28 yr PC veteran switching to MAC! Have questions, please help!

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Moviespeeder, Feb 28, 2015.

  1. Moviespeeder macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2015
    #1
    Hi,

    I've be a Windows PC guy for 28 years now so I'm a little nervous jumping into the Mac world. I've been using iPhone's & iPad's almost since their release and love apple products, I now would like to have everything (computer/iphone/ipad) work together seamlessly. My family owns iphones & ipads, however I've never even touched or used a Mac computer. My wife will also be purchasing a Mac Air soon to replace her laptop PC. I do consider myself somewhat of an expert PC user and have a specific way I have things setup and I'd like to try and keep some of that moving into the Mac world.

    I use utorrent to download some of my shows and I use Plex server and Plex Home Theater to view my TV shows & Movies, I also use JRiver to play my music. I have checked and all those programs are available to Mac users. I was considering purchasing the mid range Mac Mini 2014 and an Airport Extreme or Airport Time Capsule. So this is where my dilemma is, I've done lots of digging around this site and the internet and have had many questions answered except I cannot decide on these questions.

    Mac Mini 2.6Ghz:
    Should I go with the 256GB PCIe or the 1 TB option. I currently own several SSD drives, all 4 of my PC's I have now all have SSD drives so I could never bare to go back with a mechanical HDD for my OS. I know I can replace the 1 TB with a SSD but then I void warranty and I'm fuzzy on whether its straight plug and play for the SSD I think it needs to connected via some other way internally. Also I've read the PCIe SSD is faster than SATA SSD, how much fast I don't know and would I notice a significant difference in speed between PCEi vs SATA?

    Airport Extreme or Time Capsule:
    I understand the function of Time Capsule however I currently am in complete control of what gets backed up and it's all done manually which sometimes can be a pain in the rear. I like the automation of Time Capsule but can I use the remaining space (2Tb) to store my tv shows and movies to stream from the Time Capsule using Plex Server on my Mac Mini? I could probably condense my data to under 2 TB as the 3 TB Tim Capsule is out of my price range. It's very important to me that I'm able to use Plex server on my mac mini so that all other devices in house can access my content. Would it be cheaper to use the Extreme with an external HDD, I currently own 3x 3.5 HHD. I also have a 4 bay enclosure USB 3.0 I don't know if I could connect that to the Airport Extreme and it read ALL 4 drives? I really don't need all that space as I've condensed things down. I do know I will need at least 2-3 TB of storage to hold my tv shows, music, and movies. Will a Ext HDD connected via Airport Extreme transfer as fast as a Time Capsule with its internal HDD?

    I forgot to mention if the Mac mini is only a 256gb PCIe then wouldn't I only require 256GB of the 2 TB for back and use the remaining space for tv shows and movies?

    Thanks in advance for any help! :apple:
     
  2. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    #2
    Changing the hdd does not void warranty.

    ----------

    There is a somewhat noticeable difference with pcie, but not for your described usage.
    In fact if you are just using the mini for streaming and downloading, even a regular hdd could work fine.
     
  3. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #3
    It voids the warranty in the case of the 2014 Mac Minis.
     
  4. Moviespeeder thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Feb 28, 2015
    #4
    Thanks Meister. Yes, streaming and downloading but also want fast boot up times and opening apps, etc. Do you have any input on the Airport Extreme vs Time Capsule? Do you think one would do better than the other to store tv shows, moves, music and stream via plex server? I'm wondering if the Time Capsule is just a cleaner looking (less cables, enclosure, etc) but more expensive option. I know the hdd can be upgraded in the TC but again it'll void warranty, although I doubt I'd need 4 TB.
     
  5. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    #5
    How does apple know that you opened the mini?

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    In that case I'd recommend a BTO ssd or fusion drive.

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    No. I use neither.
     
  6. marclondon macrumors regular

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    London
    #6
    A happy compromise would be the Fusion option giving you a a 128 PCI plus a lot of HDD storage - then you don't have to worry about opening it up. Otherwise I'd go with the 256GB PCI and not try and install older SSDs. It's time to move on and I'd only put those SSDs in an older Mac Mini.

    But hurry - after 28 years there's no time to lose.

    M.
     
