2010 or 2011 Mac Mini ?!?!

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by afrocleland, Oct 15, 2013.

  1. afrocleland macrumors member

    Sep 24, 2012

    I'm getting a used Mac Mini to be used as a HTPC/FileServer that'll be used for the following:

    iTunes Server,
    VNC from iOS,
    Transmission Client (I'll remote in from iOS),
    Time Machine Backups of Laptops (I've been told server OS allows this with External HDD),
    iPhoto Library,
    and possibly some surfing of the interweb... I think thats about it!

    It'll be getting hooked up to a HDTV so thats why I thought I should rule out the 2009 and earlier for convenience.

    Would the 2010 base model be sufficient for this? Or should I shell out the extra dough for the 2011? Looking at specs, it seems the 2011 is a good bit faster with the i5 processor.

    Any thoughts?

  2. KScottMyers macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2009
    Orlando, FL
    I guess it all comes down to price. That said - get the 2011 unless the price is ridiculously low for 2010. Either one will do what you want.
  3. QWERTYMac7 macrumors regular

    Nov 20, 2012
    The Apple refirb store has several 2011 Mac Minis currently.

    The 2.5 (and 2.7) has (have) a AMD dedicated graphics card - not a built in Intel chip.

    It fully supports HDMI VERY WELL! It can also drive up to 3 monitors.

    At $549.00 it's a sweet value.

    Good luck!

  4. afrocleland thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 24, 2012
    Sadly I'm in the U of K! I've been offered a 2010 for £300, and I think I could get the 2011 for about £340. But if the 2010 could run 1080p I'd be pretty content at that to be honest! Any other major difference to what I want to do?
  5. MultiFinder17 macrumors 68000


    Jan 8, 2008
    Tampa, Florida
    The only real difference that you'd notice is that the 2010 has an optical drive should you want to watch a DVD through it, since it's hooked up to your TV. If that's not a killer proposition, for an extra £40, I'd go for the 2011. Chances are that it'll be supported by the latest and greatest software longer - good to have if you're planning on keeping it as an iTunes server for a a good, long time.
  6. grizfish macrumors member

    Nov 22, 2011
    Pardon my ignorance, but why not buy a new mini with full warranty for an additional $50.

  7. philipma1957, Oct 15, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2013

    philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    the op is in the UK. as for your comparison

    http://store.apple.com/us/buy-mac/mac-mini?product=MD387LL/A&step=config this usa sold base mini for 599

    is available here for 509


    the warranty is one year for both and having purchased more then 400 mac minis since 2006 the refurbished deals are better then the new ones. most of the time

    I have this refurbished mac mini


    This mini has the best graphics ever

    It does not have usb 3.0
    Since I use thunder bolt with this mini I don't care that it is missing usb 3.0 .

    Buying a mac mini leaves you short just a bit there are 4 good models all are missing just a little bit.
  8. blanka, Oct 15, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2013

    blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    The Mini 2010 advantage is that it can hold a BR player. If you built one in, you will have the neatest HTPC ever: there won't be a nicer all-in-one package ever! It will be the last machine to offer a nice physical disc experience.

    The Mini 2011 advantage is that is has 2 drive bays. You can put in 2 Scorpio blacks 750GB and have a really fast and big server.
    The speed is perfect for your needs, on either machine. Core2Duo with 320M is more than fast enough to decode any HD stream, but I agree, with a HD6630 2011 one you can even throw some games at it.

    The most important port is gigabit, so USB3 is not a relevant omission. Make sure you use it and wire your important machines over gigabit. With modern switches/routers, Cat 5(e) cables are fine for it, sometimes these are much cheaper. I never found a cable that does not deliver gigabit with my DGS-108 switch, even old crappy ones from my first ADSL modems 10 years ago.
  9. QWERTYMac7 macrumors regular

    Nov 20, 2012
    I did not notice that you are in the UK - that said, you did mention that you will hook up your Mac Mini to a HDTV. The 2011's 2.5 and 2.7 versions play perfectly through the HDMI port. There were issues on the 2012 Mac Mini's via the HDMI port.

    FWIW I have the 2011 MM 2.5. The internals have been bumped up to 2) 750 GB drives, one which is dedicated to movies (400+). Eventually it will not be my main computer and it will be 'retired' to a 100% HTPC. I chose the 2011 specifically for the AMD graphics card.

    Other posters have mentioned the 2010 and removing the DVD and replacing it with a BR player. That would be a very nice setup as well. If you need lots of internal storage (now or in the future) a 2011 may be better for your needs, otherwise buy the one that fits best into your budget.

