1. Reminder: Please use our affiliate links for holiday shopping!

New Mac Mini slower than old model

Discussion in 'Coffee Bar' started by Poki, Oct 16, 2014.

  1. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Apple announced a successor to my main computer today - the Mac Mini. My Mini still is a speed demon - with a 2.3 GHz Intel Core i7 quad-core chip, 16 GB RAM, a 256 GB S-ATA3 SSD and external Thunderbolt storage, it's a nice machine. Still, I hoped for an upgrade route with todays introduction. And guess what? My Mini (which cost me €800 + €250 for my upgrades) is more than 50% faster than the new high-end model with its 3.0 GHz Intel Core i7 dual-core chip.

    Sure, the newer model features WiFi ac, Thunderbolt 2, ECC SSDs and a 20 - 50% faster graphics chip. But the CPU Apple used simply can't compare to the one of its predecessor. Actually, even the 2011 Mac Mini with its 2.0 GHz quad-core chip is considerably faster than the new one. And that's for €1.200 - without SSD and only 8 GB RAM.

    Anybody else sad about this Mac Mini update? I mean, a 2014 €1.200 computer is slower than a 2012 €800 one ... Something doesn't sound right here.

    In addition to that, they also discontinued the Mac Mini Server. Bad choice. I know many local companies who run their intranet on those machines, and they work great! Sure, you can install OS X Server on any Mac, but without dual hard drives, it will be a hard sell, especially to small companies.

    Seems like my next computer has to be a Mac Pro, since there's no other alternative running OS X today ... Hope there'll be a Mac Pro model starting at €2k anytime in the next couple of years, don't want to spend a fortune just to get a computer which is comparable to what my Mini was back at the time.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  2. Hawkman

    Hawkman TalkEmount Top Veteran

    941
    Sep 10, 2013
    Virginia, USA
    Steve
    Um, I'm not sure I see what you're saying Poki. IIRC, Apple has always shipped minis with dual-core chips as standard (other than the server models), and offered quad-core chips only as build-to-order upgrades - the mini is essentially laptop parts in a compact desktop chassis.

    From what I see on the updated Apple (US) site, there are options to have the mid-level and top-end new 2014 Mac minis configured with a 3.0 GHz quad-core Core i7 CPU, so I'm thinking your initial comparison is a sort of "Apples-to-Oranges" one. So, FWIW, I suspect that with such a 4th generation quad-core i7 CPU upgrade, the new Mac mini can be actually notably faster than one with a 2.3 GHz quad-core 2nd generation i7.

    EDIT: I stand corrected... at least partially. I just checked Everymac.com, and all but the base 2012 models did indeed come standard with quad-core CPUs. For the 2014 standard configurations it seems Apple went for the reduced price of dual-core chips (dropping them by US$100 at each level). But, with Build-to-Order, I still maintain that a 2014 Mac mini can be configured to be notably faster than a 2012. And when you factor in GPU improvements in the newer Intel HD 5000 or Iris graphics, the 2014 minis should outperform otherwise similarly spec'ed 2012 minis, and certainly my own 2011 Mac mini. ;)
     
  3. Hawkman

    Hawkman TalkEmount Top Veteran

    941
    Sep 10, 2013
    Virginia, USA
    Steve
    Okay, mea culpa. I now stand fully corrected. It looks like the new 2014 Mac minis do indeed only have dual-core CPU options. My aging eyes read the upgrade listing wrong. So, yeah, a little disappointing. Sorry for doubting you Poki.


    Sent from TalkEmount app on iPad
     
  4. jai

    jai TalkEmount Top Veteran

    589
    Feb 4, 2013
    Poki, what monitor do you use with the Mac mini?

    The retina iMac looks impressive, but I can see the appeal in keeping the monitor as a separate item.
     
  5. José De Bardi

    José De Bardi Assistant in Virtue

    Aug 31, 2013
    Dorset, UK
    José
    I've not looked, but are we sure the new processors in question are in fact worse performers than the old?
    CPU performance is so much more than just core speed and number of cores these days, it's easy to find a 1.8Ghz chip that out performs a 3Ghz due to the multipliers/cache and a million other variables.
    We've been hovering at ~3.5Ghz and 4 cores for the last 5 years and yet moore's law is still holding true (albeit artificially these days - but that's a whole other story!), it is all the other variables of the processor that are being tweaked to keep the performance path going in the upward direction.
     
  6. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Of course I know that. How else could an iPhone 6 with its 1,4 GHz dual core chip be significantly faster than some of the eight core 1.8 GHz chips out there? And of course I looked up benchmarks before posting here. The MacBook Pro with retina display, which offers the same 4th gen 3.0 GHz dual-core chip as BTO option, scores roughly 6.700 points at Geekbench (64 bit, multi core), while my Mac Mini scores roughly 11.700. That's 67% faster.

