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Old Feb 4, 2013, 12:03 AM   #1
warvanov
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Looking at a couple of Mac mini upgrade options and needing opinions

I'm thinking about buying a newer Mac mini to replace my ancient first generation Mac mini G4. I use the machine primarily as a file server, storing lots of media files and movies that I watch on my Xbox as well as hosting a Time Machine backup for my primary computer, a 2011 MBP. As you can imagine, the G4 is showing it's age, and I've reached the limit of what I can do to upgrade it. I'd like to get something that can run a more current OS and newer software. (For instance, I'd like to be able to instal and run a Plex server that I can access with my MBP and iPhone when I'm away from home but I can't with the G4.)

I'm currently considering two options, and I'd like some opinions about them.

Option 1: My buddy has a somewhat newer Mid-2007 revision Mac mini Intel that I could buy from him for about $200. Basic specs:
1.83 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
1GB RAM (~$60 to upgrade to 4GB)
80GB HD (I would probably swap in the 350GB HD from my MBP)

Option 2: The Apple store had a July 2011 revision unibody Mac mini refurbished on sale the other day for $469. (It's gone now, but I imagine it will be back.) Basic specs:
2.3 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
2GB RAM
500GB HD

The benefits to the newer machine are obvious, but for twice the price it's more machine than I need for my current purposes. The main benefit is that I'll have a significantly newer machine that will hopefully last quite a lot longer, plus the benefit of buying something "new" under warranty.

The benefit of the older machine is that it's cheaper and could do everything I want it to do right now. (Upgrade to Lion, run Plex, do everything my current machine does now.) However, it's limited to Lion and it's still a four or five year old computer with no warranty and probably a more limited lifespan.

What would you do, or is there anything else I should consider?
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Last edited by warvanov; Feb 4, 2013 at 12:23 AM.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 01:37 AM   #2
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If we were talking more like $100 for that 2,1 mac mini, you might have a decent deal. As it is, this sounds like a case of newer is better.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 07:40 AM   #3
FreakinEurekan
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I agree with @Omnius, the 2007 model is too expensive at $200. I sold that same model just a couple months ago, already upgraded to 4GB, for $100.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 09:11 AM   #4
Fishrrman
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Newer is better.

Hold out for an Apple refurb, when one you like comes up for sale...
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 06:37 PM   #5
GeoffWillis
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Best Buy open box

Just picked up an "Open box" 2012 mini from best buy (2.3 GHZ I7 with 1TB drive and 4GB RAM) for $400. Good deals can be found!
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 07:37 PM   #6
Omnius
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Originally Posted by GeoffWillis View Post
Just picked up an "Open box" 2012 mini from best buy (2.3 GHZ I7 with 1TB drive and 4GB RAM) for $400. Good deals can be found!
That's flat out the best deal I've heard of. Nice job.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 07:42 PM   #7
lunaoso
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I just bought the same config option 1 at a flea market for 60 bucks. 200 is way too much for that.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 07:59 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by GeoffWillis View Post
Just picked up an "Open box" 2012 mini from best buy (2.3 GHZ I7 with 1TB drive and 4GB RAM) for $400. Good deals can be found!
is that the price they offered you or did you have to haggle with them? when you buy an open box item there do they let you examine before you buy, such as open bottom to verify ram is still there?

Last edited by foofan; Feb 4, 2013 at 08:09 PM.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 08:00 PM   #9
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I'd go with the refurb. You would be maxing out the old one to suit your needs, whereas the 2011 model could be upgraded down the road to extend the life further (up to 16GB RAM, multiple internal drives). I'd also agree $200 is pretty steep for an 07 model. You can check out the recycling programs that buy back old computers to check a reasonable price for used ones.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 08:11 PM   #10
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Post I will.....

go with option 2. Lots of storage, that can be upgraded to more bigger HDD, worth because you are mentioning you use the computer as file server/backup. Obviusly: In warranty, newer software and OS available and so on. Only thing to check is full compatibility with your other hardware (game console and so on). When I say compatibility, I say things must work as you wish with the newer machine

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Old Feb 4, 2013, 08:41 PM   #11
warvanov
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The $200 price is what I came up with based on what it looked like similar models were selling for on ebay. My friend wasn't set on a price and would defer to my judgement, so I may be able to get it for around $100.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 10:46 PM   #12
philipma1957
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The $200 price is what I came up with based on what it looked like similar models were selling for on ebay. My friend wasn't set on a price and would defer to my judgement, so I may be able to get it for around $100.
i get short funds i was there when I was in the navy.

the machine is too old.


you also want to run lion which is not the machines strength.


snow is much better for that machine.

try and find a 2009 with a 2.0 or a 2.26 in it.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 10:53 PM   #13
Omnius
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i get short funds i was there when I was in the navy.

the machine is too old.


you also want to run lion which is not the machines strength.


snow is much better for that machine.

