Buying Man Mini, a few questions

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Greg44, Jun 28, 2013.

  1. Greg44, Jun 28, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2013

    macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2013
    United Kingdom
    I'm seriously thinking about buying a mac mini however I have a few questions that if any could answer it would be highly appreciated. This will be my first Mac by the way from only ever having PC's :)

    The Mac mini I'm looking at is the £680 one with the default config from the apple store (will most likely upgrade to 8gb or 16gb ram within a few weeks)

    1. I currently have two 22inch AOC monitors with VGA ports on the back (one has dvi but my ps3 uses that). What is the best way to connect them up? Does using DVI offer better quality or performance over VGA because if it does I can always move my ps3. ( the main monitor will be this one with a dvi on the back, the other only has VGA)

    2. I currently have an Intel x25m 80gb SSD in my PC, can I take that out and put it in the Mac mini? And if so can I then connect the 1TB included hard drive externally?

    3. How.much can the quad core i7 with Intel graphics handle dual monitors? ( I am a web developer so will be using applications such as photoshop).

  2. macrumors 68020


    Nov 23, 2011
    Man Mini? ;)


    But in answer to your question: good choice on system. I'd upgrade to 16GB rather than 8 -- 16GB kits aren't that much more expensive, and you'll definitely notice an increase in performance.

    The second thing is that with the integrated graphics, it uses system RAM as VRAM. Therefore, more RAM = better graphics, which is why I'd consider going 16GB.

    VGA quality's always been okay for me on my MBP but one of my colleagues who bought a Mac Mini has had issues with the VGA glitching (not sure if this has been resolved with a recent firmware update).

    With your SSD, you can put that in the Mac Mini (although it's not classed as a user-upgradeable component). If you do this then you'll can read the 1TB hard-drive externally, using a SATA dock or something like that. However, 80GB is a little small so I'd be careful about how you use that. If you really want an SSD in there then I'd personally pay Apple's premium for the Fusion drive, or get something like this:

    That will allow you to put two hard-drives in the Mac Mini instead of just having the one.

    And dual monitors won't be a problem at all with the HD 4000. Just be aware that the MM has 1x HDMI port and 1xThunderbolt port, so you'll need a MiniDisplay/Thunderbolt to VGA/HDMI.

    However as mentioned before there have been known issues with VGA with the Mac Minis, so if you're able to run both monitors through HDMI that'd be your best bet.

    And finally: you're in the UK, right? If you're at University, or know anybody at University, get them to buy it through the education store on their campus. You get 20% off from buying it online with higher education discount, AND you get free AppleCare on top of that. I definitely urge you to do that if you can, you'll save a butt-ton of money. And then that'll leave you to possibly up its specs a little!

    Let me know if you require any clarification on these points, I'll be happy to help where I can!

    Best wishes.
  3. macrumors 6502a

    Jun 14, 2012
    Columbia, MD
    It comes with a HDMI to DVI so use that for one monitor. Then you just need a Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter for the other monitor. You may have headaches if you try to do two VGA's out of that modern machine.

    The mini can handle 2 monitors with no sweat.

    Last thing to look into is getting the cable to have TWO drives inside the mini so you don't need to put one external.
  4. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2013
    United Kingdom
    Man Mini :( I guess that serves me right for typing it out on an android phone :)

    I should be fine with the SSD because all I use it for on my PC is the OS and any core applications, everything else like downloads are all on an external.

    I actually recently got an apprentice at FutureSkills ( so i'm going to ask on Monday if and how much of a discount I'll be able to get.

    Thanks for answering all my questions!

    Cheers! :)
  5. macrumors member


    Sep 21, 2010
    I actually just did exactly the same upgrade than you are about to do this week.

    Bought the i5 base model.
    Bought the Sata internal adapter for 19€
    Added a 120 GB Samsung 840 SSD (kept the stock 500 GB for video/music/photo and Time Machine backups)
    Added 16 GB RAM from Geil for 94€ (will boost your video memory to 768MB)

    Used the HDMI to DVI adapter that comes with the Mini to hook up my Samsung 223 BW monitor and used my spare MDP to VGA cable from my earlier Macbook Air to hook up an old LG 1715S as second screen.

    My Mini "screams" of power and doesn't even sweat with multiple displays.

    So go for it and enjoy

  6. macrumors 68020


    Nov 23, 2011
    Congratulations on your apprenticeship! Hope it goes well for you.

