Advise about old-gen Mac Pro compared to Mac Mini

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by needaname, Sep 15, 2014.

  1. needaname macrumors newbie

    Sep 8, 2014
    Hey guys,

    I'm willing to buy a new Mac, since my old iMac doesn't work anymore as it should (I sadly had to switch to Windows in the while...).

    Now, I'd really like to get a maxed out Mini:

    • 2,6 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
    • DDR3 SDRAM mit 16 GB und 1600 MHz – 2x 8 GB
    • Fusion Drive or SSD (not sure yet)
    The price for it here in Germany is €1.399.

    While doing some research, I found a new, old-gen Mac Pro (not sure which gen, maybe 2.1?) with the following specs:

    • Intel Quad Core Xeon 2.66GHz
    • 1GB RAM
    • 250GB HDD
    • Geforce 7300GT
    The price is €550.

    Now, how does the processor compare to the maxed out Mac Mini, and how would it cost to upgrade RAM to 16gb, putting an SSD/Hybrid and eventually a new video card?

    Does it support 64-bit?

    I will use the machine for music production.

    Any advise?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. h9826790 macrumors G5


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    That Mini will out perform the Mac Pro 2,1. And that's why is way more expensive than the Mac Pro 2,1.

    For the old Mac Pro, it's better to get a 4,1 or later, much easier and cheaper to upgrade the hardware (e.g. DDR3 RAM is cheaper than DDR2 RAM).

    In your case, you don't need a powerful graphic card, so the mini is good enough. It's quiet, lower power consumption, with all the up to date technology (e.g. USB 3.0, HDMI, etc).

    If you still think about the Mac Pro, you better check how much to get a used 4,1 in Germany, also a 256G SSD, DDR3 RAM, and the CPU as well (W3690 will give you the best performance).
  3. needaname thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 8, 2014
    Thanks for your help. Got it.
  4. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    Keep in mind, though, that the Mini is thermally more restricted. It's near-silent when idling, but the fans ramp up audibly under sustained load (especially with the 2.6 under the hood).

    MacPro has a higher base noise, but keeps less obtrusive under load due to superior cooling.

    Price wise: There are 2012 Mac minis coming up in the Apple refurb store every 2 weeks or so. Getting one of those and adding Ram (~160,-€) and SSD (~370,-€/1TB) yourself should save you a good amount of money.

    I got myself a 2.3 in the recent MediaMarkt NoVAT promo and did exactly that (except that I had a spare SSD already available).
  5. needaname thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 8, 2014
    Sadly there aren't many in the German store.

    Getting a 2.6ghz i7 Mini without adding ram or changing hard drive from the Apple Store would cost 900 EUR.

    In case, is it much cheaper and easy to add my own SSD and RAM?
  6. fuchsdh macrumors 65816


    Jun 19, 2014
    Adding RAM is a snap--just pop the bottom and swap out the old DIMMs for new ones (there are only two slots.)

    The SSD is a bit harder, but there are guides online. You can page through them and see if it's something you're comfortable with. For me it was slightly too dicey for me to want to attempt on a machine I'd like to survive, but if you're more experienced you might not have any qualms (it's not the level of difficulty of iMac or Macbook stuff.)
  7. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    You admittedly have to wait a bit (if you can stretch it a few weeks), but in the recent weeks and months my impression was that minis did show up more often. Unfortunately the "" webpage is not what it used to be, it seems. In the past it allowed you to easily see when a specified Mac model did show up last on the refurb store.

    Minis are highly sought after, so your best bet is to look (very) early in the morning, as they tend to sell out quickly once they're offered.

    Apple asks about 2x the price of free market prices for (comparable or better) quality products.

    As fuchsdh said, changing Ram is pretty straightforward. SSD is a bit more tricky, but it looks worse than it is in reality (check out e.g. this guide from iFixit, steps 1, 2, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12).

    If you want to keep the factory drive (e.g. for storage), you need all steps from the guide linked above and should get a kit which includes all required tools and materials besides the 2nd cable.

    A cheap kit would be this offer on Amazon, but it only supports SATA-3GB/s, which means it gives speed loss or even stability problems with modern SSD's (can be used for a standard spinning drive without problems, though - am using it myself).

    Beware: Normally a mini comes with the stock drive placed in the "lower" bay, i.e. closer to the bottom of the Mini and therefore directly visible when opening the bottom and removing the antenna grate. The kit cable I linked to above is suited for this situation. I have read, though, that newer Minis may have the factory drive installed in the "upper" bay, i.e. closer to the top of the mini. If that's the case, you need a different cable!

    You can also check which bay the factory drive occupies by looking at the drive information in "Systeminformationen" -> "Hardware" -> "SATA/SATA Express" (12th line in the drive infos).
  8. needaname thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 8, 2014

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