Why I chose the mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by 50voltphantom, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. 50voltphantom, Feb 18, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013

    macrumors regular

    50voltphantom

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2011
    #1
    I love my C2D iMac but the time came to upgrade, so I anxiously awaited the new iMacs, but when I found out you couldn't upgrade the RAM yourself on the 21.5" model and the cost to buy one with 16GB and a Fusion Drive (must-have option IMO) came to $1749, I just couldn't do it. I was devastated and felt very frustrated. So I begin re-evaluating my wants vs. available options; the Mini has user accesible RAM, relatively easily access to HDD's/SSD's and even kept a FireWire port on the new model. Hmm... I already have a keyboard and Magic Trackpad.....I can get a decent monitor for ~$200. The mini it is, and I can't wait for it to arrive.

    I put this out there because I have been noticing quite a number of people online mentioning replacing their aging iMacs with new minis. Has anyone else noticed this trend?
     
  2. macrumors 6502a

    Woodcrest64

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    #2
    Sounds like you made a great choice! When did you get your C2D iMac?
     
  3. thread starter macrumors regular

    50voltphantom

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2011
    #3
    March/April of '08. It's been an absolutely fantastic computer. Still doesn't feel 'slow' at all. I'm quite certain it won't be able to install to the next version of OS X this summer so it was time to upgrade. Keep in mind it's on it's fourth(!) different 10.x release since I bought it (shipped with Leopard).
     
  4. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2012
    #4
    You can still install your own fusion drive.
    Its software implementation afterall.
    For your imac,you may install ssd for better perf.
     
  5. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2012
    #5
    I also replaced a 2006 iMac with a 2012 MacMini. The base model iMac didn't have Fusion drive option when it was first launched -- I might have sprung for it with full RAM if it did -- but even so, I feel like the Mini was the better deal.

    The Mini has FireWire, Audio In, Infrared, none of which the iMac has. You can take it to bits fairly easily. Installing 16Gb of RAM was a doddle. It's got a Geekbench score similar to a 2010 MacPro, FFS!
    I already had 2 Apple Cinema Displays -- one was surplus at work; the other I got cheap on eBay. The Mini powers them both beautifully, despite its clockwork GPU (which some would have you believe).

    The Fusion drive is absolutely brilliant. Anyone who prefers moving their files around between two separate disks is wasting their time and fooling themselves, IMO.
     
  6. Micky Do, Feb 19, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013

    macrumors 6502a

    Micky Do

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2012
    Location:
    Thailand, for now.
    #6
    When Apple introduced the Mini back in 2005 they seemed to be pitching at those looking to change from the Windows environment.

    I bought one, but for me it was my first computer. The small size and BYOKDM fitted my criteria. I didn't want a laptop, but I did want something that was easily transportable. Being a life long motorcyclist, my philosophy is that if something cannot be carried on a motorcycle, it's not for me.

    My first one was ok, it did what I wanted, but it had its shortcomings. In my cynical moments I got the feeling that they developed it to use up stocks of G4 chips and other bits, as it was not too long after that they went over to Intel. They were certainly not a machine for somebody already well into the Apple gear.

    When the HDD and power supply failed in 2009 I went for a new Mini, that certainly addressed the shortcomings of my first one. It was also relatively cheap, as I only had to buy the computer. I am still using my original monitor and speakers, but have replaced the keyboard (with a small wired Apple model) and mouse (now a basic wired Logitech)

    Last August I had more RAM and Mountain Lion installed, so now have a computer that should be good for a few more years. It is all the computer that I need, with peripherals that suit my budget, purposes, and space......

    The Mini is probably all the computer many people need!

    From a fringe product, almost an orphan in the line-up, the Mini has become mainstream, and of interest to existing Mac users. The machine, and your system, can be configured and easily upgraded to suit your needs.

    So, back to the OP, yes, there does seem to be a trend to the Mini, with good reason. It makes sense.
     
  7. macrumors regular

    1934hotrod

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2013
    Location:
    Woodstock
    #7
    What got my attention was the size plain and simple. The mini offers good horse power with a small foot print, got 5 of them spread out around the house. For me the i series was not a good fit, all in one packaging limits the user in ways they do not realize. Example display goes south big bucks to fix that. Component design for computers is versatile and the right way to build.

