Apple's new Minis and Airs benchmark twice as fast as predecessors

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Apple's new line of Mac Minis and MacBook Airs launched Wednesday are not only strikingly faster than their predecessors in raw processor and memory performance, but in some cases rival premium-priced Macs that made their debut just one year ago for more than twice the cost.



2011 Mac minis



Macminicolo, which received both the server and baseline Mac Mini models, proclaim that the new desktops "are absolute screamers."



The entry-level 2.3 GHz Core i5 model soars 50% to a Geekbench score of 6395 when compared to its predecessor, while the top of the line 2.0 GHz i7 model provides an even more monumental performance with a score of 9573, roughly doubling last year's models. Â*



The latest Mac Minis start at $599 -- a $100 reduction from the previous generation's entry point -- and have controversially parted with optical drives while gaining a ThunderBolt port and an upgrade from Intel's Core 2 Duo chips to its latest Core i5 and i7 ultra-low-voltage processors.







2011 MacBook Airs



Meanwhile, benchmarks for Apple's new line of Macbook Airs supplied by Laptop Magazine (via Electricpig) highlight momentous performance increases when compared to the previous generation. Testing showed the new 13-inch Macbook Air registered a Geekbench score of 5860, outperforming its predecessor by 100%, while the 11-inch MacBook AirÂ?s score rose an incredible 149% from 2024 to 5040.







The latest benchmarks for the new notebooks are noteworthy given that the 11.6-inch Air, which starts at $999, put up a score that rivals the 5423 registered by last year's top-of-the-line, $2499 17-inch MacBook Pro.



It should be noted that Geekbench scores machines based on their raw processing and memory performance, which may or may not translate to real-world performance that takes into account different variables in each situation.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 36
    tipootipoo Posts: 1,119member
    So do these things have Hyperthreading and Turbo Boost or not? Looking at that score, I'm thinking HT might be enabled as GB gives a big boost to any processor with it.
  • Reply 2 of 36
    irontedironted Posts: 129member
    I say that is a bargain!!! MacBook Pro performance at $999!
  • Reply 3 of 36
    macrulezmacrulez Posts: 2,455member
    deleted
  • Reply 4 of 36
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,950member
    Extreme disappointment that the new Airs aren't available with 8GB memory and can't be upgraded. The microprocessors used support it.
  • Reply 5 of 36
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,950member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tipoo View Post


    So do these things have Hyperthreading and Turbo Boost or not?



    Both HT and TB.

    http://ark.intel.com/products/54620/...ache-1_70-GHz)
  • Reply 6 of 36
    mcarlingmcarling Posts: 1,106member
    The benchmark results shown for the new MacBook Air are with 64-bit kernels, which are unfairly compared with the MacBook Pro and old MacBook Air running with 32-bit kernels -- despite the fact that higher scores for these machines are listed when running 64-bit kernels.
  • Reply 7 of 36
    paul94544paul94544 Posts: 1,027member
    I have an aging 1st gen white iMac 24' that is long in the tooth (bought in 2004). I think keep it a museum piece and see if it becomes a classic like the Apple II



    I was going to buy a new macbook air with Lion, but now I have my iPad2, I think it makes better sense to buy a new MacMini, I already have a new wireless keyboard and I can get a 26+ inch lcd screen from Costco for $200, all I need is to get a touchpad to use gestures.



    Essentially I'm moving away from having a dedicated desktop to using the macmini as a kind of media center that doubles as a computer the few times I need it for that and to sync the iPad/iPhone, watch Netflix, and so on.



    I'm thinking of getting another TV with wif-fi for my bedroom and connect the mac to it and my main 46" lcd tv in the living room.



    I'm almost back to windows PC pricing now~ 599 for mini, $200 for screen, vs over $1000 for mac air



    I wonder if Apple is basically changing from a computer company to a entertainment media delivery company. They did remove Computer from their name right?
  • Reply 8 of 36
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,950member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mcarling View Post


    The benchmark results shown for the new MacBook Air are with 64-bit kernels, which are unfairly compared with the MacBook Pro and old MacBook Air running with 32-bit kernels -- despite the fact that higher scores for these machines are listed when running 64-bit kernels.