    Best thing to do is go to: and see what the prices are like. If you're connected to the campus at your building then you might qualify for University discount (doesn't matter if you're at Uni or not, you just need to be connected to a University campus! :eek: )

    If it doesn't work, just click 'School' for the type of education. They don't ask for proof and you'll get the Mac Mini for £638.40. Not a huge discount, but pennies make pounds and all that. :)

    Hopefully you'll end up saving a small fortune. :D
  7. macrumors G5


    Nov 25, 2005
    Putting two drives into the MacMini is an excellent idea. I am sure the 128 GB SSD that Apple includes with the Fusion drive will be a bit faster, but the 80 GB that you have should get you a big part of the possible gain, at very low cost.
  8. macrumors 6502


    Sep 7, 2011
    Dallas, Texas
  9. macrumors 6502

    Apr 12, 2013
    Between the thread title and that perfect first response (picture), funniest things I read/saw today!!!!
  10. macrumors 68020


    Dec 3, 2001
    Given you can only choose the CPU at the configuration stage, why not get the 2.6Ghz version? It's another £80 but seems worth it in the long run. Apple have advertised refurbs of the 2.6Ghz version for £649 a couple of times this year already and as you're looking at going the 3rd party route with the RAM and SSD, you can easily save the money elsewhere by not paying Apple's prices for an SSD or RAM upgrade.

    I wouldn't waste your time fitting such an old and slow SSD in your Mac Mini. Wait till you can get a 6Gb/s one and then you'll achieve the full 550Mb/s+ performance they have compared with older SSDs.

    As for the screens, make sure you get HDMI to VGA and Displayport to VGA adapters, I thought DVI-I was fine but my system only outputs DVI-D and wouldn't output a VGA signal using a displayport to DVI-I adapter with the DVI-I to VGA cable I used with my G4.
  11. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2013
    United Kingdom
    The only way I'll be able to afford the 2.6Ghz version will be if I can get a 15% discount, which I'll be finding out tomorrow so if I can i will most likely order it tomorrow too.

    Looking around these forums the Samsung 840 Pro (120GB) seems to have very good reviews so I'll probably look into that next month and always use the SSD I have now to try and sell my laptop for a little bit more.

    I'll also be able to upgrade to 16GB Ram pretty much straight away. As I've heard Crucial and Kingston are the best Ill get it from them.

    I'm kind of confused with the whole dual monitor thing because I watched a video on Youtube and he was talking about how the Apple supplied ones are passive or active and wouldnt output properly so he had to get a third party adapter instead.

    Can I use the HDMI to DVI adapter supplied to hook up my main monitor (see below) and then purchase the Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter (from apple) to hookup the second? (primary) (secondary)

  12. barkmonster, Jul 1, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2013

    macrumors 68020


    Dec 3, 2001
    It would be worth waiting to upgrade the RAM and spending the money on the faster CPU. You can manage on 4Gb for a month or 2 but it's not worth sacrificing CPU power for impatience.

    If you're planning on adding extras like SSDs at a later stage, you'll need the correct cabling too, the bookyard sell the upper/lower flex cable. You wouldn't know which one you need till you open up the Mac. Here's a video of upgrading the hard drive:-

    I got the toolkit for upgrading my 2009 Mac Mini from this company, they also sell the flexcables and other tools needed to open a 2012 Mac Mini and fit the drives:

    The e2243Fw has a DVI-D port so that would work with the Apple supplied adapter. The other screen only has a VGA so a displayport to VGA adapter will allow you to hook that one up.

    I have one DVI-D and one VGA monitor myself and bought a mini-DVI to DVI-I adapter thinking I could use a DVI to VGA cable off my G4 with the Mac Mini but it doesn't output an analogue signal so I had to buy a displayport to VGA adapter.
  13. macrumors 65816


    Nov 21, 2010
    Not unless you have access to the higher education discount which is around 15% off with 3 years warranty and 1 year telephone support if you talk the the Apple Chat people.
  14. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2013
    United Kingdom
    Thankyou :)

    Ordered my Mini on Monday at about 5pm :). Checked today and saw the back to school offers and phoned support but its not valid with Mac Mini's anyway so I'm not too fussed.

    That config with a Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter (actually ordered two adapters by accident so I'll just keep one as a spare) for £721.20 with education pricing, not sure what % that is but getting the better quad core for pretty much the same price as buying without was good.

    I'm really hoping it will come on the 5th (or 6th if they deliver on saturdays) so I can have the weekend to mess about with it.

    Im also going to buy the 16GB Ram from Crucial tonight so I hope im not just sat staring at the Ram for my Mac over the weekend waiting for it to be delivered.

    Thanks everyone!

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