Wild_Rose

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 16, 2017
21
9
Greece
Hello everyone,
my sister is interesting in buying her first mac BUT doesn't have a big budget, so she's looking at Mac Minis. She found a decent deal for the one with 1.4GHz, 1TB HDD and 4GB RAM. She wants to use it for casual use, nothing too excessive, except perhaps for some light photoshop editing.

I'm worried that the 1.4Ghz and the 5400rpm HDD will be too slow and eventually be extremely out of pace with technology in a couple of years with all the SSDs and more powerful CPUs that are coming...any thoughts on this?

thanks!
 

Trusteft

macrumors 6502a
Nov 5, 2014
666
655
Your fears are correct.
Of course it depends on two factors.
One, what exactly she is going to do with it. Having just 4GB is stupid though.
Two, how much is she going to pay for it.
 

Wild_Rose

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 16, 2017
21
9
Greece
well she found a used one that includes magic keyboard, magic mouse and an 23" TV-screen LG M2350D FullHD LED screen for 600 euros which is pretty good. I live in Greece so a new mac mini costs about 520 euros.

she won't be spending more than 2 hours/day on it and like i said above its use will be primarily for internet and some photo editing.

btw can you update the RAM on late 2014 mac minis?
 

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
5,733
2,716
New Jersey Pine Barrens
RAM is not upgradeable, it is soldered. I would stay away from this model for what you describe. I have one but only use it as an iTunes server (just sits there and runs iTunes with home sharing 24/7). It's fine for that, but if you try doing anything else it is incredibly slow. The example I usually give is that it takes 15 to 20 seconds just to open the System Preferences control panel. This sluggishness is going to give your sister a very bad impression of what the Mac is like.

If looking for a used machine, see if you can find a base 2012 model, it has user-upgradeable RAM. I had one of these for several years and upgraded it to 16gb and a SSD, then gave it to my daughter last year. Feels very fast. But even with the original 4gb RAM, it felt much faster than the base 2014 Mini. The downside is the older graphics chip, slower wifi and only one thunderbolt port. None of these are likely to matter for what you describe however.
 

ActionableMango

macrumors G3
Sep 21, 2010
9,606
6,864
CPU is fine for what you describe. The drive can be replaced with an SSD some day. 4GB of RAM though, that hurts and there's no way to upgrade.
 
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saulinpa

macrumors 65816
Jun 15, 2008
1,099
536
well she found a used one that includes magic keyboard, magic mouse and an 23" TV-screen LG M2350D FullHD LED screen for 600 euros which is pretty good. I live in Greece so a new mac mini costs about 520 euros.
That doesn't sound like a good deal. Value of a used TV, keyboard, and mouse is probably only 100 euro at best.
 

MarkJames68

macrumors 6502
Sep 24, 2017
394
246
I would agree. Get 8GB, and a SSD if you aren’t comfortable cracking the case open (the 2014 is quite involved).

She might be better served getting a used 2012 i7 quad core if she can find one, as you can upgrade RAM and also disk.
 

Thessman

macrumors regular
Dec 8, 2005
155
31
GR
Welcome to MR,
I'm from where you are too (Thess.).
You 'd better get the 16GB Ram, you can always upgrade th HDD later.
 

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
5,733
2,716
New Jersey Pine Barrens
I have a 2012 2.6ghz quad mini and it's great - fastest Mini that Apple ever made. Sure, if you can find a cheap one you should go for it. But it will probably cost almost twice as much as a 2014 base Mini, and it's certainly overkill for "casual use".
 

MarkJames68

macrumors 6502
Sep 24, 2017
394
246
I have a 2012 2.6ghz quad mini and it's great - fastest Mini that Apple ever made. Sure, if you can find a cheap one you should go for it. But it will probably cost almost twice as much as a 2014 base Mini, and it's certainly overkill for "casual use".
Totally, but once you upgrade the RAM to 8GB and add a SSD to the 2014 config you would pay more than an upgraded 2012 quad core.

With a SSD there is only one moving part in the Mini so it’s reliable.
 

MattA

macrumors 6502
May 15, 2006
412
134
Orlando, FL
The only downer on the low end 2014 Mac Mini is the 4GB of memory. For what your sister is wanting to do, it would be adequate, but if her needs grew, it would become sluggish without 8GB. Yes, a Solid State Drive would be a great thing, but for the uses you're describing I don't think it's an absolute necessity.

