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Mac mini catches up to 2010 Mac Pro in benchmark tests

updated 11:28 am EDT, Thu October 25, 2012

Data center highlights new features

The new Mac mini has reportedly reached performance levels comparable to the previous-generation Xserve and Mac Pro desktops released in 2010, according to benchmark tests posted by colocation service provider Macminicolo. The overall design has not substantially changed since the last Minis were introduced in 2011, however the combination of additional RAM and Intel's Ivy Bridge processors brings a significant boost in performance.

Performance on the base-model 2011 Mac mini, which offered only 2GB of RAM, was said to be "brutal with Mountain Lion," however the new models start at 4GB of 1600MHz RAM and can be built with up to 16GB of RAM directly from the factory.

The Fusion Drive, which pairs a traditional disk drive with an SSD, is expected to provide an attractive balance between speed and capacity. The Server variant has dropped to slower 5400 RPM drives, though the capacities have been upgraded to 1TB and 2TB.

The basic Mac mini can be purchased for $599, while the quad-core i7 variant brings the price up to $799. The Server edition carries a $999 price tag.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. bobolicious

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 08-15-02

    ...and the graphics limitations...?

  1. saldin

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 02-06-10

    Max RAM on the latest Mac Mini: 16 GB

    Max RAM on the last XServe: 48 GB

    Max RAM on the last Mac Pro: 64 GB

    Server software, especially SQL, require tons of memory. The Mac Mini is still wholly inadequate in this regard.

  1. hayesk

    Professional Poster

    Joined: 09-17-99

    Originally Posted by boboliciousView Post

    ...and the graphics limitations...?



    What about them?

    Originally Posted by saldinView Post

    Max RAM on the latest Mac Mini: 16 GB
    Max RAM on the last XServe: 48 GB
    Max RAM on the last Mac Pro: 64 GB
    Server software, especially SQL, require tons of memory. The Mac Mini is still wholly inadequate in this regard.



    And a lot of people think they need more hardware than they actually do. MySQL doesn't necessarily require tons of memory - it depends on how you design your databases and depends on how many people access the machine at the same time. I do all MySQL development work on a FreeBSD virtual machine with 1GB of RAM. We deploy to a server with hundreds, if not thousands, of concurrent requests on a 4GB machine. This may well be within the capabilities of a Mac mini.

    Mac minis are perfect for small to mid-size workgroups. And they're so cheap you can deploy two for redundancy if you are really concerned about minimal downtime.

  1. blahblahbber

    Banned

    Joined: 02-01-05

    Originally Posted by hayeskView Post


    What about them?
    And a lot of people think they need more hardware than they actually do. MySQL doesn't necessarily require tons of memory - it depends on how you design your databases and depends on how many people access the machine at the same time. I do all MySQL development work on a FreeBSD virtual machine with 1GB of RAM. We deploy to a server with hundreds, if not thousands, of concurrent requests on a 4GB machine. This may well be within the capabilities of a Mac mini.
    Mac minis are perfect for small to mid-size workgroups. And they're so cheap you can deploy two for redundancy if you are really concerned about minimal downtime.

    Try doing concurrent VNC users, and this machine starts to choke, that is why it's a JOKE.

  1. robot prom

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 05-24-02

    Originally Posted by blahblahbberView Post

    Try doing concurrent VNC users, and this machine starts to choke, that is why it's a JOKE.



    no, that's why there's enterprise hardware. You're trying to do enterprise level work on a glorified set top box, and then get upset when it doesn't work? It's the same reason why the Mini is fine as a home server with 3-4 clients, but chokes when you have 10 or 15.

  1. RoboBobo

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 11-21-11

    As a 10 year dba, I can tell you that mySQL absolutely does not require a lot of memory.

    2 things - install an SSD drive, and tune your queries.

    I haven't had a database with performance problems in years - while other DBA's are still having them, because they don't understand how databases work.

  1. Volker Hett

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 10-25-12

    Why would one want to run VNC and with several concurrent users? There are other options, especially when we're talking high workloads like, say, virtual desktop infrastructure.

    And to heavy database use, I still maintain an Informix 7 on SCO OpenServer 5.04 which got it's last hardware update in 1998, an order management system with some 100 users and several 1000 transactions a day formerly on a Gateway 650MHz Pentium III with 512MB RAM and now in VMware 4 with the same specs.
    For my server needs I want onsite service with an 8 hour reaction time. Not bring in and wait two weeks like apple offers.
    For my development workstation needs the Mac Mini is great, quiet, energy saving and fast enough for most things I throw at it. Like concurrent Windows XP, 7, Server 2k8r2 and CentOS in VMware Fusion.

