020

    Jun 15, 2012
    So you're wondering whether the i5 will be good enough, instead of the i7; AND you're wondering whether you should get the next gen instead of either of them!!

    I spend all last year waiting for Apple to update their products. I'm happy with what I got, but had I known how long it would take, I might have bought something sooner.

    We don't know when Apple will get round to putting new chips in the next Minis.

    And of course, there will always be something better in the future. If your use is "casual", you are unlikely to see significant benefits, as you won't be taxing any of the machines.

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