2011 Mac Mini with dGPU - avoid?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by r6mile, Mar 10, 2016.

  1. r6mile macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    Location:
    London, UK
    #1
    I have read that the 2011 Mac Mini with the Radeon 6630M, the only Mac Minis with discrete GPU, are quite prone to dGPU failure and therefore should be avoided (as a second hand purchase). Does anyone else have any experience of this?

    Thanks,
     
  2. tokyodan macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    #2
    I'm your man. I bought a used one with the Radeon:

    http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/mac_mini/specs/mac-mini-core-i5-2.5-mid-2011-specs.html)

    Cost about $500. The store I bought it from is a reputable store here in Tokyo...Softmap. It had a one moth warranty. 3 weeks after the warranty expired my Mini just died. No warnings. No funny operations. It just stopped as if I pulled the power cord out. I took it to an Apple repair shop and they told me it was either the power supply or the main board. And I'd be better off buying a new Mini because it'd cost about $500 to fix it. I tried fixing it myself and ordered tools from Amazon and iFixit, and a power supply from China. That didn't help. And even in China motherboards are over $400. So I'm SOL.
     
  3. Osty macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Location:
    Melbourne, AU
    #3
    I've heard this many times but I've been one of the lucky people I guess. I have that model (i5) version and have never had an issue with it. I leave it switched on for weeks on end and do light gaming on it. It's been a great computer
     
  4. tokyodan macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    #4
    Well I guess the guy who had mine for 4 or 5 years before he sold it (and I bought it) could say the same thing. It was an old computer and 4 or 5 years of reliable operation is good.
     
  5. Osty macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Location:
    Melbourne, AU
    #5

    True enough I suppose; I think I've had mine for just under three years now so when I get to 4/5 I'll start working on a contingency. As I've posted in other threads, that contingency is more likely to be a Nuc or a Lenovo box running Linux.

    I just got a new work laptop, a Thinkpad x260, and I'm seriously impressed with it. Skylake i7, 16GB DDR4 RAM, SSD and tonnes of I/O for the size and weight.
     
  6. tokyodan macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    #6
    Yeah. I just moved back to Windows. A kickass dual-screen Windows 10 tower and I love it. Over the years I've been back and forth with Apple and Windows with an excursion to Amiga (that was the best of all). So I'm no fanboy and go where I think the best is at the time. And I sold my 27" late-2009 iMac because it was taking up too much space after I bought my dual-screen Win 10 machine. But since I have so many Apple apps and develop games for Mac and iPad I still needed an Apple. The money I got for my iMac bought the Mini. The Mini died and the guy who bought my iMac is happily iMacing away.

    I never had luck with used stuff. But on the other hand I never got a lemon when I stick to new stuff.
     
  7. Osty macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Location:
    Melbourne, AU
    #7
    I don't like Windows all that much but I totally understand your position. Whatever advantage OS X and the Mac ecosystem had has long gone and the walled garden is starting to look like a prison. Performance-wise, Windows and Linux have been a lot better for a long time and when you can put these operating systems on hardware thats cheaper, modular and more reliable it makes for a better experience.

    Like you, I've got a handful of Mac-centric apps that I like to use, and I own an iPad but for the most part, I try to keep my document formats as agnostic as possible so I don't get locked in.
     
  8. borgusio macrumors regular

    borgusio

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2011
    #8
    As owner of an i7 with AMD6630, 16 GB RAM and 1TB Fusion drive, I can just say that this was and is My best ever Mac.
    Powerful and reliable since five years and still on top of the most recent minis.

    Worth the risk - I was not aware of it to be honest.
     
  9. borostef, Mar 13, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2016

    borostef macrumors 6502

    borostef

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2012
    Location:
    Zagreb, Croatia
    #9
    I have a 2011. i5 Mini with AMD6630 for more then 4 years now and never had any problems with it.
    My friend works in a local Apple repair shop and he says that the Minis are by far the most reliable Mac computers.
    He didn't see any 2011. Mini dedicated GPU failures at all... That is only from his experience, but I think it says something about the Mini...
     
  10. richmlow macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    #10
    Hi r6mile,


    Here are my specs:

    Mac Mini (Mid 2011)
    2.5 GHz Intel Core i5
    8 GB RAM
    AMD Radeon HD 6630M (256 MB VRAM)
    OS X 10.11.4 (Public Beta 6)

    I bought the machine (brand new) and have not had any problems with it. It's been rock-solid. The Mac Mini is used for surfing the internet, playing games, watching movies, playing music, web-page design, scientific computing (running custom-designed Mathematica programs), and typesetting research articles (LaTex).

    Sincerely,
    richmlow


     
  11. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000

    Santabean2000

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    #11
    Another 2011 user here, no issues whatsoever with the dGPU (*touches wood*)

    Fitted mine with 8GB RAM and an SSD+1Tb 7200rpm. Been running day and night for years with very few restarts.
     