try and find a 2009 with a 2.0 or a 2.26 in it.
He could also look for a late 2009 with a 2.53. That model seems to have sold a lot and various people have reported them as showing up on craigslist for reasonable prices. He definitely has some options but it's just inadvisable to spend more than 100 on the 2007 unless it has been pretty heavily upgraded.
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Old Feb 5, 2013, 01:30 AM   #14
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He could also look for a late 2009 with a 2.53. That model seems to have sold a lot and various people have reported them as showing up on craigslist for reasonable prices. He definitely has some options but it's just inadvisable to spend more than 100 on the 2007 unless it has been pretty heavily upgraded.
It hasn't been upgraded at all. At this point I'm thinking of offering $100 as more of a hobby machine.
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Old Feb 5, 2013, 09:13 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by FreakinEurekan View Post
I agree with @Omnius, the 2007 model is too expensive at $200. I sold that same model just a couple months ago, already upgraded to 4GB, for $100.
I just sold (Friday) that model with 2GB RAM for $200 on ebay. It was listed for about 30 mins before someone took the 'buy it now price'...
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Old Feb 5, 2013, 09:29 AM   #16
Omnius
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It hasn't been upgraded at all. At this point I'm thinking of offering $100 as more of a hobby machine.
They're very fun to work with. However, there is really only so much you can do before case modding is necessary.

Max ram at 4gb(3.1 addressable)
Put in a big SSD
upgrade CPU to 2.3ghz

After that it's time to mod the case.
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Old Feb 5, 2013, 09:50 AM   #17
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They're very fun to work with. However, there is really only so much you can do before case modding is necessary.

Max ram at 4gb(3.1 addressable)
Put in a big SSD
upgrade CPU to 2.3ghz

After that it's time to mod the case.
I have to agree.
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Old Feb 5, 2013, 10:35 AM   #18
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I just sold (Friday) that model with 2GB RAM for $200 on ebay. It was listed for about 30 mins before someone took the 'buy it now price'...
PT Barnum was right
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Old Feb 5, 2013, 11:08 AM   #19
philipma1957
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PT Barnum was right
it is a good machine for itunes you can load a lot of cd's into it.
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Old Feb 5, 2013, 05:16 PM   #20
FreakinEurekan
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it is a good machine for itunes you can load a lot of cd's into it.
Agreed, it's a good machine. Mine lasted me 5 years and it's nowhere near worn out. However if you're going to spend $200 on it you can get a much higher horsepower model, easier to upgrade RAM, no need to pay extra for Lion/ML, for not a lot more.

People do pay a ton for used Mac stuff though, I'd like a first-gen iPad for a project - but used ones are crazy expensive, upwards of $200. I can get a refurb iPad 2 for not a lot more.
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Old Feb 5, 2013, 05:29 PM   #21
GeoffWillis
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No haggle necessary

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is that the price they offered you or did you have to haggle with them? when you buy an open box item there do they let you examine before you buy, such as open bottom to verify ram is still there?
That was the price. They typically offer 10% off on open items, but Sat had additional 40% off to clear out inventory. Wasn't in the market for a new computer, but hey, who could pass that up! And yes, opened bottom, but the 2x2GB RAM is not going to make it. Ordered 16GB last night. That with 2 Dell U2412M's completes the system. According to Best Buy, still good for 1 year warrenty from date I register it with Apple. Only down side I can see is it didn't come in a cool box... got the computer and a power cable.
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Old Feb 6, 2013, 02:29 PM   #22
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People do pay a ton for used Mac stuff though, I'd like a first-gen iPad for a project - but used ones are crazy expensive, upwards of $200. I can get a refurb iPad 2 for not a lot more.
You can't find a gen 1 iPad for less than 200 here in the Detroit area. From what I read here on the forums, our used apple products are crazy over priced compared to everywhere else. I'd like to get a newer mini to replace the 07 I have in my sawtooth case but I cant find anything newer than an 07 for less than 350-400.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoffWillis View Post
That was the price. They typically offer 10% off on open items, but Sat had additional 40% off to clear out inventory. Wasn't in the market for a new computer, but hey, who could pass that up! And yes, opened bottom, but the 2x2GB RAM is not going to make it. Ordered 16GB last night. That with 2 Dell U2412M's completes the system. According to Best Buy, still good for 1 year warrenty from date I register it with Apple. Only down side I can see is it didn't come in a cool box... got the computer and a power cable.
Congrats on the find.
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Old Feb 6, 2013, 02:32 PM   #23
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My advice would be to check out a couple of your local Best Buy stores and make a deal on an open box item. I got an unbeatable deal that I couldn't refuse.

But I agree with an earlier post, newer is better.
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Old Feb 6, 2013, 04:09 PM   #24
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My advice would be to check out a couple of your local Best Buy stores and make a deal on an open box item. I got an unbeatable deal that I couldn't refuse.

But I agree with an earlier post, newer is better.
Do open box items come with a full Apple warranty like the refurbs do?
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Old Feb 6, 2013, 08:25 PM   #25
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Do open box items come with a full Apple warranty like the refurbs do?
Apple warranty will start from the day of the ORIGINAL sale. So likelihood is you have 11 months or so left, and 60 days (of the original 90) of free telephone support. You can still buy AppleCare and it will cover for 3 years from the original purchase date (not the day you bought it).
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