Apple's Sandy Bridge-Based Mac Mini Review
Mac-Only Tests / Benchmarking
To touch on overall system performance
These Geekbench scores say a lot. For $100 less than the other Mac mini listed here (we're talking about launch prices, of course), it nearly doubles the benchmark score. The leap made from the Core 2 Duo to today's Core i5 is monumental in the mini. And the numbers are no fluke; the system feels incredibly snappy in use, takes around 43 seconds to boot and was responsive in everything we did. Loading up Photoshop off of a fresh reboot took around 15 seconds, but that's primarily due to the slow 5400rpm HDD. The CPU, however, is a real powerhouse at this price point and form factor. We have to commend Intel on really making great strides with their Core i line of processors in terms of perf per watt.
XBench, created by Spiny Software, is another widely used, highly respected Mac benchmarking suite that touches on nearly every aspect of performance.
It's a similar tale with the XBench scores. The 2011 Mac mini, even the Core i5 base model we had here, handily trumps past Mac systems based on Core 2 Duo chips... that HDD test notwithstanding. The results aren't quite as impressive as with Geekbench, but the deltas are still notable. It's important to remember that this is Apple's entry-level Mac desktop, yet it's still outpacing the high-end Macs that were out at this time last year.