Anyone still rocking a mid 2011 Mac mini?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by phulton, Oct 18, 2016.

  1. phulton macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2011
    #1
    I'm looking at picking up a mac mini for basic computing; word processing, youtube, web browsing, etc. I will need to do some photo processing in Light Room, but I probably only do that 6-8 times a year, and don't do any gaming. Bleeding edge performance is obviously not required for my use case.

    I have my eyes set on the 2011 Mac mini with the 2.5 i5 processor and the Radeon GPU. I've focused on this model for the dedicated GPU, plus the ram and HDD can still be user upgraded, which I plan on throwing 16GB and a 256 SDD in there right away. These 2011 minis can be had for fairly cheap on eBay, which is nice too.

    I'd love to hear some of your experiences.
     
  2. dvdchance macrumors regular

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    Jun 21, 2012
    #2
    I'm still using my 2011 base model. Works like a charm for basic computing plus it works 24 x 7 as my Plex server.

    But the model your looking at with the Radeon GPU is a 2012 model I believe.
     
  3. phulton thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 12, 2011
    #3
    Good to hear that your 2011 Mac is still working nicely. The mid 2011 models came with the discrete GPU only with the upgraded i5 or i7. The base 2011 mini had the hd3000 graphics.
     
  4. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

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    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #4
    FWIW, MacTracker shows two graphics options for 2011: Intel HD 3000 or Radeon HD 6630M. It shows the Intel HD 4000 for all the 2012 models.
     
  5. ronntaylor macrumors regular

    ronntaylor

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    Jan 16, 2004
    Location:
    Flushing/Queens, New York
    #5
    Mine is on its last legs. Takes forever to boot, several programs lag and others suddenly crash. I basically turn it one once or twice a month when I have no other choice (files/programs on that particular computer).
     
  6. BenTrovato macrumors 68030

    BenTrovato

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    Jun 29, 2012
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    Canada
    #6
    I have a 2011 i7 with an SSD and a platter drive. I set it up for the kids. It's actually a really fast machine.
     
  7. phulton thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 12, 2011
    #7
    Hmmm, interesting. Have you upgraded any hardware, IE RAM or HDD? Sounds like your HDD is dying either way.
     
  8. ronntaylor, Oct 18, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2016

    ronntaylor macrumors regular

    ronntaylor

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    Jan 16, 2004
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    Flushing/Queens, New York
    #8
    No upgrades. Removed a couple programs after the last couple of OS updates, still no fix. It was a workhorse and served its purpose. Moved on to MBA and iMac for computing needs. I use the Mac Mini to watch a DVD maybe once a month (if that).
     
  9. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #9
    My 2011 Mac Mini i5 with GPU has been upgraded with a 512GB SSD and a 2TB hard disk running OS X Server. It is running 24/7 as a iTunes server for music, movies, and photos ... and also serves as a TimeMachine backup server with an external Thunderbolt RAID5 array for all the computers in my household. It is working great!
     
  10. twalk macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2009
    #10
    My 2011 mid-level Mini is still the machine that I use the most for personal stuff. Compared to a low-end 2012, about the only significant difference is usb 2 vs 3. With 16G and 240G SSD, it still handles all my normal tasks. (I've got a computer lab with up to dual proc 8 core xeons for all the abnormal stuff.) With the memory & SSD, it should easily handle what you say that you'd throw at it.

    One thing to be care of, overheating mid-level 2011s can have issues with the dedicated video and it can easily lead to failure.

    Also, they're often going for $300+ on ebay, which doesn't really seem to be cheap to me for a soon to be 6 year old computer
     
  11. phulton, Oct 18, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2016

    phulton thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 12, 2011
    #11
    The price is the only thing holding me back from a no-brainer buy it decision. But for a Mac that isn't a laptop (I have a Surface Pro 4 for that), what are my other options besides old Mac minis? At least, what are my options for desktop Macs that aren't seriously outdated? I also don't need a display, I have one of my own.

    I'd go new, because the base model is fairly cheap but then I can't ever upgrade the RAM, and while not impossible swapping the HDD is fairly complex, but not impossible.

    Hackintosh is one option, but then you have to get everything working (I don't mind tinkering, TBH) and I'd end up paying the same or similar price.
     
  12. zaph47 macrumors newbie

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    Nov 6, 2014
    Location:
    Virginia
    #12
    Still running my plex media server on my 2011 MM. It's HDMI port is outdated and won't even work with my receiver anymore, so I need a 2016 Mac Mini like none other. 4K/60Hz please.
     
  13. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000

    Santabean2000

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    Nov 20, 2007
    #13
    My 2011 with the 6630m died this week. Until then, I'd have said it might be an ok purchase. But now, coloured by my experience, I'd have a hard time telling anyone to invest in a new-to-them machine that's 5+ years old.

    My mini had been restarting itself randomly and taking several attempts to turn on recently. But now, I press the power button, the light (very briefly) appears and then immediately cuts out.

    It had been in later years working as my htpc. Shame it's dead as it still did everything I needed it to at this stage.

    Fingers crossed the new mini (should there be one) has enough grunt to push 4K at 60hz and more.

    I hope any new model has some removable storage options. But I'm not holding my breath.
     
