Is the Mac Mini right for me?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by mjschabow, Feb 5, 2015.

  1. mjschabow macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2013
    #1
    Hi all,

    I'm looking for some advice here. I'm currently looking to ditch my stupid Windows laptop for a Mac. It makes sense since I'm already invested in the iPad and iPhone, but I'm having a hard time deciding on which kind to go with. So to those of you who have invested in Apple products, any help would be much appreciated. Here's some information about my needs:

    - I probably wouldn't need another Apple product to leave the house with, so portability isn't a huge issue.

    - I mostly use my Windows laptop to manage my movie collection on my Plex server. The one thing that's interesting about the Mac Mini is that I may be able to even bypass the Plex server and just plug the Mini into the TV and watch my media that way. Any information on how the Mac Mini plugs into the TV and if it's a painless experience would help.

    - I'm not a spec guy but I did notice that the affordability of this product compared to the MacBook's seems like a steal! For about $500 less I can pretty much get similar specs and 1TB of storage. I guess my question here is "What's the catch?". If the only catch is the lack of a monitor, then I would think this is a steal since I could plug it into my TV's.



    Thanks again for any info you can provide. This is a very informative community so this is my first stop for advice. :)
     
  2. Algus macrumors regular

    Algus

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2014
    Location:
    Arizona
    #2
    Mini has HDMI like most modern systems. Apple Remote works directly on it. It works good as an HTPC.

    Yes the $500 unit compares very favorably to the current MacBook Airs. It uses the same kind of low voltage CPU so it is pretty underpowered for a desktop computer IMO but if you are mainly just using it as an HTPC and not running complicated apps or games, that is a non-issue.
     
  3. stridemat Moderator

    stridemat

    Staff Member

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    Location:
    UK
    #3
    The catch may be with regard to transcoding on the low end MacMini. How may (if any) streams would need to be transcoded or are they all direct streams?

    You can plug the MacMini directly into the TV and run both Plex Media Server and Plex Home Theatre at the same time. Should work well.
     
  4. mjschabow thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Dec 25, 2013
    #4
    Thanks! Yeah, I'm not entirely sure how the Plex server runs but I had thought instead of using a Plex server, I could probably store the 500gb of movies on the Mac Mini and just use it as my media player. I was thinking I was going to go with the 2014 version with 8gb RAM that's going for about $700 on Best Buy, so I'm not sure if that's considered low end or not.

    ----------

    Thanks! Yeah, it would be for pretty simple use. I may think about diving into Garage Band at some point since I'm a guitar player but that would probably be the item that uses the most power.
     
  5. CrickettGrrrl macrumors 6502a

    CrickettGrrrl

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    B'more or Less
    #5
    My brother's introduction to the Apple world was a Mac Mini which he hooked up to his large screen TV via HDMI. He's still using it (2010 with 8GB RAM) as his main computer & media server. --And as happens, now has a MacBook Air, iPad & iPhone... He also got the blue tooth keyboard & mouse at the same time. He used to have a large Dell desktop but ditched it soon after getting the Mini.

    Considering he's an engineer who always trash-talked Apple and talked me out of getting a Mac initially, and who is super-picky, I think it speaks volumes that a Mac Mini works for him for the past 5 years.
     
  6. ameriMacka Suspended

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2014
    Location:
    core
    #6
    I've been dreaming of a mac mini 4 my next setup as well

    portable + my good friend basically gave me a tv for me to hdmi the ****
    perfect size 4 my peripheral

    how do y'all feel ab the middle of the road $699 option vs the $999

    ----------

    the most rigorous work it would be putting in would prolly be running apple logic with something like an mpc/maschine
     
  7. mjschabow thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Dec 25, 2013
    #7

    I'm curious of the difference as well. I'm thinking the mid version will suit my needs.
     
  8. Celerondon macrumors 6502a

    Celerondon

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    Oct 17, 2013
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    #8
    Hdd/SSD/FD

    Perhaps the only real difference is the storage. The mini gives you a choice between storage options. How much internal storage do you want? That mid-range mini seems like a good deal either way.
     
  9. mjschabow thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Dec 25, 2013
    #9

    Yeah. I like the 1TB. That should be enough for my media collection.
     
