“We expected the new Intel Mac mini Core Duo to perform well enough in CPU crunch tests (iMovie HD, Cinebench), but we were really more curious about how well it performed in GPU crunch tests (iMaginator, Doom 3, etc.). We included the PPC Mac mini G4/1.42GHz we previously tested as well as an Intel iMac Core Duo 1.83GHz,” rob-ART morgan writes for Bare Feats. “We also configured the Core Duo mini’s memory in two ways (matched and unmatched pairs) to see if there was any great advantage to having matched pairs.”
“The Mac mini performed better than the old PPC mini in the two CPU crunch tests. It would have matched the times of the iMac Core Duo if it was running at the same clock speed,” morgan writes. “In the Core Image test, it bested the old mini but lost to the iMac Core Duo due to the general weakness of the GMA950 graphics processor. In two of the 3D Game tests, it actually lost to the PPC mini. I’ve read reports of how well the GMA950 handles HD playback, but that’s doesn’t make up for poor performance on other graphically intensive functions… In my humble opinion, the Mac mini is a poor investment unless you have a display, keyboard, and mouse you can’t part with. You may pay more for the iMac Core Duo 1.83, but you get a lot more.”
Full article with benchmarks here.
MacDailyNews Take: Obviously, the Mac mini is not designed to be a gaming machine. It’s for music, photos, movies, a little iLife, some web surfing, a dash of basic personal computing, and to entice Windows-only switchers/adders to try out a Mac. To recommend an iMac over a Mac mini based on 3D game performance ignores the different target markets, form factors, price points, and likely uses for each model.
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PC Magazine review gives Apple Mac mini 4 out of 5 stars – March 08, 2006
Chicago Tribune: Apple’s new Intel-based Mac mini might make you switch from Windows – March 07, 2006
Mac mini 6-button remote, Front Row typify Apple’s ‘sophisticated simplicity’ strategy – March 06, 2006
Reader report: 1080p 24fps playback on Mac mini Core Duo plays fine – March 03, 2006
Apple Mac mini’s Intel GMA950 Integrated Graphics Core reviewed – March 01, 2006
Apple’s new Mac mini a HDTV media center in disguise? – March 01, 2006
Apple’s new Mac mini: perfect for HDTV – March 01, 2006
Analyst: Apple’s new Mac mini ‘a good first step into the living room’ – February 28, 2006
Apple introduces new Intel-based Mac mini – February 28, 2006