Best choice for basic web and office docs use?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by bramhall, Nov 25, 2014.

  1. bramhall macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2014
    #1
    I am ready to replace my reliable, but 5 year old, Win7 PC with a mac mini. Have read up on most of the pros and cons for the 2012 vs 2014 models but am having trouble deciding on one of three choices.
    Wont be encoding video anymore so I just want it for web browsing, using "pages" for light word processing and for access to my files (video, docs etc.) stored on portable HDD's and microsofts "OneDrive."
    I will be using it with an apple mac keyboard and old Samsung SyncMaster 2032BW display (1680 x 1050)

    My current preferred choices (being in the UK) are:-

    From an Apple authorized seller/repairer: The late 2012 i5 Dual core, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD @ £346.80 plus £69 Apple care, which I can update later with 8GB Crucial RAM for £62.

    Or, from Apple direct (using the higher education discount):-

    The 2014 base model 1.4GHz, 500GB HDD, but upgraded to 8GB RAM as it's soldered @ £430.80 plus £36 Apple care.

    Alternatively go the cheapest Apple SSD (TRIM supported) route and pay lots more for the mid 2.6GHz model with upgraded 256GB SSD @ £656.40 plus £36 Apple care.

    I presume the first two options being HDD are going to be a bit on the slow side but if I want to upgrade to a new Mini in 2-3 years they could be easily sold on eBay (with, say 6 months of Apple care left) for a good price and Apple SSD's might be a bit cheaper, then, in a new Mini.
    I also have the option of booting them (with or without Trim Enabler) via a cheaper non-Apple SSD in a USAP type SATA3 enclosure, without voiding the warranty.

    The second (2012) option looks easily upgradable to internal SSD (if the OWC video is accurate) which might make it more saleable in 2-3 years time. Or I have the option of keeping it beyond warranty and fitting a nice Samsung SSD myself if I don't like what Apple are offering then.

    The third choice I would most likely keep for longer as it should be quite snappy/quick for some time and I presume it would depreciate to a greater extent than the cheaper ones.

    So, for my very basic use should I go for the easily upgradeable 2012 option with only HD4000 graphics?
    Go through Apple itself with the base 2014 (HD5000 graphics) model. Can you even replace the HDD with SSD on these?
    Or go for expensive SSD model, with less money left for an upgrade to a new Mini in the future?

    Many thanks for any replies.
     
  2. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #2
    For your described usage ram is irrelevant.
    Get any base mini and stick in a an ssd.
    The difference between hdd and ssd will be vast. A ram upgrade for what you are using it for is definitly wasted money.
     
  3. bramhall thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2014
    #3
    Thanks Meister.

    If 4GB RAM is fine for my use, base 2014 1.4GHz is £358.80 plus £36 Apple care against £346.80 plus £69 Apple care for the 2012 2.5GHz so both cheap options.

    I think I could fit an internal SSD in the 2012 and restore the old HDD if I had a warranty claim, without Apple noticing. But not with the 2014, I would have to go external SSD with that.
    The 2014 looks a lot harder to do as it's under the tray and more has to come out to access the drive, plus the security screws etc.

    Buying the 2014 Mini from Apple direct would be easier if I was unhappy with it in any way and I wanted to return it and it has later graphics.

    It seems strange to be considering older dated hardware but would the 2012 model be the best choice as it's a lot easier to fit a internal SSD?
     
  4. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #4
    It is indeed a weird choice :apple: gives us.
    I have the 2012 base mini and I use it as a media center, for browsing, docs and some Lightroom. The thing the really hampers performance is the hdd.

    How easy it is to exchange the hdd in the 2014, I do not know.
    The other option would be to just order the 2014 with a pcie ssd already installed. The 256gb one instead of the ram upgrade should cost as much as the option of using a third party ssd.

    Booting from an external usb3 ssd is another way to go.
     
  5. Tough Guy, Nov 25, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2014

    Tough Guy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2014
    #5
    I respectfully (and strongly) disagree.

    4GB would be fine if this was a windows machine. Hell, even 2GB of ram is enough for windows 8.1. But if you decide to go with 4GB of ram on your mac mini, you should know that there have been reports of occasional slowdowns and beach balls in Yosemite. And, in my opinion, you can probably forget about installing the next version of OS X.

    In 2011, the base mini was sold with 2GB of ram and, take it from me, that thing was literally unusable.

    Any mini should be fine for your needs, but I would definitely suggest you go with 8GB of ram if you plan on keeping the machine for a few years and doing yearly upgrades of OS X.
     
  6. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #6
    Please post proof (a screenshot of the activity monitor or a video) that a mac mini with an ssd and 4gb will be slow for office and webbrowsing. By forum rules you woud be required to post some form of documentation.

    I provide it for my claim that 4gb is well capable:
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1756865

    Specifically:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6oaUJPZKNc
    http://www.macworld.com/article/203...tional-memory-on-a-mac.html#lsrc.twt_macworld

    You will not be able to provide this proof, hence I ask you to change your statement.
     
  7. Tough Guy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2014
    #7
    There's plenty of reports from users on this forum that Yosemite is a ram hog. Plenty more all over the internet. And that says absolutely nothing about the next OS X release, which is likely to require even more ram.

    I now from first-hand experience that Apple is willing to sell a baseline mini with inadequate amounts of ram. The 2011 mini with 2GB running mountain lion was an absolute nightmare. The worst computing experience I've ever had, bar none. All the lab experiments in the world won't change that experience.

