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sublunar

macrumors 65816
Jun 23, 2007
1,439
869
At this point the fact that it can have a SATA SSD installed probably helps a lot, the HD4000 GPU is probably the weak point now - the CPU is 64 bit which is fine.
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
21,483
7,748
You wouldn't want Catalina without an SSD (but that goes for High Sierra and Mojave as well).

But... unless you have some compelling reason WHY you want Catalina, I'd stick with an earlier version of the OS...
 
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Neodym

macrumors 68020
Jul 5, 2002
2,099
657
At this point the fact that it can have a SATA SSD installed probably helps a lot, the HD4000 GPU is probably the weak point now - the CPU is 64 bit which is fine.
Imho the internal SATA Ports are also slowly growing to become a weak point. Startup times on the 2012 mini have significantly increased with recent macOS incarnations (at least that’s my impression - never bothered to actually measure it) and Apple will increasingly design macOS for the 1.000, 2.000 or even 3.000 MB/s that modern SSD interfaces are capable of.

Over time, standard 2.5“ SATA SSD‘s will start to feel as „slow“ in comparison to NVMe drives, as HDD drives feel slow today in comparison to SATA SSD‘s. That weak point may even overtake the iGPU weak point, as people with only one monitor and/or 1080p display(s) will probably sooner feel the limitations of the SATA port than the iGPU limitations.
 
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Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
5,431
2,557
New Jersey Pine Barrens
Startup times on the 2012 mini have significantly increased with recent macOS incarnations (at least that’s my impression

I agree. When APFS was still in beta, somebody posted an article here where they compared startup times to HFS+ and I was surprised how slow it was. Then when High Sierra was finally introduced, I don't think those times improved much. The last time I actually clocked my 2012 quad Mini booting from the original Apple internal 256gb SSD, I was still running Mountain Lion and it took 15 seconds.

The 2012 has a pretty slow internal SSD interface

2012 2.6ghz quad i7 Mini - original Apple 256gb internal SSD

mini_sm256e.jpg



The 2014 Mini is about 50% faster

2014 2.8ghz i5 Mini - original Apple 128gb internal SSD

mini2014-128ssd.png
 
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dandeco

macrumors 6502
Dec 5, 2008
398
110
Brockton, MA
Yeah, around this time last year I swapped out the 5400RPM hard drive in my Mac Mini because it was getting slow (especially with booting) with a 960 GB 2.5" SATA SSD that I was able to buy for just over $100. It really cut the startup time in half, and made opening applications a whole lot faster. This was when the Mac Mini still had MacOS 10.14 Mojave installed. So when I upgraded to Catalina, I had virtually no issues (at least once I upgraded my Tuxera NTFS software for use with external NTSF drives, and I found a 64-bit beta of the Boxer open-source DOS game emulator for the Mac OS.)
 
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