    In my experience, as long as the same bitness of Geekbench is used (either the 32-bit or 64-bit version), any difference in kernel bitness will translate into only a meager difference in Geekbench score.
  • Reply 9 of 36
    sabugasabuga Posts: 45member
    Looks like the i7 was the quad core server version. I'd be keen to see what the non server dual core i7 gets. It's another $160 NZD to upgrade, wondering if it's worth it.... Also, wondering if the CPU is soldered like the last one, or socketed so it can be upgraded later...
  • Reply 10 of 36
    carmissimocarmissimo Posts: 837member
    Up until yesterday, I was disappointed in the state of Apple's headless desktop offerings.



    The new Mini is close enough to what I wanted that I placed an order for one ASAP. It seems to me that removing the optical drive to give the Mini form factor the room to take on more powerful internals is exactly what Apple needed to do.



    The absence of an optical drive is well offset by the substantial boost in performance. Worst case you pay $79 for an external DVD burner though in my case even that expense might be spared. I have a USB DVD burner already that I'm sure would work with the new Mini and yet I might not need it. I am now using my current Mini (a 2.53 circa 2009) on my TV and as such I'll have remote access to the DVD drive in that unit. I'm going to give that a try and if that fails, will turn to the USB unit.



    I am really looking forward to seeing how much faster the new machine will be. I'm going with the 2.7 i7, running off the 256 SSD/750 HDD combo, and with 8GB of RAM. I hope that I'll see more than double the speed. Can't wait to throw Handbrake at it and see what it can do. I'm especially curious to see what impact remotely accessing material off an optical drive will have on performance.
  • Reply 11 of 36
    bigdaddypbigdaddyp Posts: 811member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cpsro View Post


    In my experience, as long as the same bitness of Geekbench is used (either the 32-bit or 64-bit version), any difference in kernel bitness will translate into only a meager difference in Geekbench score.



    Running Lion, Macbook Unibody-2.4ghz, 5Gb Ram, 7200 Rpm Hdd.

    Geek Bench 32 bit-3354

    Geek Bench 64 bit-3723

    Not a huge difference and my scores have been jumping around a bit.
  • Reply 12 of 36
    bigdaddypbigdaddyp Posts: 811member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sabuga View Post


    Looks like the i7 was the quad core server version. I'd be keen to see what the non server dual core i7 gets. It's another $160 NZD to upgrade, wondering if it's worth it.... Also, wondering if the CPU is soldered like the last one, or socketed so it can be upgraded later...



    Can't say for sure, but since the update from the core duo to the core 2 Duo all Minis have their Cpu's soldered in place.



    *update* iFixit confirmed that the chip is indeed soldered in place.
  • Reply 13 of 36
    cory bauercory bauer Posts: 1,286member
    Why won't Apple sell me the quad-core 2Ghz i7 Mac Mini with the Radeon 6630M graphics and a single hard drive? Do they not like my money?
  • Reply 14 of 36
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,950member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bigdaddyp View Post


    Running Lion, Macbook Unibody-2.4ghz, 5Gb Ram, 7200 Rpm Hdd.

    Geek Bench 32 bit-3354

    Geek Bench 64 bit-3723

    Not a huge difference and my scores have been jumping around a bit.



    That's 11%. You're (presumably) looking at the difference in results between the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Geekbench. The difference seen between the 32-bit and 64-bit Darwin kernel is less - on the order of 1-2% IIRC.
  • Reply 15 of 36
    carmissimocarmissimo Posts: 837member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cory Bauer View Post


    Why won't Apple sell me the quad-core 2Ghz i7 Mac Mini with the Radeon 6630M graphics and a single hard drive? Do they not like my money?



    Shouldn't the question that matters be, can the Mini, as it is now configurable, do some rather demanding work rather well. In many applications, for example, the higher clock speed of the 2.7 i7 would more than offset only having two cores instead of four. And in absolute terms, how fast is the dual-core unit?