  7. Moviespeeder thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Feb 28, 2015
    #7
    LOL, very funny marclondon.

    I think I will go with the 256GB PCI. I'll stream from a TC or Extreme, need to figure which is better for me. I heard the TC is a cleaner looking but more expensive solution.

    :)
     
  8. marclondon macrumors regular

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    #8
    Have a look on your refurb store - there may be a good price on that config.

    M.
     
  9. Moviespeeder thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Feb 28, 2015
    #9
    Yes I was considering a refurb. I guess they're just as good as new? I haven't looked into seeing if they have different warranty terms for refurb. Not sure if it's really worth saving the extra 15% or so it comes out to.
     
  10. ixxx69 macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    Personally I would stick with the "pure" SSD, and considering you're very used to SSD-based computers, I think you'll be happier with that.

    The USB port on the Extreme and TC is still, unbelievably, USB2. I tried this setup myself, briefly, but I found it too slow for my preference.

    Between the TC and the Extreme, the TC is probably the way to go. However, sharing your backup drive with your media library sounds fraught with potential issues. I would suggest keeping those separate.

    Have you considered just attaching external drives directly to the Mini?
     
  11. Moviespeeder thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Feb 28, 2015
    #11
    Yes I have decided to stick with SSD only.

    It's ridiculous they use a USB2 yet it has wireless AC, haven't done the exact math but off top of my head seems far off for transfer rates. Sharing with media with backup, that's a question I've been wondering so your saying I could have issues then that's off the table. I could plug an external HDD to the TC.

    Why do you say the TC would probably be the way to go? Would it backup ALL my apple devices? iPads, iPhones, Mac Air, Mac Mini?
     
  12. ixxx69 macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    What I meant was that the TC would be the way to go (versus an Extreme w/ an attached HDD) if you know you either want to backup to the TC, or use it to store files (the reason being because of the slow USB2 performance of the Extreme).

    If you just need a router, and have a different solution for the backups/storage, then the Extreme would obviously make more sense.

    Just my 2 cents though, without knowing every detail about your planned usage.
     
  13. scottsjack macrumors 68000

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    #13
    I've been using a current gen 3TB Time Capsule since they came out. I use if for both my Mac Pro and MacBook Pro. For awhile I was also using it for my mini. All three were using in 960GB Crucial M500s with about 600GB max on them.

    Swap an iTunes or iPhoto file from one computer to the other and the Time Capsule gets full surprisingly fast.

    Note that Time Machine can automatically backup other drives too so if you get a 256 or 512GB mini you can include an external media drive for backup. For simplicity's sake you could get a 2TB Fusion Drive and call it quits. A 3TB Time Capsule would handle that unless you swap a lot of media in and out frequently.

    Personally, I am one of those crazy RAM lovers. I would get at least a 512GB SSD, 16GB RAM and an i7. Most likely that would be overkill for your purposes. I re-purpose computers so often that I get lots of RAM and i7 or Zeon CPUs.
     
  14. Gjwilly macrumors 68030

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    #14
    Same warranty as new.
    And there's been quite a few people who've reported receiving a better computer than the one they ordered. I wouldn't bank on it or anything but it's a nice little bonus when it happens.
     
  15. loby, Mar 1, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2015

    loby macrumors 6502a

    loby

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    #15
    Note if you put in your own SSD. If you use a third party SSD and not purchase an Apple expensive SSD, you may be limited to using OS X Mavericks and not the new OS X Yosemite. You will need to download "Trim Enabler" to get the most out of the SSD and set the program to "Check on boot" to make sure it is on when you boot the system.

    Apple has made it impossible to add a third party SSD in OS X Yosemite UNLESS you disable a security feature to allow third party SSDs to work. OS X Mavericks is a good OS X unless you want the "looks" of the more modern OS X. But if you are a Windows Vet, then it may not make a difference which OS X you use. Just as long as you exist the PC world (Egypt) and come to the promise land. Though I think Windows 8.1 is decent (compared to critics) while Windows 10 so far seems to make the user dependent fully on it skynet iCloud "big brother watching-controlling" thing for just general functions - rely on interaction with Microsoft servers to function - goal of Microsoft since Vista.... The Apple environment is still not Apple company depended (yet) and a breath of fresh air.

