How long will mac mini last?

FilmIndustryGuy

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Original poster
May 12, 2015
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Processors reaching their limits and software mostly using GPUs over CPUs with the addition of these super fast SSDs, how long would this new mac mini last before one would have to buy a new version due to a lagging CPU and lagging thunderbolt? would you say 5 years or 10 years?
 

tubedogg

macrumors regular
Dec 18, 2003
190
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Minnesota
If you can get any computer to last 5 years I'd be impressed.
I'm assuming you are referring to one where you either don't or can't upgrade the components?

If not, I've got a nearly 10-year-old Mac Pro that will flabbergast you. I have, however, upgraded the CPU, RAM, and video card (the latter twice).

Even if you were, my mom is still using a 2009 iMac, although only part-time now that I got her a 2012 mini.
 

Jorbanead

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Aug 31, 2018
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I’ve got a 2012 MacBook Pro. The thing gets REALLY hot, but still works great. I’d say the GPU in the mini might be the thing that ages the quickest as OS gets More graphically demanding.
 

Kurri

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Mar 6, 2009
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I'm expecting at least 5 years out of my new Mac mini with the purchase of an eGPU for heavy work load. Being able to change the graphics card will help this go on for years. I'll want a new Mac in 5 years anyways.
 
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redheeler

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If you can get any computer to last 5 years I'd be impressed.
These days Macs can easily last more than 5 years even running current software. I've often been critical of Apple's 7-year timeframe for OS support, because 2011 Macs have the capability to run modern software respectably (with an SSD and 8+ GB RAM), and even outperform many of the still-supported Macs in key areas.
 

bodonnell202

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Jan 5, 2016
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If you can get any computer to last 5 years I'd be impressed.
My MBA is 5 years old and still runs great. My folks have a 2009 iMac that still works fine for their needs. 5 years is the minimum I expect to get out of a computer.
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Processors reaching their limits and software mostly using GPUs over CPUs with the addition of these super fast SSDs, how long would this new mac mini last before one would have to buy a new version due to a lagging CPU and lagging thunderbolt? would you say 5 years or 10 years?
The only thing that may age poorly on the mini is the GPU, however using a thunderbolt external GPU should give it some longevity. It really depends on your use case though, but I usually aim to get 5-7 years out of a computer.
 
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Stephen.R

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If you can get any computer to last 5 years I'd be impressed.
I've just 'replaced' my 2011 17" i7 2.4ghz/16GB/128SSD MBP. It still works (only up to High Sierra though), so my wife is using it for now. It will become an iTunes/Home Security camera "server" (battery means one less thing that needs UPS for the cameras) once the Mini arrives and we have two new machines to use between us again.

My parents are still using my old 2007 17" MBP. They just replaced my old 2009 Mac mini (with the 2014 spec).

Macs tend to last a long time, and with the memory upgrade option of the new one, I expect they'll be useful for quite a long time.
 
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ilikewhey

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May 14, 2014
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My mom still using my unibody mbp 2008 for her movies, the battery is shot but hey it’s still kicking,

I’m at a point where I really can’t have hardwares failure and have other stuffs to buy, so knowing most of my Mac stuffs can last that long and not break down like my gaming pc is very reliable
 

stratokaster

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Jul 30, 2011
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If you can get any computer to last 5 years I'd be impressed.
My Windows box at home is 6 years old (it has a 3rd generation Core i7 CPU), still feels absolutely snappy and runs anything I throw at it, but I replaced it antiquated GPU with a new one a couple of years ago. Its Geekbench scores are 3800 single/14000 multi, not that far behind 2017 Core i5 iMacs.

My PC at work is a 5-years old model with a 4th gen i7, 16GB of RAM and Intel iGPU. I feel that for my office tasks I utilize maybe 15% of its performance.

My wife was using her 2010 MacBook Air until late 2016 when she moved to 12" MacBook.

