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Old Nov 16, 2012, 09:23 AM   #1
js81
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3 Mac Mini options...

Just looking for advice. I currently have a "big hoss" PC desktop that I don't even come close to utilizing. However, I hate the fact that it is loud and so hot that it heats my small 8' x 9' office to about 10 degrees higher than the rest of the house. It is very fast (2 quad-core Xeons, 8GB of RAM, striped SSDs, Win 7 Ultimate), but I'm kind of fed up with the trade-offs. I don't need all of its speed, so I'm OK with a bit of a downgrade.

That being said, I can sell it for somewhere around $500. We have a new baby, so spending much, if any, extra is really out of the question. My wife (the one really in charge, lol) has OK'd me to do this, as long as I don't have to spend any extra money. For comparison, we are currently perfectly content and happy with my work-provided 2009 Macbook Pro - 2.53GHz Core 2 Duo, 6 GB of RAM, 120GB SSD, Geforce 9400M, and Snow Leopard.

Here are the options I am considering: (If you know somewhere or somehow I can get a better deal, please let me know)

Option 1: New 2012 i5 Mini. $579 on ed. discount, $614 after taxes. I'll have to convince my sweetie to let me spend ~$100. Not very likely without me getting in trouble. Advantages: USB 3.0, 4GB RAM, slightly faster. Disadvantages: Price.

Option 2: Used or refrub 2011 i5 Mini. ~$510 used on eBay. It's in the price range, but only comes with 2GB of RAM. I can't function on 2GB, lol, so I'll have to at least buy some RAM. Advantages: In my price range, i5. Disadvantages: Will have to have RAM.

Option 3: Late-2009 Mini. ~$400 on eBay. Particularly, I found one server version with 2.53GHz C2D and 2 500GB drives for $450 w/best offer. Figure the seller will come down at least $25 or so. Advantages: Price only. And dual hard drives in server (1TB total). Disadvantages: Core 2 Duo, lack of warranty.

Suggestions? Remember, I am currently perfectly content with my C2D MBP. My thoughts are maybe I could get the cheaper one for now and buy an i7 quad later? But then again, maybe not.

Thanks for your help.
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Last edited by js81; Nov 16, 2012 at 02:39 PM.
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Old Nov 16, 2012, 09:36 AM   #2
bitingtheapple
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option 2

Hi there, I'd personally go for the second option, and consider a RAM / SSD Upgrade in the future. Those will make more difference to your computing capability than a slightly faster processor.

I usually buy Apple Refurb products, though it depends on what is available.

Considering doing much the same at the moment, and tricking a refurb MacMini with 16Gb Ram and a 256Gb SSD.

good luck
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Old Nov 16, 2012, 10:55 AM   #3
js81
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Thanks for the reply. I completely agree with the RAM and SSD are more noticeable than the CPU; I'm currently running 8GB of RAM and striped SSDs. Here's my thing, though - RAM is an easy and cheap enough upgrade. I'll more than likely be keeping my two little 60GB SSDs from the PC; if I try to install them in the 2011 or 12 Minis (which have Applecare), I assume that will void the warranty, not to mention needing the 2nd drive kit from somebody like OWC. That's why I'm actually leaning a bit toward the C2D server - I can pop my two SSDs in no problem. I actually owned a first gen. Intel Mini (Core Solo) a while back that I upgraded A LOT (CPU, RAM, hard drive, etc.) so I'm completely comfortable with doing that. Plus I've already negotiated a $425 price for it.
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Old Nov 16, 2012, 01:41 PM   #4
phoenixsan
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Well, seems to me....

that you have done your homework searching for deals. Not sure anyone can do better with your budget constraints, but:

1-Check on some Authorized Apple dealer near to you. That people have normally stock they want to get rid off. With luck, you can find something to strike a deal.

2-Another websites more focused in budget buys. Maybe you can check lowendmac.com (take care with the wording of your offers and with the "nannies") or Craig list (very seldom I had used it, too much scam!). Craig list works well for lowballers, I know for sure. No offense in that saying and sincere and forward apologies if I bother you. It is only IMHO.

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Old Nov 16, 2012, 02:36 PM   #5
js81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phoenixsan View Post
that you have done your homework searching for deals. Not sure anyone can do better with your budget constraints, but:

1-Check on some Authorized Apple dealer near to you. That people have normally stock they want to get rid off. With luck, you can find something to strike a deal.

2-Another websites more focused in budget buys. Maybe you can check lowendmac.com (take care with the wording of your offers and with the "nannies") or Craig list (very seldom I had used it, too much scam!). Craig list works well for lowballers, I know for sure. No offense in that saying and sincere and forward apologies if I bother you. It is only IMHO.

No worries. I live in a podunk little town (6k ppl) in Kentucky. No Apple stores, no dealers, anything. We're lucky to have a Walmart and a Staples, lol. I've checked lowendmac and there's almost NEVER anything Apple on our local Craigslist (save for beat-to-death iPhones and iPods, lol).

