Mac mini 2012 i5 2.5ghz still worth it?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Lukasguy, Apr 1, 2017.

  1. Lukasguy macrumors newbie

    Apr 1, 2017
    Hi guys
    I'm wondering if the Mac mini from 2012 is still worth it.
    I'm thinking of buying one with these specs:
    i5 2.5 GHz, Intel HD Graphics 4000 1536MB, 8GB of ram with an SSD

    Is this still a good and fast computer?
  2. Andres Cantu macrumors 68030

    Andres Cantu

    May 31, 2015
    Rio Grande Valley in South Texas
    Good Mac, yes. But will Apple drop support for it in a couple of years? Most likely.

    I would base my decision based on that.
  3. Boyd01 macrumors 601


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    I gave my old 2012 2.5ghz mini to my daughter's family for Christmas and they love it. I set it up with an external USB SSD as the system drive and upgraded the RAM to 16gb. It's a respectably fast little machine. An internal SSD will make yours even faster, especially if it's the original Apple SSD, I have a quad 2012 mini with the Apple 256gb SSD and it's very fast, only takes 15 seconds to boot to the desktop.

    Some people install their own SSD's in these machines, and that should also be fine if they chose a good device and installed it properly. OTOH, people have been known to damage their mini's by doing their own installations so caveat emptor there.

    The other nice thing about the 2012 mini is that RAM is easily upgraded and it's cheap. You will probably be fine with 8gb but it's good to know that you could bump it up to 16gb in the future if needed. Now one issue might be the old HD4000 graphics chip. It's fine for my use, but might be a constraint for some newer graphic-intensive apps. However, Apple still supports it with Final Cut Pro and BlackMagic even supports it in DaVinci Resolve.

    These machines still appear to be in demand and the pricing on used ones is often rather high. So you need to weigh all of this against a new (or Apple refurb) machine with a full warranty. IMO, there is little doubt that the base 2012 mini is a better computer than the base 2014 model that replaced it however.
  4. now i see it macrumors 68040

    Jan 2, 2002
    A used 2012 Mac Mini could have been put in first use in 2012. It also could have been manufactured in late 2013 and put in use early 2014.

    A new 2014 Mac Mini will be brand new and will have zero miles on its odometer even in 2017.

    So a 2012 Mac Mini could be 3 years aged or 5 years aged. No way to know.

    A used 2012 Mac Mini can be a great buy or a lemon. There's no way to know.
  5. scgf macrumors regular

    Aug 12, 2003
    Market Harborough, UK
    That's exactly what I'm using as my daily driver, but I installed Windows 10 on mine because MacOS doesn't display too well on an external monitor IMO. Windows looks great on it. I put an SSD in it and I am completely happy. I could have afforded an iMac but actually the mini suits me well.

    If you do go the Windows route don't use Boot Camp - Search EFI install and do it that way instead.
  6. j2ee Suspended


    Apr 21, 2015
    You need to say the price first, Apple Store is not selling this right?
  7. now i see it, Apr 1, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2017

    now i see it macrumors 68040

    Jan 2, 2002
    Well that's gotta be a first. Buy an expensive Apple computer, then run only Windows on it. Why would anyone do that?

    People suffer through low spec Apple hardware not because they want the hardware, it's because they're addicted to MacOS, and the only way to feed that addiction is buy overpriced, gimped Apple gear.

    If MacOS was licensed to be installed on non Apple computers, (never gunna happen again) it's doubtful that Apple would sell 1% of the computers they currently do.
    Most people don't want Apple computers. They want MacOS... but lately even that's being questioned.
  8. 49JC macrumors member

    Jul 11, 2010
    Good computer yes, worth it no. Not at the prices I see today.
  9. Wildhope macrumors member


    Feb 6, 2017
    It's what I'm using and its great. I think if u can afford it it would just make more sense to get a used imac from the last 3 years though.
  10. scgf macrumors regular

    Aug 12, 2003
    Market Harborough, UK
    Lots of reasons. Firstly I needed a new computer and I wanted it to be a small form factor. I bought a 21.5" 4K iMac and was disappointed with it - the screen uniformity wasn't good and it had a yellow tinge at the bottom and a blue tinge towards the top. It cost me around £1300. I returned it and tried a top of the range AIO Dell with a very noisy whirring fan at a similar cost. Returned that too. I looked around and found a few 2nd user Mac Mini 2012 i5 units in mint condition for around £300. I figured at least I would have a choice of whether to run MacOS or Windows. For my pattern of usage I didn't see any advantage in the later iterations of the i5 CPU - neither in terms of speed nor graphics.

