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2012 Base Model or 2011 w/ 6630M?
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For use including RAW editing and light/med. gaming, which mini?
2012 base model
77%
 77%  [ 7 ]
2011 w/ 6630M
22%
 22%  [ 2 ]
Total Votes : 9

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Griffon
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:01 am    Post subject: 2012 Base Model or 2011 w/ 6630M? Reply with quote

Hello,

I checked a few existing threads but there seems to be differing opinions, so I registered to also explain my situation and ask for advice.

I'm a 2010 base model iMac user, and I would like to switch to a newer computer without an integrated display. I'm happy with Macs, so a Mac mini seems to be the natural choice.

The Mac mini will be my "main computer", where I will do daily web surfing, communicating with friends, streaming lossless music to a USB DAC with iTunes/Bitperfect, editing RAW photos with Aperture (I'm not a pro photographer, though) and occasionally play a few games like Trine 2, Diablo 3, maybe Starcraft 2 and, importantly, the upcoming Simcity.

That said, sometimes I don't play any games for weeks or even a month, so gaming will not be the "main factor" in my choice. I just want a zippy little computer for general use. I'll have the hard drive replaced with an SSD. Still, I would really like to be able to play the new Simcity at 1920x1080.

For storage I have a 2 TB FW 800 external disc, and plan to switch to a NAS in the near future.

The 2011 6630M model, second-hand, will cost about 60 $ more than the new 2012 base model. And it's difficult to find the second hand w/6630 here in Turkey. Or I could wait for a "stock clearance", where it would probably be about 160-170 $ (including tax) more expensive than the 2012 base.

What do you think should I do? Thanks in advance for your advice!
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marv777
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:08 pm    Post subject: Re: 2012 Base Model or 2011 w/ 6630M? Reply with quote

Griffon wrote:
Hello,

I checked a few existing threads but there seems to be differing opinions, so I registered to also explain my situation and ask for advice.

I'm a 2010 base model iMac user, and I would like to switch to a newer computer without an integrated display. I'm happy with Macs, so a Mac mini seems to be the natural choice.

The Mac mini will be my "main computer", where I will do daily web surfing, communicating with friends, streaming lossless music to a USB DAC with iTunes/Bitperfect, editing RAW photos with Aperture (I'm not a pro photographer, though) and occasionally play a few games like Trine 2, Diablo 3, maybe Starcraft 2 and, importantly, the upcoming Simcity.

That said, sometimes I don't play any games for weeks or even a month, so gaming will not be the "main factor" in my choice. I just want a zippy little computer for general use. I'll have the hard drive replaced with an SSD. Still, I would really like to be able to play the new Simcity at 1920x1080.

For storage I have a 2 TB FW 800 external disc, and plan to switch to a NAS in the near future.

The 2011 6630M model, second-hand, will cost about 60 $ more than the new 2012 base model. And it's difficult to find the second hand w/6630 here in Turkey. Or I could wait for a "stock clearance", where it would probably be about 160-170 $ (including tax) more expensive than the 2012 base.

What do you think should I do? Thanks in advance for your advice!
First of all welcome to this site.They are both excellent models and it depends on your financial situation.
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Griffon
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello marv777,

Thank you for the input and the welcome. A friend who had a Mac mini suggested this site to me, and I see it has a lot of valuable information.

Silence is also important for me. When I had a PC I spent a lot of time (and money) making it as quiet as possible, and the iMac was reasonably quiet too. The 2012 model seems to be even more quiet than the 2011 w/ 6630M, thanks to a redesigned fan and less heat output.

Did anyone here play Diablo III with the 2011 model w/ 6630M? Do you think it would hold out at low details + 1920x1080?

Edit: I'm basically trying to find out if the 2012 base model would be enough for basic 3-D gaming like the new Simcity, Portal series, maybe Trine 2 etc. I'm not going to run Battlefield 3 at Ultra settings on it. Smile If it's enough I would not have to bother trying to find a used 2011 model with the dedicated GPU.
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marv777
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:31 pm    Post subject: Mac Mini Reply with quote

Griffon wrote:
Hello marv777,

Thank you for the input and the welcome. A friend who had a Mac mini suggested this site to me, and I see it has a lot of valuable information.

Silence is also important for me. When I had a PC I spent a lot of time (and money) making it as quiet as possible, and the iMac was reasonably quiet too. The 2012 model seems to be even more quiet than the 2011 w/ 6630M, thanks to a redesigned fan and less heat output.

Did anyone here play Diablo III with the 2011 model w/ 6630M? Do you think it would hold out at low details + 1920x1080?

