Mac mini server vs imac 2011

The more expensive late Mac mini reviewed here has a 2. At just If you want to use the same computer at home and at work, for example, you can set up a keyboard, mouse and monitor at each, and then when you're ready to leave, unplug the Mac mini and slip it in your bag. Since the mid refresh, the Mac mini's transformer has been built into the body, so the power supply is a cheap figure-of-eight lead.

The Mac mini lost its optical drive with the previous generation, in the summer of , and unsurprisingly, it doesn't make a return here.


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The refresh isn't a radical overhaul. It retains the same basic form factor as the last generation of Mac mini, and makes no major changes to its functionality.

But it's more than a mere incremental upgrade. The step up in processors, from the second generation Sandy Bridge chips to the new third-gen Ivy Bridge CPUs, bring a welcome increase in power. Unfortunately, the discrete graphics chip that made its Mac mini debut in last year's high-end model has now gone, so both Mac minis rely solely on integrated graphics.

Historically speaking

This is annoying, considering making room for the discrete chip was given as a reason for dropping the optical drive. Apple's specs don't reveal anything, just that Aperture is a 64bit application and can leverage all the advantages. I'd still consider the iMac. And dual monitors are great, if you have the space. As far as the minis, I'd prefer the non-server version, possibly with the CPU bump. I'd expect a dual 2. The fact that you've narrowed this purchase down to one product line helps. Were I merely considering usage that requires multiple apps to run simultaneously, I'd buy the middle-of-the-road machine and boost the RAM as high as I could.

Were I merely considering running apps that require faster processors, I'd go as high in the product line as possible and possibly add RAM later. The specifics of the apps you'll be running are outside of my area of familiarity. I usually try to compromise between the premium paid for a faster processor and the economy of my current situation. I usually try to buy the most future-proof machine I can afford that has storage expansion options, which is why I got a 6-core Mac Pro last winter instead of an iMac.

That suggests I should recommend the server over the standard mini. I'd stay away from SSDs until the real nerds drive the prices down a bit more. I don't honestly need that kind of speed, even working freelance at home. You can buy a slower hard drive now and swap it out later; the newer minis are far more user-configurable than the G4 one I have sitting atop my television. I wish I'd had this forum to ask similar questions last autumn, to be honest.

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Hmmm… I am a convert. If you have the money, it's probably the best investment you can make in terms of performance-per-dollar. The quad is significantly faster of course, but the dual i7 seems to hold its own surprisingly well. One little x-factor is QuickSync for accelerated encoding , not that anything on the Mac supports it fully FaceTime supposedly does. I'm curious whether it's accessible or not if you have the Radeon. I've read quite a bit about the downside of the HD when it comes to gaming, but 'teh Googles' didn't reveal anything useful about Aperture's reliance on graphics cards.

Anybody got any more info about that? I'd go for the server option. The quadcore will really boost transcoding with handbrake and HDDs are THE bottleneck in modern systems so take the fastest you can get. A friend sent me this link on Twitter. I reevaluated the iMac and I've come to two conclusions: Firstly, I'd love to keep things separate and I have a perfectly good 24" IPS display I like being able to actually switch-off the monitor and let the PC calculate away.

Not to discount Barefeats' results, but none of those test would put any stress on the GPU. Things like scrolling through dozens or hundreds of photos is where you feel the effects of a faster GPU with more RAM. Think zooming, panning, scrolling - interface things. I think also a few filter effects are sped up by the GPU. A faster GPU will give you a "smoother" Aperture experience, but that also translates to real world speed.

Nobody wants to wait while their screen redraws. Tsur Good argument. I guess I'm going to have to wait for a specific benchmark to really determine the capabilities of the new mini with HD graphics. The only snag is the availability of a second HDD connector cable.

Especially for a LED monitor it's better than a switch and there's no warm up time. Yeah yeah it's a creature comfort but I've gotten spoiled by it. The new Minis use so little power and with letting the hard drives sleep it doesn't seem like it would use all that much more power than Apple menu sleep but without the measurement tools it's hard to tell.

