Advice Buying Used

JeffreyVB

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 27, 2019
14
6
Va Beach, VA
Looking to update my desktop PC to a Mac Mini. Looking to buy used, with a budget around $300-ish. Any tips on what to look for, what to stay away from? What years/models are best, optimal, or stay away from? Usage will be mostly photo editing, surfing, emails, and work access. Any advice is appreciated!
 

nollimac

macrumors 6502
Oct 10, 2013
276
16
Your budget will determine what you can get which looks like a Mac Mini 2011...increase that to $450 and you could get a Mac Mini 2012. The problem is most for sale usually a seller refurbished with RAM and SSD that drives up prices.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,194
5,543
I would advise that you NOT buy anything older than the 2012 Mini.
Even if you have to spend a little more.
 

iluvmacs99

macrumors regular
Apr 9, 2019
244
114
Looking to update my desktop PC to a Mac Mini. Looking to buy used, with a budget around $300-ish. Any tips on what to look for, what to stay away from? What years/models are best, optimal, or stay away from? Usage will be mostly photo editing, surfing, emails, and work access. Any advice is appreciated!
With that budget, you are probably going to get the 2011 model with 8Gb of ram and 240GB SSD. I have this particular model and for mostly photo editing up to say 20MP file size, it's fine. It starts to bog down when you try to edit 36MP and up file sizes. That's where the 2012 with the Core i7 comes in handy. For surfing, email and work access, the 2011 model is still capable as I'm using my mini for that too. You would need to have a minimum of 8Gb ram and if it comes with a SSD, all the better. The preferable OS for the 2011 Mini is Sierra (10.2.6), but I found that El-Capitan is the sweet spot for the 2011 Mini.

The 2012 Mac Mini Core i7 is the most highly desirable model as it is both fast and a capable machine and is still supported by Apple, so you can keep using it updated for at least a few more years.

I recently scored a rather mint condition Mac Pro 4,1 flashed to 5,1 fully decked out minus the Radeon RX GPU for a cheaper than the 2012 Mac Mini used. Now it doesn't happen often, but the store who sold it to me wanted to clear the last one out so he slashed the price by a big margin. Sometimes, that's what you need to do. Shop and hunt around and if you can get a 2012 for the price of 2011, by all means go for it.

Hope this helps.
 
Last edited:

ancientappleuser

macrumors newbie
May 31, 2019
17
4

JeffreyVB

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 27, 2019
14
6
Va Beach, VA
Thanks for the input. Was thinking 2014 was preferable, and 2012 as the oldest. Other than eBay, are there other decent sites to shop for user Apple gear?
 

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
4,198
1,876
New Jersey Pine Barrens
I know it's above budget, but I think it warrants a look at the bang for buck:
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1086737-REG/apple_mgeq2ll_a_mac_mini_2_8_ghz.html?sts=pi&pim=Y
I just bought one of these for an iTunes server a couple weeks ago and agree it's a lot of bang for the buck. You can split the 128gb SSD from the fusion drive with a simple terminal command and have a fast machine with over 700MB/sec read/write performance.

I see that it's currently selling for $529, which is what I paid for mine. But a week after I purchased, B&H dropped the price to $499. A quick online chat was all it took to get a $30 refund. So, if you do purchase one of these at $529, keep an eye on the price and you might be able to do the same. :)
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Other than eBay, are there other decent sites to shop for user Apple gear?
OWC (MacSales) sells used Macs. Not the same as an Apple refurb, but they have been checked out and have a 90 day warranty. I bought my 2012 quad from them several years ago. It looked like new and has been perfect. Of course, you will pay more than eBay but the warranty is a nice plus. https://eshop.macsales.com/configure-my-mac/mac-mini