2.6 GHz/8 GB/ 1 TB Hard Drive vs 2.8 GHz/16 GB/ 1 TB Fusion Drive

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Axemantitan, Jul 5, 2015.

  1. Axemantitan macrumors 6502

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    Mar 16, 2008
    #1
    Right now, I am using a 2007 Macbook that is nearly dead. I have an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse hooked up to it. The fans run full blast constantly. As you can see, it's time to upgrade.

    Since I already have the keyboard, monitor and mouse, and I don't take the computer anywhere (I did when I first got it, but no longer), it makes sense to get a Mac Mini.

    My question is which one to buy. I am split between the two models listed in the title. Either it will be the basic 2.6 GHz version or the fully-loaded 2.8 GHz version. I use my computer for web surfing (primarily Facebook and Youtube on Safari), iTunes, VLC (mostly high-def movies), and occasionally Microsoft Office. I intend on using my new computer for at least 5 years.

    Which version should I go for? Should I save money and get the basic version, or splurge and get it fully loaded in the hopes that it will be future-proof for at least the next 5 years? Is the basic version good enough to still be viable in 5 years? How much of a performance gain will I see from the faster CPU, more RAM, and fusion drive?
     
  2. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

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    #2
    I'd only stress to focus on the RAM and consider what you will need X number of years into the future based on how long you plan on using the machine. The RAM is not serviceable in the 2014 Minis, so if you choose 8 and later on decide that you need more than that, you're basically out of luck unfortunately.

    The HDD is upgradeable in the new versions but I believe it voids the warranty, as you're not meant to remove the bottom plate on these models. It no longer twists off, and must be removed with force, so if you are uncomfortable doing so I would also put some focus on what you want in terms of storage. It's hard for me to choose for you of course, but I will just say to keep storage space and speed in mind. The fusion drive offers both, albeit not as favorably as a SSD in terms of speed, and it is still "unreliable" in the sense that it operates mechanically. Unreliable is used lightly however, as I have had mechanical drives last for many years. It comes down to the read/write speeds vs. storage amount that you would like to have.

    The processor difference is negligible, therefore what I would ultimately suggest is to select the 2.6 midrange model, decide truly if you will want more than 8 GB RAM at any point in the future, and select a SSD only if you do not need the internal storage. If you do need the internal storage, I would go for the same model with the Fusion Drive.

    The other option to consider would be just simply get the mid-range model as it sits, use the mechanical drive for a couple of years or so, and replace it once your warranty is up anyway. In any case I would stay away from the "high-end" model, as at any point you will be paying at least $100 extra for a similarly clocked processor, and in my opinion it is not worth it. You will hardly ever, if ever at all, notice the difference.

    I hope this helps.
     
  3. jerwin macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2015
    #3
    Go with a fusion drive or an SSD.

    Think of this way. Every night, you might turn on your computer. Wouldn't be nice to be able to boot your mac and have it load all your work from the night before in a few seconds?

    The rest-- well, it's nice, but realistically you might use 9 gigabytes if you really try, and I'm not sure what an extra 200 megahertz will do-- it is still an i5. You can't upgrade the memory later on, so might as well prepare for a 16GB future now.

    A lot of people seem to prefer the 2012 model.
     
  4. Celerondon macrumors 6502a

    Celerondon

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    #4
    Why are you limited to these two configurations? Are you not able to purchase the 2.6 Ghz version with either of the fast storage options?

    With your usage patterns, you will see little if any performance gain from the faster CPU and additional RAM. On the other hand, a Fusion Drive or SSD would accelerate performance in a dramatic way.

    I think that the mini that makes sense for you is the 2.6Ghz version equipped with 8Gb of RAM and a Fusion Drive or SSD.
     
  5. Axemantitan thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Mar 16, 2008
    #5
    "Why are you limited to these two configurations?"

    It's a choice between saving money and getting something that's good enough, or spending money and getting something that will be future proofed.
     
  6. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

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    #6
    Just choose the midrange one and work on top of it. The high-end model exists for no reason. You can configure the midrange exactly the same aside from the negligible processor difference and save your money.
     
  7. jerwin macrumors 65816

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    #7
    like a top of the line video card?
     
