Looking at Getting a Mini - But...

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Panther Al, Dec 19, 2011.

  1. Panther Al, Dec 19, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2011

    Panther Al macrumors member

    Oct 24, 2011
    Which one?

    I am leaning to the version with the AMD graphics chip installed, but am torn between upgrading to an i7.

    To be fair, 90% of the use of it I am planning won't require it, as the most intensive program I plan on running is Minecraft.

    Is the benifit of moving up to the i7 worth the cost in this case?


    Also, I have been hearing that in this case, the server's quad core, even without the AMD graphics, might be the better choice. Is this the case in general opinion?
  2. DustinT macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2011
    If you have the funds for it, I think you'll enjoy the upgraded graphics. They will extend the usefulness of the Mac Mini quite a bit if you have any plans for gaming. If your needs tend to require more CPU power, the Mini server with 4 cores is your best option. Its a simple question, more cpu power or more graphics power. I don't think you can make a wrong decision, they are both great systems. Personally, I run the base model Mini with the dual core and without the upgraded graphics. As a home server, its perfect.
  3. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    Don't bother with the quad core unless you have software that utilizes all the cores. Programs that take full advantage of quad core CPUs tend to be pro apps. But there are consumer apps such as Handbrake that do benefit from having four or more cores, so it depends on what you are using.

    And if you go with the quad core Mini you are back to integrated graphics...

    Checkout Barefeats.com for i5 and i7 speed tests, as well as GPU comparisons.
  4. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    your question has become complex for a lot of reasons. you can buy a quad core with a pair of 750gb hdds for 1099. you can buy an 8gb ram stick for 89 dollars.

    this gives you an amazing pice of gear for 1190 and it has 10gb ram.

    now if you get a student discount or a government worker discount it is cheaper

    Attached Files:

  5. shortcut3d macrumors 65816

    Aug 24, 2011
    I agree with philipma, your decision is very complicated. To further complicate the issue, you should consider the monitor you will use for the 2011 Mac Mini. Full HD (1920x1080) the same resolution as 21.5" and the Intel HD 3000 integrated graphics with 8GB system memory performs adequately.

    With hard drive prices so high and projected to stay that way through Q2 2012, I would lean toward the 2011 Mac Mini Server for the extra drive. As philipma pointed out you can dual 750GB 7200RPM WD Scorpio Black drives for only $100 as a BTO. These drives are currently $200 each in the market. If you are going to upgrade to an SSD, you maybe able to cover 50% or better of your cost resale for a 120GB SATA III SSD.
  6. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey

    I have been researching the drive shortage. Prices may go higher in JAN and FEB.

    It may be that certain drives like the wd scorpio black 750gb will stay at the 200 to 225 dollar level.

    I purchased around 50 hdds right before the flooding for various builds for the christmas season. I am now debating if I need to hold back from selling them all at roughly double what I paid for them. Very tempting to do this. If I do it is certain profit of 2- 3k. Of course if I sell all of them my upgrade business will go on hold. This is a nice problem to have. I most likely will sell them off and take a vacation from modding minis in JAN.
  7. Panther Al thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 24, 2011
    Thanks for all the help so far.

    Looks like the quad core is off the table, though picking it up for cheap hard drives is an interesting idea that does make one think.

    Looks like I will forgoe the i7 for now: While it would be nice to have the horsepower, I think the funds will be better spent on a better screen.

    Also, thanks for the pointer to barefeet: good site. The only gripe about it is the review on the verizon mifi service/LTE card. Used the service for a year now, and I will *not* be renewing that contract even with a gun held to my head. So far, spending an average of 2hr 37m a month on techsupport for that service.
  8. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    Take a look at the NEC 2490WUXI2 at B&H Photo. It has an MSRP of $899 but I purchased it recently for $549. The last time I checked it was $600. (You may have to click a link or place it in a cart to see the sale price.) The NEC has received excellent reviews but I get the feeling that it may be discontinued since NEC recently introduced a newer comparable display.

    I'm using the NEC with a 2.3GHz 13" MBP, which is comparable to the base model Mac Mini hardware-wise. Increasing the RAM to 8GB increases the available VRAM from 384MB to 512MB.

    So far so good!
  9. milescortez macrumors member

    May 30, 2010
    My 2 cents

    I have the quad core because I use a lot of Handbrake for converting to Apple TV so the quad core was good for me. I don't do gaming but if I did I'm thinking I'd lean to the graphics upgrade.

    Side note..I bought a 24inch Apple cinema display used and the mac mini quad core server and it ran me about $1800 vs the comparable 27inch iMac which would've been about a grand more. I think the mac mini is a sweet deal and you can upgrade the ram and hard drives aftermarket with SSDs and its relatively easy. I can't see buying an iMac when the top of the line mini is almost as fast and runs much much cooler.

    Honestly you can't really go wrong either way.
  10. macdudesir macrumors 6502

    Jan 16, 2011
    Blacksburg, VA
    *spit take* WHAT? Cooler??? The mini?? Idk where you've even but Ive seen many threads saying their mini is 80C+...I know my iMac doesn't go above 55C when pushing it 100%....(CPU)

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