November 09, 2012, 3:00 PM — With build-to-order options, the new Mac mini makes a giant leap in performance.
The $799 standard configuration Mac mini comes with a 2.3GHz quad-core Core i7 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 5400-rpm 1TB hard drive. We customized it to include a 2.6GHz quad-core Core i7 processor (a $100 upgrade), 16GB of RAM (another $100), and a 1TB Fusion drive (a $300 upgrade). The BTO Mac mini is $1449, but it adds up to one of the fastest Macs the Macworld Lab has ever tested.
With a Speedmark 8 score of 249, the BTO Mac mini was 52% faster overall than the standard configuration $799 Mac mini. The super-charged mini was faster in our processor-intensive tests: 8% faster in MathematicaMark and 13% faster in Cinebench CPU test.
2012 BTO Mac mini: Speedmark scores
All results are scores. Higher scores are better. Best result in bold. Reference models in italics. Macworld Lab testing by James Galbraith, Albert Filice, Kean Bartelman, and William Wang.
But it was the Fusion Drive that really kicked the BTO Mac mini into overdrive. The standard configuration $799 Mac mini with its 5400-rpm hard drive took more than three times as long to complete our copy file and uncompress file tests as the Fusion Drive did in the BTO Mac mini. The BTO Mac mini's PCMark productivity test score (using VMWare Fusion) was three times higher than the high-end standard configuration's score.