How stupid would it be to get a Mac Mini Server just for the specs?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by DrJames, Feb 18, 2012.

  1. DrJames macrumors member

    Feb 5, 2012
    The Mac Mini Server has great specs compared to the other two standard versions of the Mini. Would it be completely stupid to buy the server just for the specs? I don't really even know what a server is.

    I don't game and I'd use it for streaming videos, editing and creating music, and basic internet and app functions.

    Any opinions on this would be appreciated would be great! Thanks in advance guys!:)
  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    It would be fiscally irresponsible. Your money is better spent buying the standard and upgrading the hard drive.
  3. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    As long as you can afford it, buy whatever you want. You don't have to justify your purchases to strangers in a forum.
  4. cocacolakid macrumors 65816


    Dec 18, 2010
    I bought a 2011 Mini Server, but I wouldn't consider myself a casual computer user, I'm running all kinds of apps all the time, including Windows, and wanted the extra power. I also upgraded to an SSD and eventually put in 16gb of memory, but when I think about how much money the entire system cost it's kind of crazy.

    If you're really a more casual average user, and your editing of videos or music is just hobby-type stuff and family films, either of the other lower cost Mini's would more than fit your needs. You could save the $500 difference and just upgrade the memory in the base Mini to 8gb (which runs only about $40 on Newegg last I checked) and you'll still have a great system. (or buy 1 stick of 8gb which was on sale the other day, there is a thread on it, and you'll have 10gb and the option to eventually go up to 16gb at a more affordable pace)
  5. jamesryanbell macrumors 68020


    Mar 17, 2009
    I bought mine solely for the processor (music computer), and I don't regret it at all. Don't use the server capabilities. Saved a lot of money over buy a MBP or Mac Pro since I already had a 27" ACD.
  6. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    A lot depends on your skill set at diy upgrades. a base 2011 mini is 568 at amazon 8gb ram is 40 total of 608. A good 128gb ssd is 150-175 on sale this gives you a very fast computer for 750 to 780 you can add on a nice size for external hdd for 140 this is 920 which is less then a server with more storage. or you can buy the server and not use the server program.
  7. Corinco macrumors newbie

    Feb 18, 2012
    Some of these replies are ridiculous. No, it is not a bad idea at all.

    If you get the base mini at $599 and upgrade the hard drive to 750GB @7200rpm (which is a must, 5400rpm is too slow) and upgrade to 4GB of ram you are looking at $849.

    For an extra $100 you get a quad core processor and two 500GB @7200rpm hard drives when you order from Amazon and pay no tax.

    You should always future proof your computer purchases as much as possible. Unless you like hemorrhaging money every year to upgrade.
  8. Acorn macrumors 68020


    Jan 2, 2009
    well the way i look at is the quad core mac mini machine is 1000 dollars. if i buy a used 27 inch imac, its 1400. the imac is better cpu and better graphics. Essentially your getting an 27 ips monitor + better graphics + better quad cpu for only 400 difference. the monitor alone is worth that.
  9. Adamantoise macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2011
    Lol, way to skew your point by using Apple's pricing for upgrades.

    Philipma has already proved that a Base Mini + SSD + 8GB RAM can be had for $750.

    In any event, I think it's a waste of money if you know for a fact that you don't need such a processor and your computing habits are not subject to change.

    I mean, for most tasks, you'd be hard pressed to find a difference between an upgraded Base Mini and a Server Mini ... I'm not talking geek bench scores here, I mean real world tasks that you perform day to day.
  10. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    Of all the tasks he mentioned that he would be using the Mini for, editing music is the one application that could strain the base Mini. It depends on the complexity of the editing job.

    I'm not sure whether the 2.5GHz i5 or the 2.0GHz i7 Mini would be better for what he wants the system for.
  11. maril1111 macrumors 68000


    Mar 14, 2010
    I think it would be a good idea if you have the money go for it, i think especially in music creation/production you should see a difference.
  12. Adamantoise, Feb 19, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012

    Adamantoise macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2011
    Lol creating music is not anywhere as intensive as video or images. I think people tend to see it as this scary power hungry task.

