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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > The new Mac mini - i5 vs i7?

The new Mac mini - i5 vs i7?
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Jul 20, 2011, 11:13 AM
 
Looking at the just released new minis, I see the high-end version also has an option for the i7 vs i5 processor.

Is there a significant performance bump to be had here? Under what conditions? Its $100 more...

Uisce
     
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Jul 20, 2011, 11:28 AM
 
As far as I can tell, it's these two processors, and the differences are 200 MHz base clock, 200 MHz turbo clock and 1 MB of L2 cache, as well as support for something called "Intel Insider" which seems to be HDCP on steroids. Never heard of it before. It's basically 200 MHz more clockspeed, giving you a slight boost across the board.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Uisce  (op)
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Jul 20, 2011, 12:21 PM
 
I had heard something about superior multi-threading on an i7, but I have no idea how valuable that would be for OS X...

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Jul 20, 2011, 12:52 PM
 
The L2 cache should help for things like audio production.
     
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Jul 20, 2011, 04:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uisce View Post
I had heard something about superior multi-threading on an i7, but I have no idea how valuable that would be for OS X...
This is the problem with Intel's naming scheme. For the desktop processors used in the iMac, the i7 model supports Hyperthreading while the i5 model does not. The mini uses mobile processors (you can tell because they're all dualcores, not quadcores), which all support Hyperthreading.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Jul 20, 2011, 05:38 PM
 
A similar upgrade is available for the iMac line, but it costs $200. I'm trying to figure out myself if it is worth it.

For the 21.5" 2.7ghz quadcore to 2.8ghz quadcore i7

For the 27" 3.1 quadcore i5 to 3.4ghz quadcore i7

Did some quick research, found this site: http://www.brighthub.com/computing/h...les/48391.aspx

"Currently, the Core i5 processor brand makes up most of Intel's Sandy Bridge processor line. The prices of these processors range from $177 to $216 with base clock speeds between 2.8 GHz and 3.3 GHz. Intel only offers two Core i7 products, the Core i7-2600 and Core i7-2600K, both of which have a 3.4 GHz base clock speed. The i7-2600 has a price tag of $294.

As you may have guessed, paying about $80 more for the 100 MHz clock speed increase between the fastest i5 and the i7 isn't a great deal. The main reason to pay this additional cash for a i7 is hyper-threading, but this advantage will only be evident if you frequently use programs that can actually make use of 8 threads.

For most users, the i5 is clearly the better deal. The i5-2500 makes the most sense in my opinion, as it offers an extremely quick base clock speed of 3.3 GHz for about $200. Of course, the value of this is subject to change in the future as Intel fleshes out its product line with new models."
( Last edited by Sosa; Jul 20, 2011 at 05:49 PM. )
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Jul 23, 2011, 02:15 PM
 
I wonder about the power consumption. Apple is specifying 85W. What was the previous wattage? Is the new mini silent?
     
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Jul 23, 2011, 05:40 PM
 
By themselves small clock speed increases are seldom worth much. However the devil is in the details, because Apple often includes other things like more VRAM, or cache, or whatever.

-Allen
     
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Aug 11, 2011, 11:25 AM
 
So I made up my mind and purchased a refurbished 2.7 i5 for $1250, passing over a new 2.8 i7 for $1500 (including the $100 back to school gift card). I decided that $250 was too much for a small performance improvement, although I would have been willing to pay the $180 educational pricing upgrade if the refurbished iMac wasn't available. A week ago there were refurbished i7 available for $1450, but I don't feel badly about saving $200 there also!

Picked up Harmon Kardon speakers with the savings, and a refurbished Apple TV for $85!
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Aug 11, 2011, 08:47 PM
 
I built a small HTPC with the 35W Core I3 2300T and it's about as fast as my 1st gen MacPro...kind of bugs me but those new Core Ix chips are fricking fast.
     
   
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