Help me decide Which Mac to keep - 2012 Mini Server or mid-2012 rMBP

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by campyguy, Dec 14, 2014.

  1. campyguy macrumors 68040

    Mar 21, 2014
    Portland / Seattle
    I’ve got a choice to make within about 24 hours and am seeking insight. My choice is which Mac to keep - either a mid-2012 rMBP 2.6 i7 8GB/512GB Intel 4000/GT 650M (Samsung SSD and Display, with no issues or artifacts) and about 15 months left on AppleCare that’s been used in a controlled environment (humidity/dust/movement) with an external keyboard and monitor OR a refurb 2012 Mini Server 2.3 i7 4GB/2x1TB Intel 4000 (delivered about 12 days ago but not opened yet). This rMBP used to be my daily driver until it was reassigned about a year ago - there isn’t a scratch on it.

    One of my employees retired on Friday and returned the rMBP - I was going to setup the Mini Server this weekend, but have one more Mac than I need now, and still can return the Mini as I’m still in the 14-day return window. The way I see it, I will have a (roughly) $1200-1350 used Mac when I’m done deciding.

    My needs for this Mac are pretty simple - to connect to an HDTV and DAS, serve some files part-time, host my mostly-music iTunes library (I have iTunes Match), and Airplay to an ATV. I haven’t used any of my Macs to host/serve video, and also have offsite file storage. This Mac will not be my main Mac, and I won’t be using it for file editing, although a client might use the Mac for that in a Guest account - I do all of my heavy lifting on my current rMBP.

    Pros: built-in battery/display/trackpad/keyboard, SSD (no trim issues!), already paid for. Existing hardware (trackpad/keyboard) have been very lightly used.
    Cons: 15 months left on AppleCare, expensive repairs will follow that. Have to deal with CL or eBay loonies.

    Mini Server
    Pros: larger potential internal storage capacity, up to 3 years available for AppleCare. Easier potential return - I’ll be two blocks from an Apple Store on Monday if I choose to return this unit, so not too far out of my way.
    Cons: costs of 16 GB RAM upgrade, keyboard/mouse, optional SSD upgrades. TRIM issues under Yosemite if I install a 3rd-party SSD, more cables to deal with.

    I’ve also considered returning the Mini Server and selling the rMBP and buying a refurb 27” iMac - there’s a unit with an i7 and a 512GB SSD that might suit my wants.

    Feedback? My return grace period on the Mini ends Monday. What am I missing? Thanks, in advance. Have a great weekend!
  2. nightmars macrumors member


    Sep 21, 2010
    Well, from reading about your special needs I can only "advice" what I would do in your particular situation:

    I would definitely keep the Mini, sell the rMBP and use some of that cash for all the "upgrade-parts" you like to add to the Mini (SSD, RAM). Why?

    1. You can continue using the externals (keyboard, mouse) from your rMBP
    2. As I understand you'll more or less continuously hook it to your HDTV, therefore the mini will need less space in your "media-center"
    3. Depending on your "media-center"/"TV-wall" it'll be easy to hide most of the cables connected to the mini and integrate the mini more beautifully into your set-up than a notebook with a display. (form factor)
    4. Being used as a "server" will make the mini a better choice since it doesn't have a display (which you probably won't need anymore when using the HDTV)- one more part that doesn't get stressed all the time.
    5. When disabling/not using the display on the rMBP (clamshell mode) you'll probably start caring about cooling/airflow since it won't be perfect. (Even though it officially doesn't matter ;-) )

    As said in the beginning- that's only what I would do.

  3. campyguy thread starter macrumors 68040

    Mar 21, 2014
    Portland / Seattle
    markus, thanks for your sensible comments, especially coming from a Mini owner - I've owned the other 3 form factors of Macs over the years and haven't gotten my head around the Mini yet, although we do have servers of the Linux and Windows OSes.

    I was leaning the way of your recommendation before the now-extra rMBP showed up, and your kind recommendation is pushing me to open up that box with the Mini in it and start setting it up. I've already wiped the rMBP, and look to sell it after the holiday sales end.

    Thanks, and take care! Chris

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