Is a Mac Mini a good buy?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by iUseMacBooks, Aug 21, 2015.

  1. iUseMacBooks macrumors member

    Jun 2, 2015

    For a long time, I've only used laptops, and I haven't had a desktop in many years. I've been able to get by in my work with just MacBook's. I'd love to have an iMac, especially a Retina 5K, but it's just not in the cards for me right now ...

    Anyways, I have an 11" MacBook Air and I've just recently experimented with using my TV as an external display. I like it, but it got me thinking. When I get my next Mac, maybe I could get a nice keyboard, trackpad, and external display and hook it up to a new Mac Mini. But I don't know much about it, to be honest. All I really know is it's the cheapest Mac, and it's "bring your own" as far as the display, keyboard, mouse, speakers, etc.

    But how is the performance in general? It'd be nice to have a desktop, since most of my work isn't done at an actual desk, I'm looking for a change in my work flow. For now I'll be using my MacBook Air, but I'd like to add to it eventually.

    Just looking for some opinions from some experienced users here. Thanks in advance for any replies/help, I'm loving these forums.
  2. Partron22 macrumors 68020


    Apr 13, 2011
    It's nice not to be stuck with a chiclet keyboard.The things play bloody heck with typing speed and accuracy. Apple mouse works fine, so do corded Logitechs. Any powered speaker system you get will sound better than those little things they stick inside other Macs.
    When it's sitting on a desk, always plugged in, you always know where it is, and it always has a charge.
    You don't have to carry a little case around you with all sorts of essential accessories.
    You can become fond of always having two displays hooked up very easily.
  3. iUseMacBooks thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 2, 2015
    Yeah, I've heard good things about logitech's. I haven't even begun to think about speaker systems yet, but as you said, it would be better than what's in the 11" MacBook Air just based on pure size of the speakers alone, let alone sound quality. I usually take the laptop with me anywhere that I'll need it, but it would be cool to have a desktop to use when I get home. I'm definitely considering getting a Mac Mini eventually. Thanks for the response.
  4. Micky Do macrumors 68000

    Micky Do

    Aug 31, 2012
    An island in the Andaman Sea.
    I have only ever owned 2 computers. I got the original Mac Mini in 2005. 4 years on I replaced it with an early 2009 model which I am still using….. so I reckon Mac Minis are a good buy, for my situation, at least.

    I didn't want a portable to tote around everywhere, but I did want something that was easy to transport occasionally. I can disconnect the Mini in a minute or so at home, toss it in a backpack, and connect it to an LCD projector and be ready for action in a couple of minutes at work. It is something I do several times a year, but not on a weekly or even monthly basis.

    I can choose the monitor and other peripherals that suit my needs and budget, and replace the components as and when needs arise. Even the Mini itself is just a component in the system.

    I don't have any other iDevices; the Mac Mini, but for those who do, and are using the recent iterations of OS X, connectivity with other devices is as good as anything else in the line up.

    The Mac Mini performs adequately. It may not sport the figures of mightier, more costly machines, but it is all the computer many folk need for general day to day use.
  5. angrystroker macrumors newbie


    Dec 13, 2010
    Atlanta, Ga (downtown)
    DSC_0005.jpg Great little machines, own 3 do everything I need them to do. Use one for work for remote admin and trouble shooting many servers. Another to run a weather station, 3rd for the wife. Love the foot print
  6. okvist macrumors newbie


    Sep 5, 2008
    I owned an iMac years ago. I liked it but it was not very upgradable and when it became obsolete It seemed a waste to have a nice screen that was not very reusable. So I decided that the next non laptop I buy will be a Mac Mini. It seems like the current models are not very upgradable. It looks like the 2012 model year Mini's might be my best bet. Here are some notes I have cribbed together over the past several months: Please comment on personal experience:

    Md387lla Apple Mac Mini desktop computer - 2012 Macintosh Mini desktop computer, this is the last mac mini that allowed you to upgrade the memory (not soldered onto the board) and the last dual core 2.5 GHz processor, because of the dual core this is faster than the current shipping models. Refurbished from Apple this is a $419 cost item, craigslist in Tampa $475, online Apple did not have any available on 3/19/2015. This is the Mac Mini I should buy.Info on this model (see down to ***********)
    The Apple Mac mini "Core i5" 2.5 (Late 2012/Aluminum Unibody) features a 22-nm "Ivy Bridge" 2.5 GHz Intel "Core i5" (3210M) processor with two independent processor "cores" on a single chip, a 3 MB shared level 3 cache, 4 GB of 1600 MHz DDR3 SDRAM (PC3-12800) memory, a 500 GB hard drive, and Intel HD Graphics 4000 which shares system memory. It does not have an internal optical drive, although an external one was offered for US$79.

    Connectivity includes a Firewire "800" port, four USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, Thunderbolt, combined "audio line in (digital/analog)" and combined "audio line out/headphone (digital/analog)" minijacks, a 10/100/1000Base-T Gigabit Ethernet port, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and an SDXC card slot.

    Compared to its predecessor, this model looks identical, but it has a faster internal architecture with a faster processor, faster graphics, faster RAM, and USB 3.0 ports.

