Has Bare Feats helped you? How about donating to Bare Feats?

BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

'late 2012' 21.5-inch iMac Core i5 2.9GHz
versus 'late 2012' Mac mini Core i7 2.6GHz

Originally posted Saturday, Dec 1st, 2012, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

We don't usually post on Saturdays but I know how anxious you are to see some hard data on the 'late 2012' iMac. This page uses CPU and GPU intensive benchmark results as an appetizer until we can post some real world test results. Plus you can easily run these tests on your own Mac for comparison.

iMac 2.9 = 'late 2012' (21.5") iMac 2.9GHz Quad-Core i5 with GeForce GT 650M GPU, 1TB HDD, and 8GB of RAM
mini 2.6 = 'late 2012' Mac mini 2.6GHz Quad-Core i7 with Intel HD 4000 GPU, 1TB Fusion Drive, and 16GB of RAM
rMBP 2.7 = 'mid 2012' (15") MacBook Pro 2.7GHz Quad-Core i7 with GeForce GT 650M GPU, 512GB factory flash drive, and 16GB of RAM

Maxon's Cinebench 11.5 cross-platform benchmark uses code from Cinema 4D to stress all available cores of a CPU. Rather than time in seconds, it gives a speed rating. (HIGHER number rating is FASTER)

The slower clocked Mac mini beats the iMac because the mini's Quad-Core i7 supports hyperthreading it's running 8 threads. The iMac's Quad-Core i5 does not so it only runs 4 threads.

Geekbench 2.4 measures processor (integer and floating point speed) and memory (performance and bandwidth). It is multi-threaded and multi-core aware. The overall rating combines the four tests. We tested in 64 bit mode. (HIGHER number means FASTER.)

Again, the Mac mini beats the iMac because the mini's Quad-Core i7 supports hyperthreading. The iMac's Quad-Core i5 does not.

LuxRender's LuxMark 2 benchmarks OpenCL effects render speed. The test model used is Sala with 488,000 triangles. The results are measured in Thousands of Samples per Second. (HIGHER number means FASTER.)

The Mac mini suffers here because it is forced to use the CPU to render the OpenCL model.

Unigine Heaven 3 is a cross-platform benchmark that uses 26 flyby/walkthrough scenes to measure DirectX or OpenGL performance. We ran the default setting at 1440x900 resolution. (HIGHER number in Frames per Second is FASTER)

The iMac (and Retina MacBook Pro) beat up on the Mac mini again. It's Intel HD 4000 is not as strong in OpenGL acceleration.

This snapshot of CPU and GPU performance is far from complete until we get our hands on the 'late 2012' 27" iMacs. But the main purpose of this initial test page is to show how a popular configuration of a 21.5 inch 'late 2012' iMac with 2.9GHz Quad-Core i5 CPU and GeForce GT 650M GPU compares to a popular configuration of 'late 2012' Mac mini with 2.6GHz Quad-Core i7 CPU and Intel HD 4000 GPU. It answers the question, "Which is faster?" The answer is, "It depends."

For perspective, we included the 'mid 2012' 15" Retina MacBook Pro with 2.7GHz Quad-Core i7 CPU and GeForce GT 6650M GPU. As you can see it has the CPU power of the Mac mini with the Quad-Core i7 and the GPU power of the iMac with the same GT 650M GPU.

Without a doubt, the high-end 'late 2012' iMacs with Core i7 CPU and GTX 675/680MX GPU will trounce the three Macs featured on this page in all four benchmarks.

Since we provided the links to these four benchmarks, you can run the same tests on your current Mac. If you have a 'later 2012' iMac with a different CPU or GPU, please send us your results so we can add it to the graphs. If you need more info on our test procedure, contact us.

Thoughts? Questions? Contact
Also, you can follow him on
Twitter @barefeats

Help us earn a commission by ordering your Apple products using this link:

OWC has an upgrade kit for the 21.5" iMac. It requires disassembly but they provide the tools and the installation video. They also offer memory upgrade kits for the 27" iMac.

Check with Trans International for memory kits for the 2012 iMac 27" and other Mac models.

MaxUpgrades has memory kits for various models of iMac.

Has Bare Feats helped you? How about helping Bare Feats?

copyright 2012 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"