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Advice? i3,i5,or i7. 128Gb or 256Gb

Dezlboy

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 10, 2008
234
58
Advice appreciated:

My needs are very pedestrian: Browsing, email, word, excel, powerpoint, etc. Often have multiple tabs, and run two applications at once. But no photo editing, video production, etc. 128 Gb is enough. I'm using 70 GB now...at most. I don't see needing more.

Why I am asking. Just realized that if one clicks on the LEFT Mini, there is the 128Gb option. Click on RIGHT side, only 256 Gb. (Pretty obvious now). I have ordered i5 w/256Gb cause thought was only SSD choice. But, an i7 w/128GB is same price. The i5 only available with 256GB SSD. However, price isn't critical..... Any order will have 16 Gb RAM. Not comfortable installing RAM myself.

My thoughts: I can always upgrade storage with external SSD. Can't upgrade processor. Also, will an i3 be more than adequate? Concerned about future proofing as new OS and programs only increase their processor requirements. I've been unable to install various new OS and other programs (TurboTax). Is i7 way overkill?

Note: my current Mini is a 2009. My monitor likely be Dell P2415Q. And, may add a second Dell.
Screen Shot 2019-03-14 at 7.47.38 AM.png


Thanks!
 
Last edited:

brentsg

macrumors 68040
Oct 15, 2008
3,516
891
Advice appreciated:

My needs are very pedestrian: Browsing, email, word, excel, powerpoint, etc. Often have multiple tabs, and run two applications at once. But no photo editing, video production, etc. 128 Gb is enough. I'm using 70 GB now...at most. I don't see needing more.

Why I am asking. Just realized that if one clicks on the LEFT Mini, there is the 128Gb option. Click on RIGHT side, only 256 Gb. (Pretty obvious now). I have ordered i5 w/256Gb cause thought was only SSD choice. But, an i7 w/128GB is same price. The i5 only available with 256GB SSD. However, price isn't critical..... Any order will have 16 Gb RAM. Not comfortable installing RAM myself.

My thoughts: I can always upgrade storage with external SSD. Can't upgrade processor. Also, will an i3 be more than adequate? Concerned about future proofing as new OS and programs only increase their processor requirements. I've been unable to install various new OS and other programs (TurboTax). Is i7 way overkill?

Note: my current Mini is a 2009. My monitor likely be Dell P2415Q. And, may add a second Dell.
View attachment 826310

Thanks!

The i3 would more than meet these needs. You probably wouldn't be able to pick between the 3 in a blind test with this use case.
 
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nouveau_redneck

macrumors 6502a
Sep 16, 2017
551
867
Given your usage, I think the i5 with 256 might be the better choice. Unless you significantly change your processing needs, i5 will completely suffice, and even though you only use ~70GB drive space now, drive space needs can and do change for future OS upgrades, more picture storage, etc. I see outgrowing drive space more likely than processor power.
 
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harriska2

macrumors 65816
Mar 16, 2011
1,324
668
Oregon
If you can spend the money and won't miss it, the i5 with 256. If money is a bit tight, the i3 with 128. I have the i5 with 8 gb ram and I do photo editing and a bit of Final Cut Pro and, surprisingly, 8 gb ram is plenty so far. How weird is that. Plus if you need more ram down the road you can add it.

You also might be able to get a refurb i3 easier as people were buying them to "test" and returning them for custom order later.
 
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brentsg

macrumors 68040
Oct 15, 2008
3,516
891
Given your usage, I think the i5 with 256 might be the better choice. Unless you significantly change your processing needs, i5 will completely suffice, and even though you only use ~70GB drive space now, drive space needs can and do change for future OS upgrades, more picture storage, etc. I see outgrowing drive space more likely than processor power.

If browsing and office apps aren't appropriate for the i3 then it's for nobody.

I have one in a SFF PC case and people are underestimating it. I mean it's within 10% of the old Xeon 6 core Mac Pros that have been workhorses for so many years. Are they old, sure.. but they were also $1000 CPUs that many people are still using for work let alone surfing the web and doing Word.

Agree that if money is abundant then get as much as you can, but the i3's are great.
 
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nouveau_redneck

macrumors 6502a
Sep 16, 2017
551
867
If browsing and office apps aren't appropriate for the i3 then it's for nobody.

I have one in a SFF PC case and people are underestimating it. I mean it's within 10% of the old Xeon 6 core Mac Pros that have been workhorses for so many years. Are they old, sure.. but they were also $1000 CPUs that many people are still using for work let alone surfing the web and doing Word.

Agree that if money is abundant then get as much as you can, but the i3's are great.

