Is the Mac Mini for me?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by swimmingroom, Aug 9, 2019.

  1. swimmingroom macrumors newbie

    Aug 9, 2019
    I recently acquired a used MacBook pro 13 2015 base model and I'm in love with it and Mac OS. It's far superior to any windows or chrome OS laptop I have used. It's just so fluid and smooth. My usage is pretty much just using it for web browsing with multiple tabs, youtube videos, spotify, social media, light word documents. No video editing, gaming etc.

    I am quite interested in the idea of buying a Mac Mini to do the same tasks on an external monitor at my desk, and using my MacBook elsewhere like in bed or as a portable machine.

    For my usage which Mac Mini model would you recommend?

    I'm interested in getting a 2014 version onwards as I want to still get official Mac OS updates for a few more years. Is the base model 500GB HDD with 4GB RAM sufficient? I'm not too fussed about storage, ideally SSD would be better of course, but its more expensive.

    Will it have similar performance to my 2015 MacBook pro for what I use it for? I have seen some good deals from resellers £150-£250. Ideally I want my investment to last 2-3 years with future OS updates.
  2. darkcompass macrumors member


    Aug 22, 2018
    I'm still using my late 2012 model (i5, updated ram to 8gb, but thats it), for all of the above tasks you mention, along with a podcast making with garageband.
    With the bonus of having the currently Latest version of macos (Mojave), it work a treat with all my other apple things.

    So Im sure a 2014/15 model will suit your needs without trouble.
  3. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    One of the reasons you enjoy the MacBook Pro so much is because it has a VERY fast SSD inside.

    IF you get a Mini that DOES NOT also have an SSD inside, you are NOT going to be as happy with it. In fact, you might be quite frustrated.

    DO NOT buy ANY Mac Mini UNLESS it ALSO has an SSD inside.
    Or... be prepared to use an external SSD to boot and run it.

    For Mini's, I'd suggest a 2018 model. If not new, then... Apple refurbished.

    Be aware that the RAM is SOLDERED INTO the 2014 Mini.
    So, you can't add more RAM to a 2014 Mini.
  4. macdos macrumors regular


    Oct 15, 2017
    A 2014 will age fast. Buy a MM 2018. Future proof with an i5, and make sure you fill up with as much RAM as you can afford. It will last you ten years (6–8 years OS wise, though).

  5. marclondon macrumors 6502

    Aug 14, 2009
    Why not just plug your MacBook Pro into a monitor and keyboard - you'll have the same thing and save on a Mini.
  6. swimmingroom thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 9, 2019
    Yeah I was concerned about the 4GB RAM and also the HDD. My Macbook is a 4 year old device yet seems so much faster than newer windows laptops, so I was hoping I would have got the same experience with the Mac Mini.

    I was thinking of this option also, how practical is it for quick removal and setup? I have tried this setup in the past with my windows laptop but it just felt so cumbersome I ended up leaving my laptop in the desk setup permeanently instead.
  7. marclondon macrumors 6502

    Aug 14, 2009
    Well it's obviously not as nice as having two computers but you're looking at about 1 second to unplug the monitor and keyboard leads. You'd need the power supply at times no matter where the portable is.

    Depends also if you want to run other things - on my Mini have two monitors, headphone jack connected to hi-fi, ethernet to router (better than wi-fi), and several USB external disks that I use now and then but you can also run USB devices off a monitor with USB ports or keyboard USB ports.
  8. Boyd01 Moderator


    Staff Member

    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    Absolutely not! I have one of these and used it as an iTunes server for several years (it just sat there running iTunes with home sharing 24/7 so I could access my media from different devices). That model works fine in this application, but it's just terrible for anything else. REALLY slow to do anything, it won't come anywhere near that "fluid and smooth" experience you enjoy. Adding a SSD would help, but you can't get around the 4gb RAM limitation, and it's not upgradeable.

    I think the 2018 base Mini is probably your best option, however there's still a deal on one of the top 2014 Mini's available from B&H Photo|2014&cp=9581+37094+10009

    I got one of these to replace my iTunes server and it's a huge upgrade from the base 2014 model. The CPU is twice as fast, it has twice the RAM and also has a "fusion" drive which consists of a 128gb SSD married to a 1TB hard disk. But you can use some terminal commands to separate the SSD from the hard disk, which is what I did. This gives you a Mini with a pretty fast (>700MB/sec) 128gb internal SSD for about $500. The price is currently $529, but they have been periodically dropping it to $499, which is what I paid. Apple was selling this same model for over $1000 a year ago.