    Since the 2014 can never be upgraded, I'd suggest the OP go with 8GB if he can. It's almost a no-brainer, unless OP is really struggling with money.

    If OP takes your advice, he'll likely regret doing so in a few years (if not immediately).
     
  8. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #8
    Lots of writing and no proof whatsoever that a mac with 4gb is less capable to multitask browsers and office apps than a mac with 8gb ram.
    I know you will ramble on, like all the others who made this claim before you, but I rest my case, since I know I am right and have posted somewhat extensive evidence to prove it.
     
  9. scottsjack macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2010
    Location:
    Arizona
    #9
    OMG you're quoting forum rules!

    I would not recommend buying any Mac that cannot be upgraded to at least 8GB of RAM in the future. Like getting a base 2014 mini it's just setting the bar to low heading into the future.
     
  10. Tough Guy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2014
    #10
    :rolleyes:

    Capable and ideal are two entirely different things. And I really enjoy how you keep ignoring the issue of future proofing.

    OP, take this guy's advice. He has the proof. Just make sure you don't complain in 2016 when your mini can't run OS X Venice Beach properly.
     
  11. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #11
    Not yet, but here I go ...
    (Source: https://macrumors.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/201327723-MacRumors-Rules-for-Appropriate-Debate)

    ;)
     
  12. bramhall thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2014
    #12
    Thanks for all replies.

    I made a decision and ordered the base 2012 model which comes with Mavericks and 4GB RAM, it's easily upgraded if any future versions of OSX require more.

    Might go for one of the newer "sealed" models in the future when SSD's are the norm and perhaps a bit more affordable.

    Good value. being cheaper than the latest 16GB iPad. :)

    Should get it tomorrow, fingers crossed it works OK with my existing display.
     
  13. gooser macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2013
    #13
    there were a lot of good choices for you. the only thing i will suggest is to try and refrain from upgrading to yosemite with the memory you have. nothing on mavericks is obsolete and once you upgrade it's hard as hell to downgrade if you don't like it. enjoy.
     
  14. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #14
    Good for you. Enjoy! :)
     
  15. bramhall thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2014
    #15
    Thanks for the tip gooser, I will stick with Mavericks for quite a while and check carefully before any future updates of OSX.

    ----------

    Thanks Meister, just waiting for the delivery van now. :)
     
  16. newellj macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2014
    Location:
    Boston, MA, US
    #16
    I ran 10.10 on a 2012 with 4gb for a while with no beach balling. Memory pressure was consistently ~11-12% and never >15% in normal use.
     
  17. ZipZilla macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2003
    #17
    My experience on a 2012 mini with 4GB of RAM and 10.10 was that it was beachball city and was very slow. So much so that I downgraded back to Mavericks.
     
  18. newellj macrumors 601

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    Oct 15, 2014
    Location:
    Boston, MA, US
    #18
    Thanks for not saying that I'm wrong. ;) :) It's interesting that people do get different results. To make a short story long, the first Yo installation was a disaster. Everything was excruciatingly slow. It just pinwheeled forever. I thought I had a hardware problem and ran diagnostics, but everything reported OK. So I erased the disk and did an internet recovery install of 10.10 again from the Apple servers and it ran beautifully - very fast, low memory pressure. After I got that sorted out, I added an SSD and bumped the RAM up to 8gb, but it really wasn't necessary. I wonder if a virgin installation (truly virgin, from Apple's servers, not the recovery partition) makes a difference - or possibly what apps have been installed? The same thing happens with iOS devices - people report very different results in good faith. Seems illogical... :eek:
     
  19. scottsjack macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2010
    Location:
    Arizona
    #19
    One of the problems is that every time Apple does its yearly OS Fashion show users end of with a few months of intermittent problems. In my case to reinstall Yosemite from scratch and then reinstall everything else for a truly clean and perfect install would require several hours and a phone call or two.

    I might just find out that my Yosemite problems are still there and get solved by .2, .3 or .4. It is just not worth the time to experiment. (Yes I am still angry with myself for giving in and upgrading to Yosemite)
     
  20. cinealta macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2012
    #20
    Mountain Lion 10.8.5 was very stable for me if you don't need Yosemite features like Continuity or Hand Off etc.

    ----------

    Interesting my 2009 C2D Mini with 4 Gb RAM and 5400 HDD flies on Yosemite. Except the boot which takes longer.
     
  21. And, Nov 28, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2014

    And macrumors 6502

    And

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    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
    92 ft above sea level, UK
    #21
    I would buy from Apple education online, and get a 2014 model. It includes a 3 year warranty for free; I would suggest rethinking whether you need the applecare if money is tight. You won't get the 3 yr education warranty from a reseller or even an apple store.
     
  22. bramhall thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2014
    #22
    The education store 2014 1.4GHz 4GB RAM was £419.80 (including £36 apple care and the HDMI > DVI adapter I needed). But £491.80 with the 8GB upgrade.
    The 2012 2.5GHz 4GB RAM was £346.80 (and included the adapter) plus £69 for Apple care = total £415.80.

    Although the Edu store gives 3 years cover I would have paid the £36 for AC as it would help if I sell it in 30months, say.

    The big difference is that it's safer with the 2012 if I want to keep it and upgrade it, especially SSD wise. Also I can let it chug along with 4GB for 30 months then sell it as easily upgradeable by the purchaser. They might not be as keen on a 4GB RAM model that is not upgradable then.

    If it seems reliable and I want to fit SSD I might risk not spending £69 on AC.

    Got the 2012 now and it seems OK with 4GB for my purposes. :)
     

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