And finally, my mother still uses my old 2008 13" unibody MacBook.
 

blueapplepaste

macrumors newbie
Nov 30, 2013
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I have a 2012 Mac Mini still going strong. Only ordered a new one because I like new technology.

Previous macs I’ve had seem to bog down after a few years and a couple of OSX updates.

But I’ve upgraded to a SSD in the mini and it’s still plenty peppy for my needs.

I fully expect my 2018 mini to last 5+ years.
 

archer75

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Jan 26, 2005
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Yes, you can certainly use old computers for basic functions. If you're trying to keep up with the latest tech(gaming, specific work software, specific ports, etc.), well, tech becomes obsolete very fast.
I built my current PC for gaming and encoding and it's only a couple of years old and already showing it's age. The mini encodes 3x faster than it. And gaming I have to stick with older titles. I can play newer ones but i'm right on the edge of barely meeting requirements. And if I can't max graphics then I need an upgrade.
A CPU upgrade would require a new motherboard, which would require new ram. Which would be followed by a new video card. Expensive.

My mom has a 2009 imac and is complaining it's slow. And she only uses it for basic tasks. I have an old 1st gen i7 I don't touch anymore because it simply can't meet my needs and is a bit slow. I don't believe i've ever used any computer for 5 years. And my first computer was a tandy so i've had them for a very long time.
 
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Stephen.R

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Yes, you can certainly use old computers for basic functions. If you're trying to keep up with the latest tech(gaming, specific work software, specific ports, etc.), well, tech becomes obsolete very fast
That very much will depend on what your work involves. That 2011 MBP was my primary work machine until last month.
 

jclardy

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Oct 6, 2008
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The CPU stays the same speed, the software is what changes. If you continue to run the same software you are running today with no updates it will surely last 10 years. If you want it to run just as fast using the current macOS of 2028 then I doubt that is going to happen.
 

Akseli Paavolainen

macrumors newbie
Nov 14, 2018
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My Mac Mini 2011 lasted for 6 years until it failed due to a faulty dGPU, but if it would still be working I'd be happy to use it for daily non-demanding tasks:)
 

Cashmonee

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All of my Macs have lasted 5+ years. I currently have a 2010 iMac that would be fine if I replaced the spinning drive and Apple allowed OS updates to it. My 2013 MBP is running great, and I do not see it being unusable for a while.

Processors have kind of stalled out, and while SSDs are getting faster, even the slowest are pretty darn fast currently. With the ability to put 64GB of RAM into the mini, and with it's super fast SSDs (especially the 512 and up options), I would think the current mini will get you at least through Apple's OS support (7 years). This mini seems to have a lot of headroom built in.
 
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tubedogg

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Dec 18, 2003
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Yes, you can certainly use old computers for basic functions.
I have a 2012 mini that is our home server, primarily running Plex Media Server and transcoding multiple 1080p streams simultaneously. Barring hardware failure, I don't see any reason why this mini can't continue for another several years performing as it does now. Transcoding, as you may be aware, is not exactly a "basic" function; it is quite CPU-intensive. Granted, it is not very GPU-intensive.

I'm certainly not arguing that you could use the 2012 mini with Bootcamp to run 2018 games with any level of graphical fidelity (or at all, in some cases). But a blanket "computers don't last more than five years," or even a more particular "they can be used only for basic functions," is simply not accurate.

As far as a gaming system, my 2009 Mac Pro that I alluded to in my prior post has had its CPU, RAM, and video card upgraded for several thousand dollars less than it would have cost me to replace the whole system. Will it run 2018 games at max graphics? Probably not. Will it run them at all? Probably, and in a lot of cases, with at least a decent experience. (That said, the games I tend to play aren't blockbuster GPU-killing things. But my husband is running a GTX 1070, and he does play those kinds of games, and he tends to want to be able to max graphics settings, and I haven't heard any complaints from him recently.)

