Anybody know the reliability of new Mac mini versus older (white) minis?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by talmy, May 6, 2013.

  1. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    My wife is encouraging me to replace our 3 year old mini with Snow Leopard Server (being used as a server) with a new aluminum mini (possibly not the "server" model) running Mountain Lion and Server. She is concerned about the reliability of the old model. So far I've had to replace one of the internal drives, which failed somewhat gracefully, so there's been little down-time. And nothing other than the hard drive has failed.

    Back then the mini was considered the most reliable Mac. Anyone with actual figures on how the new minis fare? Would I be trading in a old but aging reliable for a can of worms? Or would I be gaining a potentially more reliable system?

    [Added] Another concern is the dual drive server model versus a single drive model. Does putting two drives in such a small enclosure cause heat problems? Is the single drive version a safer choice?

    Note that in the server service here, the old mini is more than adequate in terms of performance, although the quad core is tempting for reducing the CPU peaks.
  2. benwiggy macrumors 68020

    Jun 15, 2012
    Obviously, there is no data on how well 2012 MacMinis perform after 3 years. But I don't know where you heard that mini was more reliable than an iMac or MacPro (or laptop Mac). My last iMac lasted 6 years. My MacBook has got heavy use since 2009. Most Macs, if treated well, will last and be useful for a good 5 to 8 years -- some even longer.

    The Mini, like most Apple hardware, is a well put-together piece of kit. It uses standard, well-tested hardware. I see no reason why it should not last at least three years (I'm certainly hoping that's the case.)
    The Mini can still be easily maintained, and it's still quite easy to replace parts.

    You should EXPECT and PREPARE for drives to fail, and have at least one decent backup, of course! :p
  3. talmy thread starter macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    I certainly have everything backed up, and in multiple ways. But the problem with a failure is down time, not data loss. The server provides about a dozen services here and there is at least minor chaos whenever it is "down".

    Reports I read back at the time of purchases pointed to cool operation and simplicity leading to the mini being the most reliable model. OTOH iMacs are apparently notorious in the repair community for high failure rates, probably due to excessive heat. My personal experience over about a dozen Macs of various types seems to bear this out.

    I just hoping that somebody here either repairs minis or has purchased many of them before and after the change to the more compact aluminum design and might have a guess as to relative reliability.
  4. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    Mini's are IME the most reliable macs. They never failed on me. G4 from 2005, C2D from 2009 and 2011 i5 all run flawless 16/24/7.
    I did replace most hard drives, but can't say if that affects reliability, as it was a speed issue.
    Only the 2009 is a bit picky on DVD's (they play, but sometimes they bump into something and you have to insert it again).
    With all iMacs I experienced problems (almost every time screen issues), and with towers I have not much experience. My G4 400 Powermac was flawless, The 800mhz a bit noisier, and the MDD sounded like a rocket, but other than that no problems.
  5. COrocket macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2012
    Considering Apple doesn't manufacture the drives, I don't think that upgrading would increase reliability, at least from a drive standpoint. I guess the only thing you could do is research the drives you have and make sure they are not especially prone to failure.

    The mac mini's, and laptop components for that matter, tend to run hotter than desktop components due to the confined spaces they work in. It's not an issue because the fans are designed to keep the temps within the design range. Even though I don't own a server model, it is definitely nice to know that the mini was designed to run 24/7.
  6. palmharbor macrumors 6502

    Jul 31, 2007
    I got my mac mini in late 2009...I bought extended Apple Care (thank god)
    it went bad ...something to do with a design flaw in the video card. They replaced it then that went bad and they said we will not fix it for a third time and they replaced that unit. This unit is under 8 months old...24 hours after I got it home I had to re-install the OS....I have had to do that two times since then..Reliable?
  7. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    yeah i can see how you feel. but as an ebay seller of upgraded minis since 2007 trust me it is reliable. selling on ebay is not easy to do having perfect feedback after 1000 plus sales is harder then you can imagine . My feedback is perfect after 1300 plus sales.

    The above is not me tooting my horn as I am winding down my ebay business this year will be the end of it. Just too many rules get aded each year. I just wanted to show I have done a lot of minis over the years.

    I Have sold 150 minis on ebay since 2007 . I have had 10 or 12 returns of them 9 were failed minis 3 were people that changed their minds. No other pc that I have upgraded and sold has had a failure rate this good. both the white models and the metal models are pretty sturdy. Of all the mini failures only 2 logic board failures most failures were sea gates 500 gb 7200 rpm hdd the first of its kind back in the day. it was a really bad drive.

    oh I had a bad 2012 quad that was mine the cpu was defective.
  8. JAT macrumors 603

    Dec 31, 2001
    Mpls, MN
    I have a 2006 white Mini, and a NewerStack external drive. When stacked together, I had issues with heat. Had to use an external fan to cool the cabinet. Separating the 2 devices helped a lot.

    But, on the other side, that Mini is still working after about 6 years in use, much of that as a 24/7 server. It's now being relegated to "3rd computer" after a couple shinier Minis each took its place.
  9. mentaluproar macrumors 68000


    May 25, 2010
    Ohio, USA
    There are companies that have racks composed of nothing but minis. Of all environments, that would be a pretty demanding one, and they function fine.

    There was an article on here a while back about a company that houses you mini in their place for making your own cloud and they have only ever had a few of them fail. God I wish I saved that link.

    I have a 2011 and push it with BOINC 24/7 and it's been flawless. Granted this is a limited sample, but I do like it more than my old 24 inch iMac. My previous mini (320m GPU) was a surprising little compy too.
  10. talmy thread starter macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    The most famous/largest seems to be

    In any case it looks like I'm probably safe just using my current mini, and the new one would pose no additional risk. Maybe I should just add some additional RAM and bring the system to Mountain Lion + Server to make the eventual move to a newer system easier.

    Luckily it appears that the features removed from SLS won't affect my usage.
  11. spatlese44 macrumors 6502

    Dec 13, 2007
    I had an optical drive fail on a 2009 Mac Mini. New Mini has no optical drive to fail so more reliable in that area.:)
  12. fhall1 macrumors 68040


    Dec 18, 2007
    (Central) NY State of mind
    What is the 16 in 16/24/7?
  13. mmomega macrumors demi-god


    Dec 30, 2009
    DFW, TX
    I have a 2010 Mini bought the day it released and it has been in my office as an Xray server being used daily and it's still rocking strong as ever.

    I actually have a '10, '11 and '12 and they all run 24/7 and I haven't touched them other than adding SSD's and OWC RAM.

    I use the '12 at home as my main iTunes, everything media server, web server, owncloud server, etc and it has been great. Only had it a few months but it's doing it's job well.

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