Is the Mac mini worth it?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Jacoblee23, Apr 18, 2015.

  1. Jacoblee23 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2011
    I've seen some pretty bad reviews. I currently own a 2014 MacBook Air 13" 128gb, 4gb ram, iPad Air 2 128gb, and an iPhone six plus 64gb. I also own an Apple TV. I was thinking the mini could be useful as s place to store my entertainment and for streaming.
  2. ardchoille50 macrumors 68020

    Feb 6, 2014
    I have a Mac mini late 2012 model and I love it, it is my main desktop machine and my home theater. I haven't had any problems with it yet.
  3. dual64bit macrumors 6502

    Nov 9, 2004
    I've got a 3Ghz i7, 16Gb memory model and it runs great. The dual core / quad core argument is out there, but for what I use it for it's super duper.
  4. hank moody macrumors 6502a

    hank moody

    Jan 18, 2015
    same here.

    Mac mini as main computer and media center. Great machine.
  5. Jacoblee23 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2011
    How does it look on a lcd TV? Also, price is a factor for me. I need to find somewhere to get one cheap. Which model and configuration and place to get it do you guys recommend?


    Love your username. I need to watch the last season.
  6. garirry macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2013
    Canada is my city
    As with most computers, it should look fine on a television. You can connect it via HDMI and it should look great.
  7. Jacoblee23 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2011
    Will the text be blurry like a lot of people say?
  8. garirry macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2013
    Canada is my city
    I don't own a Mac Mini, but for standard Windows computers, I haven't seen anything wrong. Keep in mind that you may have to adjust the text size if your TV's res is large and you're far away from the TV.
  9. Ice Dragon macrumors 6502a

    Ice Dragon

    Jun 16, 2009
    In my view, if you upgrade to 16 GB of RAM and a PCIe SSD then yes.
  10. Mr. McMac Suspended

    Mr. McMac

    Dec 21, 2009
    Far away from liberals
    I'm on my 4th Mac Mini. I love them more than any Mac I've ever owned, and I've owned quite a few.
  11. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    Depends on your monitor.


    Only worth it if you have a Fusion Drive or an SSD in it. Otherwise, it'll be really slow.
  12. garirry macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2013
    Canada is my city
    A hard drive should be fine, unless you're more impatient than me. I recommend a fusion drive though.
  13. yomibro macrumors regular

    Feb 24, 2008
    Just got the 2014 mid-range Mini last week for my nephew, was configuring the machine and using it for a few days and it seems perfectly fine for most daily common tasks even for me. Once the warranty expires I'll configure a fusion drive/PCIe SSD and give it a nice little boost in speed, that should last him a few additional years. :)
  14. bruceabbott macrumors member

    Apr 17, 2015
    I've been running the mid-range 2014 Mini (2.6 Ghz, 8GB RAM) since December. The machine runs 24/7 and have had no issues.

    I would HIGHLY suggest though you swap out the slow mechanical HDD for an SSD. Makes for a significant improvement in performance.
  15. Micky Do, Apr 18, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2015

    Micky Do macrumors 68000

    Micky Do

    Aug 31, 2012
    An island in the Andaman Sea.
    Bad reviews seem to have revolved around the loss of the quad core model and user upgradeability….. probably more of an issue for the average geek who likes to meddle than the average Joe or Jill just wanting to do stuff.

    Worth it?

    Depends on your budget and needs, but with the other Apple kit you have it seems a Mac Mini could fit in nicely.

    There are those that say you should / must go for SSD and max out RAM. Maybe so for some uses, but for storing entertainment and streaming, is that really so important?

    The $499 base model with 500 GB HDD could be all you really need. Add Fusion Drive ($250 option) for more storage and speed should you desire it. You could probably get by with 4 GB of RAM, but springing $80 for 8GB would certainly be nice to have.

    From Macworld UK

    The entry-level Mac mini at £399 is effectively the most affordable Macintosh ever sold in the computer line’s 30-year history. Yes, the PowerPC G4 version of 2005 started at just £329 in this country, but adjusted for inflation that’s closer to £429 in today’s money. What you get today is a decently fast mini desktop PC using an older hard disk for storage but which is in every other way right up to date; bleeding edge in fact when you consider just how far ahead of the vast majority of Windows wannabees are its wireless and Thunderbolt credentials. For the cheapest model especially where a buyer is looking to keep initial cost down, our only complaint is the lifetime memory sentence. This means a bump to 8 GB for £80 on pay day is almost mandatory, if you want to future-proof the little marvel for several years to come. Storage, for today at least, can still be upgraded with care.

    The $699 mid tier Mini, with the $200 Fusion Drive option is probably the sweet spot for general use. For $999 you can buy the top tier Mini off the shop shelf, with Fusion Drive fitted as standard.

    The Macworld article has links to reviews of the mid and high end Minis, and comparisons with other Macs.

    The Mac Mini has been worth it for me since I bought the first that arrived on the scene in 2005. I now have a 2009, which remains all the computer I need, and the only 21st century tech I own.

    For others I know, the Mini supplements their greater needs. They also sport various iterations of MacBook, iMac, Mac Pro, and other Apple gear.
  16. applelover4u macrumors 6502

    Nov 6, 2012
    Wont void the warranty changing it now unless you break something in the process

    But 2014 mini here 1.4 ghz.. Love it except for opening apps and files. to dang slow because of the slow drive
  17. ardchoille50 macrumors 68020

    Feb 6, 2014
    I used to build my own boxes, during the 10 years that I used Linux exclusively. And, knowing what I know about my current Mac mini, along with my building experience, I plan to buy another Mac mini - though it will be the mid tier model that Micky Do mentioned. They are very good machines and, in my opinion, Apple should lose the "entry level" moniker because they are way above entry level performance.
  18. z31fanatic macrumors 6502a


    Mar 7, 2015
    Mukilteo, WA USA
    No, the Mac Mini is not worth the price for what you get. But for your use even the base Mini will do fine if you don't mind its price.
  19. John marts macrumors member

    Sep 20, 2014
    Don't buy a mini. I had two and eventually got tired of their slow speeds at basic tasks after while. Honestly, until they make a SSD standard, they're garbage.

