For just base computing comparison, you may want
to google the comparison between the MBP 2.7 13"
2.7 GHz i7 vs. the 15" 2.0 GHz quad core.
If your focus is on computing power, comparing these
may help. Both have the same processors as the Mini's
in question. There are many tests done with many apps.
The reality is, if the apps you use most often do not
make use of multiple cores, and by nature, never will,
they will perform poorer on the quad core machine.
Photoshop is a prime example, as many of the filters
are not or don't lend themselves to multithreading.
However, video apps like Handbrake, will eat as many
cores as you can throw at it.
Here is a link to GeekBenchs Mac comparisons page. http://www.primatelabs.ca/geekbench/mac-benchmarks/ Additionally, My mid 2009 13" 2.53 core 2 duo scored a more respectable 3590 jupii! I wish xbensh ran on my lions. So I could see the rresult of my SSDs. I agree with the observation on the types of applications being run and the number actually running as shown in the terminal using top for instance. In my case the older mini sits in the back doing all the mundane work while the Macbook can run a remotedesktop and handle the mail and money. Leaving the MaxMini(2.7 2core) for fun. The other thing to rmember with the 2.Ghz quad is it does not have the discrete GPU since along with the quad core the machine is marketed as a server. I am very happy with "the feel" for sure.
Ok, a little confused now, this graph says the mini got a 9573 score on GB. But Hokahay said only 7578, and on the GB site, the mini is giving 9456 for the quad and 7758 for the 2.7. Guess the results are nominally different. Still that quad score is pretty smoking! Really wish that AMD was in there, im needing some GPU power for live webstreaming, and not sure this Intel will cut it...
One perspective on a macmini vs a "complete system" ...
My MacBookPro (I needed a *portable* system, not stationary) has a nice 1680x1050 display (antiglare) and the funky backlit keyboard.
Bu screen replacement is likley in the neighborhood of $1000 (just guessing). And is never upgradeable.
With iMac it is the same ... non-upgradeable display.
MacMini focuses on the core system, and you get to swap display and keyboard at will, and cheaply.
It would be wise for you to go with the mac mini 2.7ghz with the AMD gpu. Thats gonna make everything run smoother. Also keep in mind that Mac OS X is a graphical operating system that requires a great GPU. The HD 3000 is an intergrated video card that uses the systems memory and it will not be a good as the AMD.
Sure the serve has a quad core i7 but with no video card its not a well balanced system.
I bought a mac mini 2.7ghz and I've added both 8gb and a 7200rpm hdd and it scored a solid and strong 8200 on geekbench. If I'm correct the server will score about 1,200 higher but thats with out a dedicated video card.
Also I do a ton of video editing and video converting and this core i7 flies through them. Keep in mind that I'm comparing it to late 2008 macbook with 2.4ghz duo core.
mac mini 2.7ghz would convert a 1.5gb movie file into a different format in about 20 mins. System remains smooth.
macbook 2.4ghz would convert the same file in an hour and 20 minutes and the whole system would bogggg down.
So i say go with the top of the line mac mini and make sure you get the core i7 to get that extra horsepower and you'll be happy with the AMD instead of the hd3000. Trust me !
As another point of reference, I recently purchased a Thunderbolt
display and also the Mini Server quad core i7. Now, my application
is primarily an engineering work station. I use Parallels quite often
running Windows7 Pro. With 2 cores assigned to the virtual machine
and 2 for OSX, I have no system slowdown whatsoever when moving
back and forth between environments. The hardware simulations
that I do in Windows flies while I do CAD work on the Mac side.
There is also no video lag on the Windows side when I am doing
schematic or PCB layout.
I also, use Photoshop on it for processing my photos and sharpening
and and also Neat Image processing is almost instantaneous.
(34-35 meg images)
I have also done some Handbrake conversions of DVD level
video and have had conversion frame rates of 35-40. Settings
were High Profile, Constant Quality of 17.
Also, I have 8 gig of RAM installed which allots 512 meg to the
graphics card. I also, have server functions turned off.
64 bit Geekbench score of 9250.
I had the top of the line iMac and loved it when it worked. I purchased it in June, and from September till now it kept on freezing up and just about every hardware componet in the unit failed. I have had great luck with Macs since 2003, but after they tried to repair it 3 times and 2 logic board later I said no to iMac's for now. I went with the Mac Mini i7 with SSD Drive and hardrive combo, and 8gigs of memory along with the Thunderbolt display. With this combo, I don't notice too much difference for what I am doing which is more with pictures/music and HD video. I will in the future, go back but for now I think Apple needs to look at a better supplier for there logics boards etc..
SSD Failure first time
Memory replacement second time
SSD Drive second time, Logics board etc
Logics board second time around, and then Apple said it couldn't be fixed. Apple gave
me in store credit, so I bought a decked out Mini, wanted the Quad Core i7 but they should allow
a better video card option, so I went with Dual Core and better video card for now, as I was told
it would look better on the Thunderbolt display.
I just replaced my 2007 iMac with a 2.5 GHz i5 mini after the iMac's LCD panel started sporting lovely blue pinstripes. It's a shame to have to dump a perfectly good computer just because it is not cost-effective to replace its display. As to performance, at least the new mini is faster with my software development tools than the older iMac (which wasn't slow), so I've actually gained something on the performance side over what I had.
The bottom line is, if you need more system power than you can get from a mini, then you would need an iMac (be sure to get the extended protection plan). Otherwise, if you don't really need an expensive disposal computer, you might consider a mini if it will perform to your requirements.