    And lets not forget that this was the standard option at €800, while the new 3.0 GHz Mini is €1200 BTO. The old BTO model scored even better at roughly 12.600.

    Sure, I'd like the additional graphics power. But guess what? The Iris is hardly better than the HD4000 in many tasks. Most games only run between 10 - 20% faster, which means they're probably still unplayable if the HD4000 couldn't handle it. DaVinci Resolve doesn't support the Iris either. And the GPU acceleration in many apps depends on either nVidia CUDA or AMD EyeFinity technology, so you're out of luck again.

    Faster WiFi? Nice for future proofing, but I don't own a single other 802.11 ac device, let alone a router, so there's really no benefit to me when upgrading just now. Thunderbolt 2? Again, nice for future proofing, but for most devices, including screens and hard drives, Thunderbolt 1 is plenty fast. And it'll take a couple of years more until I run out of daisy-chain space, because 6 devices is quite a bit considering prices of TB accessories.

    Also, you can't upgrade the RAM yourself anymore - its soldered to the logic board. And as its standard 1600 MHz RAM, you don't even get a speed benefit from that ... All in all, it oesn't seem like a nearly as good choice as the old model was back in 2012.



    I use an Apple Thunderbolt Display. Impressive screen, great design, and the included Thunderbolt Hub is convenient. Sure you can wait for a 5k TB display, but I bet it takes at least a year to arrive since it's a whole lot harder to deliver the pixels from an external source. And the TB display isn't a financially important product to Apple either, so they usually are in no hurry to update it.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  7. José De Bardi

    José De Bardi Assistant in Virtue

    Aug 31, 2013
    Dorset, UK
    José
    Fair enough, as I said I didn't check. It does seem an odd step backward.
     
  8. LoFi

    LoFi TalkEmount Regular

    101
    Nov 16, 2013
    Eliot
    i wonder if theyll do another update as soon as intel upgrades to whatever named chip is next that they are behind on
     
  9. shnitz

    shnitz TalkEmount Regular

    26
    Jun 15, 2014
    What Apple does with their Mac Mini's is use mobile processors, so rather than being desktops shrunk down, you can think of them more as laptops with the screen ripped off. In this generation, they've decided to forego the "M" series processors for the "U" series processors. They trade off being *slightly* slower, for a significant decrease in power draw. For example, my laptop's i5-3210m is a little faster than the "higher-end" i5-3317u, but the 3317 was like a $50 upgrade at a time when my laptop cost me $350. Yes, the 3317 is slower,

    Given the target audience of the Mac Mini, I think that this makes sense. Just like a camera is more than a single spec, so is a computer. They looked at what is probably not only the average user, but the bulk of users, and decided that low-power, low-noise, low-heat hardware would be the way to go. Plus, as I mentioned above, with the Mini being essentially a laptop internally, it probably made great business sense for them to give the same parts/specs as the 13" Macbook Pro with Retina. Plus, don't forget that your benchmark score only considers multi-threaded performance. Most people's usage never involves quad-core activities, so most users will not see any change in performance. Last, according to a site I found, it shows that it's Intel's decision to put the quad-core mobile processors on different sockets that makes it unfeasible for Apple. For the 3rd gen Intel processors, you just had to swap the processor. With the 4th gen, you need a differently-socketed motherboard.

    Despite a benchmark decrease, they've greatly expanded the overall computer by giving it superior wifi and dual Thunderbolt, while making it significantly less expensive. I'm happy with it. As far as RAM, the growth has leveled off anyway. This is the first time in history that when I go to buy a computer, today's models come with largely the same amount as they did 4 years ago. Core 2 Duo Macbook Pros from 5 years ago came with 4GB memory. Here we are in 2014, however many generations of processor later, and 4GB is still enough for much of today's needs, and is still what the base Macbook Pro and Macbook Air comes with, as well as the base-model Mac Mini. That's something that I didn't see coming, as we were at exponential increases up until the start of this decade. So, if I have to pay to upgrade the memory (which Apple prices are competitive compared to other avenues, unlike previous years), then I'll do so (but at this point, you're better off buying the mid-grade Mac Mini if you need more than 4GB memory). Otherwise, I can sleep well knowing that the amount of RAM that I have won't be obsolete during the lifetime of my computer.
     