    Enjoy the mini, but beware they multiply :eek:

    Cheers,
    Greg
     
  8. macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    #8
    yeah I have 3 in use plus 1 on a bench waiting to be changed to a fusion that is 4. I just sold one thats 5. Over the years I have purchased and upgraded hundreds . I have also used 2-4 for the house since 2007.

    In 2009 the 2.66 model even the 2.53 both c2d cpus the mini has been good enough for the average user.
     
  9. LCD
    macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2012
    Location:
    SW Florida
    #9
    In January I switched from a 2006 iMac to a 2012 Mini with a 23" IPS display after trying the 2012 iMac in December.
     
  10. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2010
    #10
    I just picked up a 2.6 i7 Mini from BH Photo. Its quite a powerful little bugger I must admit! However, I do a lot of Handbrake encoding and find it extremely noisy when the fans kick up.

    I really want to like the Mini, but the display issues (crushed whites and odd lines only on the Macrumors site...) and noise while encoding videos make me want to give the 2012 iMacs another try (been through 3 27" models so far).

    For the record my 2012 2.6 i7 Mini with 16GB RAM and an SSD (external) posted a geekbench score of 12015 (the iMac was around 12800). That's pretty damn close!
     
  11. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2008
    #11
    says a lot when the modern i7 mini is a legitimate sidegrade to an 8 core mp.


    let alone that thing uses about as much power as a cfl lightbulb most of the time.
     
  12. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2011
    #12
    Another "switcher" who upgraded from a 24" 2006 iMac to a 2.3GHz 2012 Mini.

    That iMac was my last all-in-one Mac unless Apple backtracks from its ridiculous "form over function" design ethos. The "glassy" display and a lack of any meaningful ergonomic adjustments are deal-killers for me. Apple's Thunderbolt display? Again, no ergonomic adjustments except for the essentially useless "tilt." (I guess that it is somewhat helpful when attempting to reduce glare from overhead lighting... which wouldn't be a problem in the first place if Apple would go back to its excellent anti-glare panels.)

    And Apple keyboards are terrible if you do much touch-typing...

    I have had zero display issues using a 24" NEC2490WUXi2 connected via a DisplayPort to MiniDP adapter plugged into the Thunderbolt port.

    IMO the G4 iMac was the most ergonomic-friendly all-in-one computer ever built. With the advent of the flat-panel iMac it's been downhill ever since.
     
  13. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2008
    #13
    Place it safely in a stable location on its side with the power supply at the top.

    Remove the bottom cover and run a handbrake encode.

    See if you like the difference in noise enough to adapt your setup to that 24/7, even a filter could be rigged up to add.

    That plate on the bottom is a huge air flow restriction, pretty much only has a slit for air to go through.
     
  14. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #14
    "From a fringe product, almost an orphan in the line-up, the Mini has become mainstream, and of interest to existing Mac users."

    My "main Mac" for almost 9 years was a 2004 PowerMac g4/MDD tower. A sturdy piece of equipment that kept going and going and going. The only reason I replaced it with this 2012 Mini i7 2.6 was the OS and software could no longer be updated and kept "current enough" (even though it still ran).

    No regrets.
    More importantly, NO NOISE. They didn't call those g4's "wind tunnels" without good reason.

    The Mini _is_ becoming "mainstream". I believe there are even a few former Mac Pro users who have switched over and found the Mini to be surprisingly good.

    I think there remains among _some_ Mac users a certain level of snobbery towards the Mini. A few days' back, I replied to a posting from someone in the iMac forum -- he was on his third or fourth 2012 iMac 27", was dissatisfied with the display quality, and was moaning because he was going to have to return the screen again. When I suggested he simply ditch the iMac and get a Mini instead, the reply was that the Mini "was not as good a computer as the iMac" (to that effect). Guess he'll just have to keep buying new iMacs and then send them back for exchanges!
     