I own a mid-range 2014 Mac Mini with 8GB and a 1TB HDD, and I can honestly say that it is perfectly fine for day-to-day use. Hell, I even play World of Warcraft on the thing. I've got mine connected to an old 30" Apple Cinema Display, and it works perfectly fine.

As long as you do a 2011 or newer, she will be just fine.
 

Acronyc

macrumors 6502a
Jan 24, 2011
781
279
When it was released the base 2014 mini would have been a much better value if it had 8GB of RAM. Even so, if you could find one cheaper you could run it off an external USB/Thunderbolt SSD and it would move along a lot faster.

There was a base 2014 mini with 4GB of RAM at my old office and I installed macOS on an external USB3 SSD and it ran much smoother. For basic tasks (Internet, email, Office, etc.) it worked pretty well as the SSD made up for the slow hard drive and the system was much more responsive, which made the lack of RAM for these tasks more bearable.

8GB of RAM is the bare minimum I would personally run a computer on these days, but in reality you can get by with much less, things just go a bit slower. I work in an environment that uses 32-bit Windows 7 for hundreds of machines, meaning even though they have 8GB or more of RAM installed less than 3GB is usable. Work is still getting done just fine, though some tasks maybe a bit slower.

Anyway, it's a good idea to wait to find something with at least 8GB of RAM at this point. I have the a 2014 mini with 8GB of RAM and a 1TB fusion drive and it has been working like a champ for the last 3 years as the family computer hooked up to a Thunderbolt Display. I've had a lot of minis and they are great machines. I hope Apple updates them soon.
 
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Wild_Rose

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 16, 2017
21
9
Greece
I got a great deal for the 2.7Ghz with 8GM RAM 2014 model, with barely 1 month of usage plus the original Apple keyboard!
 
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EightyTwenty

macrumors 6502a
Mar 11, 2015
809
1,667
There is only one right answer to your question. Anyone who tells you different is lying or misinformed.

The base-level 2014 Mac Mini is far too slow for even the most modest users, regardless of how humble your demands are as a user. It is too slow for even the simplest of tasks like web surfing or word processing. Doing anything on that machine will feel like you are walking through quicksand.

It is a painfully slow machine and it should be avoided completely. If you are stuck with a unit, you will need an external SSD drive connected using USB for anything approaching usable performance.
 

opeter

macrumors 68020
Aug 5, 2007
2,055
896
Slovenia, EU
To be honest, the 1.4 GHz base Mac mini with 8 GB RAM and an SSD is quite a capable machine and is even slightly better in GPU RAW power than the 2.5 GHz Mac Mini from 2012. The CPU is almost the same at much lower clock speed.

2012 model, 2.5 GHz Core i5-3210M:
https://everymac.com/systems/apple/mac_mini/specs/mac-mini-core-i5-2.5-late-2012-specs.html

Geekbench 2 (32): 6643 | Geekbench 2 (64): 7469
Geekbench 3 (32): 2502 | Geekbench 3 (32): 5070
Geekbench 3 (64): 2757 | Geekbench 3 (64): 5666

2014 model, 1.4 GHz Core i5-4260U:
https://everymac.com/systems/apple/mac_mini/specs/mac-mini-core-i5-1.4-late-2014-specs.html

Geekbench 2 (32): 6195 |Geekbench 2 (64): 7289
Geekbench 3 (32): 2550 |Geekbench 3 (32): 4835
Geekbench 3 (64): 2793 | Geekbench 3 (64): 5387

-------

Intel integrated GPU HD 4000 vs. 5000:
https://www.anandtech.com/
http://www.game-debate.com
 
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dogslobber

macrumors 601
Oct 19, 2014
4,438
7,443
Apple Campus, Cupertino CA
To be honest, the 1.4 GHz base Mac mini with 8 GB RAM and an SSD is quite a capable machine and is even slightly better in GPU RAW power than the 2.5 GHz Mac Mini from 2012. The CPU is almost the same at much lower clock speed.
The cheapest SSD Mini you can get out the door will cost you 900$. You can pick up a 2012 Quad for 2/3 price on eBay.
 

MarkJames68

macrumors 6502
Sep 24, 2017
394
246
The cheapest SSD Mini you can get out the door will cost you 900$. You can pick up a 2012 Quad for 2/3 price on eBay.
That’s why if one is adept at Mini surgery, and when they are on sale, you can get one and add a SSD for the same normal price as the base model with HDD. 4GB is enough for basic tasks.
 
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