    My last mini was a '12 model and I eventually got tired of it after a year and a half and ended up buying what you basically have only the 11' model. The air is MUCH quicker in every single task you throw at it.

    You have to remember the mac mini is a laptop made into a desktop, only they still have an outdated HD. Your air has an SSD which makes the computer MILES ahead of it in terms of speed.

    Dont waste your time with it. The mini is a piece of....

    edit: I'm talking base models here though. Base model for base model the air is a MUCH better computer. IF you do want to opt for a SSD in it, then fine. But then again I see no point as you can just plug in a moniter to your air and its literally the same machine at that point.
  20. Pieterr macrumors regular

    Mar 22, 2015
    The Netherlands
    It certainly is. If you select the 2TB Fusion and 16GB options ($1299), you'll have a system that will serve your needs for the next years. If 2TB isn't enough more storage can be added externally via USB3.
  21. yomibro macrumors regular

    Feb 24, 2008
    Going with the method Scoobdriver posted, seems to be the easiest way to add a fusion drive. Just have to find an Apple PCIe SSD now, got the tray w/flexible cable ordered already.
  22. Celerondon, Apr 19, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2015

    Celerondon macrumors 6502a


    Oct 17, 2013
    Southern Cal
    8Gb RAM + SSD or Fusion Drive = Satisfaction

    Well John marts, this is tough. Your experience with the mini is different from most users on this thread. I suppose the OP will have to decide what it means. Does your experience prove that "The mini is a piece of...." or that users must take care to purchase the configuration that suits their needs and tastes?

    From your post, it seems as if your last mini was a 2012 with a spinner. After you became dissatisfied with the performance of the 2012 you purchased an SSD equipped MacBook and preferred the performance of the 2011 portable. You concluded "until they make a SSD standard, they're garbage".

    As an afterthought you clarify that you are speaking of base models. Why is that? Did someone give you (or force you to select) a base model that lacked an SSD?
  23. mcnallym, Apr 19, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2015

    mcnallym macrumors 6502a

    Oct 28, 2008
    For this use which is effectively as an iTunes Server then the mini is great. It won't need a PCI-E SSD Blade, it won't need 16Gb RAM, it won't need a Quad Core.

    I currently use a mac mini 2009 with 8Gb RAM and a 60Gb SSD. I installed the SSD as was spare rather then fitting it to improve speed. Only thing the SSD has done is make it quicker to boot and removed some slight noise of the HDD spinning up. Once up and running however the 5400rpm 320Gb Disk was perfectly fine.

    I use the mini as

    1.) Elgato TV DVR system
    2.) iTunes Server
    3.) Internet Browsing/Forum use.

    I store all my media on a Drobo Pro connected via FW800 which I stream to the ATV. I record to the Drobo Pro as well as store the iTunes on there and can comfortably record two programs and stream an iTunes Movie/TV Show to my Apple TV at that same time, whilst also downloading a new purchase from iTunes to the mini.

    I leave the system on 24/7 and it works fine, just update the software as necessary. I just last week rebuilt the mini to 10.10.3 and it is working great.

    However for the editing of the recordings, handbrake encoding etc then I use the Mac Pro in my signature which is as you would expect much faster at doing those sorts of tasks but as a simple DVR/iTunes Server would be overkill.

    For your stated purpose then if purchasing new then a base model upgraded to 8Gb would be perfectly fine, even with the HDD rather then fusion drive or PCI-E SSD. Then attach some external media to give you a decent storage for your media.

    Or could look at getting a 2012 model, and getting the dual core model which will still serve perfectly well for your stated needs.

    Yes a Quad with 16Gb and an SSD would be quicker but for what you have stated your needs as then won't really use that extra performance that would be available.

    With Elgato seemingly uninterested in supporting DVB-T2 FreeviewHD here in the UK then I am probably looking at getting a Synology NAS for DVBLogic and keeping the mini simply for iTunes Server ( Synology iTunes Server still isn't perfect for Movie Streaming to an ATV for me ) so the 1.4Ghz model would be enough for this.

    A new 1.4Ghz Mini with 8Gb 500HDD and AppleCare is £548 whereas the 2.6Ghz middle with 8Gb and a 1TB HDD and AppleCare is £638, so depends upon if the £90 would be a big deal to you or not. $698 and $798 so $100 if in US. Personally would probably spend the extra £90 but not worth the extra expense for the SSD/Fusion for a simple iTunes Server.
  24. Celerondon macrumors 6502a


    Oct 17, 2013
    Southern Cal
    Sometimes an SSD is like Stretchy Pants...

    This is fine advice. 8Gb of RAM is more essential than SSD speed for your usage case. 16 Gb of RAM would be (expensive) overkill. To me either type of SSD seems more optional, or as Nacho Libre said "Just for Fun."
  25. applelover4u macrumors 6502

    Nov 6, 2012
    Mac Mini a laptop...?:confused: Yea ok buddy

    Yes i was going to do a ssd drive connected via usb 3 and just let it sit next to the mac mini and fusion the 2 drives together but it seems for the same price I can get PCIE

    I have 4gb and it does that job well! Multiple windows open, vm fusion running windows 8 open and music and videos playing and it doesnt hiccup at all

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