    Seems to me that being able to get much faster drives and the introduction of a discrete GPU, albeit a modest one (I should say re-introduction because the original Mini had one), may well have an even bigger impact on overall performance than which CPU is being employed.



    It's not just about the CPU's muscle but the overall system performance that matters.
  • Reply 16 of 36
    postulantpostulant Posts: 1,272member
    Isn't it interesting what Apple has done with this machine? Remember how the first "Airs" were overpriced and underpowered? Unlike with the iPad, Apple didn't get it right the first time around - and no one ever considered it Apple's finest notebook. Fast forward to today though. Cheap, powerful, sturdy, and a joy to own. In my opinion, the MacBook Air is Apple's finest notebook ever... And I've owned them all(including the first generation Air with the horrendous latch/USB door and $1800 price tag).



    I'm rocking an iPhone 4, iPad 2, and an 11" 2010 MacBook Air( soon to be 2011)... I never imagined that all my favorite today's combined would weigh less than 5 lbs.



    Heck, as a kid, my favorite Tonka truck weighed at least 15 lbs.
  • Reply 17 of 36
    cory bauercory bauer Posts: 1,286member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Carmissimo View Post


    Shouldn't the question that matters be, can the Mini, as it is now configurable, do some rather demanding work rather well. In many applications, for example, the higher clock speed of the 2.7 i7 would more than offset only having two cores instead of four. And in absolute terms, how fast is the dual-core unit?



    Seems to me that being able to get much faster drives and the introduction of a discrete GPU, albeit a modest one (I should say re-introduction because the original Mini had one), may well have an even bigger impact on overall performance than which CPU is being employed.



    It's not just about the CPU's muscle but the overall system performance that matters.



    I'd be very interested to see how the dual-core 2.7Ghz i7 Mac Mini stacks up against the entry-level quad-core 2.5Ghz i5 iMac in real world tasks. I use a lot of programs that theoretically take full advantage of all cores available (After Effects, Aperture, Compressor, Final Cut Pro) but that doesn't mean that they really do. You may be right that the extra 700Mhz per core make up the difference.
  • Reply 18 of 36
    lukeskymaclukeskymac Posts: 506member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Carmissimo View Post


    Up until yesterday, I was disappointed in the state of Apple's headless desktop offerings.



    The new Mini is close enough to what I wanted that I placed an order for one ASAP. It seems to me that removing the optical drive to give the Mini form factor the room to take on more powerful internals is exactly what Apple needed to do.



    The absence of an optical drive is well offset by the substantial boost in performance. Worst case you pay $79 for an external DVD burner though in my case even that expense might be spared. I have a USB DVD burner already that I'm sure would work with the new Mini and yet I might not need it. I am now using my current Mini (a 2.53 circa 2009) on my TV and as such I'll have remote access to the DVD drive in that unit. I'm going to give that a try and if that fails, will turn to the USB unit.



    I am really looking forward to seeing how much faster the new machine will be. I'm going with the 2.7 i7, running off the 256 SSD/750 HDD combo, and with 8GB of RAM. I hope that I'll see more than double the speed. Can't wait to throw Handbrake at it and see what it can do. I'm especially curious to see what impact remotely accessing material off an optical drive will have on performance.



    If they offered an AMD 6950M as an optional (hell, even the 6850M would be nice) it would be sooooooooooooooooo sweeeeeet
  • Reply 19 of 36
    aizmovaizmov Posts: 989member
    I'll never buy a MacBook Pro again, next time I'll get a MacBook Air and replace it more often.
  • Reply 20 of 36
    cory bauercory bauer Posts: 1,286member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Aizmov View Post


    I'll never buy a MacBook Pro again, next time I'll get a MacBook Air and replace it more often.



    Yeah it doesn't really pay to get the top of the line, does it? It's the same story oh the desktop side; this year's iMac is matching or besting last years Mac Pro. I find myself buying cheaper and cheaper Macs, even though my needs are becoming more and more demanding. My first Mac was a $2,500 blue and white G3, and now I'm considering a $799 Mac Mini!
Sign In or Register to comment.