Advice on buying a Mac Mini.

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by lefhandit, Jun 15, 2014.

  1. lefhandit macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2014
    #1
    I will be purchasing a Mac Mini and I wanted to ask you guys whats the lowest possible year I should be looking at to purchase.Here are my wants.

    1) I already have a laptop but I will need to do some occasional web browsing and online school work (online test, Microsoft Office etc) when my son is using my laptop on weekends.
    2) I want to use it ass a media center. I will be using XBMC, Hbo Go, and downloading torrents.
    3) I want to play Roms from Sega,Nintendo,etc and button map my 360 controller.

    I'm trying to get find the most cost effective one possible. My budget is 200-400. Thanks to all that help.
     
  2. macs4nw macrumors 601

    macs4nw

    #2
    Unless you're in a hurry, sit tight. Upgrades to the MacMini are expected sometime later this year, which will put a bit of downward pressure price-wise, on all models that came before, in addition to the likelihood of the 'used market' being flooded with older models, due to many 'upgraders', lowering prices for used ones even more.
     
  3. thedeske macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2013
    #3
    Unfortunately (for your budget) the Mini holds value quite well.
    The only way I know to determine price is to scan ebay auctions
    and watch a few. Even faster is to tag Buy It Now and see the average,
    than you'll know. iMacs and Minis are always in high demand for good reason.
     
  4. Jambalaya macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    My late 2009 Mini will do all you want and run the latest OSX software (although not all features are supported eg full screen sharing to ATV but all the important ones are). As above Mini's hold their value very well. You should look for the newest model you can get, 4GB RAM min or allow a bit for an upgrade (ideally to 8). Base processor is fine (see my comment about point 3 though). Easy to add external storage. Not sure about your point 3) others will have to help you there.
     
  5. Kentuckienne macrumors regular

    Kentuckienne

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2013
    Location:
    No>me<where
    #5
    I went through the same anguish, and found that for a couple hundred bucks or so I could get an older dual-core machine or very old iMac. A refurb with full warranty was going for 500-600. Some of the older machines are PPC, not Intel - at the very least, don't buy any machine that can't run Lion. I don't know what emulator you prefer - you need to be running Lion or greater to compile OpenEmu on the Mac.
     
  6. lefhandit thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2014
    #6
    Openemu was the one I was looking at. Thanks.
     
  7. El Hikaru macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2013
    #7
    I had been thinking the cheapest model you can buy from refurbished has the highest value. That should be around $500.
    It is over budget but I however still recommend you to buy the above mentioned criteria because that is the sweet spot.
    If you wanna step out from the sweet spot line, the value sharply fall for, say, only $75 of $50 less money.
    I don't want you to buy a junk for $300. $300 is something.

    Core duo was an excellent chip compared to the whatever CUP I used to use for playing the original Tetris. The third or even 2nd general i5 is remarkably fine CPU compared to core duo or pentium.
    You can still buy a whole computer with only $500 or so in this second decade of the 21st century. You should take advantage of that.
     
  8. blanka macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    #8
    Most cost effective for your needs is a DIY system based on an Intel J1900 board. It is as fast as a Core2Duo 3Ghz, yet a complete machine with it costs like 150 bucks. And emulators are way better on Windows.
    For Mini's: grab a 2009 mini and install the the emulator suite from Richard Bannister and buy his Emulator Enhancer.
    Biggest omitment on OpenEmu is the lack of arcade support. SDL mame is perfect for that.
     
  9. mojolicious macrumors 68000

    mojolicious

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2014
    Location:
    Sarf London
    #9
    Spot on.

    Try and stretch to...
    a) 2012 Apple refurb store
    b) 2012 on second hand market
    c) 2011 on second hand market

    The big difference between 11 and 12 models is the upgrade from USB2 to USB3, and it's really worth trying to find the extra money for the newer model.

    Anything pre-11 is absolutely lousy value.

    Lastly: if a new Mini is introduced, it won't necessarily mean a reduction in the price of the 12 model. If Apple do something stupid to prevent the user from adding/changing hard drives (and possibly even RAM) then I would expect the second hand price of the 12 to actually go above the current new retail price in the short term.
     

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