  8. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #8
    You do know that you can just go for the 2.6/8/1TB Fusion configuration as well.

    There is absolutely no reason to upgrade the processor - even the 3.0GHz i7 is only 5% better than the 2.6GHz i5.

    Your usage doesn't need 16GB at all if your usage patterns remain the same 5 years down the road. Just take the 2.6GHz model, 8GB of RAM and get a Fusion Drive for it. Done.
     
  9. grcar Suspended

    grcar

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    Sep 28, 2014
    #9
    Option #1 costs $799 while option #2 costs $2,199. No offense, but you seem not to know what you are talking about. If your parents are buying, choose option #2.
     
  10. Axemantitan thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #10

    If you'd clicked on the links that I provided, you'd see that option 1 costs $663.99 and option 2 costs $1,134.99. You don't seem to know what you're talking about.
     
  11. grcar Suspended

    grcar

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    Sep 28, 2014
    #11
    Sorry, I just went by your description. I prefer looking at the Apple site because it has all the options.

    So lets do the math.

    Option #1 at Apple is $699.

    For option #2 I maxed out the top-of-the-line model. It starts at $999. Then you add $200 for i7 @ 3.0GHz, $200 for 16GB, and $800 for 1TB SSD (sick). Your supplier does not offer the 1TB SSD.
     
  12. jerwin macrumors 65816

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    Jun 13, 2015
    #12
    Apple has three base models
    1.4 Ghz i5, 500 hard drive: $499. you don't want this
    2.6 Ghz i5, 1TB hard drive: $699. Add a fusion drive for $200 bucks: $899 If you prefer, a 256 GB SSD for the same
    2.8 Ghz i5, ITB fusion drive: $999.

    To upgrade to 16 GB costs $200. You cannot decide on this later. But I've got 24 GB, and find it quite difficult to use more than about 9GB. Apple is taking full advantage of its monopoly role here-- 8GB costs around $65-70 on the open market these days.

    To upgrade to a i7 costs $300.

    GeekBench lists the following scores
    2.6 Ghz i5: 7625 $899 with fusion drive
    2.8 Ghz i5: 7970 $999 5% improvement, costs 9% more (Choosing the 2.8 Ghz model lets you pay through the nose for large SSDs.)
    3.0 Ghz i7: 8295 $1199 9% improvement, costs 33% more.

    So unless you need 16GB, or the scant advantage of an i7, you're paying a lot of money as a hedge against obsolescence. Photoshop is the classic example of such needs. There might be others.

    If you can live within 256 GB, an SSD of that size would be the most bang for your buck. Not memory. Not CPU (as long as you stay away from the 1.4 Ghz model)

    If MacMall beats those prices, so be it.
     
  13. grcar, Jul 5, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2015

    grcar Suspended

    grcar

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    #13
    You should listen to jerwin and yjchua95. There is no reason to have an i7 or 16GB. Take the mid-level model for $699. It has 8GB *and* a 1TB drive.
     
  14. Auszero macrumors member

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    Jul 18, 2009
    #14
    I have the 2.6 model. I bought it with the base configuration thinking it would be fine. However the HD ended up killing me. I have a MBP and MBA so I'm used to fast drive speeds. Just today I ended up swapping the HD out for a cheap 128GB SSD. In hind sight I would have chosen the same model and would have gone for the BTO option with either the 1TB fusion drive or the 256GB SSD. That would put you in at $899 ($859 if you use the student discount) and a machine that would seemingly fit your needs for a good price point.
     
  15. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #15
    This post should be highlighted even more. A lot of first time buyers still don't know how hellish a Mac without an SSD can be.
     
  16. tibas92013, Jul 6, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2015

    tibas92013 macrumors 6502

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    Costa Rica
    #16
    Here's what "Future Proof" means to this "OLD GEEK";

    I bought from the Apple On-line Store a Refurbished i5 Mac Mini(MM)(late 2012), 2.5GHz, 4GB Ram, 500GB HD in August, 2013 along with Applecare(AC). Last January I upgraded the Ram to 16GB.

