Cheapest Mac mini + external HD

bchaplin

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 18, 2006
48
0
I'm considering getting a Mac mini, to use solely as desk-bound storage for my music, videos and photos, to dock with my iPhone and iPad. It won't even be used for video playback, only light activities such as playing music over my bluetooth speaker, or viewing photos. I do not do much editing of photos, so it would be more for organizing them. I don't think I need much speed or power for these activities. I do my actual work on my Macbook Air.

Any reason not to get the 500GB Mac mini model and attach a $100 hard drive to it, rather than springing for the more expensive 1TB models? I'm trying to keep the cost of the Mac mini plus accessories less than what I'd pay for a second laptop, so that the purchasing decision makes sense.
 

Meister

Suspended
Oct 10, 2013
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You can do significantly more with the base mini than what you are describing.
 

Celerondon

macrumors 6502a
Oct 17, 2013
679
123
Southern Cal
You can do significantly more with the base mini than what you are describing.
Agreed!

Go for it. The base mini will perform your tasks well and with a warranty.

If you put in a little work, you might find a sale model or refurb and save even more money.
 

Sun Baked

macrumors G5
May 19, 2002
14,874
57
If you are thinking of buying in store and locally and getting the drive at the same time -- cough, and don't mind Best Buy.

Stopping by the post office for the address change moving kit, and pulling out the 10% off coupon for Best Buy hidden inside -- is likely worth the time to make the stop.
 

yjchua95

macrumors 604
Apr 23, 2011
6,725
230
GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
I'm considering getting a Mac mini, to use solely as desk-bound storage for my music, videos and photos, to dock with my iPhone and iPad. It won't even be used for video playback, only light activities such as playing music over my bluetooth speaker, or viewing photos. I do not do much editing of photos, so it would be more for organizing them. I don't think I need much speed or power for these activities. I do my actual work on my Macbook Air.

Any reason not to get the 500GB Mac mini model and attach a $100 hard drive to it, rather than springing for the more expensive 1TB models? I'm trying to keep the cost of the Mac mini plus accessories less than what I'd pay for a second laptop, so that the purchasing decision makes sense.
Even an Intel Compute Stick would be more than enough for what you're going to do on it.
 

bchaplin

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 18, 2006
48
0
Thanks for the feedback!

@Sun Baked, that is a great tip about the Best Buy coupon. In fact, I already stopped by the Apple store and bought the Mac mini, so I don't think I'll go to the trouble of returning it. However, maybe someone else will read this and take advantage of it. I did get a small education discount for being affiliated with a university. If I ever upgrade my laptop it would be worth it to get 10% off so I'll keep that in mind.

So far the computer seems good, but I only had a few hours last night to set it up. It did freeze up once during set-up and had to be rebooted, which was disconcerting, but I won't worry unless it happens again. It's actually larger than I thought, but still much better than the full-size desktop computer I used to have. I like that it is portable in the event of a move, and that the monitor and other peripherals can always be swapped out.

It's probably been discussed here already, but one thing I didn't know was that a wired keyboard (rather than bluetooth) was necessary for the initial set-up. Fortunately I was able to borrow one from a neighbor.
 

Celerondon

macrumors 6502a
Oct 17, 2013
679
123
Southern Cal
Perhaps Not "Required"

It's probably been discussed here already, but one thing I didn't know was that a wired keyboard (rather than bluetooth) was necessary for the initial set-up. Fortunately I was able to borrow one from a neighbor.
Actually it isn't, at least not in every case. When it was new, I set this 2012 up with two Bluetooth Apple controls. Many others have had success as well. That said, I have also seen numerous accounts of folks who were unable to configure unibody Mac mini computers with wireless accessories. Some of them were quite resourceful before they resorted to a USB mouse and or keyboard.