  10. chrid

    chrid Super Noob

    807
    May 5, 2014
    australia
    Chris
    They probably put the slower cpu in because most noticeable performance comes form the gpu these days (this is of course task dependant). Im not an apple fan but I respect them for what they can do, just drives me insanely nutz with the fan boys who think apple invented everything. Remember the first time I saw a retina display and I was blown away, got the dell u2711 though because it was better in many ways and a lot cheaper.


    http://youtu.be/wFeC25BM9E0
     
  11. José De Bardi

    José De Bardi Assistant in Virtue

    Aug 31, 2013
    Dorset, UK
    José
    I'm an "Apple Fan Boy", but I'm not under the impression they have ever invented anything. They take 2 year old features and implement them properly!

    If you want bleeding edge buggy crap, get Android/Windows
    If you want properly thought out kit, get Apple
     
  12. chrid

    chrid Super Noob

    807
    May 5, 2014
    australia
    Chris
    Apple have done a lot for technological world. showing how a device can be made better ( ever seen those early windows tablets yuck). But windows and android have come along way, since windows 7 the Microsoft side of thing is very very stable. . Android is amazingly stable now (unless you use a heavily skinned device like a Samsung or Lg) But use a nexus device or a device with stock (or nearly stock) android and it is a great user experience. In my opinion android was only at beta level before 4.0 (ice cream sandwich).
     
  13. José De Bardi

    José De Bardi Assistant in Virtue

    Aug 31, 2013
    Dorset, UK
    José
    I agree they have got better recently.
    But Win8? Catastrophe of the highest order - to the point they are skipping 9 and claiming Win10 will be a total rewrite so separate it from Win8.

    And my other big thing, is will your Android ever sync as seamlessly with your laptop as OSX/iOS do?
    Google are never likely to become the big desktop OS interface and so while Android is at least decent now, the lack of continuity across devices mean I can't consider it.

    Anyway, way off topic, and the usual Apple vs argument which can go on forever! Each to their own and all!
     
  14. dannat

    dannat TalkEmount Regular

    86
    Jun 22, 2014
    VIC
    it is disappointing about the mini -at work we have a mini svr running dual SSD's & the thing hum;s along -nothing slows it down
     
  15. mrlrz

    mrlrz TalkEmount Regular

    65
    Nov 13, 2013
    I guess the cpu choice is due to a more energy-conscious approach, hopefully this will bring a colder, more reliable product...
    For me the 'unjustifiable' point is the soldered ram, you cannot postpone the choice and is no 'user serviceable'.
    At work for desktop use (web/graphic/video work) we have just minis and pros, just one iMac.
    I guess we disappointed Apple : )
    So now they want mini to be perceived more as email machine than like a little, fancy powerbox
     
  16. shnitz

    shnitz TalkEmount Regular

    26
    Jun 15, 2014
    Sorry, I don't agree. I'm as much an Apple ****** as anyone. My household is 2 iPhones, 2 Macs, and 3 Windows PC's. Windows 8 has been pretty dang well designed. The way I see it, most people I know are Windows users. When cell phones became popular, these people loved buying iphones and Android phones, learning new systems. However, Microsoft dares to make one tiny little change (start screen instead of start button, big whoop) and everyone is up in arms, how dare you make this system function any differently than how my grandfather taught me to use Windows in 1991. It is really a trivial change, and it's much faster, and really stable. I switched my laptop from Apple to Windows, and I've been happy with the change. It's amazing how well systems function when you just take them at face value instead of assigning intrinsic worth to it, and everyone loves to hate Microsoft.


    I don't see the RAM as a big deal. Our remaining Apple laptop, a Macbook Pro from 2010 (likely getting retired along with the other Mac, and consolidated soon for an iMac), has 4GB RAM. Open up your activity monitor; most people use MUCH MUCH less memory than they perceive. Even go to gaming forums, which is harder on a computer than nigh-anything else, and you'll see that most people discuss diminishing returns above 8GB, which is what my i7-4770K has, and has never come close to maxing out, even with all of Adobe's photography suite open, along with Word, and itunes, and 20 internet tabs. Get 16GB, which is a whopping $30 more at Apple than it would cost you from Newegg (and don't forget you're getting a $100 price drop on the overall model from last-gen), and call it a day. The memory ceiling will be higher than the processor's, meaning that you'll most likely want to upgrade because of age when your processor slows down your workflow, not the lack of RAM.

    Which, speaking of, describing the Mac Mini as being a "powerbox," at the end of the day, even the "old" ones that everyone is remembering through rose-colored glasses, were just mobile processors.
     
  17. chrid

    chrid Super Noob

    807
    May 5, 2014
    australia
    Chris
    Im still on windows 7, I wasn't keen for win8 because I didn't have a touch screen, windows 10 looks very very appealing though. The reason they skipped win9 apparently is because a lot of legacy programs still have startup code that searches for the windows version. they were worried it would confuse win9 with win9x
     
  18. xXx1

    xXx1 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 15, 2013
    Windows 10 seems to be pretty good, I have been testing it now for a week and I think that it is much better than 7. 8 was ok too after I installed third party start menu. Will probably do that for Windows 10 too.