Edit: I'm basically trying to find out if the 2012 base model would be enough for basic 3-D gaming like the new Simcity, Portal series, maybe Trine 2 etc. I'm not going to run Battlefield 3 at Ultra settings on it. Smile If it's enough I would not have to bother trying to find a used 2011 model with the dedicated GPU.
Truthfully speaking I am not a gamer really. I read and watch political shows and listen to music and the radio on the MM 2011 model i have and do some creative writings.These members have a lot of knowledge here and can help you out.
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Griffon
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 3:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello,

Thanks for the reply. I've searched a bit more and while the 6630M model will certainly be better in games, I don't think it will be worth it (given I don't play games so often and I will have to pay more than the 2012 base model) especially considering it will be a 2nd hand computer, the warranty will be shorter and it will run hotter & noisier.

I'm still open to further advice, though. Smile I'm specifically wondering how worse (if at all) the HD4000 will be compared to the 4670M I have in my 2010 iMac..
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marv777
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:22 pm    Post subject: Mac Mini Reply with quote

Griffon wrote:
Hello,

Thanks for the reply. I've searched a bit more and while the 6630M model will certainly be better in games, I don't think it will be worth it (given I don't play games so often and I will have to pay more than the 2012 base model) especially considering it will be a 2nd hand computer, the warranty will be shorter and it will run hotter & noisier.

I'm still open to further advice, though. Smile I'm specifically wondering how worse (if at all) the HD4000 will be compared to the 4670M I have in my 2010 iMac..
Are these numbers you post graphic card numbers? I am not familiar with the number6630M what is it? Thanks
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Smithcraft
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's the ATi Mobile Graphics chip used in the prior generation of Macs.

Otherwise, if gaming is important then I'd go with the 2011 mini with the ATi. All too many times I see games that I would rather play on my computer, but I can't because my Intel mini has Intel graphics, and only nVidia or ATi graphics systems are supported. So I would look to see what the system requirements are for the applications you want, and see if they require ATi/nVidia systems or if they can run on Intel graphics.

I finally found the system requirements for SimCity(On the preorder page). Intel Core 2 Duo? Check! OS X 10.6.4? Check! HD Space? 10 GB? Graphics Card - nVidia 9400M or Intel HD3000. The 6630M should be better than either. Broadband Internet? At this point I just lost interest in SimCity. Getting screwed by EA isn't worth it. But there you go. It should work either way with SimCity

SC
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[Desktop] Intel mini - 2.16Ghz 2GB 60GB HDD - Newer miniStack v2 500GB - 10.5.8

[Media System] Intel i5 mini - 2.33Ghz 8GB 500GB HDD - 4 x Hitachi 2TB HDD in a qBOX-SF - 10.7.5 (Thanks Phil!)

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Rends
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One thing you should not forget is that while you get a few more fps using the 6630 in games it only comes with 256MB RAM.
The Intel HD 4000 can use 512/768 MB of Graphic RAM (depending on your overall installed RAM) and more if you run windows on bootcamp.
So stutter because of texture loading is more likely with 256 MB RAM and there are games out there requiring at least 512MB RAM to get them running.

Well both chips arn't capable of running new games at full HD resolution but should be fine running games at 1200x800 or 1368x720 with medium settings with AA off and sometimes shadows low.

Smithcraft, what games can't you run because it's an intel graphic?
Game companies post ATI or nvidia requiring informations because they are the most sold graphic chips. But that doesn't mean that the games doesn't start if you use a intel gpu. All games i tested yet worked with the intel HD 4000 graphic. Will they run smooth? Well that's another question.
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marv777
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:07 pm    Post subject: games Reply with quote

Smithcraft wrote:
It's the ATi Mobile Graphics chip used in the prior generation of Macs.

Otherwise, if gaming is important then I'd go with the 2011 mini with the ATi. All too many times I see games that I would rather play on my computer, but I can't because my Intel mini has Intel graphics, and only nVidia or ATi graphics systems are supported. So I would look to see what the system requirements are for the applications you want, and see if they require ATi/nVidia systems or if they can run on Intel graphics.

I finally found the system requirements for SimCity(On the preorder page). Intel Core 2 Duo? Check! OS X 10.6.4? Check! HD Space? 10 GB? Graphics Card - nVidia 9400M or Intel HD3000. The 6630M should be better than either. Broadband Internet? At this point I just lost interest in SimCity. Getting screwed by EA isn't worth it. But there you go. It should work either way with SimCity

SC
Really curious do you really play these games?
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Griffon
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello again, and sorry for the late reply.

marv777, yes it's the model number of the ATi Radeon chip in the mid-level 2011 Mac minis.

Smithcraft: Thank you for the system requirements of SimCity; I thought they wouldn't have these determined yet. I, too, don't like some of the decisions by EA for the new SimCity but I have too many good memories of the old SimCities to miss the next one.

