Considering first Mac - would like to buy soon

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by mlody, Mar 30, 2013.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2012
    #1
    Hi guys and gals,

    I have been tinkering with Mac OS X for some time (VM's, hacintosh'es, etc.) and I just got tired of inconsistency and random unexpected issues here and there.

    I will be coming from i7-3700k, 16GB ram, 560Ti, few SSD's, HDD's, so I know I can forget about equivalent hardware and options in Mac, but that is OK, as I honestly don't need that anymore.

    Seems like this is really all what I would need with some minor tweaks;
    http://store.apple.com/us/product/FD387LL/A/refurbished-mac-mini-25ghz-dual-core-intel-core-i5

    I know there are slightly better options with I7 and dedicated video cards, but they are older models that lack USB 3.0 which unfortunately is a must for me.

    What I am looking to do, is to add one of my SSD's (Corsair 128GB) and also max out memory (I believe 16 GB).
    With that said, does it matter what kind of memory I get? I know it is just a standard 1600 Mhz laptop memory, right? Does voltage or timings matter?
    when it comes to storage, does Mac care about sata port 1 or 2? I want to use my SSD as boot drive - does it matter to what port I connect the SSD? Should the HDD to moved to other port and the SSD connected to the one where original HDD was plugged in? What is the best way to install new OS from scratch? I already purchased Mac OS X cause I needed it for my Hackintosh. If I start from 0, how can I retrieve iLife '11 that is bundled with each Mac? I know this isn't the greatest software, but still it is about $50 value and would like to play with it till I find perhaps something better.

    As far as my accessories, I will be using the following
    - mouse
    http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-910-001204-Corded-Mouse-M500/dp/B002B3YCQM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1364687381&sr=8-2&keywords=logitech+500+mouse
    - keyboard
    http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Wireless-Solar-Keyboard-920-003471/dp/B005L38VPC/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1364687363&sr=8-4&keywords=k750
    - monitor
    http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-SyncMaster-2253BW-22-inch-Monitor/dp/B0013PSOT0/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top
    I know that for the monitor i will need some kind of adapter as mac mini only has HDMI or thunderbolt port, right? is it better to get Thunderbolt to DVI, or HDMI to DVI adapter for my monitor? Any cons or pros for each?

    Anything else I should know about that I haven't mentioned? Any other recommendation or advice?

    I appreciate any information.
    Thank you
     
  2. Guest

    eric/

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2011
    Location:
    Ohio, United States
    #2
    Well "things like voltage" do indeed matter, always, but I think the ram you have will work just fine. Look at the technical spec sheet or call Apple and ask, that would be your best option. The SSD will probably work too, the mouse keyboard and monitor will definitely work. As far as connectors, I think the mini uses hdmi, so I would just get hdmi-hdmi or whatever, it'll be cheaper.

    I don't really know many specifics about the mini, I've never owned one, but I don't want to see this thread go unnoticed since these are good questions. Maybe try posting in the Mac mini forum the specific mini questions and they can answer better.
     
  3. macrumors 68020

    RedCroissant

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2011
    Location:
    California
    #3
    Well I can tell you that an actual Mac is much better than a hackintosh and I think you're making the right decision.

    The type of Memory does matter for the most part, so stay away from PNY. Check out macsales.com to get an idea of the brands and then go from there. Crucial is pretty great and has an online system checking tool to choose the optimal RAM.

    Ports don't matter and you can assign whichever drive you want as your boot drive(as long as it's properly formatted and connected).

    The best way to install the OS from scratch is to actually install it from scratch. So with the mini, you'llneed an external dvd drive or share the drive in your other machine and install it that way.

    I don't know what you mean by "starting from 0" regarding iLife, but as long as you have an AppleID and purchased it through the Mac App Store or have a code for it, it should install no problem.

    I don't know if DVI is different since it is now part of an adapter with the TB port, but DVI usually doesn't carry audio, so stick with HDMI-HDMI for that and save the TB for daisy-chaining other devices.


    As fas as other advice goes...this setup is going to have a lot of wires and I would recommend going wireless for whatever you can. This way, you can mount the mini somewhere and have a wireless keyboard and mouse to use as opposed to always being tethered to the machine. I would also recommend the Magic Trackpad because it is awesome.

    And after looking at what you have on here and what you're going to be paying for with taxes, have you considered a refurbished iMac instead? This way you get the keyboard and mouse with the machine, fewer cables, and an awesome display included.
     
  4. macrumors 65816

    Macsonic

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2009
    Location:
    Earth
    #4
    Hi Mlody. You can visit this site http://myfirstmac.com/ for tips and inputs and tutorials to help you get started. Hope you get your first Mac soon.
     
  5. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2012
    Location:
    DC
    #5
    Your ideal choice would be the pro. It is rumoured to be out this year so I would wait until the end of the year if possible. The next model is not a guarantee though so you will want a backup plan if it does not come to pass.