    Good luck, mate!
  10. afrocleland thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 24, 2012
    I think it'll probably come down to which one I get for the best deal! As for the bluray player... I had a google around and couldn't find anything on people having done that before. Would that be a costly upgrade? I'm farily competent opening it up myself, but I'm not sure of compatability and what software I'd need.
    What was up with the 2012s? I always presumed newer was better!
  11. afrocleland thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 24, 2012
    Just made a decision! I had an offer of a 2010 for £300 and the 2011 was hopefully going to be £340 ?(ended up being asked for nearer £360)... So managed to talk a guy into giving me a 2010 (with 8GB RAM) with wireless keyboard and mouse for £320! I've actually got a brand new wireless mouse and keyboard at home already that I can now sell for about £75-85...

    So all in all... I think I've got a good deal! :D :D

    I've got a feeling this will get less and less features supported with newer OS's as it's a C2D, but in a year or so I doubt I'll lose that much value and will porbably trade up!
  12. QWERTYMac7 macrumors regular

    Nov 20, 2012
  13. Bunyak macrumors member

    Aug 15, 2011
    I am using a 2010 Mini for almost the exact same purposes. After I replaced the internal HDD with a SSD and increased the RAM to 16GB, my iPhoto and Plex libraries are very responsive. Netflix plays in HD over Ethernet.

    You don't need the server OS to do remote Time Machine backups. I recently set up Time Machine partitions for three Macs on an external HDD that is connected to the 2010 Mini. I don't have the server OS.

    I am also interested in knowing how to upgrade the Superdrive to a BR player. That would be my final customisation...
  14. afrocleland thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 24, 2012
    Yeah, i really like the idea of that too! I've seen external blu ray drives for £40 or so, but i like the idea of it being internal... Anyone done it before?
  15. blanka, Oct 18, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013

    blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    I was into upgrading the 2009 DVD burner with a BR player/DVD burner, but the drive was 100 bucks back then, so I got a 18£ external on ebay.co.uk. If I spot a nice one some day, I'll make it internal, it will be super-cool to have a nice all-in-one.

    Maybe something like this:
    But why are those Chinese/Taiwanese sellers always offering Free Postages. It sucks man! You need to pay customs over postage that way. Just ask 40$ with 20$ shipping.
  16. Bunyak macrumors member

    Aug 15, 2011
  17. javisan macrumors regular

    Dec 4, 2006
    Chicago, IL
    Hi, can you share how did you replace the HDD with the SSD?

    Also, how did make your macs to recognize the HD attached in the Mac Mini to use for Time Machine Backups?

  18. scbond macrumors 6502

    Oct 16, 2010
    Nottingham, UK
    I have the mid-2010 Mac mini and have had it hooked up to different TVs and a DVI-D display (using DVI to HDMI) and it works perfectly with a TV, just as if it were it's native display. They haven't been small TVs either...the current one is a 42" full HD Sony Bravia and the mini sits at full resolution on 60 Hz without any issue.

    Couple of things to add...sit close enough and you'll see that OS X doesn't look so crisp anymore, so sit back (depending on what size TV you use). The superdrive is prone to stop working, even if you barely use it. This happens because of discs and the vents bringing in dust over time. Just take it to bits carefully and very carefully clean the lens and it should be back to full functionality.

    Also, you mention running it as a back-up server using Time Machine by using OS X Server...I wouldn't use OS X Server just for this reason as a normal installation can run multiple back-ups too. Just share the disk, connect from the machine to be backed up and mount (if it's an external disk on the Mac mini). You'll then see it in Time Machine. This is what I do and it usually works without issue.
  19. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    Don't rule out the 2009. If that one is cheap, it is perfectly suited as well. Easier to switch drives as well. It has 9400M, so HD hardware decoding for silent video playback, and gigabit, so perfect as server as well. Only negative is the HUGE power adapter.

    The 2009 and 2010 can be retrofitted with a BR drive. I think the 2010 is still the best HTPC. Equiped with 4-8GB, 750GB scorpio black and BR drive it is one hell of a nice little HTPC.
  20. Bunyak macrumors member

    Aug 15, 2011
  21. mpantone, Nov 17, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2013

    mpantone macrumors 6502

    Mar 20, 2009
    You don't really need to do much.

    If Time Machine is already turned on under System Preferences > Time Machine, you'll be prompted the first time you plug in a new external drive whether or not you want to use it for Time Machine backups.

    If you plug in an external drive first, then turn on Time Machine, again, it will prompt you with the same question.

    Once you select a disk for Time Machine backups, you can turn off Time Machine under Preferences if you don't want automatic backups. You can still do manual backups when the designated backup drive is mounted.

    OS X has behaved like this for a few years, I think since Snow Leopard (circa 2010).

    With iCloud these days, I only make a Time Machine backup every 5-10 days, or if I make a substantial change (i.e., update OS X, key software).

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