2012 or 2014 Mac Mini?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by dandeco, Mar 14, 2015.

  1. dandeco macrumors 6502

    Dec 5, 2008
    Since a couple years ago, my local Best Buy has started selling Macs. However they're kind of slow when it comes to getting new models. They're still selling some 2012 Mac Minis for the time being, and I've saved up almost enough to buy a Mac Mini desktop for my room. Now this begs the question...

    Should I buy a new-condition 2012 Mac Mini, or go with the new 2014 Mac Mini? (I'm eyeing the $699 model.)

    There are factors I am pointing out. I already have a 20" Apple Cinema Display (2004 model), an Apple Magic Mouse and an older Apple Bluetooth keyboard. I use them with my 2009 MacBook in "desktop" mode. The 2012 Mini comes with an HDMI-to-DVI adapter, but the 2014 Mini doesn't, and this adapter coming with the 2012 model can make for a very convenient extra without having to pay more.
    The 2012 Mini models come with 4 GB of RAM as standard, but this has the RAM easily upgradeable, unlike the 2014 models and their soldered-on RAM. And if I am not satisfied with the hard drive, it can be replaced on the 2012 model, though it takes a little work. IDK how easy it is on a 2014 Mini, though.
    The 2012 models also have a FireWire 800 port, so I just simply have to buy a 400-to-800 adapter for most uses (like when using it with my Apple Cinema Display's FireWire hub), instead of splurging for a FireWire-to-Thunderbolt adapter as well.

    If I get the $599 Mac Mini 2012 model, I also save a hundred bucks compared to buying the $699 2014 model.

    Any thoughts?
  2. Micky Do, Mar 14, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2015

    Micky Do macrumors 68000

    Micky Do

    Aug 31, 2012
    An island in the Andaman Sea.
    2012 for connectivity to legacy gear……

    But how much life is left in that 2004 Apple Cinema display?

    Late last year I replaced a 2005 vintage monitor that was on its way out. For not much more than 1/3 of what I paid in 2005, I got something that is bigger and better…… and more energy efficient.

    2014 for up to date connectivity and functionality, and more years of support going ahead.

    RAM is neither here nor there.

    The new model comes with 8 GB, which should be more than enough for most needs going ahead. The days of exponentially increasing RAM requirements for OS X and apps are probably behind us. You can order 16 GB RAM if you feel you are going to need it.

    The 2012 model comes with 4 GB of RAM, which even now is adequate for basic needs (that is all the base model Mini comes with). It can be upgraded to 8, 12, or 16 GB if you so desire……
  3. richmlow macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2002
    Hi dandeco,

    Depending on what you will be doing on your Mac Mini, both models have their pros and cons. What will you be doing on it?

    My current platform is the following:

    Mac Mini (Mid 2011)
    2.5 GHz Intel Core i5
    8 GB RAM
    AMD Radeon HD 6630M (discrete GPU, 256 VRAM)
    OS X Yosemite (10.10.2)
    500 GB Hard Drive

    It is rock-solid and very reliable. I use it for web-surfing, movie-watching, web-design, "older" games, LaTeX typesetting, Mathematica programming, and scientific computing.

    Of course, my next Mac will be an updated Mac Pro! =)


  4. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    Just a prediction:

    You -will not- be happy with the mid-range 2014 Mini UNLESS you order it with the optional 1tb fusion drive (instead of the 1tb HDD).

    It's "a matter of speed"....
  5. dandeco thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 5, 2008
    I'm thinking if I get the 2012 Mini, I can later replace the hard drive with a 1 TB Fusion drive.
    I can edit video pretty well on my mid-2009 MacBook, even HD video (though it helps that I upgraded the RAM to 6 GB.) So I shouldn't have much of a problem doing so on the $599 2012 Mac Mini, especially when I upgrade the RAM to 8 GB.
  6. Celerondon macrumors 6502a


    Oct 17, 2013
    Southern Cal
    For Video Use A Quad Core i7 > FD or SSD or 8Gb RAM

    With the 2012, delaying your Fusion Drive upgrade might be practical. Does Best Buy have any i7 minis available? If you start with a basic 4Gb RAM i7 mini then you can upgrade the memory and storage later.
  7. bobtennis, Mar 15, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2015

    bobtennis macrumors member

    Jul 8, 2013
    Seems your plans to upgrade has decided for you

    Hi Dandeco, In reviewing your comments, it seems you may be happier with the much easier to upgrade 2012 Mini. Adding a Fusion drive, more memory, and connectivity to your current peripherals is much more easily accomplished with the 2012 model than the 2014 model where you cannot easily remove the base, update RAM, add additional internal drives, make intermittent upgrades (e.g. add fusion or additional drive later, or go to 8 gb RAM now and say 16 gb later), etc.

    Performance wise, although they may benchmark differently, I doubt you will notice any real world perceptible difference in response between the 2014/2012 base Minis, either one is more than adequate for most tasks you will do (including editing photos if you choose). You are probably already aware, from others, if you do heavy audio/video editing, the Quad core is faster. But real world everyday tasks either 2012/2014 base will perform more than adequately, and will seem MUCH faster when you finally upgrade to an SSD or Fusion drive.

    I doubt either version will fare differently in terms of "future proofing", and both will have years of service life before becoming obsolete.

    In my opinion, I would prefer the 2012 Mini over the 2014 because of all the restrictive changes Apple made to the machine in terms of user access and upgrade ablity, I think it is a mistake made by Apple to put these obstacles in the path of the owner who is curious about seeing how the computer looks and works, and may want to tinker a bit to make it better. It seems totally contradictory to the concepts of the original Apple, which had many expansion bays to add cards to do anything the user needed to add to improve functionality. But, that is only my opinion, others may differ from my view. You don't HAVE to upgrade this, or any, computer if you don't want to, but I would like to be the one making the choice for me, not Apple.

    In summary, the 2012 has more user expansion potential without real sacrifice in performance from the 2014 model (yes, there are differences and upgrades, no, they are not critical to most in terms of real utility). It appears from your comments this may be desirable for you. Follow your instincts in making your choice. Either way, the Mini is a great computer, and the base models you are considering meet most people's needs handily.

    Good luck on your choice! Either model will give you a really good computing experience!

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6 March 14, 2015