Buying New Mini Today

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Noetics, Nov 19, 2013.

  1. Noetics, Nov 19, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2013

    Noetics macrumors member

    Noetics

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2013
    #1
    So... I've decided im going to bite the bullet (cannot wait for the new model) and purchase the late 2012 mac mini, the specs i'm going with are as follows:

    2.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i7
    4GB Memory (will upgrade to 16GB myself)
    Fusion HDD

    I'm doing my best to future proof the mini by upgrading the processor from 2.3 to 2.6 for £72, the price seems reasonable... what do you guys think?

    I've also done a lot of research on which storage option is more suitable to what I will be using the mini for - 256 of SSD or the fusion drive. I chose the fusion drive because the speed tests show that the SSD is only a fraction faster than the fusion drive for the majority of tests (boot up, opening photoshop, loading logic etc), and for the 1TB storage on top of the extra speed it made sense to choose the fusion drive.

    And I will be upgrading the ram myself to save a little £££.

    Any thoughts or suggestions before purchase, any feedback is appreciated.

    Cheers
    Jim
     
  2. olegunnar macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2013
    #2
    I did the same thing a week ago, except for the fusion drive.

    Chose the 2.6 GHz option to future-proof (I'm one of the nightmare customers talked about elsewhere, who clings to his hardware for far too long), but decided to buy the 2-HDD kit from iFixIt and then fit a 128GB SSD along with the standard 1TB drive.

    Also bought 16 gigs of Kingston Hyper pnp RAM. Someone mentioned they worked in the mini and they're actually the cheapest here for some obscure reason.

    I would have had it today, had TNT not botched their delivery. It's nice taking the day off to wait for something that never arrives, because they messed up and forgot to change the delivery date.
     
  3. benoitgphoto macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2007
    #3
    Done the same too last week and the Mini is scheduled to arrive this thursday. I got the i7 at 2.3 GHz with the 1 TB Fusion drive and will upgrade the ram to 16 GB myself. Not sure if I should have got the 2.6 GHz or not...I tried the demo in the Apple store and it was the 2.3 with the regular HDD and the 4 GB ram and found it was hell fast. Hopefully I won't regret it.
     
  4. ugahairydawgs macrumors 68020

    ugahairydawgs

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    #4
    I bit a similar bullet a couple of weeks ago. Went with the 2.3/4/1TB fusion drive model for $889 from the Apple refurb store. Got a 16GB RAM kit installed and this thing performs very well.
     
  5. philipma1957, Nov 19, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2013

    philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #5
    you are wasting a lot of money dude… buy the 2.3 then add a big ssd and ram

    no fusion no 2.6



    http://www.amazon.com/Apple-MD388LL...=UTF8&qid=1384874578&sr=8-2&keywords=mac+mini buy this 789


    http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Elect...F8&qid=1384874616&sr=8-4&keywords=samsung+evo buy this 571


    http://www.amazon.com/Kingston-Valu...qid=1384874654&sr=8-8&keywords=16+gb+1600+ram buy 2 of these 170

    cost is 1550 this is future proof


    If you shop around all the prices above can be found lower. you also pull the internal 1 tb hdd to put the ssd in. and you can use the external in this

    http://www.amazon.com/ORICO-2588US3...&qid=1384874812&sr=8-1&keywords=3.0++usb+case

    run a backup with it.
     
  6. corvus32 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #6
    The benchmarks I've seen don't show much gain from 2.3 to 2.6.

    In fact, there's not a whole lot of difference between the 2.5 i5 Mini and 2.3 quad-core unless you do a lot of video or audio editing.

    Maxing out the RAM and adding an SSD are what's important.
     
  7. chrfr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    #7
    I have a 2.6 at work which I use regularly and have a 2.3 at home. I cannot tell the difference between them. Remember that both will use turbo boost so the speed difference really is trivial.
     
  8. Schnort macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #8
    You'll only really see a difference when doing video encoding (or large code compiles). I'm sure there's some photoshop filters or something like that that could make use of the extra cores.