    Secondly I was once a real Apple fanboy, but that has hugely diminished in recent years - I simply don't feel MacOS offers me anything Windows 10 doesn't - in fact the reverse is true. Microsoft really upped its game with Windows 10.

    Thirdly it is pretty much accepted that the MacOS does not display well on external monitors and the fonts do not look anywhere near as crisp as Windows. Do a search and you will see all sorts of possible remedies - none work.

    So, given I needed a small form factor machine, my options were reduced to something like an Intel NUC or a Mac Mini. I chose the latter. It's a pretty good machine and upgraded with an SSD and 8GB RAM it flies. Installing Windows 10 in EFI mode gives me a very solid device with the option to run MacOS should I desire.
  11. EnderBeta macrumors 6502


    Aug 5, 2016
    I haven't noticed the fonts looking worse on my Mac Pro or Mac Mini compared to my 5K iMac when the two headless machines are using a 4K monitor at 1440P. I'm sure it's slightly different because the iMac is 5K but that isn't because the machines are headless.

    My Mac Mini doesn't look bad on the old Dell 23" ultra sharp I have it on right now either.
  12. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    I use one as my primary desktop computer and it works extremely well.
  13. scgf macrumors regular

    Aug 12, 2003
    Market Harborough, UK
    Yeah, I wish I'd have given some thought to 4K rather than 1080p - the 2012 Mac Mini Intel 4000 graphics chip is not powerful enough. My next upgrade will take that into account. At 1080p comparing Windows and MacOS font display there is an obvious difference. Something to do with the way Apple decided to use anti-aliasing to make fonts look exactly right at the expense of crispness. Microsoft's approach is different and the other way around. It's enough to bother my OCD - I need the crispness and don't care if the font is not perfectly formed when enlarged.
  14. munakib, Apr 9, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2017

    munakib macrumors 6502

    May 22, 2011
    I bought a refurbished mini 2012 with i7 (quad) last week and made it into my main design focused desktop workstation by adding 16gb ram and 1 TB SSD. I only use Adobe Illustrator and Dreamever though so the 4000 is not holding me back as much as someone using it for Video editing. Paid $700 CAD (approx 500 usd) altogether, I think it was a sweet deal. CPUs have only seen a negligible performance increase in the past 5-8 years and there was no way one anyone can afford a Quad core for a system below 1000 USD - or it could just have been my rationale to get this machine, lol!
  15. Celerondon macrumors 6502a


    Oct 17, 2013
    Southern Cal

    Op asked if a specific 2012 Mac mini is "still worth it?" o_O
    I would take three similarly equipped i5 models today for $200 apiece. ;)

    We could probably provide better answers if the OP provided two additional bits of information:
    • How much would this mini cost?
    • What do you plan to do with this mini?
  16. dogslobber macrumors 68040


    Oct 19, 2014
    Apple Campus, Cupertino CA
    I bought a 2012 Mini for 419$ refurb'd and reckon it's a steal at that price. The price still holds up well judging by how much they're shifting for on eBay. Fwiw, I still think this machine has two more OS X builds before it's condemned to death by Apple but it has two years worth of support beyond that so it has lots of life left. I simply don't see it being tossed in the trash given that even the 2009 Mini runs Windows 10 well so lots of options for it.

    Perhaps this is Apple's Toyota machine. Run forever. Never breaks down.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 9, 2017 ---
    I think your locale is important to bring context. E.g. I am comfortable buying Apple gear in the USA but if I had to pay the prices they pay in England, well, that feels like a punch in the kidney.
  17. MultiFinder17 macrumors 68000


    Jan 8, 2008
    Tampa, Florida
    The 2012 mini is still a fantastic little computer for a variety of tasks. I have one running 24/7 as a headless server, and it is absolutely perfect for that role. As a main desktop machine, it can still serve admirably, handling what most users would throw at it with aplomb.

    As for @OP, it would help to know how you're planning on using it and what you can get one for in order to fully answer your question :)
  18. j2ee Suspended


    Apr 21, 2015
    This is more like buying the macOS instead of the hardware since this is the cheapest way to get a working macOS.

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