Decisions Decisions....

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by flavamactop, Dec 29, 2013.

  1. flavamactop macrumors member

    Feb 27, 2008
    Hi all,

    I've decided to stop waiting for the new Mac Mini, and just go ahead and get one now. I might resell this one in the future if the Iris upgrade is compelling enough, so resale value would play into my decision of which option to go with. I'm trying to decide between a couple options and thought I would see what you all thought.

    I will be getting the 2.6 i7. I'll get 4GB RAM and upgrade to 16GB myself. What's really up in the air is what I do with the hard drive. I want to keep the AppleCare to be valid on everything but the hard drive, so I'm going to have any HD work done by an AASP. Here are the options I'm considering... please let me know which you would pick, and why, or if you would pick an option not listed here:

    1) Buy a 2.6 i7, 4GB, 1TB HDD, and have an additional 750GB EVO 840 SSD added as a second internal drive by an Apple Authorized Service Provider (potentially rolling my own Fusion Drive)
    2) Buy a 2.6 i7, 4GB, 1TB HDD, and have an additional 750GB EVO 840 SSD installed as the primary internal drive by an Apple Authorized Service Provider, and remove the stock 1TB HDD and put into a USB3/thunderbolt enclosure
    3) Buy a 2.6 i7, 4GB, 1TB HDD, and use a 750GB EVO 840 SSD in an external thunderbolt enclosure
    4) Buy a 2.6 i7, 4GB, 1TB Fusion Drive and call it a day

    I currently have a ~150GB iPhoto library, and about ~125GB iTunes library. I would use the machine as the main media server, backup iPhones, etc. I don't really do video editing, mostly just watching videos from the iPhoto library. I eventually might have this machine drive 2 Apple Thunderbolt Displays.

    Thanks for your help!
  2. rndman macrumors member

    Dec 18, 2013
    I know this wasn't your question.
    But for that kind of work, most people have recommended (me) the i5.
    (I am still on the fence whether to go i5 or i7..)
  3. hudson1 macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2012
    The devil is in the details. If the OP is processing RAW images, i7 will certainly help. If it's just a file cabinet for JPEGs, an i5 is probably fine.
  4. rndman macrumors member

    Dec 18, 2013
    Ah. Thanks for that..
    I will be processing RAW files all the time.. So i7 makes more sense then..
  5. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    You didn't post option #5.

    That is:
    Buy a 2.6 i7, 4gb, 1tb HDD, and buy an SSD and use it with either a USB3/SATA docking station or a 2.5" external enclosure.

    You will get SSD performance that equals that of the thunderbolt drive, but for considerably less money.
  6. Lesser Evets macrumors 68040

    Lesser Evets

    Jan 7, 2006
    I did the same. Last week I ordered a 2.6 i7 with the SSD. It arrives today via Fedex.

    Though this might not answer your question, here is how I thought of it: I hate going into my other mini for drives, so I didn't want to touch this one after delivery (aside from a 16GB ram update).

    My main mac is a Pro 1,1 and it is going south after 7 years. I have a low-end 2011 mini which is just an aux computer, but it isn't fast enough for some things I do.

    My old MacPro 1,1 will be a drive container I access with the new Mini. The 256SSD will stack up quick with programs, docs, system, and a few other things. Even without the Mac Pro, I'd purchase an external solution for storage--one drive or multiples using USB3 or TB. External storage is easier to work on, replace, copy, leave behind, etc.

    I'll see how that works out for me in the next month.
  7. niteflyr macrumors 6502a

    Nov 29, 2011
    Southern Cal
    Sounds like base model would be sufficient for your needs. Use the savings to buy your RAM and SSD.
  8. Rodster macrumors 68040

    May 15, 2007
    Exactly, an i7 would be an overkill for what the OP wants to do. That's like buying a MP just to surf the web and iTunes. My i5 is plenty fast. :)
  9. fig macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2012
    Austin, TX
    I got my Mini with the Fusion drive (dual 2.6ghz i7).

    I could've bought my own drives, installed them myself, and saved a few bucks, but for the fairly minimal savings I couldn't justify spending the time along with encountering any unforeseen hardware/warranty issues.
  10. El Hikaru macrumors regular

    Dec 3, 2013

    I have a mini with 2nd gen i5, 5G ram (original 2+2 to 2+4 a while ago), and thinking to upgrade for nearly entire 2013, but still not done yet.

    Fusion drive seems attractive to me.
    The ideal combination of drives is SSD which hold OS and applications and a/a few HDD for file storage.
    Some simple applications such as iTunes and iPhoto can save data at any location you want, SSD or HDD drive. However, once you start to use other applications which save large data to hidden library or application support folder, your SSD will be filled fairly quickly.
    I could upgrade to SSD and HDD combination regardless of internal vs. external, but have to deal with this problem at some point in the future, unless I spend some considerable cost to buy a large SSD, which could cost more than fusion drive upgrade.
    Fusion drive may be a simple solution for this problem.

    By the way, the main difference between 3rd gen intel CPU and 4th gen is energy consumption. Mini is plugged into wall outlet, and it does not enjoy the new tech as much as laptops.
  11. Schnort macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2013
    The graphics performance of the 4th generation is considerably better than the 3rd generation (and the 3rd better than the 2nd).
  12. flavamactop thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 27, 2008
    Agreed, the new generation has two main advantages that I'd be interested in:

    1) As you mentioned, Iris
    2) PCIe-based flash

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