Base Mini w/Max RAM vs. Maxed Out Mini?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by blairh, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. macrumors 68020


    Dec 11, 2007
    Hey guys.

    So I've been using a Mac Mini for about 4 years now. It actually fulfilled my basic computing needs until I decided to get a Magic Trackpad and was forced to update to SL. Well my Mini has 1 GB of RAM and while it was sufficient for Leopard it has made SL a poor experience. I could of course go back to Leopard but I love my Magic Trackpad and am thinking about getting a new Mini and selling my current one (with Leopard reinstalled).

    Okay, so I'm debating two options. One would be to get a base model 2012 Mini and max out the RAM on my own. Much cheaper and very easy to do. The other option is to get a 2012 Mini with an SSD via Apple. As you probably know this is pretty expensive and requires me to also get the higher end Mini. Total cost is $1,099 sans tax.

    I know installing a 3rd party SSD would be cheaper but I question how much cheaper exactly. I've seen online tutorials and it's not something I'd feel comfortable doing on my own. So that means I'd have to purchase the SSD and then pay someone to install it for me. I'm guessing that would cost me at the very least something between $150-$200 all things considered. With that established I'd rather pay a little more and have the SSD preinstalled.

    Now, the question becomes which model should I get. For now I tend to do the most basic stuff on my Mini (Word, Web, etc) so the base model Mini with max RAM would be more than enough. However my MBA has an SSD and I think I'd prefer my Mini to have one too. I'm also curious about potentially doing some video work in the future. (Not 100% but it's a possibility.)

    Is the SSD really worth the pricey upgrade for my needs? Thanks.

    (I don't care about the size of my HD. My music is stored and managed on my MBA and my videos and pics are on an external HD.)
  2. macrumors 6502

    Nov 10, 2006
    I'd get the maxed out mini. You said you have used your old mini for 4 years. The maxed out mini will cost roughly $400 more than the base model with a RAM upgrade. That equates to about $100 a year for a much faster computer. Sounds worth it to me, but its your money. Longevity and resale will be better on the maxed out version as well.
  3. philipma1957, Dec 29, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2012

    macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    get the base mini add 16 gb ram.

    below will sell the base mini for 564 no tax to all but NY

    they will give you free software. ram is at this company

    down the road buy this for an ssd

    cost is 564 plus 80 for ram 644. and decide about the ssd later.

    Attached Files:

  4. thread starter macrumors 68020


    Dec 11, 2007
    I'm leaning towards the base model Mini now. I just don't think I need that SSD when it comes down to it. I'll max out the RAM purchased from Amazon. (I have Amazon credit to use.)

    Any recommendations for 3rd party RAM available on Amazon?
  5. macrumors 65816


    Jun 18, 2012
    Any compatible RAM will do. 204 pin SODIMM 1600MHz that is.

    Also reconsider the SSD. The performance boost is much bigger than any other change you can do to a computer these days.

    How cheaper to put it on your own? Well, it depends. I had a 12% off in Apple thank to my University, so I was just saving €16 doing it myself. Not worth it imo.

    BUT. If you lean towards the base model then you can open it up and put an SSD in for much less as you won't have to pay the extra money to get into the mid line.

    That being said, and considering what you said about using the Mini during 4 years… I'd seriously consider a maxed out Mini (but the RAM, install it yourself) as that's not a lot per month when looking at the big picture.
  6. macrumors regular


    Jun 3, 2004
    Get the SSD. I would get the SSD over a ram upgrade. The difference is night and day. It will make your mac boot in 12 seconds and apps will hardly bounce in the doc before they're launched. SSD is very visible upgrade to your new mac mini user experience. Get the 8GB RAM upgrade at 1/2 the price on amazon for a bump.
  7. macrumors regular

    May 17, 2012
    If you're used to the zippty effect of the SSD on the MBA, using the HD on the mini without the SSD will seem very sluggish and slow (I have a MBA and base mini w/o SSD but with 16gb of RAM, so I can understand).

    I plan on putting an SSD in soon, but like you, don't really feel too comfortable tinkering on the inside of the mini. (Side note: installing third party RAM is SUPER easy)
  8. macrumors demi-god


    Jul 24, 2009
    For what you do do you really need a new mini? Have you not thought about upgrading your current mini?
  9. macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2012
    What is the difference between the first option for ram and the second option, other than one is a few dollars less?

    Looking at buying a mini to replace my core duo 2.2 laptop (PC) which runs my media server/iTunes for the house for my three apple TVs and my iPads. I am hoping that the 2.6 quad core i7 with fusion drive is up to the task. Going to put 16 GB of ram in it.
  10. macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    if the photos are correct one has kingston chips and the other has elpidia.

    I have used both and have not found any real world difference. Elpidia is a major chip maker and their chips are used in many ram brands.
  11. macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2012
    Copy, so either one should be fine to go with. Which on is the Kingston one....$45?
  12. macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    yes . but amazon does not always match the photo they show. they are really good for returns. just make a pdf of the photo and if they dont match return it.
  13. macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2012
    Thank you. Already ordered it. Already got fed up with the laptop running slow so bought the mini. 2.6 quad core model with fusion drive. Can't wait for it to arrive.
  14. thread starter macrumors 68020


    Dec 11, 2007
    I don't care about boot times and a slight delay in starting up apps. The difference between a base model Mini and BTO SSD Mini is $500. I'm going to get the 2012 base model and manually max out the RAM if 4 GB isn't sufficient for my needs.


    I doubt it's cost effective. Buying a new HD and having it installed is $ plus my Mini maxes out at 3 GB. Makes a lot more sense to buy a new Mini and sell my current one on Craigslist.

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