    All Mac mini systems are configured by default without a display, keyboard, or mouse, but numerous Apple and third-party options are available.**************************************

    Thanks for any replies.

  7. iUseMacBooks thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 2, 2015
    Wow, I'd say that's quite the endorsement considering you've had two of them since 2005. Impressive. One component of the Mac Mini I really like is the ability to pick and chose the peripherals, as you mentioned. Also, I've seen tons of YouTube videos about upgrading the Mac Mini's when the time comes, and it looks rather simple. One of the drawbacks to the 21.5" iMac (for me) is the RAM isn't user-upgradeable (as far as I know.) But it would be nice to be able to have a computer I can upgrade when needed. Thanks for the response.

    If there's one thing I've learned from starting this thread its that they seem to be a good product. I think it's great that multiple people have owned more than one Mac Mini, because that means the experience was sufficient enough to warrant getting another one. I really like the tiny form factor of the computer, and I'm getting more and more excited about the prospect of adding my own peripherals. I think my next Mac, in time, will be a Mac Mini. Thank you for the replies.
  8. tibas92013, Aug 22, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2015

    tibas92013 macrumors 6502

    Jun 2, 2013
    Costa Rica
    I purchased from the Apple Store a Refurbished i5 MM(Late 2012), 2.5GHz,4GB Ram,500HDD plus Applecare in August, 2013 and last June I bought another Refurbished i5 MM(Late 2014), 2.8GHZ,8GB Ram,256SSD plus Applecare. Both are great little machines and meet all my present computer needs.

    The older MM(16GB Ram upgrade last January) is now being used as a Media Server and the other "speed Demon" is hooked-up to a 24" BenQ Monitor and Bose Companion 5 Speakers in which I really enjoy listening to my "iTunes Match" Music collection on a daily basis.

    Of note, my Bose Companion 5 speakers system is connected via one of the Late 2014 MM USB ports which indeed is "Plug and Play" as advertised by "Bose". I tried connecting the "Bose" to my Dell PC Inspiron Laptop which is on Windows 7, however, received a message that I must download a new "driver". So, GO MAC MINI!
  9. iUseMacBooks thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 2, 2015
    Thanks for the response. It's been great talking to people on here who have experience with mac mini's. I'm excited by the ability to add my own display. I've already been searching amazon to get a feel for the prices and such on displays, and I don't even have the computer yet lol. But I plan on re-doing my office (getting a new desk, new office chair, etc.) and as part of the small "re-model" of the room, I'd like to add my first mac mini. Until then, I'm just using my MacBook Air with an external display. Im definitely excited to add my 2nd Mac!
  10. Micky Do macrumors 68000

    Micky Do

    Aug 31, 2012
    An island in the Andaman Sea.
    No rush to get a new display, I'd have thought. Just use the one you are using with the Air until you find another that takes your fancy.

    Personally, I'd be looking in stores to get an idea of what's available, rather than just basing my decision on specs and price. But then, I have yet to purchase anything on line…. heck, I don't even have a credit card.

    Until a few months back I was using a 15 inch Viewsonic display that cost about $250 back in 2005 when I got my first Mac Mini. I replaced it with a 22 inch Samsung, which cost just $90. It was the end of the line with DVI and VGA ports. The new models have HDMI and VGA ports.

    What I have is OK, and cheap enough to not bother about leaving behind when I move on in a year or so…… the Mac Mini will go with me, in my cabin baggage. Had I anticipated staying on I might have gone for something bigger and better, that would have seen out the Mini I have, and gone on to use with another in a few years.

    By the way, the last Mini with user upgradable RAM is the 2012 model. As with many other Macs (and other computers?) now, RAM in the 2014 Mini is now soldered. The base model comes with 4 GB RAM as standard, and the mid and top model come with 8 GB. All can be ordered with up to 16 GB RAM.
  11. iUseMacBooks thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 2, 2015
    Yeah, a new display wouldn't be a necessity, but it could be an impulse buy :D lol. And that's a great point about the user-upgradeable RAM! I did not know that. Ideally, I'd like to be able to upgrade it on my own if I needed to one day, but I suppose I could opt for the 8GB at purchase just to be safe.
  12. McScooby macrumors 6502a

    Oct 15, 2005
    The Paps of Glenn Close, Scotland.
    I got a refurbed i7 mini server off the apple store a few months back to act as a HTPC (ATV just wasn't doing it anymore & got fed up waiting for a new one!), & had much the same dilemma as most folk i suspect, should i get 8/16GB RAM, load it up with SSD's, should I get wireless keyboard / trackpad etc. Have to say, I've been blown away in reality of having it, I plugged it into my 40' sony, plugged in my wired keyboard & puck mouse from original '98 iMac that was in the cupboard (with the iMac), switched it on, turned on sharing in preferences & that's been it, I use the MBP to control it, haven't felt the need to upgrade from the 4GB RAM or 2TB hard drives, filled it with music/movies & it just does it's thing, wish I'd got one sooner!
  13. iUseMacBooks thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 2, 2015
    That's awesome, great to hear. Also, very cool that you still have the original iMac, and were able to use the mouse!

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