I don't know why this is, but user experience varies. One thing for sure, Apple does not sell Macs that can't be setup with Bluetooth accessories. From what I have seen, their setup process appears to have a hitch or two that catches a percentage of Mac users.
 

bchaplin

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 18, 2006
48
0
Actually it isn't, at least not in every case. When it was new, I set this 2012 up with two Bluetooth Apple controls. Many others have had success as well. That said, I have also seen numerous accounts of folks who were unable to configure unibody Mac mini computers with wireless accessories. Some of them were quite resourceful before they resorted to a USB mouse and or keyboard.

I don't know why this is, but user experience varies. One thing for sure, Apple does not sell Macs that can't be setup with Bluetooth accessories. From what I have seen, their setup process appears to have a hitch or two that catches a percentage of Mac users.
Interesting. Well, that's good to know.
 

ea9

macrumors regular
Mar 14, 2011
192
0
Consider a refurb. You could probably get a mid range for similar price or an even cheaper base mac mini.
 

Celerondon

macrumors 6502a
Oct 17, 2013
679
123
Southern Cal
Big Performance From Little Computer

Consider a refurb. You could probably get a mid range for similar price or an even cheaper base mac mini.
At first when I read ea9’s short comment I thought, here we go again. The OP described their need for a “Cheapest Mac mini + external HD” and now one of us is suggesting a fire breathing updated 8Gb machine. Next I thought, someone will predict that anything less than 16Gb will cause Apple to orphan the mini in a few months while I join the chorus softly chanting, Fusion Drive or SSD, SSD or Fusion Drive. As Egg Shen told the lawyer, “But that's how it always begins. Very small...”


But wait, could ea9 be correct? Perhaps the OP should consider the mid range mini. The expense for a $100 external and the refurb discount could bring it into range. Since the OP needs the storage capacity anyway, the refurb mini could provide more memory, better graphics, and a faster CPU for a comparable price. Right now Refurbme lists 2014 mid range minis for $589. That is less than $100 more than the Apple store price for a base model. The discounted Best Buy price for a 2014 base model is $479.

Should the mid mini be an option?
 
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bchaplin

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 18, 2006
48
0
So funny - for some reason I went online yesterday and realized that the refurb price of the middle model is very close to what I paid, and of course double the memory and hard disk size, with a faster processor. So I did start to consider this option, and then saw ea9's comment, which was further encouragement.

I visited the Apple store on my way home, double-checked that I could return the mini I already bought, and then decided to sleep on it. This morning that model is no longer offered in the refurb store! Perhaps it will come back; I will check.

The return policy is 14 days, so I have some time to consider.
 

ea9

macrumors regular
Mar 14, 2011
192
0
They come and go all the time. If it's what you want keep checking everyday they will come up. Within a week usually for popular items.

Good luck
 

Meister

Suspended
Oct 10, 2013
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So funny - for some reason I went online yesterday and realized that the refurb price of the middle model is very close to what I paid, and of course double the memory and hard disk size, with a faster processor. So I did start to consider this option, and then saw ea9's comment, which was further encouragement.

I visited the Apple store on my way home, double-checked that I could return the mini I already bought, and then decided to sleep on it. This morning that model is no longer offered in the refurb store! Perhaps it will come back; I will check.

The return policy is 14 days, so I have some time to consider.
The mid range model also comes with an old spinner, just like yours. For what you are doing both models will perform precisely equal. In fact the base model will likely last longer, because heat management of the 1.4ghz cpu is much better for your usage.
 

ea9

macrumors regular
Mar 14, 2011
192
0
The mid range model also comes with an old spinner, just like yours. For what you are doing both models will perform precisely equal. In fact the base model will likely last longer, because heat management of the 1.4ghz cpu is much better for your usage.
Yes but at least he's got the extra HD space he needs right now without spending much more.
The true value is at the mid range refurb I would say. Especially the resell value and the fact that you could re purpose it where the base model might struggle. (multiple plex transcoding server, photoshop or else.)

And I really doubt the CPU's heat management will ever be a problem for either device so PLEASE don't base your purchase on that.