  15. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Location:
    Metro Kansas City
    #15
    Fully agree. What was once a low-cost bare bones entry model to get switchers to come into the fold is now the sleeper that can keep up with Mac Pros from just a few years ago. It's the '65 Chevelle with stock wheels and paint sporting a 388 cubic inch LS Corvette engine inside. As on-board graphics have continued to improve, the Mini can now perform just as well in situations where you needed discrete graphics just a few years ago. The HD4000 in my 2012 MBA outperforms the ATI2600 in my 2008 iMac; the experience with the Mini would be even better. When my iMac finally gives up the ghost, there is no question what it will be replaced with. I figure that if I'm not held back in the graphics department now, I surely won't be regardless of what the Mini ships with next year.
     
  16. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2011
    #16
    Why would GPU performance be better running a Mac Mini with the same Intel HD4000 graphics card?
     
  17. macrumors 6502

    7thson

    Joined:
    May 13, 2012
    Location:
    Six Rivers, CA
    #17
    One more person switching to a mini from an '06 iMac. While I love the form of the all in one, my experience has been it's an expensive trade off. The display started going bad shortly after the warrantee expired and finally got so bad I had to hook up another monitor to use it. I'm looking forward to getting that fugly mess off my desk.
     
  18. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2008
    #18
    I'm still not sure wether to be impressed that the i7 mini basically matches the encode times and geek bench of the 08 octo mp i had, or impressed that a 5 year old computer was competitive with a pretty decent modern cpu.
     
  19. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2010
    Location:
    Detroit
    #19
    I would say the latter is more impressive.
     
  20. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Location:
    Metro Kansas City
    #20
    The MBA is limited to 8GB of RAM, meaning the HD4000 is allocated 512MB of "VRAM". The Mini can be upgraded to 16GB, which bumps "VRAM" up to 768MB, which should improve graphics somewhat. I should have said that GPU performance "could be even better", assuming you had the 16GB of RAM. Similarly, it's been mentioned on various benchmark sites that the HD4000 on a quad core processor with 6GB of L3 cache (available in the Mini) will outperform an HD4000 on a dual core processor with 3GB or 4GB of L3 cache (found in the MBA).

    ----------

    Except that the MP probably cost 4X 5 years ago of what the Mini is going for today...
     
  21. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2012
    Location:
    Chandler, Arizona
    #21
    I await more ready availability of the new iMac, but the only thing that is keeping me interested in that over the Mini right now is usage robustness, and I'm dubious as to how much of an issue that is. I use a 2012 Mini at my business and it's great, it is my Light Speed Retail server and my personal workstation. Max stats including aftermarket RAM and SSD and it flies. However, I EXPECT to beat it up and replace it in a couple years at work. For my home unit, I want something that I can leave on as a media server (already have the TB drive array) and have it be 24/7 household computing base for the next 4-5 years at least. With desktop components, not mobile ones, the iMac seems better suited for this use. Also I would need to buy an ATD for the display I want, so there isn't quite parity there either. The Mac Pro would be better still but I am thinking overkill given the likely price tag. Once I have a clearer idea of the new Mac Pro (or its replacement) in terms of cost and components, I can line it up and make an informed decision.
     
  22. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2008
    #22
    $2800, plus ram and some hard drives,

    at the time the 3.1 mp was new it was a spectacular value, couldn't even build a comparable windows box for the price, the later mp versions had nowhere near the same bang for the buck.

    after factoring in depreciation against taxes and the resale price it averaged to less than $20 a month.

    worth every cent.
     
  23. macrumors 604

    SnowLeopard2008

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #23
    Think you mean MB not GB. L3 cache is not that big.
     
  24. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2010
    Location:
    Detroit
    #24
    2500 dollar machine being equal to an 800 dollar machine 5 years later is impressive. Factor in the expandability and its still a no brainer that the pro was and is a great value. I would take a 2008 mac pro over a new quad mini any day.
     
  25. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2013
    #25
    I switched primarily because I wanted a basic internet box that could connect to my 24" Ultrasharp. I also didn't want, say, a laptop connected to a monitor for ultra portability or a tablet but an actual PC that had some upgradeability. So the mini was it. I don't think I'd ever bother with an iMac. The mini is more than sufficient, as someone already pointed out, for most standard tasks. Its also dead silent unless really pushed, sips power and can be transported easily. The only annoying thing is the lack of front panel USB ports. 4 in the back is great, but how about an additional 2 on the front?
     

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