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Teaman

Mac Mini i5 vs i7

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I use a Mac Mini 1.83Ghz core duo for my entertainment system. I connect it to my HDTV and use EyeTV to record broadcast TV shows on it and store them till I play them back on the TV. More and more lately I notice that the audio and video are out of sync at full screen playback. If I reduce the playback screen from full to 2/3 or 1/2 size it gets better and even fine again. I believe it's trying to play full screen HD that the mini can't handle. I'm planning to upgrade to the new Mac Mini. The question is, should I get the i5 or is it worth it to pay the 200 for the i7?

 

Can the i5 handle 1080p HDTV recordings being played back at full screen and not miss a beat with audio and video sync? It is probably way better than my current core duo processor. But I want the solution to work with no hickups.

 

Your advice and/or references to relevant benchmarks would be appreciated. I don't do gaming with it, just video record and playback in full HDTV 1080p.

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the issue for video playback is the GPU not the CPU. the proof of this what happens when you "lower" the size of the video frame.

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My understanding is that the Mac Minis don't have a separate GPU but use the CPU. If true then I'm back to my question. Is the I5 adequate or do I need all the power of the I7?

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the i7 is not going to be more "powerful" in the video playback department. both the i5 and the i7 use the same Intel HD Graphics 4000 GPU. also, when you compare the two CPUs keep in mind that the RAW clock speed is nearly the same:: 2.5 vs 2.3. there really isn't that much difference. except in RAW computing tasks like ray tracing, video rendering or large file data processing. the QUAD core i7 will be N much faster but even that totally depends on the program.

 

Apple really isn't doing an awesome job in this department. I would seek a Windows solution where you have a choice of GPU.

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Is your EyeTV HD capable?

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Johnfoster, my understanding is that while the two Mac Mini models (i5 vs i7) both use the same graphics card the specs I see posted give their respective peformance in graphics different... not by alot but some.

 

Huskermn, yes the EyeTV is HD capable up to full 1080p.

 

I've been researching this topic and from what I can tell, for 2D graphics (video play of movies, even HD) both Mac Mini models are supposedly very adequate. This in particular I'd like to get confirmation from real world tests or reports by users who have both the 2012 Mac Mini and EyeTV playing 1080p HD content.

 

Where they say the Mini chokes somewhat is on 3D graphics support for video games that are trying to render frames of 3D content. Since I don't play those games nor would I ever on this machine dedicated to the HDTV, I'm not bothered by that.

 

Some have suggested I go with a Windows hardware solution but I'm an all-Mac household and like to keep things tightly integrated and networked without issues with compatibility.

 

If anyone can comment on any of this let me know.

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