  1. blahblahbber

    Banned

    Joined: 02-01-05

    Originally Posted by robot promView Post


    no, that's why there's enterprise hardware. You're trying to do enterprise level work on a glorified set top box, and then get upset when it doesn't work? It's the same reason why the Mini is fine as a home server with 3-4 clients, but chokes when you have 10 or 15.

    p.s. I never intended the mac mini to fulfill these specific needs.... so, I just wanted to make a point.

  1. blahblahbber

    Banned

    Joined: 02-01-05

    Originally Posted by Volker HettView Post

    Why would one want to run VNC and with several concurrent users? There are other options, especially when we're talking high workloads like, say, virtual desktop infrastructure.
    And to heavy database use, I still maintain an Informix 7 on SCO OpenServer 5.04 which got it's last hardware update in 1998, an order management system with some 100 users and several 1000 transactions a day formerly on a Gateway 650MHz Pentium III with 512MB RAM and now in VMware 4 with the same specs.
    For my server needs I want onsite service with an 8 hour reaction time. Not bring in and wait two weeks like apple offers.
    For my development workstation needs the Mac Mini is great, quiet, energy saving and fast enough for most things I throw at it. Like concurrent Windows XP, 7, Server 2k8r2 and CentOS in VMware Fusion.

    yes, fast enough with an SSD installed.

  1. Arne_Saknussemm

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 04-05-11

    SO it's official then,
    this article by MacNN confirms it,
    the Mac Pro IS dead.

    Apple has finally and officially abandoned it's professional users.

    BIG Mistake...

    These are the core of Mac fans that supported and believed in Apple on it's worst days,
    now they will not have any practical reason to keep up with Apple's artificially limited, overpriced and underpowered hardware.

  1. besson3c

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 03-03-01

    Originally Posted by blahblahbberView Post


    Try doing concurrent VNC users, and this machine starts to choke, that is why it's a JOKE.


    Why would you want to?

  1. besson3c

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 03-03-01

    I think the term "server" has gotten really confusing to me.

    The most common understanding probably used to be some sort of big mainframe, and this became some sort of rackable enclosure you'd find in a machine room, and now it seems to be essentially anything that "serves" more than one user, or something?

    I don't mean to quibble over the word, I don't really care that much about its definition, but my thinking is that there is absolutely nothing special about the Mac Mini aside from its low power consumption and small size (if either is important to you). Any other Mac in the product line can be interchanged with the Mini and do just as well, if not better in terms of performance and "serving". I'm sure there are 1U enclosures for racking a Mini, but given the target audience here I'm assuming that most people interested in this model of Mini just setup the machine wherever.

    "Server", "Workstation", whatever you want to call this class of machine, I think there isn't much future for these sorts of machines that need to serve stuff on any platform given the popularity of running this stuff in the cloud. Apple could virtually make the complaints about the lack of a server go away overnight if they'd allow Amazon/Rackspace/Linode/etc. to host OS X Server VMs like they do Windows Server VMs, couldn't they? Even for these people that need to run something like Final Cut Server, what would the costs be of a faster internet connection and the monthly costs of paying for this VM be compared to running a server in house and having to pay for its hardware upkeep, support contracts, IT staffing, etc.? Not only this, but small businesses that can't afford a SAN or a bunch of SSDs and need fast I/O would get faster I/O and performance configurable to their needs.

    It seems like a far better long-term strategy for Apple to go the cloud route, only they seem to disagree with me since I don't understand what is stopping Apple to write the paravirt drivers, kernel modifications, and establish some sort of license agreement perhaps similar to Microsoft's to set this in motion?

  1. blahblahbber

    Banned

    Joined: 02-01-05

    Originally Posted by Arne_SaknussemmView Post

    SO it's official then,
    this article by MacNN confirms it,
    the Mac Pro IS dead.
    Apple has finally and officially abandoned it's professional users.
    BIG Mistake...
    These are the core of Mac fans that supported and believed in Apple on it's worst days,
    now they will not have any practical reason to keep up with Apple's artificially limited, overpriced and underpowered hardware.

    2years now, and ongoing...

  1. blahblahbber

    Banned

    Joined: 02-01-05

    Originally Posted by besson3cView Post


    Why would you want to?

    Example, I have clients that prefer to travel light, especially in areas you don't want to be seen with an expensive laptop during their business trip, and would rather carry a USB key, one that is strongly attached to their keychain which allows them to use a PC in a business center in a hotel or someone else's machine to connect remotely and have access to their complete setup back in their safe place they call home or and office.

    They can now conduct business where ever there is a mac or pc, in the world with a key using a VNC client that hides in your pocket and only requires the internet while having the complete suite of tools and full capabilities of the OS right at their finger tips.