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Nightwish wrote: mangochutney wrote: Firstly, I'd love to keep things separate and I have a perfectly good 24" IPS display I like being able to actually switch-off the monitor and let the PC calculate away. That's the snag with my display; it's not LED backlit. It usually takes a minute to warm-up, but the picture quality is worth it. As of now I'm waiting for the detailed teardown of the other mini models by ifixit and OWC as well as the bench arks by Macworld and barefeats. So, Macworld posted benchmarks for the dual-core 2.

The results aren't very surprising, with the Radeon HD equipped mini beating the HD equipped mini handily in all graphics intensive task. What's pretty off-putting though, is that the previous generation mini with the NVidia GeForce M graphics beat the current generation mini with integrated graphics; not by much, but it beat it. This leaves me in a bad position decision-wise: I preferred the Mac mini server because of the better processor and the hassle-free availability of two rpm GB HDDs.

Seeing as the graphics chip isn't up to snuff and the CPU can't compensate for this I'm probably going to go with Option 1 with a few adjustments: I'm going to get the dual-core 2. As soon as possible I will buy more RAM. I think you've made an informed and reasonable decision. The 2. I'm slightly envious. Had I the money, I think I'd get the same set up. The one thing I'd possibly suggest is deferring the AppleCare. I'm not against AppleCare on desktop units, but I think it's less necessary. I always purchase computers on a credit card and that automatically extends the warranty another year.

That plus the fact that desktops don't move make AppleCare an iffy proposition. You have a full year from the date of purchase to decide if AppleCare is necessary.

By then you can get a feel for the reliability of the machine. If there are reports of mainboard defects or if your machine is inexplicably crash prone, then you rush out and buy it. You could possibly put that cash towards a larger SSD. It's ridiculous that the old beats the current ! For my mobile devices I almost alway get it but for a mini I'm not so sure.

I had planned to wait for a year before purchasing it in order to decide if it's necessary. Unfortunately the credit card warranties don't exist in Germany in this form, so that option isn't available to me. I will wait for a few more benchmarks and the tests in my favourite computer magazine c't. Meanwhile I put my 24" Dell U 'on sale' to see if there's any interest among my friends on Twitter, Facebook and the local classifieds. If it doesn't sell, I'm not making any loss, because the monitor is pretty darn great and the SSD configuration in the mini will surely make me happy.

I'm very disappointed that Apple had to go with Intel's subpar integrated graphics solution; it rules out the lower end model for most informed customers. I always immediately mark an alarmed calendar event several weeks before my year is up and defer Applecare till then to soften the blow of the cost of a machine, and Applecare certainly is going to provide more benefit beyond the first year for any portable machine.

I'd give myself that year space to feel out if I should get APP for the mini or not. Also, if you can, don't buy third party SSD's. Can't the AMD-equipped mini be configured with 2 drives? Then you'd get the cable for ease of switching in an SSD later. Quote: Hrm.. Although I might even go and buy a nice rpm drive on day one and see where it gets me performance wise. Should OWC figure out quickly how to get these cables and start selling them within the next two weeks, I might even wait with the whole purchase.

But it looks like you're going with a smaller density which would be cheaper than either drive; also I could be behind on my pricing. That's what I mean about that. Here's another option though - those Mini's have thunderbolt - which is smoking fast. You could just get a thunderbolt enclosure when they come out and an SSD and just boot off the thunderbolt drive in the future after cloning it over from the internal drive.

Just some random musing. FoO wrote: I haven't done any pricing lately, but when last I did, the BTO SSD's from Apple were cheaper than trying to buy the identical size from a third party - I assumed that this was because the machine cost itself was absorbing some of the extra cost. Now I get it, thanks for the clarification. I thought about the Thunder.

His contacts at Western Digital —who are among the chosen ones— told him not to expect anything aimed at consumers until at least August I really don't want to wait that long. Not with the GB drives they use. Really SSD pricing is just too ludicrous for me. I've seen them in use and the HDD bottleneck is incredibly obvious, I'm just not willing to spend so much money for so little albeit incredibly fast storage.

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