  12. Osty macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Location:
    Melbourne, AU
    #12
    Likewise, I upgrade mine to 8GB a couple of weeks ago - it's like a new machine again. Sucks that OS X has become such a RAM hog, but with 8GB, all my complaints around performance have gone away.

    Next upgrade with be dual SSDs :)
     
  13. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #13
    My 2011 i5 Mac Mini is running Server and sharing iTunes music and video media, shared file server, and household TimeMachine backup server. It has a pair of 2TB hard disks in RAID-0 for file and media sharing, and a 12 TB ThunderBay IV RAID-5 for backup storage. It also drives a local TV for watching movies. Running 24/7 with no problems so far ...
     
  14. aidanpendragon macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2005
    #14
    I also have the i7 model and have been running it since 2012 (when I bought it lightly used), with moderate Handbrake runs and Windows gaming that pushed the fans to max for hours. No problems so far. That said, I just loaded TG Pro and am finding that when the processor heats up, so does the GPU...even for non-graphics jobs like Handbrake.

    So, buyer beware as on any five year old machine, I guess, but no inherent problems with the 2011 in my experience.
     
  15. StoneJack macrumors 6502a

    StoneJack

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2009
    #15
    I think it might be heat issue.
    The too small case and overworked GPU plus actively used hard drive are not good combo.
     
  16. Osty macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Location:
    Melbourne, AU
    #16
    I thought this too, but you'd have to serious pound the thing to raise the temps for any sustained period of time. The only time my mini gets hot is running handbrake/ffmpeg (i.e. transcoding) or gaming both of which I only do occasionally. For typical desktop, development and server use it runs cool and quiet.
     
  17. dogslobber macrumors 68020

    dogslobber

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2014
    Location:
    Apple Campus, Cupertino CA
    #17
    Radeon has a terrible reputation for video chips by the sounds of it. Dare I say that integrated Intel chips have been our salvation? Never thought I'd says something so positive about Intel in my lifetime.
     
  18. Osty macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 15, 2008
    Location:
    Melbourne, AU
    #18
    They have their fanboys - just like AMD's CPUs - but they are in the minority and for good reason. I've read some suggest their GPU hardware is better than Nvidia but it's their drivers that let them down. As a Linux user too, I've had nothing but pain with Radeon cards. If they had half a brain they'd completely open source their stack - apart from price it's the only means by which they can compete with Intel (who beats them on platform support and power usage) and Nvidia (who beat them on performance, and platform support)

    Intel GPUs have few saving graces, but they are very compelling. They are light on power use (great for laptops), the are great for video playback and their drivers are open source (great for Linux). They are good enough to accelerate a desktop environment and they are fine for casual and older generation gaming.
     
  19. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #19
    Honestly I'd avoid the 2011 just because USB 2.0 is so slow, and I rely quite a bit on external drives.

    Sure, the dedicated GPU was good for its time, but the 2014 integrated GPU has caught up and is roughly equivalent, so the 2011 is no longer the fastest GPU Mini.
     
  20. Osty macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Location:
    Melbourne, AU
    #20
    For the odd times I need to do large, sustained transfers to USB 3 storage, I use a TB to USB adapter.

    I agree though, given a choice today, USB 3.0 and a better GPU would be the deciding factor if I was buying a new box. That said, if I want a better GPU in a smallish form factor, I won't be looking at anything that Apple currently offers so the point is moot!
     
  21. CUDA_Switch macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2015
    #21
    I had a 2011 BTO dual-core i7 Mini with the dGPU for about 4 years until I sold it. It had two spinner internal HDDs and I didn't bother upgrading the RAM from the stock 4 GB. There were times when I worked that machine pretty hard with Handbrake. So I'd say if any Mini should have had problems with heat, it would have been that one, but for me it was rock-solid reliable. Maybe it helped that I stored it vertically in one of the NewerTech stands, but in my experience it was a great machine. These days, I would consider buying one but only if the price was right since USB 2.0 is kind of a bummer. Anybody know whether the dGPU model is well supported on Linux?
     
  22. lympero macrumors 6502a

    lympero

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2008
    Location:
    Arta, Greece
    #22
    Using one the last 5 years. No problems so far
     
  23. Osty macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Location:
    Melbourne, AU
    #23
    UPDATE: My 2011 Mini with the AMD GPU failed late last year - just a few months out of Apple care. Been applying salt and pepper to my hat and swearing royally at Apple.
     
  24. borgusio macrumors regular

    borgusio

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2011
    #24
    That's sad. Mine is still in Perfect shape... Which model did you own?
     
  25. Osty macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Location:
    Melbourne, AU
    #25
    The 2011 model with the i5 CPU, 4gb ram and the AMD GPU.
     

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