Advise: MacMini SSD / Fusion vs iMac SSD / Fusion

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by sitesme, Nov 1, 2014.


Which one is better for performance as a secondary desktop computer?

  1. MacMini with SSD 256GB

  2. MacMini with Fusion Drive 1TB

  3. iMac 21" with SSD 256GB

  4. iMac 21" with Fusion Drive 1TB

  1. sitesme macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2009

    I am thinking to buy either one of the latest models of MacMini or a 21" iMac to work as a desktop.

    I currently use a MacBook Air 80% of my day and simply put: I just love this machine: fast, reliable and... I wouldn't stop here.

    I had an iMac 21" working 24x7 with Plex Media Server installed and I miss it now. I just bought a MacMini last year but... in both situations, I feel it is really slow when I am working on it, when comparing with MBA.

    Therefore, I think the key to be 100% happy is to buy either one of the new MacMini configurations or an iMac but now with a SSD or a Fusion Drive which I believe it's the problem at the moment.

    The MacMini I have has 4GB and an Intel i7 but... it is way too slow. Simply opening Firefox, Chrome and Photoshop, it takes a while just to kick. Same was happening with a 3 years-old iMac that I sold recently, but totally different than the MBA.

    I am 100% sure that I will be buying a Fusion Drive or a SSD - no more regular HDDs... ever. The problem is which machine (Mini or iMac) should I buy and which HDD should I buy?

    My dilemma #1 is: NO, I don't really need 1TB since I have a Thunderbolt 6TB Lacie for space + a few other USB 3 drives. However, an extra internal TB (without cables) may be handy for "stuff".
    In the other hand, I read that SSD is still a beast in terms of performance that Fusion Drive doesn't get close at all, is this really true? Can you really experience / see the real difference between these two technologies?

    My dilemma #2: I got used to have 2 screens and I really like the idea of it. I already have a 23" IPS LED with MacMini. If I buy a MacMini I will be the same model to have the same look / size / resolution. If I buy an iMac it will simply be very different. Nothing that really affected me before with my previous iMac. However, in terms of performance... can MacMini (latest one) beat the iMac 21" in performance? All Mini models I had in the past seem much slower than an iMac with similar specs, is this only in my imagination?

    I guess some of the experts will tell me to go to SSD without looking back... however... should I do it on an iMac or Mini?

    Please share your experiences, preferably if you have a similar situation: i.e. a laptop with pure SSD and a desktop with Fusion Drive, with or without a secondary screen.

    Many thanks.
  2. sitesme thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2009
  3. niteflyr macrumors 6502a

    Nov 29, 2011
    Southern Cal
    The 2012 I7 mini, is in many ways, better than the new model. Just add an SSD to your current mini. Many "how to" threads here on MR. It will really scream.
  4. sitesme thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2009
    I have this Late 2012 Mac Mini config: and I find it VERY slow (not sure if it is the annoying 5400 rpm HDD that is causing it or not).

    So, are you saying this Mini 2012 is better than the new Mini 2014 with the dual-core i7?
  5. niteflyr macrumors 6502a

    Nov 29, 2011
    Southern Cal
    The 2012 I7 is quad core vs dual core I7 in 2014. Better performance for CPU intensive tasks like Handbrake encodes, etc. The SSD makes a big improvement in boot times, program launch times, etc. More than likely, your annoying slowness issues are related to HDD vs SSD. 2012 also has upgradable RAM . 2014 model has soldered RAM. No upgrade possible.
  6. macaron95 macrumors regular

    May 5, 2014
    it's a very good mac mini

    your only problem is to run with 4 gb of RAM, it's not enough

    no surprise that you find it slow

    just replace it by 16 gb and you'll see the difference

    same for the HDD, it's a very slow HDD, just put a SSD yourself

    and in the end, you'll have a bomb on your desk :)
  7. sitesme thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2009
    So... as per my calculations...

    My Mac Mini was about 760 USD
    Crucial MX100 512GB SSD = 224 USD
    Crucial 16GB RAM Kit = 166 USD

    An upgrade of 390 USD will make 1,150 USD total and I still have 2x2GB and a 1TB HDD to sell for cheap or to use for parts.

    A similar new Mac Mini (2014) with an i7, 16 GB RAM and 512 SSD is about 1700 USD
    A "similar" new iMac (2014) with an i7, 16 GB RAM and 512 SSD goes to a crazy 2400 USD

    Obviously the main difference between all specs here is the graphic card... the rest is similar.

    Hands on to find a suitable and reliable company to make the upgrade for me. It will not be easy to be honest based where I am now. I won't dare to open my Mac Mini, I watched the video and there are too many small connectors and sensors to be put in the right place afterwards.

    Thank you so far... I have never considered an upgrade on Mac Mini but I think my mind is shifting towards this change.
  8. scottsjack macrumors 68000

    Aug 25, 2010
    One issue here is that the current mini completely sucks compared to a 12" iMac. The only performance advantage of the mini is the availablilty of a 1TB SSD. On every other performance measurement the mini comes out third in a field of two.

    Whichever you get you might consider getting a Fusion Drive the chief advantage of which seems to be that you getting OEM connections for both drives. Whether you replace the puny Fusion SSD in either machine with a more usable SSD you will still have the OEM SSD to use as a data drive in the other bay.

    I should have done that with my two minis as that would have precluded having purchase a kit and to do the real (crappy) work of installing a drive in the upper bay. Wish I coulda shoulda.
  9. sitesme thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2009
    Thank you to all.

    So, it turned out that I ended up buying a Crucial MX100 SSD 512 GB drive + 2x8 GB Crucial RAM and guess what... the machine flies now!

    The annoying freezing moments which was happening every 30 seconds are gone and the OS startup is obviously faster as never, not to talk about how fast the apps open as well.

    So, I guess I saved a lot by using my existing "new" Mac Mini from 2012 (I bought it in June 2014, 5 months ago) and with the SSD + RAM upgrade it was definitely the best solution. Check the BlackMagic sshot with the amazing 480Mb/s write and 450Mb/s read - really awesome.

    I have now two 23" monitors (same model) and to make it perfect I would just need a GTX graphics (if that would be possible) :)

    Thanks a lot for your suggestions.

    Attached Files:

  10. jaycee520 macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2009
    ..just did an upgrade of my 2012 mini to 16GB and added an SSD and its a night and day difference...its like i just had a new machine :D
  11. macaron95 macrumors regular

    May 5, 2014
    my 2012 Mac Mini with 2 SSD (raid 0) :p


    it was a bit hard to make the screen shot at the right time because it was moving

    but top speeds i got were 960 Mb/s for write and 1.01 tb/s for read

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