    Otherwise, the multiple cores just sit there looking pretty.
     
  9. ugahairydawgs macrumors 68020

    ugahairydawgs

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    #9
    Problem there is he wants the fusion drive. Can't get that with the i5.
     
  10. blanka macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    #10
    It is super easy to buy a SSD yourself and slide it in. Then you can either turn it into a fusion with the HD in the other drive bay, or use it separate. You can do that with all models. No need to feel limited by Apple's options.
    It also allows you to pick larger SSD's. You can make a 256GB SSD fusion for the money Apple demands for a 128GB one.
     
  11. ugahairydawgs macrumors 68020

    ugahairydawgs

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    #11
    No doubt. Very much possible, although there are many that aren't comfortable enough to crack open their machine and start swapping out hard drives.
     
  12. haravikk macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    #12
    Sounds like a perfectly sensible setup; the Haswell processors aren't that much faster than the quad-core option you've chosen, and it's mostly a factor of what you're doing. For example, if you use virtualisation a lot then the Haswell processors have made some incremental progress to that (though again, it's not so huge a leap that you're left in the dust).

    The main advantage of Haswell is going to be integrated Iris graphics, which is a big leap, but only matters if you do stuff that would take advantage of it. If not then you'll hardly notice the difference between the processors. I mean, for most tasks that quad-core 2.6ghz is as good as an 8-core early 2008 Mac Pro; better actually, in most areas at least thanks to much better support for encryption, compression etc. If the next Mac Mini gets access to Iris Pro then things are a bit different, as that actually accelerates both CPU and GPU, but I'm not sure how likely the Mac Mini is to get that (iMacs are bound to at some point).

    Memory isn't likely to change much in the new Mac Minis either. In fact, the main difference I'd expect from new Mac Minis will be a second Thunderbolt port, and at this rate possibly a redesign, which may actually mean less capacity of internal drives in which case getting a Mac Mini now is potentially an advantage, as Apple are bound to make it smaller if they think they can.

    But ehm… yeah, the Mac Mini you're going for is a perfectly good machine, and the next update isn't going to really change that unless you're really into casual gaming on it or need an extra ounce or two of speed in VMWare Fusion or Parallels. Fusion Drive is definitely the best option IMO, as the current Mac Mini has room for good capacity and married with the SSD you get SSD performance for most operations. The next Mac Mini might have access to better SSDs but it's not really important to them (the SSDs your Mac Mini can take are plenty fast already).
     
  13. corvus32 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #13
    The i5 Mini is $549 at BestBuy and B&H Photo, so the extra $450+tax you have to spend for the fusion drive is a hard pill to swallow, IMO.
     
  14. ToomeyND macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2011
    #14
    Agreed. And if you are willing to drop your standards a bit on an SSD, you can walk away with a 256 Crucial M4 for $180 or so. Add that into your i5 setup (at $549), and you have a similarly fast setup for $729. That's what I did, along with 16 gb of ram, and I'm very pleased with my machine.

    I bought the i5 thinking it's the cheapest one, and it will be more justifiable to replace in a couple of years, but as it stands now, I probably won't be replacing it for a long time.

    Oh, and I'm not running fusion. I keep apps, photos, and music on the SSD (I know that's overkill on the latter two), and movies on the HDD.

    Edit: And adding the SSD was a fun, 1 hour challenge. Now I can have it apart and back together again in under 15 minutes.
     
  15. blanka macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    #15
    No swapping needed,
    Remove the bottom, remove the Wifi grill, slide in a SSD and pop in the cable. 5 minutes work.
     