    I was a guy who worked in the PC field for many moons since Windows 1.0 and got sick of configuring PCs to make them work. OS X is heaven if you are tired of messing with system issues to get your programs to work and do what you intended to do instead of having to mess with the system to get it to work. In all practical applications, Mac products "Just Work" and when we get older, that is what we really desire.
     
  16. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    #16
    This post expresses exactly how I feel. Thank god for :apple:
     
  17. Johnlpi macrumors member

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    Feb 17, 2015
    #17
    It's how I feel as well. Windows 8 just pushed me over the edge; it's a rather schizophrenic GUI that doesn't know weather it's a tablet or a PC and is rather cumbersome to use.

    To the OP: Get a Time Machine. It has ac for wireless as do the new mini's.

    If your concerned about speed, I have a 2014 mini now w/ Fusion and it just takes a few seconds to boot; apps start w/ only a bounce or two from the dock, web pages in Safari loads fast, and overall the system is quite responsive.
     
  18. marclondon macrumors regular

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    #18
    I've got Windows 8.1 and XP running as virtual machines on my Mac - I'm a very experienced computer user and I can say that Windows 8 is about the most baffling, horrendously unusable system ever to come my way.

    M.
     
  19. Crosscreek, Mar 1, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2015

    Crosscreek macrumors 68030

    Crosscreek

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    #19
    You will definitely enjoy The Mac experience after that long on a PC. I did the same thing when Win 8 came out and was a PC user since the late 80s although I started on an Apple 2 in college.

    You made the right choice in going SSD. I can not comment on the Air Port router. I use a Asus router that was supplied by T Mobile that works very well for my iPhone. I understand that the Air Ports work very well with an all Apple household.

    I don't use Time Machine for back up on my Mac. I have an app called Super Duper that clones my SSD to a HD each night so if something happens to the SSD, I will always have a bootable exact copy to work from. I prefer it to Time Machine only because I would not have to wait to restore the drive.

    Good luck and enjoy a non stress OS.
     
  20. marclondon macrumors regular

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    #20
    I do the same with SuperDuper. I've also started a Time Machine back-up onto a partition on the 1TB HDD I've retained in the Mini. On the 2012 i7 with an SSD it runs with little overhead. I actually used it yesterday to get a file I'd accidentally overwritten. This is what we in Britain call belt and braces.

    M.
     
  21. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #21
    [[ Should I go with the 256GB PCIe or the 1 TB option. I currently own several SSD drives, all 4 of my PC's I have now all have SSD drives so I could never bare to go back with a mechanical HDD for my OS ]]

    In that case, there is no "option".
    You need to get either a "straight" SSD -or- the 1tb "fusion" drive (which is actually TWO drives "melded together": a 128gb SSD and a 1tb HDD).
    The fusion drive offers about 75-80% of the overall speed of a regular SSD, but you get much more storage space for your money. In fact, the 1tb fusion drive option is, I believe, actually about 1.125tb of storage space. Others may jump in to correct me.

    You WILL NOT be satisfied with the performance of having only a platter-based HDD drive in the Mini. Don't even consider this.

    [[ Airport Extreme or Time Capsule ? ]]

    I'd suggest the Airport Extreme.
    For backups I suggest using an external HDD (perhaps two if backing up the wife's computer as well).
    I prefer CarbonCopyCloner to create bootable backups, but most folks use Time Machine (which I never cared for).

    Something else to consider:
    Before your wife settles on the MacBook Air, have her take a good, long look at the retina MacBook Pro line. Not much $$ more, but a big "step upwards".

    Regarding the transition from Mac to PC, perhaps this is in your plans already, but I would advise keeping the PC's set up and available for several months while you get settled in with the Macs. This way, if you get flummoxed with something on the Mac, you can walk right over to the PC, and get things done there...
     
  22. marclondon macrumors regular

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    #22
    You can split Fusion drives to behave like two separate drives.

    M.
     
  23. Celerondon macrumors 6502a

    Celerondon

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    #23
    Yes you can split them. However, if you split the Fusion Drive you end up with a small drive and a slow drive. The smaller SSD is fast and the slower HDD is large but no one volume exists with both positive qualities in one unit.
     
  24. Gjwilly macrumors 68030

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    #24

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