In the past Aperture has been higly dependent of strong graphics support. E.g. the very strongest G5 tower failed on Aperture unless a top GPU card was retrofitted.
I suggest looking to graphics tests at
for a general idea of how different setups perform with demanding graphics.
...more (The forum as is common just trashed a few paragraphs of writing that I decline to rewrite).
In summary, graphics are limiting to graphics processing so IMO we should buy strong discrete graphics boxes for heavy graphics apps because the OS, apps and camera file sizes are getting more demanding not less demanding of graphics support.
Personally I consider mobility essential and Aperture still fails to synch a laptop/desktop workflow, so I got rid of my MP/MBP setup for a strongest-graphics MBP.
CPU-only test results are at
but note that all 2012 cpus are strong. The Geekbench results linked do not measure application performance; graphics and RAM are what tend to be most limiting, not cpu.
From the BareFeats site previously linked to:
The 'late 2012' Mac mini Quad-Core i7 is strong on CPU crunching but weak on graphics intensive tasks."
Yeah, that's the conclusion I was coming to. But then, there are graphics and there are graphics! Apple puts a wide variety of NVidia GeForce GT chips in different machines, from the 640M with 512MB in the bare-bones iMac 21.5" to the 680MX with 2GB in the 27" iMac (CTO)...
Since I don't game, and I don't edit video, the most graphic-intensive app I have is Aperture.
I guess I'm leaning toward the 15" Retina MBP. I'd thought that I could get by with an iMac (or Mini), keeping my olde MBP for the few times I need to travel with a laptop, but with it limited to Lion, I'm wondering how many more Aperture product cycles it has left before it gets left behind, as the OS already has done.
(Then I'll be waiting for the Thunderbolt Display II, with USB3 and 5mm thin edges... ;-)
A modern MBP with best-available-at-the-time MBP graphics and an SSD makes a great desktop replacement (DTR) box for Aperture. Mine is a 2011 17" MBP and Aperture rocks. Yours will have better graphics, but mine has the optical drive slot in which to add a HDD. Just be sure to get the SSD as your boot drive; HDDs for boot are defunct technology.
The other thing to do is get 16 GB RAM in your MBP one way or another. My MBP with 8 GB RAM pages out with an Aperture/Photoshop workflow. However the SSD does greatly ameliorate the negative impact of page outs.
Check with OWC:
but I believe that rMBPs do not allow third-party RAM.