  10. ameriMacka Suspended

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2014
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    core
    #10
    word.

    its also 2.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 vs 2.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i5

    :apple: whatever that means :apple:

    ----------

    o ya and the mid is 1TB and the high is 1TB "Fusion"
     
  11. mjschabow thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Dec 25, 2013
    #11
    Yeah, not sure if the Fusion compared to regulary hard drive is worth the extra $300. I'm pretty sure I"m going to pick up the mid range model this weekend. I think the only remaining concern I have is if my 51" Samsung Plasma TV will work in the long run as a monitor, or if I should look for other options down the road. I will admit that the portability of a Macbook Air is attractive, but the price of the mid tier Mac Mini along with what appears to be better specs than the MacBook Air is hard to beat.
     
  12. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #12
    OP wrote above:
    [[ I'm pretty sure I"m going to pick up the mid range model this weekend. ]]

    Good choice, DO NOT buy the "low-end" Mini. If you do, you may find yourself "unhappy with the speeds" before very long.

    Spend the extra $$$ for the fusion drive (even the 1tb fusion drive).
    It will run circles around the same unit that is not equipped with one.

    You'll find the midrange Mini w/fusion to be a VERY capable little "box"....
     
  13. mjschabow thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Dec 25, 2013
    #13
    Thanks! I'll probably pass on the fusion drive just because $999 is out of my price range but the $699 is much better.
     
  14. Stocks macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2015
    #14
    You should really put some thought into the SSD, it really makes a difference.

    The mid level model is $699 plus $200 for the SSD. If you use the Edu discount it takes $40 off on Apples website, totaling $859 for a pretty awesome machine.
     
  15. suzyj macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2014
    #15
    This sounds exactly like me. I'm an engineer who pretty-much exclusively used windows & linux (redhat then ubuntu) for many years, mainly for running CAD. I saw macs as graphics design toys. I bought a little 11" 2011 macbook air mainly for my husband, as he's not terribly computer literate and was having virus issues with windows.

    I played with that for a bit, saw how quick and powerful it was, bought a 27" apple thunderbolt display, and got hooked. Now we've got the air, and 2014 minis, and when it was time to upgrade my Dell work notebook I bought a 15" rMBP. I still use windows for running CAD software, but within a virtual machine on my various OS X computers.

    I can't see ever going back to (especially) Dell machines. Plasticky, hot rubbish compared to apples. And OS X is _so_ much better than windows (& linux).
     
  16. mjschabow thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Dec 25, 2013
    #16

    Yeah. I'm trying to watch the budget unfortunately.

    Speaking of budget what do you think of this deal?

    http://pages.ebay.com/link/?nav=item.view&alt=web&id=321645824605
     
  17. eljanitor macrumors 6502

    eljanitor

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2011
    #17
    Ask one of the very knowledgeable Apple Sales Associates that work at the Apple store.
     
  18. mjschabow thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Dec 25, 2013
    #18

    That's 2 hours away. :(
     
  19. Celerondon macrumors 6502a

    Celerondon

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    Southern Cal
    #19
  20. mjschabow thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2013
    #20

    Yeah I'm starting to think I might be fine with the entry level. I only need it to be my media server. I don't do a lot of multitasking either. From the perspective of having a crappy HP laptop right now, my hunch is that this Mac Mini will blow it out of the water.
     
  21. stridemat Moderator

    stridemat

    Staff Member

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    UK
    #21
    Have you looked at the Apple Refurb store for your country? Have to get in quick sometimes, but they are sold at a discount.
     
  22. mjschabow thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Dec 25, 2013
    #22
    I have but they only have the really expensive ones.
     
  23. mjschabow thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Dec 25, 2013
    #23
    So I went to best buy today to get the mid range 2014 model and they actually still had a 2012 i7 model 2.3ghz 4gb RAM 1TB for $750 song pulled the trigger right away. I'll probably upgrade the RAM down the road too if I feel like I need it.
     
  24. David58117 macrumors 65816

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    Jan 24, 2013
    #24
    That's mine!

    It's full time as a HTPC now.

    If you're going to use it that way, make sure you get the apple remote, then BetterTouchTool to program it (free).

    I have it so where the "play" button takes me into xbmc...then I have all my programs on there...

    The hard drive is kind of useless as everything is streamed for me now.

    Works very well....
     
  25. mjschabow thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2013
    #25

    Nice! Thanks for the advice. This is my first Mac. It looks gorgeous on my 51" Samsung TV. :)
     

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