Another "I really want (but don't need) one now so should I wait"??

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by luckysack, Jul 17, 2014.

  1. luckysack macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2014
    Location:
    Australia
    #1
    Firstly, let me say that I thoroughly enjoy sitting in the shadows reading the banter between forum regulars regarding the Mini's future.

    I've only been enlightened since I began thinking about purchasing a HTPC a few weeks ago. I was ready to pull the trigger on a Quad Core 2.3 i7 with 8GB before doing a little due diligence. Hence my first annoying post....

    Why do I need it? After years of using crappy TV and Blu-ray interfaces for playing digital content, I've come to the realisation that I want a stand-alone PC connected to our main living TV. It won't necessarily be a dedicated media player - think kids dancing to youtube or wife surfing net on lounge whilst feeding baby. You get the picture.

    Anyways I'm pretty sure that the current Mini would be more than capable of doing the job. BUT, as we all know, the original plans go out the window when someone wants to edit a HD video or convert a movie in the comfort of the lounge room with an audience (I've got 4 kids under 6).

    I'm not too fussed about installing my own RAM right now and am happy to pay the $100 for 8GB. Is the 2.3 i7 the right choice?? Should I upgrade to a fusion HDD? And of course, should I wait for the NEXT update?

    I kinda feel like I've made the decision but I'm certainly no IT whiz so appreciate any opinions.

    Cheers,
    Luke
     
  2. COrocket macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2012
    #2
    IMO getting the quad core is overkill for nearly every task you list. The dual core would be fine for watching movies, surfing the web, youtube... Editing movies would benefit from a fast GPU and SSD, so maybe getting the fusion drive would make sense if you really see yourself doing a lot of that. Handbraking movies will be faster on the quad core, but may or may not be worth it, depending on how much you have to do. After that you may not fully utilize the quad core processor.

    Have you decided which HTPC software you are going to go with? Since apple killed front row, there really isn't any software built into OSX that gives that functionality.

    A fusion/SSD setup can improve system response, but won't make a difference when streaming content. Upgrading RAM is a really easy two step process and you can get 16GB online for around $140. The machine will run fine with 4GB for the time being, so you might be happier spending the money on processor/fusion upgrades.
     
  3. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2013
    #3
    Go ahead and get a RAM upgrade if you are going to be editing on the system, but if you are deciding between the Fusion and the RAM, I would personally go with the Fusion. If you will be spending a majority of your time on the system editing, then get RAM, if you are going to be web browsing/watching movies, then get the Fusion drive.

    The only reason you would benefit from this computer was if it was your main editing machine. You will not notice that significant a boost unless you are using it on a daily basis. It will not increase day to day performance for any consumer.

    For a consumer computer, the best upgrade you can throw in there is an SSD. RAM will provide power for your applications, but the SSD will make your computer useable. Every aspect of the user experience is made better with an SSD. Having an input delay of a few seconds might not seem like that big a deal, but imagine if you clicked on an iPhone App and it didn't open for 5-10 seconds. Once you get used to the speed of an SSD, you will realize how outdated HDDs are. An SSD will drastically increase the viable lifespan of your system, much more than any RAM upgrade will. HDD's are such a large bottleneck, and as your system gets older, your other components will stop compensating for the HDD and lag will get significantly worse.

    The next update probably will not come for another 8-12 months, so get what you need now.

    The system that will probably be best for you is the dual-core base model, or get the quad-core if you really want it. You won't get any benefit out of it 95% of the time, so consider the cost/benefit. I would highly recommend upgrading the RAM and HDD yourself. All you have to do for the RAM upgrade is spin off the lid, pop out the old RAM with your fingers, and pop in the new RAM. it does not require any tools, and will be much cheaper. I would replace the HDD with a Crucial 500GB MX100 SSD, which goes for about $200. That is the same price as the 256GB SSD that Apple sells, and the MX100 is a better drive. It is a little bit harder to replace, but as long as you know how to use a screwdriver, it shouldn't take more than 30 minutes. This is the best upgrade you can get for your uses. I cannot stress that enough.

    Best,
    Matt
     
  4. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2010
    Location:
    Brasil
    #4
    Soon you'll want playing and editing 4K content. I'd wait a couple of months to get a Mini with Thunderbolt 2 and a more capable iGPU. Prefer the fusion drive upgrade. Replacing RAM is as easy as replacing batteries from your remote control. Wouldn't pay the Apple price for it.
     
  5. luckysack thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2014
    Location:
    Australia
    #5
    Thanks Matt - You speak way too much sense. I wasn't aware just how much an SSD could improve the 'experience' of computing in general. And yes..... I'm in denial about how easy it is to replace RAM. It's just one more thing to spend time sniffing around online for but, once again, you speak too much sense.
    I'll do a bit of research in the coming days on SSD's and RAM kits suitable for the Mini.
    Really appreciate the other replies as it all gives me points to digest prior to hitting the purchase button. I'm not really planning to run a front-end program, like Plex, but rather sit there on the lounge with a keyboard and trackpad when I want to watch (using VLC), surf or edit. Any serious computing will also be moved to the study.

    Many thanks,
    Luke
     

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