    Since I recently bought from the Apple On-Line Store another Refurbished i5 Mac Mini(Late 2014), 2.8GHz, 8GB Ram, 256 SSD along with AC; I MAY sell the older MM with over 1 year of AC left on this contract.

    "Future Proof" to me means buy whatever Apple Desktop or Laptop with Applecare and at the Two(2) year mark sell this Computer and buy another one along with AC. As most of you know Applecare for Laptops or Desktops is basically a three(3) year garantee from date of purchase and this contract can be transferred to the buyer of your Apple Computer.

    The above Plan is not for everyone's situation,especially you "Young Geeks", but seems very logical for my computer needs.

    Oh, I also strongly recommend a MM with a SSD and at least 8GB RAM
     
  17. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

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    #17
    I'm not sure why this is so complicated. I spelled it out initially:

    Of the three offerings - eliminate the first and third immediately. In the third option, you are paying for a negligible difference in processing speed. Choose the second option. Decide between 8 or 16 GB of RAM depending on what you do and consider what you will do in the future. Choose a drive - either a 1 TB Fusion, 1 TB mechanical, or 256 GB SSD. SSDs are fast, quiet and "more reliable," the Fusion drive will give you similar SSD speeds and keep storage intact, or simply leave the mechanical drive in and replace it on your own later on if you decide you want something that favors speed.

    Going with the Fusion drive straight away seems like the best option if you want a more fluid experience and also would like a large amount of internal storage. I personally don't think there is anything wrong with using a mechanical drive initially. They're not slow, they're just slower than solid state.

    It's pretty simple. Two things have to be chosen.
     
  18. grcar Suspended

    grcar

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    Sep 28, 2014
    #18
    Yes Dark (if I may) the choices are simple especially if like the Greeks you spend some else's money in which case go MacPro6,1 / 12-core / 64GB / 1TB flash (and be sure to install solar panels to run the tihing). Oh wait! Mac Rumors says don't buy because upgrades are coming.
     
  19. grockk macrumors 6502

    grockk

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    #19
    Get the i5/8gb/Fusion. it'll last a long while. Ram and processor don't make a big difference these days. Turbo makes the CPUs almost the same and fast storage makes ram swapping no big deal for normal use. 8 gb is plenty for normal use.

    And if you want more speed later, you can reconfigure the storage to install the os on the SSD as a separate volume and use the 1tb as storage in a more traditional small SSD and large HDD setup. But I can't imagine you needing that.

    Do not try to run a straight HDD. you will feel slow in everything. My 7200 rpm drive was a dog compared to an SSD in my mini. And the new mini SSDs in the fusion drive are even faster
     
  20. Celerondon macrumors 6502a

    Celerondon

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    #20
    Do you know what intrigues me about this trend? I am impressed by the number of long-term Macrumors forum users that still purchase HDD equipped minis before complaining about the lack of storage speed. It seems as if these relatively sophisticated users do little or no research before purchasing their 2014 minis! According to our forums, this pattern continues despite countless threads about upgrades, Fusion Drives, and purchasing decisions.

    Other users seem to be more satisfied when they make the same decision but in an informed fashion. I often see posts by users who admit that while their HDD is somewhat slower than an SSD they plan to work with and enjoy their machine.

    How is any informed Mac purchaser surprised by the speed difference between SSD & HDD storage in 2015? :confused:
     
  21. Khalanad75 macrumors 6502

    Khalanad75

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    #21
    For the OP, you may want to check the refurb store if you are in the US. It seemed every model and config was in there last night.
     
  22. grcar Suspended

    grcar

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    #22
    Ok, I'll bite. One-word answer: price.
     
  23. jerwin macrumors 65816

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    #23
  24. jpietrzak8 macrumors 6502a

    jpietrzak8

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    #24
    Not quite the same issue here. The SSD only improves performance with respect to hard-drive speeds. I have three easy steps to make the SSD-vs-HD difference negligible:

    1) Install an adequate amount of RAM in your machine.
    2) Keep your important applications running at all times.
    3) Never turn your computer off.

    Once you do this, there's no appreciable benefit to the use of SSDs. :)
     
  25. jerwin macrumors 65816

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    #25
    So that's why Apple insists on using them in its laptops.
     

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