No doubt you are aware that Apple recently released an updated version of its flagship prosumer desktop iMac as well as an updated Mac Mini too. The new iMacs feature changes both external and internal with increases to the clock speed of its Intel Core Duo 2 processors as well as a switch to the faster Santa Rosa chipset. Yes, that all sounds great but what does it mean in terms of the new iMac's ability to crunch those numbers?
Well, according to Primate Labs' tests on the new 24" iMac, as featured at Apple Insider, it doesn't help a great deal unless you're using one of those math-intensive apps like Photoshop or Aperture. In that case, according to the article: "If you're running memory-intensive applications you'll certainly notice an increase in performance with the new 24-inch iMac. Heck, the fact that the new 24-inch iMac supports 4GB of RAM while the old 24-inch iMac supports 3GB of RAM might be enough to convince you to get one." Good point. More RAM is a good thing.
So what about the new Mac Mini? Changes to the diminutive Mac include a switch to Core Duo 2 processors as well as an increase in clock speed, which should provide some sort of speed bump over previous models. The results, according to Primate Labs, followed that logic. "Moving from the Core Duo to the Core 2 Duo brings modest performance improvements without an increase in clock speed, and moving from 1.83GHz to 2.0GHz brings (unsurprisingly) another modest increase in performance."
What about those of us considering a move from a PowerPC based Mac Mini to one of the new Intel Core Duo 2 ones? They have an answer at the site for that question too. "Of course, if you're moving from a PowerPC (or Core Solo) Mac mini, you'll notice a huge improvement in performance, not only from the improved Core 2 architecture, but also from the addition of an extra processing core," said the tester.
So, if your considering a new iMac, are a frequent user of Photoshop, Aperture or other math-intensive apps and crave speed as I do, a new 24" iMac should perhaps be in your future. Or, if you're like me and still have an older PowerPC Mac Mini around "just in case," it's probably time to retire that Mac in favor of one of its newer siblings.