    Sure it depends on the resolution of the music and all but for the most part this is true. Modern Music is merely superimposed one dimensional periodic signals sampled at 44.1 kHz. Images are two dimensional finite signals, and video is just a beast of its own (signals in 3 dimensions)

    Not trying to downplay OP's hobby, I just wanted to point out that it doesn't require a Mini Server at all
  13. jamesryanbell macrumors 68020


    Mar 17, 2009
    When you're dealing with tons of plug-ins and bouncing projects, yes it is. The processor and the RAM - and the hard drive - are a very big deal.
  14. Corinco macrumors newbie

    Feb 18, 2012
    I used the Apple upgrades because that is the only way you are getting the 7200rpm drive, unless you hate life and want to take apart the mini to do a hard drive upgrade yourself. And Amazon only sells the stock minis.

    Don't really want to argue with you about using the base mini, but 5400 rpm drives are pretty slow. And you never know about OS X. I would always want the fastest machine because that thing is a pig.
  15. kas23 macrumors 603


    Oct 28, 2007
    It actually doesn't matter which Mini you get, but you must, must do one thing. First, do not waste a dime on upgrading the HDD to the 7200 HDD. As others have pointed out, upgrade right to the SSD. It is the single-most best upgrade you can do for your mini. You can also leave the stock HDD in there for a dual drive mini.
  16. Mak47 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 27, 2011
    Harrisburg, PA
    No, it's not stupid at all. The only thing that makes the server a server is the server application--which can be totally ignored.

    Obviously it depends on what you're doing with the machine and how long you want to keep it. Some will say that you don't need the processor for music creation. As an audio pro, I can call BS on that. If you're just using Garageband, sure. The basic model is ok. If you plan on using pro apps though, especially with a lot of plugins, it makes a huge difference.

    For the money, compared to the base model, the server is actually not a bad deal. You'll get 4GB of RAM preinstalled (you'll probably want more, but at least it'll be ok out of the box), an extra hard drive and an upgrade in speed of the drives. On top of that you'll get the quad-core i7 processor.

    I have the Mini Server. It's an excellent machine. You won't be disappointed.
  17. throAU, Feb 25, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2012

    throAU macrumors 601


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    The server is the only mini i would buy.


    Quad core. You can't upgrade the processor (easily, if at all) in the mini. Ram can be upgraded, as can disk.

    If you want a faster mini, get the server.


    Depends what app you're using and how serious you are with it.

    As mentioned above, something like ableton with a load of 192kbit high quality audio tracks and real time audio effects plugins will chew both a lot of RAM and a lot of CPU. And if the CPU power is not enough, you'll start introducing latency between your input devices and the machine, which makes the whole process extremely annoying.

    If your image processing takes a little longer, it still works. If your CPU can't keep up with your audio processing, it introduces stuttering, lag, etc.
  18. the read macrumors regular

    Nov 25, 2009
    It's a tough choice. The two to compare is the mid level against the server. The mid has a much better GPU which you will see the performance gain on graphics heavy applications. You can beef up the CPU in the mid mini if you buy online.
    The server mini has a much stronger CPU Quad core, but are you applications built to be multithreaded? If not the mid level would be cheaper and probably provide a faster computer for your needs.
  19. rock15478 macrumors member

    Feb 8, 2007
    Yeah, try and load up a project in Logic Pro with 130+ tracks, with 10-11 plugins on each track and then tell me how you feel. Obviously you've never worked in a full production studio or have any clue what processing power is required to work in the audio industry. Please do your homework before posting such comments. I used to require a Mac Pro and believe me, the Mini Server is very much required for my work flow if I HAD to use a Mini. And I actually DO use a Mini, but it HAD to be the server. I don't do any video whatsoever, only audio. Not trying to argue, just trying to make sure facts are being posted.
  20. DarthMoops macrumors regular

    Aug 7, 2010
    Baltimore MD
    mini DAW

    @ Rock, throAU, Mak47, et al

    I have read that you should have 3 drives (minimum) for DAW, along with all the RAM your system can fit...or you can afford.

    C: OS/Apps
    D: Samples/PlugIns
    E: Music Projects

    Is this true? How would you config the mini given it's 2 drive limit? Or is there an external drive(s) you can use w/o breaking the bank?

    And would the i7 (dual core) mini with SSD & 750GB drives suffice?

    At any rate, from what I've read it's almost always the drives that are the bottleneck rather than the processor.

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