Buying advice for used Mac Mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by DeusInvictus7, Nov 18, 2015.

  1. DeusInvictus7 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    Location:
    Kitchener, Ontario
    #1
    Hey guys,

    Just looking for some advice from anyone here.

    Let me give some background. Currently I am using my main computer, which is a hackintosh custom built PC (OS X for almost everything, Windows for games) connected to a 4-bay external drive enclosure for all my media, which is mostly iTunes based, but also Plex (Plex looks nicer on the new Apple TV than Home Sharing does). The system I have works fine for the most part, but when I switch between Windows and OS X the external enclosure isn't recognized right away and I have to power it off/on to get it to work. Small annoyance which I would rather not have to deal with.

    So basically I'm looking to get a dedicated media server machine to take care of all my OS X needs and media, and then keep my main computer as just a gaming Windows PC.

    Being located in Canada, I have been looking at Mac Mini's on Kijiji (pretty much Craigslist), and saw a couple that I was curious about.

    First one is a 2011 Mac Mini. I know I wouldn't need anything too powerful to do what I want, so the power from this mini seems to be fine. RAM would be easy enough to upgrade, since 2GB is just ridiculous. I'd be upgrading that pretty quickly to at least 8GB. Negotiated price down to $275...gonna try for $250.

    Second is a 2012 Mac Mini. From what I can tell, the only real benefits to the 2012 over the 2011 outside of processor power is USB 3.0. But at the same time, that's what is making me consider it because my external storage is USB 3.0 based. Same situation with RAM, would be upgrading that too. Negotiated price down to $475, possibly $450.

    My main question is, is USB 3.0 worth $200? I don't use particularly high bitrate files, though I do have a few blu-ray rips from my Transformers movies for example that are high bitrate. I think USB 2.0 is still fine for that.

    Anyone have any advice?
     
  2. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    #2
    If you need to copy video files frequently from one drive to another, USB 3.0 is wonderful. But just playing video media? Yeah, I don't think there is a bitrate high enough to come close to the limits of USB 2.0 speeds. :) (I mean, external blu-ray drives throw around uncompressed data, and most of those use USB 2.0.)

    It sounds like you've already got a good grasp of the main differences between the 2011 and 2012 devices. If you're sure that you want to dedicate the device to just be a media server, I personally don't see much advantage in the 2012 version. The advantages in data throughput and CPU power would, in my opinion, only really be significant if you ever wanted to use the Mini for some other purpose...
     
  3. DeusInvictus7 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    Location:
    Kitchener, Ontario
    #3
    Thanks for the response! I transfer files to and from my enclosure decently often, so there is still a part of me that really wants USB 3 on this machine.

    As far as using it other than a media server, I really do prefer OS X over Windows for general usage (gaming is really the only thing I can stand to use Windows for; I quite dislike it otherwise), and that's another factor that's making me think about getting a more powerful machine for OS X than the cheapest I can get.
     
  4. theatremusician macrumors member

    theatremusician

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2013
    #4
    A Mac Mini from 2010 or later would be more than enough for your needs. You don't have to spend that much for it though. For my media center I'm using a WinBook TW700 running Kodi. It runs the x265 (720p) files with ease. 1080p easily in x264. I got it at a Microcenter for $45 (open box). Perfect for a media center as it has a full sized USB 2 port and micro HDMI out.
    http://www.microcenter.com/product/439773/TW70CA17_Tablet_-_Black
     
  5. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #5
    You don't want any used Mini with USB2.

    You just don't...
     
  6. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    #6
    I'll take them. :) Very little of my work (or my gaming, for that matter) is at all dependent on file transfer speed. I mean, it is nice to be able to move gigabytes of data quickly from drive to drive! :) But I generally let that sort of task run in the background while I'm busy doing something else; and I really see no other significant value in USB3 than in sheer bulk data transfer...
     
  7. nebo1ss macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2010
    #7
    A 2012 is the best you can get if you can find a reasonably priced one. It has USB 3 and it is the last model that is fully upgradable.
     

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