    Raw Therapee uses lots of ram so I think that 4 GB isn't so much these days. New GIMP will probably be a memory hog too. Photo processing sw can be quite demanding for memory use, a 24 MP image will use about 1 GB if the processing is done in 96 bit precision mode and there is a alpha channel too. Count having several images and other things in memory at the same time.

    I have a 4 GB laptop for summer cottage use, will need something other than Raw Therapee for raw processing for next summer ... .
     
  19. mrlrz

    mrlrz TalkEmount Regular

    65
    Nov 13, 2013
    few points:

    - working with video or illustrator/ps/indesign on really big files need ram. Our Mac pros are all 16gb or more. But in real life tasks our main bottleneck was hdd not cpu, ssd changed a lot

    - we often work with an activity monitor fired up (or menumeters)

    - It's good for us to manage the amount of ram as the hw life goes. From now on we simply maximize the ram, apple will be happy. Ah, and there was a time ram may fault… It was great to replace it by yourself…

    - I didn't wanted to refer at minis like real powerboxes (lol), I was talking about the marketing shade moving to a more energy-conscious side.
     
  20. José De Bardi

    José De Bardi Assistant in Virtue

    Aug 31, 2013
    Dorset, UK
    José
    My comments had nothing to do with the start screen issue. I have used Win8 a fair bit (not through choice), and everything is just so clunky. Nothing flows like it does on a Mac. Win7 I had on my own laptop (before I went Mac), and it was the best one I've used, but still not a touch on OS X.
    Shall we also talk about Windows Updates? I recently installed my old Netbook with Win7 as I needed a machine in the car and a 9 inch netbook fits in the glovebox rather well. It took 2 days to complete the updates (and I have a 100MB internet connection, so download time was negligible), and went from a 10GB initial install to 15GB after updates! It just served to remind me what a joke Windows is. My Mac gets ~1 OS updates a month, they install in 2-3 mins and VERY rarely require a restart (and if they do said restart takes sub 30 seconds), I just installed OS X 10.10 Yosemite, it managed to update in 20 mins with 1 restart and everything worked perfectly afterwards, I don't even what to imagine the time and effort that would be involved to upgrade Win7 to Win8, I'd guess a day or so by the time you've done the update and then fixed everything it broke!

    I should say, that until 3 years ago I was totally Windows and thought Mac's were the preserve of graphic artists and wierdo's - since I moved over (because a colleague of a similar "Windows all the way" persuasion bought one as an experiment and kept banging in about how good it was) I have seen the light! Everything is easier, anyone that comes to me and say's "I'm a technophobe, what laptop should I buy" and I suggest a Mac, and you know what, the 10 or so that have love it! All their headaches of old using Windows have evaporated and now they can enjoy technology. And the argument that Mac's are expensive (the usual initial response I get upon recommending them) is rubbish IMO, you buy a top spec Mac and it lasts 5+ years and doesn't slow down, or need re-installing, or need hardware upgrades - you buy a top spec PC and in 12 months you are looking at RAM options as you need to re-install Windows anyway (because it has suddenly decided that booting is a 10 minute affair) and so may as well upgrade as it's a bit sluggish running the latest apps now, in 24 months you are looking at a new PC!

    I don't understand how you came to the conclusion Windows (in any guise) is good, or what would possessed you to go from Apple to Windows when you have experienced Apple!? Maybe you like dealing with viruses/poorly written software a lot!?
    I also wonder what your definition of "really fast and really stable" is? I am yet to find a Windows machine that does anything quicker than my Mac (I have had laptops that boot to Win7 in sub 20 seconds), and in the 3 years of using a Mac I have only had to hold down the power button ONCE, and the only application that EVER crashes is Microsoft Outlook (and that is a lot less often that it used to on my Win7 machine). This is my definition, I suspect you have had to reboot/had crashed app's more often than that?

    I'm not trying to personally 'bash' you, I just find it really interesting on the conclusions you have drawn given my and what I have to say is 99.9999999% of other Windows users experiences are (I am presuming you must be the 0.0000001% that don't have any issues!).
    All my closest friends/relatives/colleagues have been Mac either for some time, or actually many recently have changed (partially as a result of my swap and them seeing how good it is) and not one has ever said they miss Windows, I think all have actually said "I would never go back"!
    I totally get the Windows users that bash Mac, they haven't tried it, so they don't know, but you are unique as a happy dual user! I don't think I've even met a Mac user that says Windows is alright, you are the first!