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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

Mac mini shootout:
2012 Quad-Core i7 versus
2014 Dual-Core i5 and i7

Posted December 12th, 2014 by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

When the 2014 Mac mini was announced and there was no quad-core i7 option. The next day the 2012 Mac mini quad-core started disappearing off the shelves. Why? The best way to answer is with a shootout between the quad-core 2012 and the dual-core 2014.

GRAPH LEGEND
2013 rMBP Quad i7 2.6 = 'late 2013' Retina MacBook Pro 2.6GHz Quad-Core i7; GeForce GT 750M and Intel Iris Pro Graphics
2012 mini Quad i7 2.3 = 'late 2012' Mac mini 2.3GHz Quad-Core i7; Intel HD Graphics 4000
2014 mini Dual i7 3.0 = 'late 2014' Mac mini 3.0GHz Dual-Core i7; Intel Iris Graphics
2014 mini Dual i5 2.8 = 'late 2014' Mac mini 2.8GHz Dual-Core i5; Intel Iris Graphics

Many thanks to Other World Computing, PowerMax, and Create Pro for providing support and resources for benchmarking the three models of Mac mini.

WHAT THE 2012 MAC MINI QUAD-CORE DOES BETTER
The RED bar in the graphs signifies the fastest Mac mini

Cinebench R15 -- Render 3D Model using all CPU cores. (RED graph bar means FASTEST CB Rating.)

Geekbench 3 - MULTI-CORE TEST
Primate Labs' cross-platform processor benchmark uses a scoring system. Workloads simulate real-world scenarios. The overall score is an amalgam of Integer, Floating Point, and Memory performance tests. (
RED bar means FASTEST Score.)

HandBrake is a tool for converting video from nearly any format to a selection of modern, widely supported codecs. We converted a two minute 1440x1080 Apple ProRes 422 video to iPad preset (1280x720 H.264). (RED bar indicates the fastest time in SECONDS.)

Final Cut Pro X 10.1.3
We imported a two minute 1440x1080 Apple ProRes 422 video clip. The first effect we rendered, Aged Film, is CPU intensive. (RED graph bar means FASTEST time in SECONDS.)

WHAT THE 2014 DUAL-CORE MAC MINI DOES BETTER
The RED bar in the graphs signifies the fastest Mac mini

Geekbench 3 - SINGLE-CORE TEST
Primate Labs' cross-platform processor benchmark uses a scoring system. Workloads simulate real-world scenarios. The overall score is an amalgam of Integer, Floating Point, and Memory performance tests. (
RED bar means FASTEST Score.)

Final Cut Pro X 10.1.3
We imported a two minute 1440x1080 Apple ProRes 422 video clip. The Gaussian Blur effect is GPU intensive. (RED graph bar means FASTEST time in SECONDS.)

LuxMark
This is an OpenCL benchmark. We rendered the Sala scene using GPUs only. (RED graph bar means
FASTEST in Thousands of Samples per Second.)

GPUtest - FurMark
This is a very intensive OpenGL benchmark that uses fur rendering algorithms to measure the performance of the graphics card. Fur rendering is especially adapted to overheat the GPU and that's why FurMark is also a perfect stability and stress test tool for the graphics card. We ran the test at 640x480 Windowed with anti-aliasing disabled.
(RED bar means FASTEST in Frames Per Second.)

GPUtest - TessMark
Tessellation is the ability of the GPU to divide a polygon into smaller ones (according to the tessellation level factor) in order to increase polygon density: the higher the tessellation level, the higher the polygon density. The higher the tessellation level, the more GPU processing power is required. We chose 16 levels (usually the max that games use) at 640x480 Windowed with anti-aliasing disabled.
(RED bar means FASTEST in Frames Per Second.)

ANALYSIS
For multi-core CPU intensive tasks, the Quad-Core 2012 Mac mini excelled even with a lower core clock speed. The 'beating' would have been even worse if we had access to the CTO 2.6GHz Quad-Core i7 Mac mini from 2012. Notice we included the 'late 2013' Retina MacBook Pro's test results to demonstrate further the potential of a Quad-Core 2014 Mac mini.

However, the tables are turned when it comes to single-core CPU intensive tasks or GPU intensive tasks. In those scenarios, the 2014 Dual-Core i7 with Intel Iris graphics wins. Before 2014 mini owners get too cocky, check out the included results for the 'late 2013' Retina MacBook Pro with a discrete NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M graphics processor.

The 2014 Mac mini's other advantages include fast flash storage option, Fusion drive option, dual Thunderbolt 2.0 ports, and WiFi 802.11ac.

On the other hand, besides the lack of a Quad-Core option, the 2014 Mac mini memory is not user serviceable. It is soldered onto the main logic board. Upgrading the internal storage is tougher, too. For more on the insides of the 2014 Mac mini, check out the iFixit teardown.

CONCLUSION
So which Mac mini is better overall? It depends on the apps you run and what demands they make on the CPU and/or GPU. This is all academic anyway. Quad-core Mac minis have become as scarce as hen's teeth.

Many thanks to Other World Computing, PowerMax, and Create Pro for providing support and resources for benchmarking the three models of Mac mini.

Comments? Suggestions? Feel free to email me,
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WHERE TO BUY Mac minis and OTHER APPLE products:
USA readers can help us earn a commission by using this Apple Store USA link or by clicking on any Apple display ad. Live outside the USA? No problem. We are affiliated with these Apple Stores:

OTHER SOURCES FOR iMACS

  • PowerMax not only sells new and used Macs, but will give you a generous trade-in offer on your old Mac.

WHERE TO BUY FACTORY REFURBISHED MACS
Apple Store USA has refurbished Macs with 12 month warranty that can be extended to 36 months with AppleCare. Pay attention to the GPU it comes with.

Other World Computing has a Used Mac Store.

 

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copyright 2014 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
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