David Smith’s interesting breakdown of, effectively, cost per GeekBench point in the current Mac lineup. (Via Shawn Blanc.)
Remember the usual disclaimers that GeekBench is a synthetic benchmark, and just one benchmark, and it doesn’t reflect overall real-world performance or applicability to your needs. This also does not keep other important performance factors constant, like RAM quantity and the presence of an SSD.
A few notes:
- The new Mac Mini is indeed a very good value for CPU power, but it and the Mac Pro are the only computers in this comparison that don’t have “free” high-quality screens built in. Add the cost of a good monitor, and the Mac Mini scores much closer to the iMac.
- The MacBook Air looks like a bad value, but remember that they all come with SSDs. If you configure the Mini with an SSD (the 2.5 GHz with 256 GB is the cheapest available), its cost per point rises from 10.9 to 19.1 cents, and it still doesn’t have a screen.
- My 2008 Mac Pro scores an 11,190 by his method (and, at the time, cost about 30 cents per point). Achieving this approximate CPU power in a laptop took almost exactly three years after its release.
- Since a Mac Pro update to a major new CPU family is probably imminent, I wouldn’t draw any conclusions about its value at this time. Its CPU power after the update almost certainly won’t be as cheap as the Mini, but it could be significantly improved.