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Mac Mini opinions; i5 or i7?

mac mini i5 i7

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#1 WolfieZero

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 17:57

Just wondered what you guys think as I'm thinking of purchasing a Mac Mini over the weekend.

Now, I'll be by a Apple store this weekend so I could pick it up there and then, which will be the top end Mac Mini with i5 processor. But I'm wondering if it's worth ordering online with the additional 3 day lead time (probably 5 days at best the way delivery goes in the UK) to get the i7 processor?

Cost isn't a major factor but if the cost-benefit isn't worth it then it can be a factor.

Basically, I'll be wanting a Mac to do web development; mainly front-end stuff, but a bit of backend (standard MAMP stuff) and also design (so Photoshop). I might game, but not really worried about that as I've got a ton of games on consoles to get through!

RAM isn't a factor as I can get it cheaper and HDD space isn't a worry as I'm on a 320GB machine now and store a lot of stuff on remote servers and my NAS (plus I looked at the videos and can replace the HDD myself).

Question really is; should I use my better judgement and wait to get the i7, or just go head first and get the i5 and be all happy for the weekend?

Cheers for the help and it's nice be back on Neowin after going silent on here for however many years!


#2 threetonesun

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 18:27

Basically, I'll be wanting a Mac to do web development; mainly front-end stuff, but a bit of backend (standard MAMP stuff) and also design (so Photoshop). I might game, but not really worried about that as I've got a ton of games on consoles to get through!


i5. Unless you're going to be doing tons of batch process stuff in Photoshop, or video conversions for the web... then I might spring for an i7.

#3 Xtreme $niper

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 19:10

i5 should suffice! But if you're the kind of person who likes to extend the life of their computers for 4-5 years, the additional cost of an i7 might make things a bit more future-proof for the long term.

#4 threetonesun

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 19:20

I should add that I owned a mini in the past, and the 5400 RPM hard drives really slow them down. It's understandable in a laptop (faster drives = less battery), but on a tiny desktop, you're going to want 7200 RPM drives (or, in the new ones, a 7200 + an SSD).

Just my two cents. I think that upgrade would be better for usability than the i7. Or, since it sounds like you have some drives hanging around, you can install OSX on an external drive and boot from that.

#5 Gotenks98

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 20:47

Why not max out the processor? Those things are hard enough as is to get in there to upgrade, might as well start off with the fastest thing they have. I would say for go the ram since its super easy to upgrade fro them. Also like the others say go with a faster hard drive as well. The harder things to upgrade in the mini's are the HD and processor but the ram is super easy. Use the money you get for going with less ram to go for the processor and faster drive.

#6 OP WolfieZero

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 23:17

Thanks for the feedback guys!

On the that, I might go for the i5. HDD drive I know I can replace (really fiddly but I've done worse on mission critical stuff) and the RAM... well, Apple is overpriced!

The other thing I'm thinking is it's a good excuse in the future for when it does start to show it's age, I can use it as a media centre machine and then justify going out and getting another Mac. Mind you, saving myself the £80 does mean I can justify going out and getting a really nice monitor for it to dual screen with?

I dunno! I'll make my final choice tomorrow, but again, thanks for the feedback!

#7 Mikee4fun

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 23:30

Everything Apple is overpriced Wolfie. It is a shame they do not make the Mac Mini's standard with a default 7200 rpm hard drive, the 5400 rpm drives make them run like crap, I just deployed two new ones and it is a true disappointment.

#8 OP WolfieZero

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 18:10

So I caved in and got the i5. Can't play with it till tomorrow though :/

Thanks again for all the feedback. Most helpful!

#9 MikeGMD

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 18:15

So I caved in and got the i5. Can't play with it till tomorrow though :/

Thanks again for all the feedback. Most helpful!


you will love it i have a new 2011 core i 5 mac mini with the AMD HD 6630m

and i love it , hands down the best mac i have ever owned :)

i even game on it without any problems

not sure i see any slowdown with the 5400rpm drive everything seems fast to me

enjoy your new mac