    Now, again, this is not going to be as good as a 2018 Mini but it's significantly cheaper and would probably be fine for the use you describe.
  9. EmlynDewar macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2011
    Chengdu, China
    Echoing many other sentiments here.
    The base model 2014 released in an already dated state. I think you'd be pretty disappointed buying one of these after using the 2013 Macbook Pro.
    Base model 2018 and upgrade the memory to 16gb is where I'd go just now.
  10. iluvmacs99, Aug 11, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019

    iluvmacs99 macrumors regular

    Apr 9, 2019
    I am going to offer you a slightly different viewpoint as my sister was asking me about this same thing 4 months ago. She bought the Mac Mini 2014, but with 8Gb of ram. She does freelance Photoshop and Indesign and also web browsing with multiple tabs using Chrome, Youtube and social media and light word documents using Open Office. And she has the 500Gb HD. It was the cheapest Mac she could afford in her budget and she found the Mac to be more than fine. She could get away with 4Gb of ram, but because she needed it for graphics work, 8Gb was what she needed and opted. You have to order this from Apple as the 2014 ram is soldered.

    So for your usage, the base 4Gb 500Gb HD would actually suffice as long as you are aware that nothing is going to be as snappy as your Macbook Pro 2015, but the performance is certainly better coming from most Windows and Chrome OS laptop. At least the user experience is better because what Apple does best is that, it designs the OS around its hardware platform, so it make efficient use of its available hardware. Windows 10 now almost approaches the minimalist design, but it's still slightly slower and bloated because with the same specs computer, a Mac OS computer is still faster than a Windows 10 computer. I have both so I know!

    I noticed that in this forum, there is a higher tendency for people to suggest a much higher spec computer without really knowing what a lower spec computer would do in a more modest setup needs, or coming from a less resourceful OS computing platform. I have many experiences dealing with multiple platforms from Linux, Mac OSX and Windows and I can say that a base Mac Mini 2014 is quite capable in serving your needs. The base 2014 Mac Mini is an "ENTRY LEVEL" Mac. It's called an ENTRY LEVEL mac because it's meant to attract entry level Windows and Chrome user to buy into a Mac experience without breaking the bank. How does it make sense for people coming from an entry level Windows and Chrome system buy into a more powerful 2018 model at higher prices?!? As an entry level machine, the 2014 is quite adequate.

    Sometimes, some of us including myself are so spoiled with the prosumer and pro level Macs that we need that experience and so we tend to bias our needs that everyone must need that experience. It's like when you drive a Ferrari Testarossa, then you should expect others drive a Ferrari as well to achieve that same experience and forget about the Honda Civic to me really does not make any sense at all.

    Having said that, 4Gb is really quite at the bare limit for web browsing with multiple tabs, especially Chrome web. But Mac OSX is pretty efficient with memory management and as long as you leave about 20% of your hard drive space for memory paging needs (as it would do a lot more of that than with 8Gb or 16Gb of ram), then you'll be fine. My sister is using her 2014 Mac Mini Core i5 1.4Ghz very productively and had never complained about what she paid.
    She, like you, was also persuaded to go for the better 2018 Mini with lots of ram but these people were never interested in what her needs were, but rather in whatever their personal agenda were -- selling her MORE hardware to make money off her!
  11. EmlynDewar macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2011
    Chengdu, China
    I think it's poor advice to be recommending anything using the sub-par 5400rpm drives Apple were packing into their 2014 machines. If you like the beach ball, it's great. If you're trying to use the machine, not so much.

    Recommending the base model 2018 is the right thing to do, in 2019. It's an i3 with an SSD, not overspecced at all.
  12. opeter macrumors 68000


    Aug 5, 2007
    Slovenia, EU
    Yeah, it is a real 4-core machine and if you upgrade the RAM it can work for you for years to come.
  13. marclondon macrumors 6502

    Aug 14, 2009
    Absolutely. What people don't realise is that the content delivered by browsers, which are the among the heaviest users of CPU and memory, just gets more demanding. What worked OK in 2014 is not going to go well now and as for an HDD - forget it. It's a fine to pick up old machines as a hobby but if you want something usable then a low end current model is far better.

    At the top end, my 2018 six core i7 is so much better than my old 2012 quad core i7 but needs a lot of ram to really make it sing with a fair few apps and especially browsers.

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