Reference models in italics. We also looked at the performance differences between the new low-end model and a mid entry-level Mac mini with a 2. The Mac mini was 68 percent faster and finished the Cinebench CPU test in half the time of the model. The older system took nearly three times as long to complete our Photoshop action script.
Should new Mac and PC buyers spend the extra money for that lucky number seven?
MathematicaMark was 78 percent faster on the new system, Cinebench CPU tests took 53 percent less time to complete, and HandBrake was 24 percent faster than the old model. Results are in seconds. Lower results are better. Results are in frames per second. Note, we didn't have the time to engage clusters of baddies about 50 to 60 onscreen at a time to truly tap out the system, but with more than a dozen characters onscreen, we observed a frame rate that peaked around 42 fps. Benchmark testing backed up our anecdotal assessment: As you can see in the table above, it yielded average overall Xbench scores of , with an average CPU score of and an average thread score of 1, In Geekbench, meanwhile, it delivered a result of 10, Don't call it an HTPC.
Not because we disagree with that moniker, but because Apple vehemently denies its applicability here.
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- Mac mini (Late 2012) - Technical Specifications.
- 2012 Mac mini: Speedmark scores?
And, because it still lacks an optical drive and you know how we feel about that. Yet, regardless of what Apple says, we can't shake the feeling that this little box will inevitably make its way into users' living rooms at some point in its life cycle -- it was born this way, people.
In fact, this editor couldn't resist the urge to take the mini chez lui and hook it up to a palm-sized 3M projector.
PlayStation Now still isn't good enough
Using the easily accessible HDMI port, we had no trouble connecting the device to the projector, and mirroring the contents of our external Thunderbolt display. We did, however, encounter Bluetooth audio sync issues with our Jambox, forcing us to depend on the mini's able, but far-from-powerful internal speaker. Of course, you can always go the more traditional route and attach it to your HDTV, but if you're aching to make use of that vast DVD library sorry, Blu-ray owners , then prepare to spring for a SuperDrive.
At that point, though, you may as well just enter the MacBook fray.
Core i5 or Core i7—does your computer need the extra juice?
Apple's quite pleased with the mini's newest feature, the FusionDrive, even though hybrid storage solutions have been in use for quite some time now. So, what is it exactly? It works like this: But as time progresses and your storage begins to spill past the SSD's GB limit, the FusionDrive kicks in, analyzing user-level actions based on algorithms to determine commonly used files and then allocating them accordingly. Say, for example, you're a photo editor who makes heavy use of Aperture, but rarely bothers with iPhoto. Well, over time, the system will acknowledge this usage pattern and relegate iPhoto to the hard disk's slower volume, so Aperture will continue to launch and run quickly from flash.
What's more, all of this is done behind-the-scenes when the mini is idle, so users won't notice any changes taking place.
The Late Mac mini Value Equation | Low End Mac
In fact, there's no real way to monitor or edit how the system arranges the storage -- it's made to appear as one unified volume. It's fair to say the Mac mini occupies a special place on the consumer spectrum.
Consider it a 3 on our appropriated Kinsey scale of tech-to-consumer affiliations. It's the perfect bridge to all things Apple. Designed, initially, to help make Windows users feel at home within the Mac ecosystem, the mini was offered up as an elegant solution -- a compact desktop that would play nice with people's existing peripherals.
But as time wore on, this "appliance Mac" as one rep put it took on other uses in enterprise and among power users. Eventually, it wormed its way into all manner of server-based applications: Whether you really need the added boost of the 1. In fact, that latter option might be more than enough for most. So, where's the rub?
Well, that's just it. If you fit the sort of user profile we've been describing, we aren't quite sure there is one. At the end of the day, the mini is destined to sit outside of Apple's public limelight like all the models that have come before it. Things are even better on the PC side, where prices for SSDs have fallen under a dollar per gigabyte and clearance sales can get you nice, fast, high-capacity drives for even less. It's not that CPU upgrades are totally without merit, or that there aren't people who would benefit from upgrades to either of these new Macs.
However, if your upgrade money is limited, CPU upgrades simply don't provide the best bang for your buck. You must login or create an account to comment.
Lab Tested: 2012 Mac mini gets a nice speed boost
Skip to main content Apple's new Macs mostly come with Core i5 processors—should you spring for the Core i7 upgrade? I consider myself a reasonably heavy computer user, and this is what my quad-core processor spends most of its time doing. I had no idea that the i5 vs i7 thing was quite this confusing. The genius that came up with this naming scheme at Intel must have a PhD in marketing.
Cache is extremely important. The Celerons of old had none, and they were unbelievably slower than equivalent CPUs with cache. Hyperthreading is kind of glossed over in the article, but it literally doubles the threads available.