Best cheap Mac Mini?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by scaramoosh, Jan 1, 2017.

  1. scaramoosh macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2014
    #1
    I'm looking to get a second hand Mac Mini just to get my Nan, She's using a Windows PC I built in 2009 and it's on it's last legs, but she's never gotten on with Windows (she trusts every pop up) and so I want to switch her to OSX.

    I'm only looking to spend a few hundred quid and was wondering which was the best cheap Mac Mini to get if I can find one second hand? By that I mean one that Apple won't decide to say "the app store doesn't work" or "no new browser updates" or something...

    Plus it has to work with one of those big trackpads as she loves the one I use on my iMac over a mouse.. though lets be honest Apple make THE WORST Keyboard and Mouse.


    Thanx.
     
  2. krause734 macrumors 6502

    krause734

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    #2
    In that price range, you might look at a Chromebook and you can afford a new one. Otherwise I'd check out eBay for older Mac Minis to see what you can get in that price range. Look at ones that have already been sold.
     
  3. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    #3
    Well, unfortunately, Apple has stopped producing any software updates for Minis created in 2009 or longer ago. The App Store should still work for these machines, but yeah, no new browser updates for sure. Also, the 2010 Minis are considered obsolete / vintage, so good luck if anything goes wrong with the hardware on those. :( But, this does mean that those machines are probably going to be cheaper...

    So, your options are probably going to be reduced to the 2011, 2012, and 2014 models of Mini. You should be able to find plenty of these on sites like Ebay. If you're willing to spend a little more, there are also some places that refurbish older Macs and provide the ability to return the machine if you find something wrong with it. One of my favorites is "Other World Computing"; you can see their current list of refurbished Mac Minis here:

    https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/Apple-Systems/Used/Mac-mini?_ga=1.137482352.1779096136.1476684675

    The 2011 Mini was the first one made with support for Bluetooth 4.0, which I think is needed for the latest Apple trackpads. So yeah, I think a 2011 is probably what you want to be looking for...
     
  4. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #4
    It's frustrating, the 2012 mini is really the best machine, and will be supported for awhile. But, looking at OWC, the base 2012 model with 4gb RAM and slow 500gb hard drive costs $550. Kind of crazy, considering you can get a new base model 2014 mini with 4gb/500gb HD for $450. But the 2012 really is a better machine and you can easily upgrade RAM yourself to 16gb - did this recently and it only cost $65. No possibility to upgrade the RAM on 2014 because it is soldered in place.

    I have a 2014 base model and only use it as an iTunes server. It's just fine for that. But it feels SO slow if you use it interactively for things like the web. Opening programs seems to take forever. Just gave my 2012 base mini to my daughter's family as a present. Upgraded RAM to 16gb and added an external 512gb Samsung T3 USB 3.0 SSD and it feels really fast, they are just thrilled with it. But that is probably more than you want to spend, if you bought a used machine for $550 and added the same upgrades, you would be into about $800.

    I would not be very excited about the older Mini's, they just don't seem like a very good value. Frankly, if your budget is limited, not sure if the Mini is a good option anymore. :( You can get an Apple refurb MacBook Air with 8gb RAM and fast 128gb SSD for about $850 and that would include a full one year warranty.

    Since you mention "quid", guessing you may not be in the US however. I have a suspicion that used Mini's are even more expensive in other countries...
     
  5. scaramoosh thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2014
    #5
    Can get a 2012 Mac Mini for £300 on a good deal, it's not gotta be amazing, I mean my Nan is using my Windows PC with 1000 viruses and a core 2 quad CPU lol. I'm not worried about it being that beefy, I'm guessing 4GB will even be enough for casual use on OSX too.
     
  6. rbrian macrumors 6502a

    rbrian

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2011
    Location:
    Aberdeen, Scotland
    #6
    Maybe you should try an iPad? Pretty much virus proof, a HUGE touchpad, cheaper and more powerful than a Mac mini, portable, easy for her to take to an Apple Store if she needs help. I honestly don't think a Mac mini is much good for anything now - I'm in the process of converting my 2011 into a freeview PVR, as a simple use for obsolete hardware, and I'm running into all sorts of problems.
     
  7. scaramoosh thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2014
    #7
    Yeah but the hardware is not so bad, i myself use an i7 from 2012 and it runs everything perfect for me. Computers haven't advanced that much and the only thing that would make it obselete is if Apple killed it off for support... which annoys me as Microsoft don't do that.
     
  8. rbrian macrumors 6502a

    rbrian

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2011
    Location:
    Aberdeen, Scotland
    #8
    They probably will next year! Intel have already abandoned my 2nd gen i5, so drivers are becoming an issue.
     
  9. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #9
    OP wrote:
    "Can get a 2012 Mac Mini for £300 on a good deal"

    That should do.
    4gb of RAM should work fine with 10.8.5.
     
  10. tomjleeds macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2004
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #10
    The base 2012 mini is fine. It's not fast but it wasn't unusable without upgrades.

    Stick a fast disk in it for an extra...what, £50? Sorted.
     
  11. scaramoosh thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2014
    #11
    Drivers for the gpu built in I guess you mean, but tbh it only matters for gaming... though it seems weird especially since nvidia and amd support their cards for like 10 years.
     
  12. rbrian macrumors 6502a

    rbrian

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2011
    Location:
    Aberdeen, Scotland
    #12
    Yep, the HD3000. Their support forum says there are no plans for new drivers for windows 10, and to use 7 or 8 (the driver performs worse on 8.1). The latest driver supersedes the basic windows driver, which works ok, with a broken driver that displays a blank screen. The way 10 automatically installs updates, which can only be stopped on the enterprise version (even pro can only delay them a little) means it's virtually unusable. Ubuntu works unless you let it update drivers automatically, when it downloads the latest intel driver, which bricks it. Mac OS Sierra works ok, but it would surprise me if the next version works.

    https://communities.intel.com/thread/61432
     
  13. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #13
    Just to be clear…. the 2012 Mini has the HD4000. The 2011 Mini has the HD3000. :)
     
  14. scaramoosh thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2014
    #14
    I went looking I saw a brand new steam machine from Alienware.... 4th gen i5 from 2014 so it has hyperthreading as well, 4 cpus, 4 threads it says and it's clocked at 3ghrz in this machine all the time. It has an nvidia 860m which is around 750ti performance... which I have In anothe machine so I know it's capable of playing any game at 1080p just fine. It has web video memory and 8gb of system memory and a 1tb hdd, plus Bluetooth built in and all the res of it. It also has 4 USB 3 ports and a 5th under the machine which has a steam controller adapter in it, a hdmi in and out and some other things like optical out... plus s free steam controller.

    I saw it for 300 brand new, bought it, took the steam controller for myself, whacked windows on it, gave it to my Nan and just gave her a mouse with a ball in the top and she's happy.

    Now I'm gonna look for one for myself lol, the thing is tiny, it looks big in pictures but I took it out the box and it's not much bigger than the Mac mini.
     

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