Help with a Mac Mini purchase, 2012 or 2014?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by skaterboy, Mar 10, 2019.

  1. skaterboy macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2011
    #1
    I was hoping someone could provide a little guidance. I have 2012 MacBook Air On it’s last legs, I’m thrilled to have gotten 6+ years on it. Ive been using my iPad with keyboard more than the laptop lately. I have a Thunderbolt Display, a friend said I should just get a Mini and use the display, rather than spend $1000 or so on a new laptop.

    My question is can I get away with a 2012 model or do I need the 2014 version? My budget is $300 give or take. All I use it for is email, some file management and quicken, nothing heavy. I’d appreciate any thoughts, my initial take was that I have an 2012 model air now so I was only searching 2014, but if the specs are the same then why not a 2012? Thanks so much.
     
  2. F-Train, Mar 10, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2019

    F-Train macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2015
    Location:
    NYC & Newfoundland
    #2
    Surely the choice between a 2012 and a 2014 comes down to price, specs and condition. If you can get one that is Apple refurbished and comes with a warranty, that's also something to consider.

    There is more that can be upgraded with the 2012, but the usefulness of that depends on whether you are prepared to do the work yourself or are prepared to hire someone to do it.

    There are a lot of people on this forum who like to rubbish the 2014 because it isn't as upgradable. They are talking through their hats. It's all about price, condition and specs. Here is a current thread about my personal, highly positive experience with a 2014 mini: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/2018-mini-2014-mini-luna-ipad-display-music.2171149/

    I own both a 2018 mini and a 2014, and the 2014 has become my day to day computer. Indeed, it's what I'm writing on now.
     
  3. Fishrrman, Mar 11, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019

    Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #3
    DO NOT buy a 2014 Mini UNLESS it has at least 8gb of RAM, because the RAM -is not- upgradeable, and you need at least 8gb these days.

    If the 2014 Mini has a platter-based drive inside, you can buy a cheap USB3 SSD, plug it in, and set that up to be the boot drive. Doing this will GREATLY improve the performance. It's VERY easy to do.

    But again, get at least 8gb of RAM!
     
  4. Boyd01 macrumors 601

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #4
    I would just stay away from the base 1.4ghz/4gb 2014 Mini. I use one as an iTunes server and it's fine for that one task, but it's painfully slow for other things. For example, it takes about 40 seconds just to open System Preferences. Yes, you could improve that by adding a SSD, etc, but it's just not worth the effort. For $300 you should be able to get one of the better 2014 Mini's, or a 2012.
     
  5. skaterboy thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2011
    #5
    Thank you for the replies, I never even considered the memory, I'm not doing any upgrades but I want something that works at least as well as my 2012 Air, figured 2014 was more modern than 2012. I wonder if I'm better off picking up one of the Amazon refurbs as they have a square trade 4-year warranty for around $20? I can get a 1 year square trade on ebay but perhaps to pay a little more and get a 4-year warranty is worth it? I'll definitely look for larger memory, I upgraded this on my 2012 back when new. Thanks again.
     
  6. Boyd01 macrumors 601

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #6
    I have a 2013 MacBook Air and had a 2011 before that. You are not going to be happy going from a SSD-based machine to a Mini with a spinning hard drive. Just sayin'... ;)
     
  7. BasicGreatGuy Contributor

    BasicGreatGuy

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2012
    Location:
    In the middle of several books.
    #7
    I just bought another new mini from B&H. This time it was a late 2014 8GB RAM 1TB Fusion for $649. You can also get AC+ for it. It will be here tomorrow. I am going to use it for specific tasks that the 2018 can't do, due to OS restrictions.

    Op, the sale price for this particular mini is still good at B&H. Inventory is limited.
     
  8. F-Train, Mar 12, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019

    F-Train macrumors 65816

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    Apr 22, 2015
    Location:
    NYC & Newfoundland
    #8
    I was in the right place at the right time and was given one of these a couple of weeks ago. It’s great for everyday computing, and given how I’m using it I love the 1TB of Fusion storage. More info on mine, and what I’m using it for, here: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/2018-mini-2014-mini-luna-display-music.2171149/

    It has replaced my 2018 mini for day-to-day use.

    I think that $650 new is an attractive price for it.
     
  9. Expobill macrumors 65816

    Expobill

    Joined:
    May 30, 2018
    #9
    I use my macmini 2012 with the 4gb ram, even works running mojave!
     
  10. EightyTwenty macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2015
    #10
    I can confirm this is a dreadful machine. Just abysmal.

    It is the computer equivalent of walking in 4 feet of snow. Even web surfing on that thing is an absolute chore. Avoid at all costs.
     
  11. MRrainer macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2008
    Location:
    Zurich, Switzerland
    #11
    I would only get a 2014 if it had 16GB RAM and an SSD - and if it was significantly cheaper than the entry-level 2018 model.
    Else I'd look for a bargain on a 2012 i7 model.
    The 2014 has a slightly better GPU - but neither the 2012 nor the 2014 can drive a 4K display.

    With 16GB RAM and a decent SSD, the 2012 i7 is still a good computer for almost all everyday tasks.
    There's a good chance it will receive an OS upgrade after Mojave this fall and there should be a larger selection of used 2018 models on the market in 2021.
     
  12. phoenix-mac-user macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2016
    #12
    Not sure what your uses are but one thing to consider:

    Currently the 2012 is the earliest model that is supported by Mojave which means if you buy a 2012, in a couple years Mac will stop providing you with OS updates (maybe as early as this year).

    Also the 2012 doesn’t support some of the handoff features that I use all the time. I love being able to copy from my phone and paste on my computer and vice verse and unlock my computer with my Apple Watch. Stuff like that isn’t supported by the 2012.
     
  13. dandeco macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2008
    #13
    Hmm, I'd better keep at it on my job hunt, and come summer I guess I'd better start saving up so I can prepare to replace my 2012 quad-core Mac Mini with a 2018 6-core i5 Mac Mini configured with 1 TB of SSD storage. With education pricing (as I am a college student) that would run me to near $1600!
     
  14. phoenix-mac-user macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2016
    #14
    I cycle my family's Mac computers when the "expiration date" starts to hit. They hold their resell value surprisingly well but that changes once they don't support the latest OS. I just sold my son's 2012 Macbook Air, and "upgraded" everyone in the family (with me getting the new 2018 mini lol). If you can resell your 2012, it takes at least a little bite out of the cost of a new one.
     
  15. dandeco macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2008
    #15
    Once I get a 2018 Mac Mini, I may still hold on to my 2012 Mini but in storage; if it won't support Mac OS 10.15, I can still use it to run certain 32-bit apps from time to time.
    Now that I think of it, my late 2009 MacBook may need to be replaced first, since it was no longer supported for new OS versions last year. I may get a newer MacBook Pro or maybe even a MacBook Air to replace that later this year, then I would get a new Mini the next year.
     

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