Yes, it's another HD3000 Vs AMD 6630M thread

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Adamantoise, Aug 1, 2011.

  1. Adamantoise macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2011
    I'm sorry, yes it's another HD3000 VS 6630M question.

    I did perform a search but my question wasn't really answered and I really did want to get opinions.

    First of all, I really don't need a Mac Mini ... I just want one. I already own a pretty powerful desktop PC running Windows 7.

    Lynnfield i7-860 2.8 GHz
    8GB DDR3 RAM
    ATI Radeon HD 5770
    2TB 7200rpm HDD (RAID 0)
    Blu-Ray ROM/DVD Burner

    I do not play games (anymore)
    I do not encode/decode video
    I do not render any sort of animations
    I use Photoshop CS5 and Lightroom 3 extensively
    I program in MATLAB
    I watch a lot of Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, and DVD rips

    I know my desktop is overkill for my needs because my 2010 13" MBP does pretty well for those tasks ... Should I bother with a 6630M?

    Furthermore, if I do go with the HD3000 ... Would upping my RAM to 8GB (So that the IGP gets 512MB vRAM) do anything as far as video playback is concerned?
  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    It looks like you won't need the dGPU so go with the low-end and up the RAM. The RAM will help with the apps you mentioned.
  3. Adamantoise thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2011
    I thought so too.

    Out of curiosity, who would benefit from having the discrete GPU option then? What tasks exactly does a discrete GPU help with?

    Furthermore, is there a spec sheet for this HD3000? I would like to know the maximum resolution it outputs via the TB-to-DVI connection.

    Would I be okay with the base model in the event that I plan to connect the Mini to my HDTV (It's 40" 1080p)? Does the HD3000 allow me to adjust overscan/underscan?
  4. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Mainly gaming when talking about consumer tasks. Some professional video, 3D etc apps can also take advantage of the GPU but other than that, the GPU isn't really used.

    2560x1600 with Mini DisplayPort to dual-link DVI adapter
    1920x1200 with the regular DVI adapter

    Yes, it's fine. Mini can even run a 27" ACD along with your HDTV at native resolutions. You should be able to adjust overscan as well.
  5. BeatCrazy macrumors 68000

    Jul 20, 2011
    I am in a similar situation, and went with the base 2.3 mini.

    My main computer is a self-built Windows 7 machine with Core i7-920 overclocked to 3.6Ghz + 6GB of RAM + ATI Radeo 4870 1GB + 80GB Intel SSD. I do use it for some video transcoding. I wanted a mini because the PC is a loud, power-hungry beast. And I need a 24/7 media server.

    The base mini works just fine in all applications I've tried. I even have it hooked up to a 42" HDTV. I don't see any settings for overscan, but if you're using an LCD, why would you need to adjust overscan? Just put your TV on dot-by-dot/pixel-by-pixel mode.

    I did upgrade the mini to 8GB for RAM ($45 after rebate/Corsair via Amazon), and I think it makes a difference.

    The discrete GPU would help with gaming. Since I don't do any gaming, the 6630M would be overkill for me, and just use more power. I was looking for a low power solution, and so far the mini is perfect. Seems to do great for web browsing, and once booted up it appears virtually as fast as my big Windows machine.
  6. Adamantoise thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2011
    Thanks for the prompt replies guys!

    Seems I'll be going with the base configuration and adding 8GB RAM.

    I am not pleased with the stock HDD option in the base Mini. I was planning on buying a Samsung 470 128GB SSD and using it as a boot drive/application drive while keeping the stock 500GB 5400rpm HDD for storage.

    Man all these pet projects do add up.
  7. Outrigger macrumors 68000


    Dec 22, 2008
    I contemplated a long time regarding hd3000 vs. amd gpu. In the end, I went with the 2.5ghz since if I wanted to up the ram, I would have to toss out the 1 x 1 GB in the base. 4GB is more than enough for me to use it as a media server first and foremost. a slight bump from 2.3Ghz to 2.5 is nice but won't make a difference in real life. And I did want a little overkill in the graphics dept. I don't play any games but I would rather need it and have it, then not have it and need it.
  8. Adamantoise thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2011
    Yeah, I'm like that too, I always get more than I need for whatever reason.

    With the 2.5 i5 model I would totally skip the RAM upgrade as 4GB is sufficient for my needs.

    I think I'm just going to wait a month or so as this is a luxury buy; if I wait a couple months I won't feel bashful for going all out and even getting the 2.7 i7 model.

    But we shall see, I just wanted to get all the facts so I could make an informed decision.
  9. NeuroNY macrumors newbie

    Feb 12, 2011
    Sorry if this question is repetitive, but I don't think I got my answer from the Dual-Display thread...

    As a follow up question to the OP, I was wondering what people thought about the the HD3000 vs. 6630M for the following use:

    Simultaneous output of video:
    - Dell 2560x1440 monitor for general computer use
    - Simultaneously run a 1080p HDTV (and play up to 1080p movies).