  16. SoCalReviews macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2012
    #16
    The fusion drive option is nice but the extra cost is a prohibitive factor. IMO for a stationary desktop upgrading the RAM to 16GB is what is most important. The benefit of SSDs for notebooks is less power usage and improved shock resistance while using and transporting. Most of the applications you actively run load up in the available system RAM anyway. The programs I run open up for the first time in less than a second or two. I don't experience much wait time using my Mini as it is. An SSD is a nice option to have when you boot up a system but I leave my system in power saving standby mode which wakes up in the blink of an eye. Unless you are constantly reading and writing mass amounts of data from the drive I don't see many benefits. I still might upgrade one of my Minis with an SSD in the future only to see what all the excitement is all about. :D
     
  17. SoCalReviews, Nov 19, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2013

    SoCalReviews macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2012
    #17
    I don't like the fact that the SSD that you add isn't covered by AppleCare. You also have to be very careful not to damage any of the Mini's wiring or internal parts when you add the SSD. It might be fairly simple procedure and a less expensive option but there are benefits of simply ordering Apple's fusion drive option when the Mini is new. However when given the choice between the two technologies for an internal storage drive I normally would prefer a full SSD to a fusion drive.
     
  18. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #18
    swapping the 1tb samsung evo for the stock hdd is easy peasy. 10-20 minutes.

    and you do the ram at the same time.


    the stock fusion is meh I own 2 diy fusion's a 2tb using a 1tb hdd and a 1tb ssd. and I have a 750 gb diy fusion with a 250gb ssd and a 500gb hdd.

    doing a fusion drive correctly takes an hour and is a lot more work the swapping the stock hdd for a ssd.
     
  19. fastlanephil macrumors 6502a

    fastlanephil

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    #19
    I purchased the same Mac Mini configuration with the 2.6 i7 quad-core and 4GB memory yesterday.
     
  20. blanka macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    #20
    It usually has way more warranty than anything from Apple. Lifetime anyone?

    Just be so careful not to be dumb and watch the iFixit or OWC instructions on Youtube! They almost wreck the machine to install it. First: their video's are based on 2011 models, with the HD in the lower and thus awkward position, second: don't give a damn about whether the screws are in the side of your SSD. Just shove it in loose. It won't go anywhere, and if it has too much room, just put the spacer they include with most SSD's on top.
     
  21. SoCalReviews macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2012
    #21
    Is the SSD manufacturer is going to help support the recovery of your OS X system, applications and data if their drive fails? A lifetime warranty and if the SSD goes bad all you have to do is take your Mac Mini to a certified SSD repair place and they handle the repair... labor, parts, etc ? Sounds like a good deal. Where can I get one of those SSD's? :rolleyes:
     
  22. Noetics thread starter macrumors member

    Noetics

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2013
    #22
    So based on what ive read here today, i shopped around and had a look at SSDs i could put in myself.

    Keeping the same 2.6ghz setup without the fusion drive, i could add a Samsung Pro series and altogether save around £50 for a similar SSD, If i put it in myself.

    Or spend an extra £10 and add a 256gb SSD...

    Decisions decisions. I don't know whether I am comfortable taking apart the mac mini. I have watched some videos and it looks quite complex for a newbie.

    £50 for the labour of apple doing it..... is it worth it... probably not.
     
  23. corvus32 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #23
    My Intel 520 SSD came with a five year warranty.

    Between a good backup routine, Google, and maybe a good book on the subject there's no need to bother other humans with this.
     
  24. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #24
    [[ I don't like the fact that the SSD that you add isn't covered by AppleCare. You also have to be very careful not to damage any of the Mini's wiring or internal parts when you add the SSD ]]

    There's nothing that mandates that a fusion drive has to be interally installed.

    One could buy a bare SSD, and buy an external enclosure or USB3/SATA dock, put the SSD into that, then use Terminal to "forge" a fusion drive that uses the internal HDD _and_ the external SSD.

    Once completed, speeds will be all-but indistinguishable from an internally-mounted drive.

    You haven't risked damaging anything by opening up the Mini, and you'll have the SSD easily "in hand" if there's a warranty issue.

    The only disadvantage, if you consider it to be one, is that you'll have an additional peripheral on the desk. So what?
     
  25. CausticPuppy macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    #25
    But if you want to move certain things to the HDD (like the MobileSync backups which are pointless to keep on an SSD) you need to spend some time in terminal making symlinks.
     

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