Buying used Mac Mini

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Macinstache, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. Macinstache macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2013
    #1
    I'm looking for a Mac Mini to use primarily as a storage center and server for my Apple TVs. I see them on Craig's List between $150 and $300. There seems to be a lot of different models out there. What ones should I stay away from? I'm looking for it to have Bluetooth for my keyboard, a couple USB ports for HD attachment, and ability to connect to my home WiFi network.
     
  2. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #2
    $150 ones are probably G4 and really old and might have drives that are very slow for today. However if it's cheap enough it doesn't hurt to try. You can easily migrate your setup to a faster Mac.

    I would go for an Intel Mac Mini if you can find it, but it's basically impossible to find a recent one for $300.

    I use a PowerMac G4 as a content server. I put in a SATA card and modern drives and it can stream HD content to my MBP. It's loud by today's standards so it stays in the basement.

     
  3. Macinstache thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 16, 2013
    #3
    I see a late 2009 for $275. I listened to a podcast today about storage and I've been trying to figure out my 'setup' and they mentioned Mac Mini but I've never researched or thought of it.
     
  4. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #4
    It's worth a shot, as long as it doesn't have any problem.

    You can add some external drives, put a 1TB 2.5" internal in the Mac Mini, or add two internal drives if you remove the optical drive.

    It's good to have a storage computer because you can access it remotely to download files while you are away, and when you get home you don't have to wait.
     
  5. dimme macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Location:
    SF, CA
    #5
    I running a 2009 MacMini as a storage server. I have 6 External HD's hooked up via Firewire and USB. I an running server on it so I can also use it as a time machine backup. I picked it up used about 18 months ago for $400 which included the mini, 8GB ram new faster HD and a few other extras.
    This setup works great an the mini is very energy efficient.
     
  6. ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

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    Sep 5, 2013
    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    #6
    Core solos (2006) can be had for under 200 and upgraded to T7600 C2D for as little as $50. Just did one of mine. The wireless all works and even has GB Ethernet.
     
  7. noodle654 macrumors 68020

    noodle654

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    Jun 2, 2005
    Location:
    Never Ender
    #7
    $150 for a G4 :confused: I don't think so. OP you can find C2D for less than $200. Check out www.wincycle.org . Vermont refurbisher they have some good prices.
     
  8. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #8
    Cool thanks. I guess they have such low volumes that people don't know what to list them for on craigslist.

    But under $300 for late 2009 is good deal.
     
  9. js81 macrumors 65816

    js81

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2008
    Location:
    KY
    #9
    I agree. My personal desktop is (still) a 2009 Mini server. I'm running a 120GB SSD and 500GB HDD internal and a 4TB (2x2TB mirrored) external FW800 drive and 8GB of RAM. Runs Snow Leopard pretty quickly... just limited by the 9400M graphics. But the 9400M is better than the GMA950 lol. ;) Thinking about buying a matching SSD and striping them... IDK though; may just hold out for a new Mini.

    My plan is an i5/i7 Mini in the next year or so and move my current to duty as a TVPC (currently running an old Dell Pentium D in that role right now).

    They DO have good prices. :) If I were the OP, I'd look at the C2D Mini they have listed for $145. More than sufficient and plenty cheap.
     
  10. blanka macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    #10
    Don't pick anything below the 2009, and even consider selling an AppleTV for pimping it.
    A 2009 Mini on a TV seriously beats an Apple TV, so if you grab such a Mini, ditch the Apple TV on your main TV and connect the Mini to it. It will make your experience so much better!
     
  11. Macinstache thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 16, 2013
    #11
    Thanks all for the comments. Ive read that people replace their Apple TV with a Mini. Im thinking about my family though. I dont know if theyd figure out how to watch anything if it wasnt for the big Netflix, Movies, and HBOGo buttons that start up right away. How does the Mini work besides putting OSX on the screen? Wouldn't my family need to login to each website?
     
  12. ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2013
    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    #12
    Ive been running a mini for a few years. HBO go is tricky. You cant run it on the web and you cant feed it from an ipad. Airserver will accept airplay connections, but the hbo app feed is encrypted and you need an appletv to read it.

    The Mini makes sense if you are processing and holding content. If you are mostly streaming and the appletv streams what you want, the mini may not makes sense. To find out, practice with a mac you already have. If it plays full screen on a macbook, the mini can feed it to your tv.
     
  13. blanka macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    #13
    I know the UX is a bit more awkward with a Mini, but I just can't stand movies being played at 60fps. That looks SOO BAD. But hey, if it is a big deal, use both a Mini and an Apple TV on the TV. The TV probably has more than one HDMI input. Also check a much cheaper Chromecast, it will do HBO and stuff as well, I don't know about its 24p support though.
     

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