Impact on speed of a SSD - 2012 vs 2014 Mac mins...

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by mjet, May 10, 2019.

  1. mjet macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2008
    I have two MacMinis and I'm going to get an SSD put in one of them and sell the other one to a friend. One is newer than the other, but has less RAM memory. I'm curious as to how much impact the greater RAM vs newer-gen processor will play on overall speed. Which of these two will perform better with a SSD added?

    Late 2012 (Mac mini 6,1), i5 (Ivy) 2.5GHz w/16GB RAM
    Late 2014 (Mac mini 7,1), i5 (Haswell) 2.6GHz w/8GB RAM

  2. tpivette89, May 10, 2019
    Last edited: May 10, 2019

    tpivette89 macrumors 6502


    Jan 1, 2018
    Newark, DE
    OK... this is a difficult topic, but I will try to sort everything out.

    - 2012 has upgradeable RAM. Both run at the same speed (1600mhz). 16GB (max) is certainly better than the soldered 8GB the 2014 has. On the other hand, 8GB isn't bad... Mojave runs just fine under light tasks with this amount
    - i5 2.5gb CPU in the 2012 is slightly slower than the 2.6gb CPU in the 2014
    - both have SATA 3... meaning read/write speeds should be equal when installing 2.5" SSDs. However, the 2014 model can use an AHCI/M.2 drive (with adapters?) for slightly faster performance
    - 2014 has better WIFI (2014 has ac VS a/b/g/n in the 2012)
    - 2012 has TB1 vs TB2 for the 2014, also the 2014 model has TWO TB2 ports VS ONE TB1 port on the 2012
    - HDMI is slightly better on the 2014 (1.3 for the 2012 vs 1.4 for the 2014)
    - Integrated Graphics are better (Iris 5100 or Intel 5000) on the 2014 vs the 2012 (Intel 4000)
    - 2012 has a Firewire 800 port, while the 2014 model does not (replaced with an additional TB2 port)

    All in all, if I were to choose... both being dual core i5 CPUs, I would probably pick the 2014 over the 2012. The newer model has more features and more modern ports vs the older model.

    For a more in-depth study on SSD speeds on a 2014 Mini, see this thread:
  3. treekram macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2015
    Honolulu HI
    One difference between the 2012 and 2014 models is that you can use a standard PCIe NVMe SSD in the 2014 Mini if you also get an appropriate adapter. The 2014 Mini has 2-lane vs. 4-lane capability that most NVMe SSD's have so you're limited in that respect. But you get about 50% better performance with a good high-performance NVMe SSD vs. a SATA3 SSD. It's also much easier to install a PCIe NVMe SSD vs. a SATA3 SSD in the 2012 or 2014 Mini.

    If you use a SATA3 SSD, there is no performance difference in that respect between the two.

    The RAM issue is a tough one. If you never, ever, never need more than 8GB, than the 2014 model is the way to go. But how can you determine what your future needs will be?
  4. Boyd01 macrumors 601


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    Perhaps sell both and get a base model 2018 Mini?

    FWIW, this is what I get on my 2012 quad with the original Apple 256gb internal SSD.


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3 May 10, 2019