    Right now, I'm leaning toward buying the Mac Mini server (8GB RAM, so 512MB for graphics) for the quad-cores (to run VMs for Windows 7, faster general performance with Aperture, handbrake etc.) but I'm worried about the ability to run two monitors well. Would the model with the 6630 be better for this? I don't really do any gaming.
  10. iDave macrumors 6502a

    Aug 14, 2003
    ...those who use Aperture. That program hammers both the CPU and GPU.
  11. Brenzo macrumors regular

    May 1, 2011
    What about Lightroom?
  12. iDave macrumors 6502a

    Aug 14, 2003
    I haven't used it and don't know if it taxes the GPU the same as Aperture. Does anyone know?
  13. Brenzo macrumors regular

    May 1, 2011
    Also, what would have a bigger impact on working within Aperture (mostly light editing)... having a dedicated GPU or installing an SSD?
  14. iDave macrumors 6502a

    Aug 14, 2003
    <off topic>
    I can't say what would have the bigger impact. I wish I could. What I have found is that referenced masters don't need to be on a fast disk. The Aperture library should be on a fast disk with plenty of free space to prevent fragmentation. Changes are made frequently to the library but rarely to the masters. When exporting, both library and masters are accessed, so having them on separate disks speeds things up. No doubt putting the Aperture library on a SSD would help, but I'm too poor to afford SSDs.

    I am convinced that a better GPU and CPU will have a big impact on Aperture editing regardless of the configuration of the files on disk. I'll find out soon enough when my new mini arrives.
    </off topic>
  15. Seydlitz macrumors member

    Mar 21, 2009
    I wonder about this advice.. did you buys bother to check the communities behind Plex and XBMC? The Intel 3000 does have some issues with movie playback, the dGPU certainly is better in this area.

    Check the XBMC and Plex fora for the relevant information.
  16. indg macrumors 6502

    Feb 7, 2007
    i tested the 1080p big buck bunny in plex and the cpu barely broke 4% total cpu usage on the quad i7 (mini server). on a dual i5, i'd guess it would utilize 12% cpu usage. i don't think the hd 3000 is an issue.
  17. Mr. Retrofire macrumors 603

    Mr. Retrofire

    Mar 2, 2010
    Wrong. Because:
    The Intel 3000 IGP is enough for this task.

    These apps can use OpenGL/OpenCL, so a "bigger" GPU is better.
  18. DMac2020 macrumors newbie

    Jun 27, 2010
    Austin, TX
    Same question

    I am having this exact dilemma. Does anyone here own this model & tried to stream online movies and/or play 1080p movies on their 55' or larger TV's?
    Any lag?
    Any problems at all?

  19. Daff macrumors newbie

    May 30, 2011
    Another question about this subject.

    I will not, in near future, play any games. I will use this as a htpc running plex connected to my receiver and 1080p tv. So the easy answer should be the HD3000.

    But when I read about the heat issues I start thinking if the 6630M would be a better choice if it can hardware accelerate my home theater content better than the HD3000. So what would the best answer be?
  20. philjo macrumors member

    Jul 28, 2011
    I was advised on a dedicated Lightroom forum that lightroom does not make use of GPU but extensively uses RAM & CPU (it is very RAM hungry so 8GB is better). Therefore for Lightroom you want to improve CPU & RAM as much as possible. Upgrading GPU won't make much difference whereas using the quad core server version would make a big difference.
    Also, for Lightroom the Adobe recommended specs say that you need a fast HD. I have been told the 7200 rpm HD (as an option with the mac mini or as standard with the server version) gives a big performance difference over the 5400 rpm HD supplied with the base mac mini.
  21. Brenzo macrumors regular

    May 1, 2011
    Yeah, I've read the same thing. Right now, I am using Aperture, but was thinking about making the switch to Lightroom. I'll likely stay with Aperture though as I am just starting to get comfortable using it and I enjoy the faces and places features. Which makes me think that I should pony up the extra $200 for the AMD because I've read here and elsewhere that Aperture can be pretty GPU-hungry, even with 8GB of RAM.
  22. indg macrumors 6502

    Feb 7, 2007
    @Daff, you won't notice any difference between the 6630m and hd3000 when playing videos. any sandy bridge i5/i7 can play back 1080p just fine. getting the 6630m would just be another chip sitting on the logic board generating heat, and one more potential part to fail on the logic board.
  23. Pierrel, Aug 8, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2011

    Pierrel macrumors member

    May 24, 2011
    Im in the exact same position.

    Im looking for a Mini which im planning on connecting to a 32" 720p LCD monitor. I will mostly browse the web, do some photo editing, watching 720p materials etc. Nothing that really needs the 6630 graphics. Iv been looking at the 799 model, but im now thinking about just settling with the base one, up the ram to 8 gbs, and then save the money for benefit of a SSD later on, or an iPad.
    You guys think this is the way to go? I dont do much gaming, and i dont think i will do either the next coming year or two.
    Does anyone by chance happen to know which 8GB sticks i should be using in the Mini? There are some Corsair ones for $39.99 at amazon, guess these will work?
    Thanks for your input!
  24. japtor macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2010
    The base one should be fine. 720p is pretty low res for computer use though, like the 11" MBA is higher res than that (1366x768). On the plus side if you do decide to do any gaming, the low res will help out the Intel graphics.

    I ordered the Corsair ones earlier cause it had two reviews saying it worked...but now I'm trying to cancel cause I saw another thread somewhere around here with some people having issues. Could just be a vocal minority that got some defective ones of course.
  25. Seydlitz macrumors member

    Mar 21, 2009
    On the Plex and XBMC they point out that in some cases it will matter a lot.

    Considering they test it a lot more than just you with one sample I certainly urge prospective buyers to research the issue on the Plex and XBMC fora.

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