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Apple's speedy new Mac mini torn down and benchmarked

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 
A pair of Mac colocation companies performed teardowns and benchmark tests of Apple's newly released Mac mini, finding that the small format desktop's performance is approaching that of legacy Xserves and 2010's Mac Pro.

Mac mini Teardown
Source: Mac mini Vault


Announced on Tuesday at a special event, the new Mac mini is largely seen as an incremental update from last year's model as it doesn't feature a new design like the super thin iMac, however the internal upgrades are substantial enough to significantly boost the tiny computer's performance.

Mac mini colocation service Macminicolo noted in a blog post that the most substantial additions to the new machine are Intel's Ivy Bridge processors and the option to configure up to 16GB of 1600MHz RAM straight from Apple. The entry-level offering now comes with 4GB of memory, which was found to be a major improvement as the previous 2GB standard configuration was just barely enough to run OS X Mountain Lion.

Also of note is Apple's new Fusion Drive, a hybrid device that uses a solid state drive to maximize read/write times and an HDD to maintain high storage capacity. As Fusion is only offered on the mid-tier Mac mini, Macminicolo believes the $799 model will be the most popular out of the lineup.

The firm performed a Geekbench benchmark test of the new unit, and found its score to be expectedly superior to previous models.

Mac mini Benchmark
Source: Macminicolo


As for the unit's build, colocation services company Mac mini Vault performed a quick teardown of the new model, finding that not much has changed besides a different fan design, the move to Hitachi HDDs, and updated antenna connections.

The company also performed an identical Geekbench test, and found that its out-of-the box unit running OS X 10.8.1 (Build 12B2080) scored 7433, compared to a 2011 Mac mini updated to OS X 10.8.2, which scored 6583.

Apple's new Mac mini is already for sale and starts with a standard $599 configuration powered by an Intel 2.5GHz dual-core i5 chip, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB HDD and integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics. The most expensive Mac mini comes with OS X Mountain Lion Server, a 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 4GB of memory, Two 1TB HDDs and Intel HD 4000 graphics.
post #2 of 44
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post
As Fusion is only offered on the mid-tier Mac mini, Macminicolo believes the $799 model will be the most popular out of the lineup.


They've done this as long as I can remember, and I still don't like it. Make all BTO options available on all models, just make them expensive enough to make up the margins using the options themselves. I think that is what they used to do, back when we'd complain that RAM isn't $400 a gig. Maybe that's why they stopped; I dunno.

post #3 of 44
The Geekbench image is missing as well as the rest of the story.
post #4 of 44
I think you accidentally the post.
post #5 of 44
Originally Posted by CrashMyTstDummy View Post
The Geekbench image is missing as well as the rest of the story.

 

I'm sure it'll be edited and filled in. If not, in a few hours I can grab it from the main page.

post #6 of 44
These will make perfect additions to my rendering farm.. perfectly scalable!
post #7 of 44
I would personally stay far away from the "Fusion Drive." The only thing it has going for it is capacity.
post #8 of 44

They should have given it the same cpu/gpu options as the iMac.  

post #9 of 44

yea.. dual SSDs are the way to go.

post #10 of 44

Hmm these seem pretty sweet. I am considering a new Mac, I need something that will give good Photoshop performance.

 

I am looking at the 27 inch iMac, but this might just be a much cheaper option, the added benefit though is the upgradiblity, maybe not the device itself but making it easier and cheaper to replace the unit and keeping the screen compared to the all in one nature of the iMac.

post #11 of 44
You might want to finish this story before posting it. Ooooooooooops.
post #12 of 44
The article is unfinished, but I would like to say that it
post #13 of 44
Originally Posted by Alexmit View Post
The article is unfinished, but I would like to say that it

 

I was going to grab the rest from the main page, but it's not

post #14 of 44
I've longed to run Mac Mini as a web server and with the new release, I think it's time. Fusion Drive may not be right for everyone, but it is for me. It's the perfect compromise for two of my different needs: 1) a busy database server (SSD) and 2) video files (HDD). Braiding these two together has made the Mac Mini with Fusion Drive a very tempting server!

However mini it is, I think it can hold its weight.
post #15 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

I was going to grab the rest from the main page, but it's not

 

I just saved a ton of money by switching to

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #16 of 44
It's perfect except for
post #17 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssls6 View Post

They should have given it the same cpu/gpu options as the iMac.  

 

Magic? Think about why they didn't. Or couldn't. And won't.

post #18 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

I would personally stay far away from the "Fusion Drive." The only thing it has going for it is capacity.

And that Apple will be the only company able to repair it. And that it's failure will tend to hasten obsolescence.

post #19 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

I would personally stay far away from the "Fusion Drive." The only thing it has going for it is capacity.

I disagree. That's one of the reasons to buy this.
post #20 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRR View Post

yea.. dual SSDs are the way to go.

And how much are you Willing to pay?
post #21 of 44
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cpsro View Post

And that Apple will be the only company able to repair it. And that it's failure will tend to hasten obsolescence.

Not true. It uses the same interface as the previous drives. OWC has been offering upgrade drives for them for a while.
post #22 of 44
@smarky

If you are serious about graphic design (like we are at publishing studio for biggies) then stay away from Apple displays. They turn into yellow uneven surface with time and reflection from glossy screen is big no-no for precise professional (e.g. retouch).