I guess I really should look up some GPU requirements. But I do see users playing Diablo 3, Starcraft 2 etc. with the 2012 mini (at low settings, of course).

Still, I have a feeling that I will be better off buying a new 2012 mini than chasing a Radeon 2011 model second-hand..

Rends: I think I can do with low settings and 1280x720 resolution. I'm not a "picky" gamer any more, and I do too little gaming to let it determine my purchase.

I've made up my mind now, I'll get the 2012 model. I'm a bit hesitant on going for the quad model since I think the next generation will be quite better GPU-wise (not just for games) and it might be easier to upgrade if I get the cheaper one now, but the quad's power is definitely tempting.

Thanks for the replies!
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Smithcraft
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 3:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm guessing that Apple is gonna stick with the Intel built-in GPUs until something else comes along that they like better. I don't know how their relationships are with nVidia or AMD.

Just a shot, but are you able to shop for refurb minis in Turkey?

SC
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[Desktop] Intel mini - 2.16Ghz 2GB 60GB HDD - Newer miniStack v2 500GB - 10.5.8

[Media System] Intel i5 mini - 2.33Ghz 8GB 500GB HDD - 4 x Hitachi 2TB HDD in a qBOX-SF - 10.7.5 (Thanks Phil!)

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Griffon
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Smithcraft,

I, too, think the next-gen mini's will have only Intel integrated GPU's, but from what I read about them they will be about 30-40% faster than the HD4000. This will make them faster than the 4670M I have in my 2010 iMac, and that's quite enough.

Though truth be told, I think the HD4000 will be enough for me anyway.

No, we cannot purchase refurbs in Turkey. And it's quite difficult to get BTO Macs too; we have to order them at full MSRP (for "normal" Macs some resellers make discounts around 15-20% from time to time) and wait 3-4 weeks for them to arrive.

This weekend there's a sale at a Mac store, including the new minis. I'm not sure if I will jump on one, or hold on to my 2010 iMac and get an iPad (don't have one, want one) or a Sony NEX-6 with that money. Confused If I get the mini I will also need to buy a 256 GB SSD + installation cost at Apple service + IPS monitor + Apple keyboard..
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Smithcraft
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That sucks!

Good luck with whatever direction you go!

SC
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[Desktop] Intel mini - 2.16Ghz 2GB 60GB HDD - Newer miniStack v2 500GB - 10.5.8

[Media System] Intel i5 mini - 2.33Ghz 8GB 500GB HDD - 4 x Hitachi 2TB HDD in a qBOX-SF - 10.7.5 (Thanks Phil!)

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marv777
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 10:26 pm    Post subject: MM 2010 Reply with quote

Griffon wrote:
Hello Smithcraft,

I, too, think the next-gen mini's will have only Intel integrated GPU's, but from what I read about them they will be about 30-40% faster than the HD4000. This will make them faster than the 4670M I have in my 2010 iMac, and that's quite enough.

Though truth be told, I think the HD4000 will be enough for me anyway.

No, we cannot purchase refurbs in Turkey. And it's quite difficult to get BTO Macs too; we have to order them at full MSRP (for "normal" Macs some resellers make discounts around 15-20% from time to time) and wait 3-4 weeks for them to arrive.

This weekend there's a sale at a Mac store, including the new minis. I'm not sure if I will jump on one, or hold on to my 2010 iMac and get an iPad (don't have one, want one) or a Sony NEX-6 with that money. Confused If I get the mini I will also need to buy a 256 GB SSD + installation cost at Apple service + IPS monitor + Apple keyboard..
You can purchase refurbs online at the Apple store .Keep what you have and save the money.
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b0bb
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Griffon wrote:
I'm not sure if I will jump on one, or hold on to my 2010 iMac and get an iPad (don't have one, want one) or a Sony NEX-6 with that money. Confused If I get the mini I will also need to buy a 256 GB SSD + installation cost at Apple service + IPS monitor + Apple keyboard..


The base 2010 iMac runs at 3.06GHz with 4Mb cache, the 2012 Mini runs at 2.5GHz with 3Mb cache, you may find the 2012 Mini slower than your present machine.

The i5 in the 2012 is supposed to be able to get to 3.1GHz if there is enough thermal headroom, this difficult to do consistently due to the Mini's limited cooling capacity and the hot running HD4000 on the same chip, it accounts for 17W of the 34W Thermal Design Power spec for the i5 in the Mini.

The iMac's cooling is far superior and its external GPU is on a separate heatpipe. I suggest considering holding on to the iMac if performance is a consideration and wait and see what the new Haswell architecture has to offer.
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