    Since you already have a monitor you may want to look at a mac mini as that backup vs the current iMac. While obviously the iMac is better in some specs the mini is a little more upgradeable (2 internal 2.5 drives in the mini with a data doubler but only one 3.5 + an ssd board in an iMac). The mini does not have a discrete gpu but is also much cheeper.
     
  6. macrumors 65816

    designs216

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Down the rabbit hole
    #6
    https://www.apple.com/support/macbasics/

    All great advice. I would say that it's easier switching PC to Mac than the other way around. Many of the same metaphors are on both sides of the fence but I find the user experience better in Job's world.
     
  7. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2012
    #7
    What I meant by installing iLife from scratch is that I am assuming that it gets preloaded - meaning it wouldn't be tied to my Apple ID when I get my mac, right. So if the software is just preloaded and not tied to an account and I wipe the hard drive out, how would I be able to install it again?

    It looks like I missed about the adapter. mac mini ships with a hdmi to dvi adapter, so I would be good with that till I replace my screen for one that supports hdmi out of box.

    I have briefly looked at iMac and 27" is out of my price range and 21.5" would be a downgrade in screen size (yes, I understand the display quality and resolution would be better). I am not too concerned about 2-3 extra wires, but what kills the iMac deal for me is any sort of reasonable way to upgrade storage and memory after the purchase and I can't justify spending $500 for more ram and gimmicky storage option and still not have a true option for a reasonable SSD upgrade.

    Thank you again

    ----------

    Great site - thanks!

    ----------

    Will definitely check that out too.
     
  8. macrumors 68020

    RedCroissant

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2011
    Location:
    California
    #8
     
  9. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2012
    #9
    Thanks again for all the great info. I have decided to wait on haswell mac mini's and then pickup one up. I kind of hate the idea of buying a brand new hardware that is even slower then my old dell laptop (my laptop has i5-3320m vs mini's i5-3210m) and i am not sure if I want to tank close to a grand for i7 model yet. Since my hackintosh is very stable, i will use that for now and just hope that the new mini's will be out in 5-6 months with some considerable performance improvements across the board.
     
  10. macrumors 68020

    RedCroissant

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2011
    Location:
    California
    #10
    I can understand your concern about buying a machine that's technically slower according to the specs, but I would recommend trying one in person. I say this because when I bought my iMac in 2009 with only 2 GB of RAM and a technically slower CPU than my BTO Gateway tower, I was surprised to find how much faster it worked than the gateway, how stable it was in comparison(to either Vista or XP) and the fact that it also saved me money instantly on my electric bill. Basically, the specs will tell you one thing, but the efficiency of the design in being able to direct and utilize that power is something that doesn't necessarily make it to the stat sheet.

    Waiting for something more powerful is of course a smart decision, but if you want a Mac; get one. There will always end up being something better after the one that you buy and there is no way around that. But a real Mac is better than a fake one any day of the week, even if it is fairly stable.
     
  11. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    #11
    Waiting for Haswell is a good idea because the new integrated graphics will be a significant step up.
     
  12. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #12
    My suggestion is that you go for the i7 instead of the i5. You won't regret this.

    You might have to keep checking the Apple refurb page until they become available. But these items tend to sell out quickly after they appear.

    For RAM, I suggest this source:
    http://www.datamemorysystems.com/ap...6ghz-md388ll/a-cto-late-2012-memory-upgrades/
    (no financial interest, just a satisfied customer, never a problem with anything I've bought from them -- can't say that for other sources)

    The Mini comes with an HDMI (Mini end) to DVI (monitor end) connector. Not sure if this will work with yours. If it doesn't, you could always use a MDP (minidisplayport) to VGA adapter for the time being. It will work, and contrary to what many may say, VGA works fine in most cases.
     
  13. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2012
    #13
    I changed my mind and put my existing PC and all accessories for sale - crossing fingers it will sale quikcly and when it sales then i will be mac shopping, cant wait ;)
     
  14. r0k
    macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #14
    I own several Mac minis (2005-2010 vintage) and a newer Macbook Pro. One kid has a Macbook Pro and the other has a Macbook. We are all delighted with our Macs. If I were shopping today to replace one of our minis, I'd consider the new iMacs. I'd also consider the new minis. In your case I recommend you go for Macs which you can upgrade yourself since you've already been tinkering. This would rule out retina Macbook Pros and it might rule even rule out the new iMacs. Unibody Macbook Pros and Mac minis are easily upgraded (RAM and HDD/SSD).

