Yet another Help me Pick a Mini Thread

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by foltzie, Jul 29, 2011.

  1. foltzie macrumors member

    Dec 20, 2006
    Hello MacRumor folks and thank you in advance.

    I'm looking to pick up one of the new Minis and I'm deciding between the Core i5 W/AMD or the Core i7 server model.

    I will have two users, both with medium sized iPhoto and iTunes libraries. We do some Xcode development, some movie work (in CS), some gaming in steam (mostly Source), and some Handbrake ripping. I will run a Parallels Windows image a good bit of the time to remote into company resources (Win specific VPN, RA software).

    Your Thoughts?
  2. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    Your use calls for both machines.

    handbrake is very fast on the server double the speed of the i5 2.5 amd on the 1080p tests done on the forum . if you do a lot of hand brake it will save time. of course the server is most likely less then what you will want for the games!

    seems like buying both when they become refurbs is a good move.
  3. JamSandwich macrumors regular

    May 19, 2006
    How about the middle ground -- the system with the Radeon chip, with the i7 processor upgrade? It's only dual-core but it'll offer some performance gains.
  4. Tulpa macrumors regular

    May 11, 2011
    Actually you might be better off with the 21.5" iMac in the Refurbished Store for $1019. It has a quad core i5 which isn't quite as good as the server mini's i7, but will run circles around any of the dual core minis in Handbrake. It also has an AMD Radeon GPU for games.

    Of course it does have the glossy screen which many people despise, but it is an option.
  5. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    your pick is good for the op he really needs the features of both machines. He could buy the server and hope the t-bolt pcie cases come soon but that may be too costly. I read that the external case from sonnet tech will be 500 empty! add the gpu and you are at 650 to 750.

    I found a better link for a demo in a few months
  6. Tulpa macrumors regular

    May 11, 2011
    I'm actually agonizing over the same decision -- 2011 server mini vs. 2011 refurb iMac. I do a lot of encoding (on a cruddy HP Pavilion with a quad Phenom II) and don't game much now but don't want to close off that possibility in the future. Plus the iMac is less upgradeable from what I can tell and has that annoying screen.

    If I were a gamer I'd probably go for the iMac though.
  7. xheathen macrumors 6502

    Aug 5, 2010
    Im thinking between a server mini and a refurb iMac I'd go iMac without skipping a beat. You can always use the existing monitor as a 2nd screen.

    My dilemma is the i5 dual core w/ dedicated gpu. Seeing that for $50 you can add a 2nd hard drive (the 2010 Mac mini server cable) and then throw a $100 64gb SSD as a boot and app drive... That option is $300 cheaper than the iMac. And you won't end up with a SSD in the end.

    It seems like the new mini will meet my needs (a little gaming, cs5, coda, web development, some photo but not huge files) but I'm just nervous with the dual core.

    I might just be an idiot over it because I guess worst case scenario is that I can probably sell the mini for nearly what I paid for it if in a month it turns out I really do need the iMac.
  8. Bearxor macrumors 6502a

    Jun 7, 2007
    Source games are actually fairly light on the spec requirements.

    I'd think as long as you were willing to accept gameplay with a lower resolution and lots of visual fanciness turned off, the Intel IGP might suffice for you.

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