I actually went ahead and bought the Core 2 Duo server for $425. My thoughts are that I can replace it in a year or so and use the C2D Mini to replace my Windows Home Server box (an HP Microserver).
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Old Nov 16, 2012, 03:34 PM   #6
Vampire5003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by js81 View Post
Thanks for the reply. I completely agree with the RAM and SSD are more noticeable than the CPU; I'm currently running 8GB of RAM and striped SSDs. Here's my thing, though - RAM is an easy and cheap enough upgrade. I'll more than likely be keeping my two little 60GB SSDs from the PC; if I try to install them in the 2011 or 12 Minis (which have Applecare), I assume that will void the warranty, not to mention needing the 2nd drive kit from somebody like OWC. That's why I'm actually leaning a bit toward the C2D server - I can pop my two SSDs in no problem. I actually owned a first gen. Intel Mini (Core Solo) a while back that I upgraded A LOT (CPU, RAM, hard drive, etc.) so I'm completely comfortable with doing that. Plus I've already negotiated a $425 price for it.
Upgrading the hard drive(s) and RAM in the CMBP is fine, and does not void the warranty. Although the Mac Mini may be a different story, if it doesn't have a fusion drive, then you should be good to upgrade it without losing your Applecare. So I guess that's another benefit of the 2011 Mac Mini? IMO what I did with my base model 13 inch CMBP was upgrade the HDD to 128GB SSD and the RAM from 4GB to 8GB. That has really made this laptop so much faster, but IMO it was very fast out of the box too.

Hope this helps! 
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Old Nov 16, 2012, 03:38 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by js81 View Post
No worries. I live in a podunk little town (6k ppl) in Kentucky. No Apple stores, no dealers, anything. We're lucky to have a Walmart and a Staples, lol. I've checked lowendmac and there's almost NEVER anything Apple on our local Craigslist (save for beat-to-death iPhones and iPods, lol).

I actually went ahead and bought the Core 2 Duo server for $425. My thoughts are that I can replace it in a year or so and use the C2D Mini to replace my Windows Home Server box (an HP Microserver).
Do BHPhotoVideo for the purchase. Tax free and free shipping.
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Old Nov 16, 2012, 03:54 PM   #8
calvol
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Check the Mini forum for threads on "random blank screen" before buying a 2012 Mini, this problem has not been resolved. I just bought a mid-range 2011 Mini for that reason. Cheaper too!
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Old Nov 16, 2012, 04:03 PM   #9
imthenachoman
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Yes, yes...I do see how this poses as quite a dilemma for you. After much pondering -- I even consulted various experts in the field -- and have concluded there is only one logical solution.

You must find a new wife.

:-P

Joking, obviously. Check CL. I've bought a few Minis that got the job done for under 400. It really depends on what you're doing and how much power you really really need. Do you really need a 500 GB HD or will an external USB HD work? And yes, I wouldn't do anything less than 4 GB for RAM.
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Old Nov 16, 2012, 05:23 PM   #10
griefrev
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If you ever make it to Louisville, we have an authorized reseller here that often has old stock at a good discount. I got a deal on a Macbook Pro right after the first unibody version came out that still works pretty well. The price was cut pretty well and they even honored the promotion that Apple had been running with the old model and gave me an iPod Touch. If Nashville's closer, they have a couple of locations down there.

BTW, what part of KY are you in?
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Old Nov 17, 2012, 12:18 AM   #11
js81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blevins321 View Post
Do BHPhotoVideo for the purchase. Tax free and free shipping.
Already decided, but thanks anyway. I'll keep that in mind...

Quote:
Originally Posted by imthenachoman View Post
Yes, yes...I do see how this poses as quite a dilemma for you. After much pondering -- I even consulted various experts in the field -- and have concluded there is only one logical solution.

You must find a new wife.
No way! She's totally awesome! Loves tech, video games, cars, and she's smokin' hot! Couldn't ask for better. And she's an amazing mom, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by griefrev View Post
BTW, what part of KY are you in?
Far eastern. Hillbilly territory. Lexington is the closest place with ANY kind of Apple retailers (Apple Store and Best Buy).
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Old Nov 17, 2012, 02:09 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by js81 View Post


No way! She's totally awesome! Loves tech, video games, cars, and she's smokin' hot! Couldn't ask for better. And she's an amazing mom, too.
Ok, this thread is now officially dead w/o pics and, does she have a twin sister?
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Old Nov 17, 2012, 11:10 AM   #13
js81
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Ok, this thread is now officially dead w/o pics and, does she have a twin sister?
Totally unrelated to the Mac Minis, but you KNOW I can't miss a chance to brag... (I am a guy, after all)

And no, no twin (or any sister), sorry.

This pic is from just before Halloween last year (we just had our daughter this August); sold a costume from the year before on eBay. Posted this pic and it sold pretty quick.
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