Of these three - which Mac mini would you buy?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by dapitts08, Mar 29, 2013.

  1. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2009
    #1
    i am thinking about getting the mac mini and am seeking advice

    i want to use it for design work (cs6) and as a media server (plex)

    i would replace one of the hard drives with an ssd and upgrade the ram

    i currently have a 15 inch late 2010 model 2.66 ghz core i7 macbook pro with 8GB of ram and a 30 inch ACD (older model...no thunderbolt)

    i was originally thinking about an upgrade to the laptop but now am thinking about going this route and keeping the laptop

    here are the three that i am considering:

    2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 ($509)
    http://store.apple.com/us/product/FD387LL/A/refurbished-mac-mini-25ghz-dual-core-intel-core-i5

    2.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 with 256GB Solid State Drive already installed ($889)
    http://store.apple.com/us/product/G0M96LL/A/refurbished-mac-mini-27ghz-dual-core-intel-core-i7-

    2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 with 1TB Fusion Drive ($889)
    http://store.apple.com/us/product/G0NP2LL/A/refurbished-mac-mini-23ghz-quad-core-intel-core-i7
     
  2. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2008
    Location:
    KY
    #2
    That's a pretty big budget difference - of course the quad will have the most horsepower, and from what I've read Fusion is pretty sweet. If it's in your budget, just get the best machine. :) Or make the best out of what you can afford; I'm rocking a 2009 mini with RAID-0 SSDs and 8GB of RAM. :D

    Keep in mind that with a mini, the one thing you CAN'T upgrade is the CPU -RAM and drives always can upgraded/changed later. (I see you've already thought of this... thus I come back to saying get the best CPU you can)
     
  3. macrumors 6502

    Jesla

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2013
    Location:
    Tennessee USA
    #3
    I'll go with the #2 horse in this race.....you can add another drive later if it's needed.
     
  4. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2009
    #4
    thanks

    my goal is to get the machine that will best meet my needs at the lowest price and then add the upgrades (ssd and ram)

    if the $509 can do everything that I need to do without any issues then that is what I would get.

    i don't game.

    the most processer extensive stuff i use is what i listed in the post

    i hear you but just because the most expensive one has more power doesn't necessarily make it the better fit if i am not really going to be using that added power.

    hence my post here.

    ----------

    why #2?

    and yes, i would be adding a second drive at the time of purchase
     
  5. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2008
    Location:
    KY
    #5
    K - do I think the $509 i5 would be sufficient? Definitely. I do many of the same things on my Core 2 Duo. You'll get more life-span out of the i7 quad, but it's not like the i5 would be slow or anything. Do you already have the SSD or will that need to go into the cost? If so a 256GB SSD is at least $160 US or so; add that to it and you're looking at about $700 for the i5, then you have a 256 SSD and a 500 HDD, and a dual core i5. For $889 - $200 more, I know - you get the quad i7 and a 1TB Fusion, albeit with a smaller SSD.

    Does upgrading the drives in a new mini void the warranty? That would be a big factor to me...
     
  6. macrumors 6502

    Jesla

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2013
    Location:
    Tennessee USA
    #6
    Because the 2.3 is probably way more than you'll need for small home/office Server. For basically a workstation the 2.7 and SSD is the way to go....jmo....you asked...:D


    Edit:
    The 2.7 will run OS X Server no problem for the home environment.
     
  7. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2009
    #7
    perfect thanks.

    yes i would need to buy the ssd and plan to factor that in as well.

    do you have a suggestion for the ssd?
    i want to compare the prices based on size.
    i may not need the 256 gigs

    you have made some excellent points
     
  8. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2008
    Location:
    KY
    #8
    Thanks. :) I use OCZ, but a lot of people don't like them much, at least on the Mac side. I've had excellent luck with Samsung and Intel. The Samsung 840s are awesome (and if I'm not mistaken, then same drive Apple uses)
     
  9. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2009
    #9
    ha... i didn't realize you could add the server later. thanks. i am leaning towards the 2.7
     
  10. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2013
    #10
  11. macrumors 6502

    Jesla

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2013
    Location:
    Tennessee USA
    #11
    OS X Server is $19.99us in the AppStore.....

    Nothing really changes other than you have access to the sever control panel.
     
  12. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2009
    #12
    any thoughts on whether having a usb 3.0 port should be a deciding factor?

    i just noticed that is the difference between 2011 and 2012 models

    i have firewaire 800 drives now so at the present it wouldn't be an issue

    but i am wondering about the future
     
  13. macrumors 6502

    Jesla

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2013
    Location:
    Tennessee USA
    #13
    Go for 3.0 for future proofing and/or if you think you'll be getting a lot of NEW peripherals......
     
  14. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2008
    #14
    usb 3 is great for external storage on a mini till thunderbolt reaches decent prices.
     
  15. macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #15
    For running Plex, any will do. In fact I run Plex with no problems on 3 year old minis, base model, which have Core 2 Duo processors and 2GB of RAM. An SSD will get you nowhere with Plex.

    So it really boils down to which applications in CS6 do you use? After Effects? Photoshop? Illustrator? It makes a big difference!

    I don't get the talk in the thread about Server. You don't need that at all.
     
  16. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #16
    Get the i7 CPU. You won't regret spending the $$ for it.

    With the 256 SSD, you get 256gb of storage.

    With the 128 fusion setup, you get 1.128tb of storage for the same price. That's quite a "bump up", storage-wise.

    How large are the files you'll be working with?
     
  17. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2007
    Location:
    Milwaukee
    #17
    I agree and did get the 2.3 i7. As for storage, 256GB really doesn't cut it for me. It's my iTunes library, which would fit, but with everything else I would be about 80-90% full and thats no good. The next step up (500GB) just costs too much right now so I went with a 1TB HD and no Fusion. Currently I'm thinking of waiting a year for prices to drop and then get a 500GB SSD rather than ever worrying about an external storage device. I thought about a Time Capsule for my library. Ideally I'm trying to trim down the number of wires connected to my Mini as possible (bluetooth keyboard and trackpad, Airplay to speakers and printer), which means external storage would only be appealing to me if it were wireless. Why? I like the idea of swapping the Mini with the Apple TV in the living room occasionally, while primarily hooked up to a standard monitor in my study.
     
  18. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2012
    #18
    I'd buy the i5. Put a dual drive in with SSD and create a DIY fusion drive.
     
  19. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2009
  20. thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jul 1, 2009
    #20
    so they added some more refurbs to the store and i pulled the trigger on this

    http://store.apple.com/us/product/FD388LL/A/refurbished-mac-mini-23ghz-quad-core-intel-core-i7

    so now i just need to get the SSD

    i think i will swap the 8 GB of ram that I have in my macbook pro out and put the 4 GB that comes with the mini ... that way i don't have to buy additional memory right now

    i think i am going to get this for the 1 TB drive that is in the mac mini now

    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Newer Technology/MSQKIT0GB/
     
  21. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2009
    #21
  22. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    #22
    I have the 2.3 GHZ, 6GB of Ram...my third one in about two years.
    Apple said they could not fix the first two...apple care paid for
    both...based on results I cannot suggest you buy any of the Mac Minis
     

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