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Generic "Mac Mini or 16 Inch MBP?" Post

mikebjammin

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 23, 2020
29
5
I have a Mid 2012 MBP that I bought new almost 7 years ago. I have upgraded to a SSD, 16 gigs of RAM, and a new battery from OWC and it is still working great. However, due to it's age I would like to upgrade to something newer and keep the 2012 as a "beater" computer. I was looking at getting either a Mac Mini or 16 inch MBP.

Background about my usage: My most "intense" workflow is basic music production using Logic Pro X. I also do some basic editing with iMove; mind you this is me just syncing video and audio together for clips on Instagram. Otherwise, I just do basic word browsing, word documents, and video chatting.

Options:

I was looking at somewhat "future proofing" my machine, so I was looking at upgrading to 32 gigs of RAM and 2 TB SSD.

16 inch MBP:

  • 2.6GHz 6‑core 9th‑generation Intel Core i7 processor, Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz
  • 32GB 2666MHz DDR4 memory
  • AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 8GB of GDDR6 memory
  • 2TB SSD storage
  • Cost: $3,599 plus tax and Apple Care
Mac Mini:

  • 3.2GHz 6‑core 8th‑generation Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost up to 4.6GHz)
  • 32GB 2666MHz DDR4
  • Intel UHD Graphics 630
  • 2TB SSD storage
  • Cost: $2,499 plus tax and Apple Care
PERSONALLY I am leaning more towards the Mac Mini as I already have a keyboard, mouse, and monitor. I could always use my Mid 2012 MBP if I need to take a laptop somewhere for the meantime (works out great as I wouldn't want to bring a $3,000+ laptop out of my house often). I also currently only use my MBP in "clamshell" mode with the monitor and haven't taken it out of the house in over a year; I mainly work at my desk. I have heard people say that the 16" MBP is a better value than the Mac Mini, however, I think that is referring more to the basic models? I know that the Mac Mini doesn't have as good of graphics as the MBP but I'm not doing any intensive video work and plus I could always buy an external GPU which would likely be better anyways?

Thoughts? I appreciate any replies.
 

lilcosco08

macrumors 65816
May 27, 2010
1,224
22
Dayton
Just wait for the new iMac, $2500 for those specs in 2020 is insanity.

Or save some dinero & just buy the baseline 16", even that is probably overkill for your workflow.

The best way to future-proof Macs is to buy midrange & resell/upgrade often
 

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
5,174
2,411
New Jersey Pine Barrens
I have that same Mini (but with 64gb RAM) and love it, am using a 32" QHD BenQ screen. If you aren't in a rush, wait for a refurb to appear in the Apple store. I had to wait over a month but it was worth it. Prices are typically about 15% cheaper but warranty is the same as new. You could also save money by installing your own RAM. Many people do this, but I opted for real Apple RAM. There is some risk of damage if you install your own, and Apple might claim that a future problem was caused by installing your own memory. However, many people feel that savings justify the risk. Of course, you could also wait for the MBP to show up in the Apple Refurb store if that's your choice.

People who complain about the Mini integrated graphics are typically using multiple screen or they have the base 8gb Mini (the integrated graphics use 1.5gb of system RAM). There are also some demanding tasks that the integrated graphics may not handle well. You could add an external GPU in the future if this is an issue. That's what I was considering, but I really haven't seen any issues with the integrated graphics for my own use.
 
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mikebjammin

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 23, 2020
29
5
Thank you for your replies! Personally I think I will looking at the Mac Mini but now I have anything internal debate:

1 TB vs 2 TB SSD.

On my MBP I have only used 380 gigs of the 1 TB SSD. I am starting to get more into audio engineering so part of me feels like I should go with the 2 TB, however, I could easily get a $150 external SSD to work from. As I want to keep this Mac Mini for the next 5+ years part of me wants to go with the 2 TB, however, I can always use an external drive as needed. Thoughts?
 

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
5,174
2,411
New Jersey Pine Barrens
I got the 2tb drive because it's so fast (am getting about 2.7gb/sec read and write speeds) and it can't be upgraded later. Somebody posted results from a 2tb external thunderbolt SSD and it was about 2.7gb read but "only" 2.0gb write. I think external thunderbolt SSD's are pretty expensive.

Anyway, I am also running windows on my Mini and I have lots of files. Would have gotten a 4tb ssd if it was available. I have a 2tb Samsung t7 connected for my other files and it gets about 900MB/sec read/write - which is still quite good for most things. But I will still be fighting to keep enough free space, even with 4tb total.

Do you need the extra speed of the internal SSD? Some people get the 256 or 512gb internal drive and boot from an external SSD.
 

nicho

macrumors 68040
Feb 15, 2008
3,645
2,523
I think external thunderbolt SSD's are pretty expensive.

They can, however, be transferred from machine A to machine B without any cost.

Replacing a machine with 2TB soldered storage with another with 2TB soldered storage is much more expensive than replacing one with 256GB with another that has 256GB.

However, factoring in alternatives like the T7... if someone was looking to add 1TB storage (not a boot drive) I'd order the options as below:
  1. USB-C external drive (one capable of maximising 10Gbps throughput, or near-as)
  2. Thunderbolt external drive
  3. Internal storage
 
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