Friday, September 30, 2011

Which MacBook Air and Mac mini 2011 to choose?

MacBook Air and Mac mini Mac are two very different, but the lines pose the same problem: four machine on one side, three on the other configuration options with a shovel ... was soon to hesitate between two models, even after they scanned sheet in detail, even after reading tests MacGeneration. Here are some items to help you choose. 

mac-mini or mini-mac- We have not been particularly kind to the Mac mini 2011, and for good reason: the price drop seems too shy, so that these machines have become less versatile at the same time they have lost their SuperDrive. However, this new version is far from bad: the Mac mini line 2011 has been reinvigorated by the Intel Core i. 

Mac mini Dual Core 2.3 GHz Core i5 (599 €) This "small" Mac mini, offered € 599, is logically the least powerful of the range, with its dual-core processor Core i5 running at 2.3 GHz. But let's be frank: unless you are addicted to your Full HD camcorder - the video is resource greedy and hate the slow hard drive Mac mini - this model is more than enough for basic tasks (office, surfing, media consumption, etc. .) and a little more advanced (processing and photo editing, a little game here or there, etc.).. This machine is quiet, pleasant to use and energy efficient: it is a nice little workstation.
Mac mini 2011 Like all other Mac mini, the entry-level model has no SuperDrive - but there is room to put the connector and a second disc instead. The Mac mini 2.3 GHz dual-core i5, which is less expensive to buy without being much less powerful than other models, seems to be a good investment: not only can change the RAM, but also add a SSD (to compensate for the softness of the disc provided and start having fun with video) or a second hard drive (to increase its storage and so consider using it as a server or media center). 

Mac mini 2011 Mac mini models 2011 have what it takes to host a second disk. You need to find the water suitable (for fifty euros or iFixit Mac PARTS), and spend twenty minutes to get all this with the appropriate guide. Image CC BY-NC-SA iFixit. 

By adding a good SSD 256 GB (380 €) and a hard disk from 750 to 7200 RPM (80 €), you get along for 500 to € 550 additional cost (assuming the water SATA), or at least € 210 in less than the equivalent options at Apple. This potential for scalability combined with its purchase cost, relative to its level of performance makes us think that this model is the best price / performance ratio in the range Mac mini 2011. 

Testing the Mac mini mid-2011 Dual-Core 2.3 GHz Core i5 

Mac mini Dual Core 2.5 GHz Core i5 (799 €) However, if you happen to play from time to time, or make movies with more than a 4 iPhone, the Mac mini Core i5 Dual Core 2.5 GHz, offered € 799, may be more suitable . These extra € 200 you just buy a more powerful processor, 2 GB of RAM and a dedicated graphics card, the Radeon HD 6630M. Cheap? Not sure. Effective? Certainly.  Mac mini Staffing extra RAM allows OS X Lion breathing, but the Mac mini Entry-level should have 4 GB of RAM. The graphics card, it is about two times faster than the Intel HD 3000 Graphics. It's a mid-range card of course (485 MHz, 480 shaders), but it is sufficient to run Starcraft II at 35 FPS 1280x800px with high graphical settings.
Both Mac mini models are very similar, with performance very similar in daily tasks. The price / performance of Mac mini 2.5 GHz Dual-Core i5 is worse, but he stands aside so graphics. 

Testing the Mac mini mid-2011 Dual-Core 2.5 GHz Core i5 

Mac mini Server Core i7 Quad 2 GHz (999 €) Available at € 999, the Mac mini Server is a machine somewhat apart in the range. It does not come with OS X Leo, but Leo OS X Server. It does not come with a disc, but two (7200 RPM and a little less disastrous than 5400 RPM the other models). Finally, it is not equipped with a dual-core processor, but quad-core processor. This machine was designed by Apple as a small home server, or SME, to put next to the ADSL box. 

Mac mini But we can use it as a workstation with OS X Server ... or without (read: Step-by-step: uninstall Lion Server). In this case, the Mac mini Server itself as a small headless iMac, with the advantage to easily change the hard drives, and especially to choose his - or her - screens. The addition of a port Thunderbolt can even consider connecting to RAID or even have access to Fiber Channel devices - here it is, perhaps, the mini-awaited Mac Pro. Performance should be similar to the MacBook Pro 15 "Core i7 Quad 2 GHz (read: Testing the MacBook Pro 15" 2 GHz Core i7 "Thunderbolt"). 

Which Mac mini to choose? As usual, you need only have the choice, and we only run the tracks. Both models of Mac mini, the entry level seems most interesting: it is cheaper, as evolutionary and not necessarily less efficient than the model above. In both cases, we speak of a machine enough for most daily tasks, but inevitably suffer more than an iMac face images or videos very heavy. 

The Mac mini Server, we have not tested, is a machine a bit special. Provided you have a little imagination, it can become a nice workstation, recalling the Cube in the mind. Its eight logical cores will face without too many problems of content a bit more demanding.

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