  1. besson3c

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 03-03-01

    Originally Posted by blahblahbberView Post


    Example, I have clients that prefer to travel light, especially in areas you don't want to be seen with an expensive laptop during their business trip, and would rather carry a USB key, one that is strongly attached to their keychain which allows them to use a PC in a business center in a hotel or someone else's machine to connect remotely and have access to their complete setup back in their safe place they call home or and office.
    They can now conduct business where ever there is a mac or pc, in the world with a key using a VNC client that hides in your pocket and only requires the internet while having the complete suite of tools and full capabilities of the OS right at their finger tips.


    But since when did OS X Server support Terminal Services? This only works when it is okay when you don't need multiple users controlling the server simultaneously, and you can make do with the latency of VNC.

    In other words, it's pretty useless.

  1. blahblahbber

    Banned

    Joined: 02-01-05

    Originally Posted by besson3cView Post

    [QUOTE name="blahblahbber" url="/t/493994/mac-mini-catches-up-to-2010-mac-pro-in-benchmark-tests#post_4198388"]
    Example, I have clients that prefer to travel light, especially in areas you don't want to be seen with an expensive laptop during their business trip, and would rather carry a USB key, one that is strongly attached to their keychain which allows them to use a PC in a business center in a hotel or someone else's machine to connect remotely and have access to their complete setup back in their safe place they call home or and office.

    They can now conduct business where ever there is a mac or pc, in the world with a key using a VNC client that hides in your pocket and only requires the internet while having the complete suite of tools and full capabilities of the OS right at their finger tips.



    But since when did OS X Server support Terminal Services? This only works when it is okay when you don't need multiple users controlling the server simultaneously, and you can make do with the latency of VNC.

    In other words, it's pretty useless.
    [/quote]I don't expect the average tech to tune things the way I do to minimize latency issues, which is why I consider it my forte.... so yeah, it's not useless... and in fact, all I hear is that it pays off in the first sitting for them. So it is pretty useful. You will need to setup third party VNC services to get CUSTOMIZED terminal services of course.

  1. besson3c

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 03-03-01

    Originally Posted by blahblahbberView Post


    I don't expect the average tech to tune things the way I do to minimize latency issues, which is why I consider it my forte.... so yeah, it's not useless... and in fact, all I hear is that it pays off in the first sitting for them. So it is pretty useful. You will need to setup third party VNC services to get CUSTOMIZED terminal services of course.


    Whatever. Remote VNC is a pretty painful experience latency or no latency. I'd rather have my iPhone with me than some sort of VNC solution to a remote Mac, even if a terminal services type solution did exist (which it may very well).

  1. blahblahbber

    Banned

    Joined: 02-01-05

    Originally Posted by besson3cView Post


    Whatever. Remote VNC is a pretty painful experience latency or no latency. I'd rather have my iPhone with me than some sort of VNC solution to a remote Mac, even if a terminal services type solution did exist (which it may very well).

    try working with big files, and make that part of your business.... then contact me... I will give you a discount ;)

  1. besson3c

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 03-03-01

    Originally Posted by blahblahbberView Post


    try working with big files, and make that part of your business.... then contact me... I will give you a discount ;)


    How is file size relevant?

  1. blahblahbber

    Banned

    Joined: 02-01-05

    Originally Posted by besson3cView Post


    How is file size relevant?

    For example, one famous client of mine uses 20GB video file sizes.... drops it in an FTP folder for his customer's and/or collaborators from an external RAID1... all done remotely if needed, which is essential since in his line of business, traveling is required.

  1. besson3c

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 03-03-01

    Originally Posted by blahblahbberView Post


    For example, one famous client of mine uses 20GB video file sizes.... drops it in an FTP folder for his customer's and/or collaborators from an external RAID1... all done remotely if needed, which is essential since in his line of business, traveling is required.


    So you use your VNC connection to work on this video file remotely? Do you have ridiculous upload bandwidth with your home internet connection to support scrubbing through this video without it yakking like crazy?

    Wouldn't saving the file to some sort of cloud based disk be a better solution? Something like WingFS will allow you to mount an Amazon S3 bucket using FUSE:

    http://www.archiware.com/techblog/?cat=16

  1. blahblahbber

    Banned

    Joined: 02-01-05

    Originally Posted by besson3cView Post


    So you use your VNC connection to work on this video file remotely? Do you have ridiculous upload bandwidth with your home internet connection to support scrubbing through this video without it yakking like crazy?

    Wouldn't saving the file to some sort of cloud based disk be a better solution? Something like WingFS will allow you to mount an Amazon S3 bucket using FUSE:

    http://www.archiware.com/techblog/?cat=16

    Would this make sense if you have 750GB of space you call archival storage into the cloud?? I will look into this, but I had implemented this way before I had practical options.

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