I agree with your point on the i3, but Dezelboy mention the i5/256 and the i/7/128 at the same price, and I thought that i5/256 would be the better choice among the two.
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
20,431
7,246
I agree with the above posters who suggested the i5 with 256.
I don't know what your financial situation is, but you might also consider 16gb "from the factory".

That would give the Mini enough "legs" to keep current for, say, 6, 7, or 8 years (at least).
 
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redheeler

macrumors 604
Oct 17, 2014
7,663
7,513
i7 is overkill. I second the i5 + 256 GB option, this should be plenty for many years to come based on the use case.

Nice to see you got almost a decade of use out of your 2009 Mac mini. In my opinion, Macs should be supported on a current MacOS for a full 9-10 years, but Apple instead cuts off some very capable hardware after 7-8 years. Your mini is officially stuck on El Capitan, and developers are already dropping support in newer apps.
 
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Dezlboy

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 10, 2008
234
58
Thank everyone for their advice! For a no-nothing like me :( your information is very valuable.

I've decided on the [[[[DELETE: i5, 16GB, 256SSD (126SSD not available)DELETE]]]]. That seems to be the consensus. A bit more than I need now, but room for "future".....

UPDATE: 20 March 2018....Changed order to i3, 16GB, 128 SSD. For my mundane uses, that is all the computer I need.

Thanks again
 
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harriska2

macrumors 65816
Mar 16, 2011
1,324
668
Oregon
Thank everyone for their advice! For a no-nothing like me :( your information is very valuable.

I've decided on the i5, 16GB, 256SSD (126SSD not available). That seems to be the consensus. A bit more than I need now, but room for "future".....

Thanks again
Good choice. Tell us what you think of it when you get it. :)
 
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ejket

macrumors newbie
Sep 7, 2008
17
3
Canada
I've decided on the i5, 16GB, 256SSD (126SSD not available). That seems to be the consensus. A bit more than I need now, but room for "future".....

That's a pretty solid choice, I think. I would've gone for exactly that except I need Linux in a VM, and so I needed an i7 for that to run smoothly. I got my new Mini on Thursday, and it's a lot more capable than my late 2012 Mini (also an i7 with 16GB RAM).

I think you'll be happy with your new computer.
 
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Dezlboy

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 10, 2008
234
58
That's a pretty solid choice, I think. I would've gone for exactly that except I need Linux in a VM, and so I needed an i7 for that to run smoothly. I got my new Mini on Thursday, and it's a lot more capable than my late 2012 Mini (also an i7 with 16GB RAM).

I think you'll be happy with your new computer.

Ejket, harriska2, I'll report back...curious to see if notice a different with 2018 vice my 2009.
 
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ejket

macrumors newbie
Sep 7, 2008
17
3
Canada
Ejket, harriska2, I'll report back...curious to see if notice a different with 2018 vice my 2009.

To be fair, my 2012 Mini has an HDD, so for me to make an accurate comparison with my new Mini, I'd have to upgrade to an SSD. Yeah, that's the ticket. I'll have to do that right away :)

(I'll probably do it.)
 
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mr.steevo

macrumors 65816
Jul 21, 2004
1,348
818
Concerned about future proofing as new OS and programs only increase their processor requirements. I've been unable to install various new OS and other programs (TurboTax). Is i7 way overkill?

Note: my current Mini is a 2009. My monitor likely be Dell P2415Q. And, may add a second Dell.
View attachment 826310

Thanks!

I figure the original poster has decided on the i5 / 256GB but I did want to address her/his point about future proofing. It is important to note that Apple decides to stop supporting devices based on their year and not on which version of processor you select. The 2018 Mini will be unsupported at the same moment regardless of how much RAM, storage capacity and choice of i3/i5/i7. That's not to say that a more powerful computer won't give you a smoother experience through its lifetime.
 
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tpivette89

macrumors 6502a
Jan 1, 2018
532
283
Middletown, DE
It is important to note that Apple decides to stop supporting devices based on their year and not on which version of processor you select. The 2018 Mini will be unsupported at the same moment regardless of how much RAM, storage capacity and choice of i3/i5/i7. That's not to say that a more powerful computer won't give you a smoother experience through its lifetime.

I agree 100%. I bought the i5 due to this logic. My thinking is that Apple would support this computer until around 2025, and that it would serve my family well for the next 6 years. Didn't need the extra grunt of the i7, as I've been waiting for the 7,1 Mac Pro to be announced, but needed a more powerful modern computer for myself and the family for the future in the meantime.
 
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Dezlboy

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 10, 2008
234
58
UPDATE: reading the recent notes about future proofing, I changed order from i5 to i3, as that is all the computer I will need. Also, the i3 model allowed me to lower SSD to 128GB, which again, fits my needs.

Thanks for the information, mr.steevo and tpivette89.
 
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