  14. Micky Do macrumors 68000

    Micky Do

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    An island in the Andaman Sea.
    #14
    I'm still rockin' an early 2009 Mac Mini, which I reckon will serve my needs for another year or two, maybe more. I would consider replacing the HDD if it failed (it still has the 120 GB original) and keeping it longer. However I would not bother with spending money on more significant upgrades on a machine that is no longer supported by Apple. Nor would I consider replacing it with a used Mac Mini and then spending money on upgrades. Better to spend on a new Mac Mini specced to suit my needs, thus getting up to date hardware and OS, along with support for a longer period ahead….. but that's just my point of view.
     
  15. phulton thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 12, 2011
    #15
    Yeah I'm kinda thinking that it might not be worth it at this point. The mid 2011 minis run about 350-400 (closer to 400) then add 150 for 16gb of RAM and a 256 GB SSD and it's $550. Now the base 2014 mini doesn't appeal to me much and the mid range is $700 which isn't a whole lot more than what I'd be spending on the mid 2011 mini.

    Guess I'll be waiting a bit then.
     
  16. Nospig macrumors member

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    Jul 25, 2011
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    Bangkok, Thailand
    #16
    Wait until the end of October at least, the new Mac Mini is almost certainly coming..
     
  17. phulton thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 12, 2011
    #17
    Yeah I just saw the rumor of a Mac event on the 27th, I'll wait until then.
     
  18. Bollockser macrumors regular

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    Oct 28, 2014
    #18
    You just need an SSD. The computer itself is fine. Your hard drive is about to drop dead.
    Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak.
     
  19. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

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    Feb 16, 2010
    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    #19
    Ok, here's an odd suggestion, but for what you're talking about you might also check out the 2010 Mini. The CPU is less powerful and it doesn't have a dedicated GPU; but, you've said that you're not interested in gaming. The 2010 uses the Nvidia 320m integrated GPU, which is for the most part actually more powerful than the Intel GMA 3000 offered on the non-Radeon 2011 machines.

    In any case, I suspect that the 2010 is powerful enough for the tasks you're talking about here...
     
  20. MysticCow macrumors 6502a

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    May 27, 2013
    #20
    It's because of the Radeon card. It's that good of a card.
     
  21. twalk macrumors regular

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    Apr 22, 2009
    #21
    Actually it isn't that great. The AMD Radeon HD 6630M is roughly about the same speed as the Intel HD 4000 graphics used in 2012 Minis. It's up to about 25% faster than HD 4000 for games, but it's still so slow that isn't anything to brag about. It's basically the same speed and capability (# of monitors + resolution support) for everything else. The biggest difference is the heat related failures in Minis and it having compatibility issues with a tiny number of applications like DisplayLink (usb monitors).

    Still, you can very easily run a 1600p + 1080p monitor setup with it and have it run well, because I'm doing that right now. That's basically everything short of 4K, which is really solid for "normal, non-game, stuff".

    Intel HD 3000 (all the other 2011 Minis) can only support up to 1200p.. and while they'll also handle 2 monitors, there are speed issues there. Most people only run 1 1080p screen with HD 3000.
     
  22. phulton thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 12, 2011
    #22
    The apple refurb store just updated with a bunch available. The mini with the mid range i5 is pretty tempting at $110 off regular price.
     
  23. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

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    Feb 16, 2010
    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    #23
    Hmm. It's still about $600, for a device sporting a CPU and GPU that are now several generations out of date, and with 8 GB of RAM that can never be increased. For such a limited piece of hardware, I think I'd still be looking for a bigger discount.

    And yeah, it might be a good idea to wait until after the 27th, just in case news happens that lowers the resale value of the 2014 Minis...
     
  24. Lucjan, Oct 20, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2016

    Lucjan macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2015
    #24
    The 2011 mini with Radeon 6630M is quite a good choice. It’s my favourite mini and I use it from time to time even now and prefer it to the 2012 mini I also have. For the tasks you outlined it will do just fine as long as you either replace the HDD with an SSD or add an SSD to the existing HDD (you’ll need to get an extra cable for that). With just the HDD on recent OSX versions no mini is fun.

    The only real downside compared to a newer mini is lack of USB 3, other than that is just a very nice Mac.

    Someone wrote earlier that the 6630M GPU is 25% faster in games than the HD4000 in the 2012 mini. This actually isn’t true, in games it will be around 40% faster, but it is true that the overall performance in games is nothing to write home about. However, some older games run on the 6630M quite OK while on the HD4000 they are unplayable. Outside of games there is no noticeable difference between them.

    Or just look for a 2010 mini if you can get one cheap. It's Core2Duo rather than i5 and about half as fast CPU-wise, but for the tasks you outlined still sufficient. Just again, replace the HDD with an SSD.
    Both the 2011 and 2010 can actually be upgraded even to 16GB should you need lots of RAM and both are capable of running the current version of MacOS.
     
  25. phulton thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 12, 2011
    #25
    I appreciate the responses I've gotten from everyone. While it seems the mid 2011 mini is still a good PC, for a 5 year old computer they're still kinda pricey, considering the 2014 base refurbs are only about $20-50 more.

    I'm going to wait until next week to see what Apple has to say, and TBH if they don't update, I'll probably have a go at a hackintosh rig.
     

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