Choice between late 2012 or late 2014 mac mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by barryhill, Aug 26, 2015.

  1. barryhill macrumors member

    Jan 8, 2015

    I use Mac Mini's in my recording studio, using Logic Pro X. I record multi track music demos.

    I am using Mac Mini as I cannot afford a much higher spec Mac Pro.

    I am using a late 2014 Mac Mini with 8gb Ram and Dual Core 2.6ghz Core i5 processor, and it is loaded with my music software and I am storing all my music files, samples etc on a 4TB USB3 external Samsung hard drive.

    As you might guess. When I am running a lot of music tracks with effects on them, this is chewing up CPU and Ram resources and now and then giving me 'out of system resources' error messages. So I am reaching a limit on what I can do with this setup.

    Unfortunately late 2014 Mac Mini's Ram or Processor cannot be upgraded beyond what I have bought.

    I see that a late 2012 Mac Mini can be upgraded. I see models on sale for around £700 with Quad Core processors, 2 or 3TB internal drives, Firewire support and upgradeable to 16gb Ram.

    So, my question is. Would a maxed out late 2012 Mac Mini give me significantly better performance, is it worth the money and upgrade cost. I could then sell my 2014 Mac Mini and make back a bit of the expense.

    Or would I find the advantages not really worth the expense? ie, would increasing to 16 mb RAM, going to Quad Core and using internal disks or firewire external disks make a big difference?

    I would appreciate any advice or comments?

  2. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000


    Nov 20, 2007
    Hi Barry, is this for work or hobby? If I were you I'd be looking for a 2012 quad, but only at the right price. 2012 is becoming quite a long time ago already...
  3. fa8362 macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
    It would definitely be better. Whether it's good enough, I don't know because I'm not you. This probably isn't the best place to find people who use Logic Pro X. You'd probably have better luck in the audio software forum or on Apple's support site for Logic Pro X.
  4. barryhill thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 8, 2015

    It's for semi pro music and poetry recording work. So it has to be reliable, but not necessarily super robust as it won't be used full time.

    I spoke for a while with Apple this morning and I ended up telling the support person things he didn't know about the M Mac Ram being soldered to the board and there not being an expansion slot for any extra hard discs etc. But when he passed me onto someone more senior, the consensus was that the late 2012 with more Ram capabilities was the best option.

    Thanks for your opinion on this, and thanks for any other views or opinions, all welcome

  5. barryhill thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 8, 2015

    Thanks for this. I have just posted my thread on the audio forum, let's see what they come up with. Currently the concensus seems to be late 2012 as the best option.

  6. Micky Do, Aug 26, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2015

    Micky Do macrumors 68000

    Micky Do

    Aug 31, 2012
    An island in the Andaman Sea.
    Seems that you are using is the $699, off the shelf mid tier 2014 Mini…..

    For your requirements it sounds like a custom ordered top of the range 2014 Mini could be a better fit your. It comes standard with an i5 dual core 2.8 GHz processor 8 GB RAM and 1TB Fusion Drive @ $999

    It can be ordered with an i7 dual core 3.0 GHz processor and 16 GB RAM, which would add a total of $400 to the base price. So a total of $1,399, a little under half the price of the base model Mac Pro.

    There is a range of storage options. Given that your main storage is external you might look at the 256 SSD as a no extra cost option to the standard 1 TB Fusion Drive.

    The only thing that is user upgradeable in the 2012 Mini is the RAM. It came with 4 GB across the range, upgradeable to 16 GB.

    The top of the 2012 range has an i7 quad core 2.3 GHz processor (2.6 GHz was available as a custom order option). The i7 quad core 2012 Mini does out perform the i7 dual core 2014 Mini by quite a margin, so is popular among those seeking top performance. They do become available, but at a price.

    One way or another, if you want pro performance, it is going to cost you.
  7. barryhill thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 8, 2015
    Hi there

    Many thanks for your thoughts on this. Very helpful. Yes, it is a mid-tier model, but came with 8gb ram, which is handy.

    I spoke to Apple and it was suggested that using a Lighting external drive would make a lot of difference to the performance of the music tracks. Lighting far outperforms even USB3 I gather. So I have ordered a G-Force 4TB Lighting external drive and will see first of all what difference this makes to the performance.

    I believe, please correct me if wrong, that the other upgradeable option on the 2012 Mini is the hard disc. This can be swapped for alternative hard discs, including a 2TB SSD, but this costs £600!

    As you say, the Quad Core also outperforms the dual core processor, so I am going to try out the Lighthing external disc, and see what difference that makes to high VST useage on my tracks. I may then save up for a 2012 M Mini with 16gb ram and Quad core processing, that might put the icing on the cake!

    thanks again for your suggestions and help everyone

  8. fa8362 macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
    IMO, your statement is not correct because what Apple deems user upgradeable is irrelevant since the 2012 Mini is out of warranty.

    I replaced the hard drive in mine with an SSD. It was not at all difficult. Sure, some people screw it up, but those are people who cannot follow directions, and/or who are clumsy, and/or who are careless. In addition, it is not even necessary, since an external SSD via USB 3.0 can deliver nearly all of the performance of an internal drive.
  9. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2009
    Folsom, CA
    Have you considered just getting an iMac, they are more expensive than a MM however less than a Mac Pro and have much more power than current MM's and you don't have to settle for a used MM. You can also get an Apple Refurbished iMac which can save hundreds and still give you a 1 year warranty, eligibility for AppleCare and be virtually identical to a new machine.
  10. MRrainer macrumors 6502a

    Aug 8, 2008
    Zurich, Switzerland
  11. ZMacintosh macrumors 65816


    Nov 13, 2008
    The current Mac minis are capable machines, its just a tough call - i dont think because a previous generation had Quadcore distills the ability of a dual-core system with different clock speeds and specs.
    While I get the consensus - I think it was a bit overblown IMO.

    bare minimum for audio recording needs 16GB in that type of configuration and atleast a Fusion drive.
    the CPU should be fine, however keep in mind any USB devices will also use CPU in addition to rendering your audio plugins and it may be a best interest to get a SSD external to alteast get the maximized throughput for the external content if the CPU may use USB resources. or Thunderbolt is also an option.

    a 21-inch iMac with a fusion drive + 16gb ram may also be a better option.

    But i dont see much wrong with the current generation Minis just keep in mind the storage and memory options

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