    When it comes to memory, I'd stick with Crucial. I've had no trouble with them. I've had trouble with Centon so I'd say avoid them. As for disks, I've used hybrid SSD drives and while they work well enough they still use power like spinning media and when it's time to sell they are a bear to wipe. I'd rather stick with 7200 rpm rotating media or full SSD. I'm drooling over that new 960 GB SSD that was announced the other day at 62 cents a gigabyte.
     
  15. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2012
    #15
    My desktop pc/hackintosh is sale pending. Yey :) Today, I went to microcenter and picked up mac mini i7 2.3 and samsung 840 250gb ssd. I will be ordering an owc 2nd hdd kit and 16gb ram - not sure on brand or spec, but I would like to have something with good timings - C9 if possible. I am also planning to create a fusion drive by combinging my stock hdd and my samsung ssd. I hope it will turn out to be a decent system.
    Even in the stock build the mac mini scores a little over 10700 in geekbench - about 3k less then my hackintosh, but all together, I love the form factor, quietness and portability and i am defenitelly looking forward messing with it :)
    I really appeciate everyone's advices and suggestions - without any of the, i wouldnt be able to pull the trigger.

    Thanks
     
  16. macrumors 6502a

    LeandrodaFL

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    #16
    You made the right choice by going with the MAcMini i7. Its the current king of the computer world. For the kit and memory:

    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/DIYIMM11D2/
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008LTBJFW/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Now, you gonna make a big mistake by not getting the Magic Mouse. Part of the Mac experience is the touch abilities it gives you. Horiznotall scrolling (360o degrees actually), intertia scrolling, touch gestures and a lot more as you can costumize upt to 52 gestures if you install the Bettertouch app.
     
  17. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2012
    #17
    I will definitely go with the OWC disk doubler, but as far as the memory goes, I am still unsure. For some reasons, I really do not like an idea of CL11 modules and would prefer to get CL9 or CL10 at worse. Does anyone have any recommendations?
     
  18. r0k
    macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #18
    I would go with whatever the Crucial memory configurator recommends. I've never had trouble with Crucial RAM. Centon? That's another matter but Crucial has been solid for me.

    I must admit I like multitouch gestures MUCH better than any stinking mouse. Even now my Logitech BT mouse sits idle on my desk waiting for the time when I need to do something in Gimp. I have a magic mouse collecting dust but I do suggest you might like the Apple trackpad. I love the trackpad on my Macbook Pro and if I had to configure a new Mac mini, I'd go for the Apple trackpad in addition to a mouse. I don't think I can completely do without a mouse for certain tasks but I only touch the thing about every other week.

    I don't know if I'd bother with the disk doubler. Why not simply plug in a FW or TB drive? Use the 250 SSD internal for your home folder and put all your movies, photos, music and other bulky stuff on the external drive. That's what I do and I love it. Actually there's one little tweak. I keep my original photos on the FW drive but iPhoto Library lives in my pictures folder where OSX likes it to be. I do not, however allow photos to be imported to iPhoto Library. Furthermore, about every other month, I export from those autocreated events like "january 2013 photostream" and reimport everything without the original photos. This allows me to have metadata for almost half a terabyte of photos in an itty bitty 11 gig iPhoto Library.
     
  19. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2011
    #19
    Congratulations on choosing the MacMini and Samsung Pro SSD. Its a great combo! Search the forums and you will find some great how-to posts on setting up your new fusion drive. As for memory, use the Crucial memory configurator and follow its recommendation. Have fun upgrading your MacMini and Enjoy!
     
  20. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2012
    #20

    I was considering Crucial memory, but all of their modules were either c11 or c10. At the end i went with this.

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008H7IGGI/ref=pe_309540_26725410_item


    I really hope this memory will work with my mini as I didn't spend any time investigating that and would hate to send it back and replace it with some slower modules.
     
  21. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2012
    #21
    My excitement with mini didnt last too long. I have decided that it is way too gipmed of a system and will be returning it - possbile even today.
    What scared me were the temperatures which almost hit 100c when doing basic handbreak encoding jobs. In addition this is the first time i have expirienced the spinning rainbows and the system seems to be chocking even when respmging to email using mail application.

    My fiance approved replacement of my aging monitor, so i had decided to go imac 27" route. I am not too sure what model yet, but at this point i am leaning towards 3.4 i7 with 1tb fusion drive and 675mx (not a gamer so 680 wouldnt benefit me). 8gb stock should be enough to get by for few months, and even when i decide to upgrade, i could go with 2x8gb for total of 24gb, btw, if such memory configuration supported?
    One question though - would i still be able to connect a tv via hdmi as a secondary screen if i wanted to?
     
  22. macrumors 68020

    RedCroissant

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2011
    Location:
    California
    #22
    That's too bad about your experience with the mini, but the imac is a great machine and you should enjoy it. Yes, that memory configuration is supported since 32GB is the max RAM for that model.

    Yes, as long as you get the TB-HDMI adapter and connect it that way.
     

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