And if I can't max graphics then I need an upgrade.
That's certainly an opinion. There's a far cry between meeting minimum requirements (or exceeding them comfortably to have a decent experience) and having to be able to max everything out. Anyway, what you are talking about is a particular use case that does not age well. Gaming, however, is not the only non-"basic" function that a computer can perform.
 

archer75

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I have a 2012 mini that is our home server, primarily running Plex Media Server and transcoding multiple 1080p streams simultaneously.
I briefly had a 2014 mini to use for this purpose and it struggled with a single stream. It did it, but it got loud and damn hot. Which makes it hard to believe that a 2012 can transcode multiple simultaneous streams. Are you sure it's actually transcoding and not direct playing or direct streaming?

But a blanket "computers don't last more than five years," or even a more particular "they can be used only for basic functions," is simply not accurate.
I didn't say computers don't last more than five years. I said if you can get it to last more than 5 years i'd be impressed. But obviously usage scenarios and how long it lasts you based upon that can vary greatly.
Even after 2 years i'm feeling the need to upgrade.
 

redheeler

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Oct 17, 2014
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I didn't say computers don't last more than five years. I said if you can get it to last more than 5 years i'd be impressed. But obviously usage scenarios and how long it lasts you based upon that can vary greatly.
Even after 2 years i'm feeling the need to upgrade.
My current MacBook Pro is a Mid 2012 model. That's six years old, and has the same screen resolution as Apple's current 2018 models.

It's really not surprising that Macs can be usable that long.
 

mightyjabba

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Sep 25, 2014
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This is a slightly different issue, but there is a lot of talk about Apple transitioning the Mac away from Intel to their own CPUs. If that happens, and many people are saying it will probably be relatively soon, there could be a fairly big boost in Mac performance in the works. That makes me reluctant to do too much “future proofing” of a new mini, since I will probably want to upgrade. So in that sense it might not last as long as some Macs have in the past, although it will of course continue to function just fine.
 

tubedogg

macrumors regular
Dec 18, 2003
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Minnesota
I briefly had a 2014 mini to use for this purpose and it struggled with a single stream. It did it, but it got loud and damn hot. Which makes it hard to believe that a 2012 can transcode multiple simultaneous streams. Are you sure it's actually transcoding and not direct playing or direct streaming?
To answer your question first, I am positive it is transcoding. Most of my media library is video files that are not able to be direct-played to an Apple TV or iOS devices. Even assuming that were not the case, I have used it with clients that require subtitles to be burned in, which means it is absolutely transcoding.

As far as the 2014 mini, it seems you are not familiar with the CPU debacle that occurred with it. There is a reason why, in 2016, I bought a 2012 mini and not a 2014 to use as the media server. Take a look at some benchmarks. Scroll down to the bar chart section. For Single-Core, there is minimal difference, though the top-end 2014 model does edge out the top-end 2012 model. But in Multi-Core, the 2012 top-end runs rings around the 2014.

For another view, look at a direct comparison between the CPUs on PassMark. The numbers in red are what Plex uses for their rough estimates of processing power needed. The 2012 model is nearly double the 2014 model.
 

archer75

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To answer your question first, I am positive it is transcoding. Most of my media library is video files that are not able to be direct-played to an Apple TV or iOS devices. Even assuming that were not the case, I have used it with clients that require subtitles to be burned in, which means it is absolutely transcoding.
Plex can only transcode what is needed. So perhaps the video is supported by the client and the audio is not, it will only transcode the audio and not use much power. Of it the container isn't supported it can still direct stream but not direct play, again, using minimal power.
At any rate PMS will show you on each stream exactly what is or isn't being transcoded. If you're interested.
And of course now i'm on to 4k which is a different beast.

I am familiar the 2012 and 2014 minis. Even so the 2014 struggled with a single stream. It should have handled one stream just fine. And either the 2012 or 2014 are not sufficient for my video encoding needs.
 
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