2014 Cheapest Mini Not Bad

BackToMac2017

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 30, 2017
7
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I was a Mac user from 2007 until late 2009. I loved OS X but Apple screwed me over so I sold my MacBook, MacBook Pro, iMac, and iPhone. I was pretty unhappy with Apple and refused to buy their products again. Last September I finally bought an Apple product... an iPhone (6S Plus) and I've been very, very happy with it.

Best Buy had (maybe it's still going on) an Apple sale and had the mini for $399. On top of that they had an open box discounted to $355 so I bought one. I was pretty worried about how slow it would be but it isn't that bad. I used it for a few hours before hooking it up to an external USB 3.0 240GB SSD I had laying around, which is now what I'm running off from. 4GB of non-upgradeable memory sucks, but I really don't notice it (SSD helps). I usually have Mail, Safari, and KeePassX open. I run other apps (Xamarin, iTunes, Pages) but I close them when I'm done with them. It's pretty nice hooked up to my 32" 1080p Samsung TV. I have an Xbox One for some gaming, but I did try World of Warcraft (I can't help but always test that game when I get new computers) and at 1080p on pretty low settings it's definitely playable.. maybe not in a raid or in battlegrounds though. I was actually surprised I could play it at all.

Overall I think $355 was an ok price, I wouldn't have paid $499 for it. Hopefully they'll keep the mini's going and make them upgradeable again.
 

Count Blah

macrumors 68040
Jan 6, 2004
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US of A
If it had 8gigs of RAM, it wouldn't be horrible, as long as you could run off of external SSD.

But it doesn't, so it's on the razors edge already.
 

BenTrovato

macrumors 68030
Jun 29, 2012
2,849
1,869
Canada
If it had 8gigs of RAM, it wouldn't be horrible, as long as you could run off of external SSD.

But it doesn't, so it's on the razors edge already.
I agree. Although on razor's edge is generous, I think it's already fallen off the cliff with those specs.
 

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
4,195
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New Jersey Pine Barrens
I have one for an iTunes server. It's absolutely fine for that (just runs iTunes with Home sharing 24/7). Seems especially slow for anything else, programs take forever to open and I don't think that is completely the fault of the slow internal drive. I think it takes almost 15 seconds to open System Preferences for example. I'm sure the external SSD helps a lot though, I setup a base 2012 mini with a 500gb Samsung T3 SSD boot drive and it felt very responsive. However I also upgraded that machine to 16gb (cost $65 and took a few minutes). But even in the stock 4gb/500gb HD configuration, the 2012 base mini certainly felt faster than the base 2014.

OTOH, it's a new Mac and it only cost $355. Hard to argue with that! :D
 

BackToMac2017

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 30, 2017
7
6
I think it takes almost 15 seconds to open System Preferences for example.
That's what I kept reading which initially scared me off from buying it but then I saw a YouTube video about installing it on an external SSD so I figured I would get around that problem. But on the internal hard drive System Preferences, Safari, and Mail opened quickly for me. I didn't notice any abnormal performance issues during the few hours I used it that way. Apple must have fixed whatever the problem was. It didn't come with Yosemite like the Best Buy description said it would, but I don't remember if it was Sierra or El Capitan.
 

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
4,195
1,875
New Jersey Pine Barrens
Mine is on El Capitan, which is what it shipped with when I got it last summer. Just did a quick test, iTunes is the only program running on it, currently playing music. It took 10 seconds to open System Preferences, 5 seconds to open Safari (just the browser window, not including page loading on my very slow DSL connection). But obviously some caching is involved here, because I quit both programs and opened them again. Only took 5 seconds to open System Preferences again, and just 2 seconds to open Safari.

I'm sure many people will find this fine, and for a $400 Mac it's OK. However I used a 2012 base model Mini for two years as an iTunes server and then replaced it with the 2014 so I could re-purpose the 2012. After a few minutes with the 2014 I remember exclaiming "wow, this thing is really slow". ;)

I'm sure the SSD makes it a much better experience, it made a big difference on my 2012. But of course that is not included in the cost of the base model. Apple should include an internal 256gb SSD on the base model, that would help a lot and the internal bus is much faster than USB 3.0, so it would also provide a fast swap disk to minimize the issues with 4gb of RAM.
 

dogslobber

macrumors 68040
Oct 19, 2014
3,476
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Apple Campus, Cupertino CA
I was pretty worried about how slow it would be but it isn't that bad. I used it for a few hours before hooking it up to an external USB 3.0 240GB SSD I had laying around, which is now what I'm running off from. 4GB of non-upgradeable memory sucks, but I really don't notice it (SSD
I don't think TRIM is usable on a USB device but I could be wrong. If it is the case then use the SSD for boot and apps (read only) and use internal drive for data. Nowadays, 4GB has no future proofing, imo.