We also consider Mac Mini as thi is enough performance for 2D graphics in Photoshop, but we will go pro monitor (IPS) EIZO or NEC (cheaper) 16:10 ratio (nobody in serious graphocs uses 16:9).

iMac was a big mistake. We had that big old PowerPC mac before with Mitsubishi DiamondPro professional monitor and that was it.
post #23 of 44
"The most expensive Mac mini comes with OS X Mountain Lion Server, a 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 4GB of memory, Two 1TB HDDs and Intel HD 4000 graphics."

This can be upgraded to the 2.6GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 for $100.
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"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." - Leonardo da Vinci

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post #24 of 44
Originally Posted by maciekskontakt View Post
They turn into yellow uneven surface with time…

 

Because these don't exist.

 

and reflection from glossy screen is big no-no for precise professional (e.g. retouch).
 

So no computer image professionals existed before the creation of matte LCD monitors? Because… CRTs sort of… existed before that. 

post #25 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by maciekskontakt View Post
" . . .  (nobody in serious graphocs uses 16:9)."

That's a design axiom I've never heard of before. It kind of sounds like the overconfident voice of minimal experience.

All the serious designers I know (even the one who are serious in "graphocs") choose their tools based on what's best for the job, not some clueless axiomatic statement.

Do you think designers who do exclusively landscape spreads should avoid 16:9 monitors?

post #26 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post


Not true. It uses the same interface as the previous drives. OWC has been offering upgrade drives for them for a while.

Ah, but history says it's true--and it fits in well with the quicker obsolescence afforded by non-upgradeable retina MacBook Pros. Mac OS X doesn't support TRIM on non-Apple SSDs. Why should Fusion be any different? With Fusion drives coming pre-configured from the factory, customers will need to order it up front if they ever want to have it, and Apple replacement parts will be required for reliable repair.

post #27 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Because these don't exist.

So no computer image professionals existed before the creation of matte LCD monitors? Because… CRTs sort of… existed before that. 
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post #28 of 44
Originally Posted by NoahJ View Post
This product is currently unavailable. Please call us at 888-PANTONE (726-8663) for more information. 1wink.gif
Sorry, could not resist...

 

Ah, touché…

post #29 of 44
My Prediction:

A flood of Windows 8 refugees will be washing up on the Mac beach in the next few weeks. The Mac minis and the new iMacs will be popular with our new brethren.

I'll try to keep my "I told you so's" to myself.
post #30 of 44
smarky, the primary difference will be the graphics chip. They dropped the discrete graphics chip that the last Mini had, so graphics performance will suffer [as Intel's graphics is distinctly inferior to both Nvidia and AMD].
post #31 of 44

Server version or regular Mini with the fast processor?  This would be for a home server/file converter/web content player to the TV.  Curious about the fusion drive.  Not so happy about 5400 rpm drives in the server.


Edited by WelshDog - 10/24/12 at 11:11pm
post #32 of 44
Once again, a nice product ruined by the Intel Graphics only option, same with the beautiful 13" retina MacBook. Intel Graphics = no sale for me
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post #33 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

And how much are you Willing to pay?

 

$169 for a 256GB Samsung 830 x 2 isn't that bad.  That's almost half the price as Apple is charging.  So for $338 you can have a 512GB JBOD vs $250 for 1TB Fusion.

 

Fusion is a great idea but reading the tech notes it has it's own set of limitations.  I'd personally wait a rev or two and go with dual SSDs given they are so cheap now.

post #34 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cpsro View Post

Mac OS X doesn't support TRIM on non-Apple SSDs.

 

TRIM appears to be working on my mini and mbp with Trim enabler installed.

post #35 of 44

Apple has a hit on their hand with both the new iMac and the Mac Mini. People are going to be snapping both of them up like crazy.

post #36 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

 

TRIM appears to be working on my mini and mbp with Trim enabler installed.

A friend of mine who has an older MacBook Pro recently bought a new SSD to install, and I advised him to just use that TRIM enabler utility, and it's working out fine.

post #37 of 44

If you owned the 2011 Mac Mini with 8 gigs of memory and 2.3 would you sell it for the newest model now? Thanks
 

post #38 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by marvfox View Post

If you owned the 2011 Mac Mini with 8 gigs of memory and 2.3 would you sell it for the newest model now? Thanks
 

 

Not in the least, for me anyway.  Last year I bought the mid-grade 2011 b/c my PC had died and I didn't feel like building a new gaming PC when I had been planning to upgrade to a laptop at tax time.  The laptop ended up not happening (I set myself up w/6TB external storage instead), and largely b/c the Mini was handling everything just fine.  The reason I bought the $800 mid-grade model was b/c it offered the 6630M videocard instead of Intel graphics.  I just looked up benchmarks for the HD 4000 and compared to the 6630M and they are about 2/3 or worse across the board.  So if you do anything at all that will require a strong video card, don't do it.  The mid-2011 Mini plays World of Warcraft on a 1680x1050 screen w/everything on High (one step below Ultra) just fine.  Diablo 3 as well. 

 

Alternately, if graphics don't matter, you will never play any games and you want something faster for encoding tons of video, the new i7 models sound fantastic for that.  Not knowing your use cases makes any advice kind of open-ended.

post #39 of 44
One of these might make a nice headless render node for FCPro and Compressor.
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post #40 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

TRIM appears to be working on my mini and mbp with Trim enabler installed.

Same here on my 2010 MBP 15" i7. Trim Enabler doesn't support every SSD out there as I understand it but it does the one I bought.
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