Mac mini 2014 v MacBook Air Value

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by AltiVecG4, Nov 9, 2014.

  1. AltiVecG4 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2013
    #1
    Hi,

    Most on this forum consider the baseline '14 MM as a bad buy and bad value for money. But, the machine that it is based of, the '14 MBA, seems to be universally praised. Most would recommend the MBA as a high performance machine while the almost identical MM is said to be underpowered. Also, the MM is almost half the price of the cheapest MBA.

    My question, why is the '14 baseline MM not recommended versus the MBA?
     
  2. corvus32, Nov 9, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2014

    corvus32 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #2
    One is mobile and the other is not.

    Also, mini PCs have more advanced hardware in a smaller form factor at a better price.

    The Gigabyte Brix Pro i7-4770R Mini PC, for example. It sells for $599 at Amazon and Newegg. It has a quad core i7 and Iris Pro graphics. Just add the RAM and SSD you want and go. Those are things most people upgrade anyways. If you already have RAM and an SSD from a previous Mac Mini, you're golden.
     
  3. cinealta macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2012
    #3
    The Mini is a desktop computer. The Air is an ultrabook. Expandability, power consumption, CPU choices etc should follow the product category. Can't compare a sports car with an SUV even if they use the same motor.
     
  4. blindside217 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2012
    #4
    Also the MBA comes with an SSD so the performance will be much better.

    I think the fact that you can get much better processor and graphics and twice the memory and hard disk space for only $200 is the reason that people prefer the $699 MM. With the MBA, there is no significant upgrade for a small amount of money like that.
     
  5. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2014
    #5
    The Mac mini is desktop yes, but it houses laptop components. In fact, the hardware in the baseline Mac mini is almost identical to that in a Macbook Air, just worse because it doesn't have an SSD. The higher-end models are more what you would find in a 13'' Retina Macbook Pro. Never are you getting true desktop-level performance out of a mini, but get a higher-end model and you'll get better performance than a MBA, for the same price.
     
  6. magbarn macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #6
    The ssd on the MBA hides the impact of the paltry 4gb of ram. Swapping memory into a 5400 rpm hard drive is so 2005.
     
  7. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2014
    #7
    I'm surprised 5400 RPM drives are still being used in these at all, considering you could get a Power Mac G4 with a 7200 RPM drive back in 2000. That's 14 years we've had 7200 RPM drives.
     
  8. thagomizer macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 26, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #8
    5400rpm drives today have much faster data transfer speeds than 7200rpm drives 14 years ago. And they use much less power, which is apparently what Apple was going for.
     
  9. magbarn macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #9
    Made a minor correction as we're talking about at most <1 watt difference at the wall between a mini with a 7200rpm vs 5400 rpm hard drive.
     
  10. 6r4ff3r macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    #10
    People value more mba because of ssd and mobility qualities.

    But doesn't mean the mini base is a bad computer. The 5400 hdd is slower than ssd, but has much more capacity storage and its a reliable technology.
     
  11. borgusio macrumors regular

    borgusio

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2011
    #11
    Good one... I could not resist:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Same engine
     
  12. cinealta macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2012
    #12
    Nice!
     
  13. bbnck, Nov 10, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2014

    bbnck macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    #13
    The base Mac mini is slow because of the 5400 rpm hard drive. It is much slower compared to a MacBook Air. I purchased one last week but I am returning it for the middle model for this very reason. SSDs make a very big difference. I couldn't quite believe the difference in performance between my 1.3 GHz MacBook Air (2013) and the base Mac mini until I experienced it when I first used it last week.

    If you need portability, get a MacBook Air. You can also connect a MacBook Air to an external monitor using the built-in Thunderbolt port, with an appropriate adapter.

    A Mac mini is good if you generally use your computer at your desk, and also if you want to use multiple external monitors (like in my case). However, if you are considering a Mac mini, save yourself a lot of time and hassle and just don't even bother considering the 1.4 GHz model - it might be cheap, but it is slow for anything more than casual/light use.

    Perhaps 8 GB RAM in the base model might help elevate some of the speed problems with the machine, but I'm not confident it will...
     
  14. gugy macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2005
    Location:
    La Jolla, CA
    #14
    Yeah, I gave up on the base model. The middle one with 8gb RAM and with SSD is the way to go IMO if you are looking at the 2014 ones.
     
  15. Oracle1729 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2009
    #15
    The middle 2012 with an aftermarket upgrade to 16 gig is a few hundred dollars cheaper and a far superior machine (twice the cpu speed, spare sata port).

    There is just no reason anyone should buy the 2014. Either grab a 2012 however you can or wait for the 2016/17/18/??.
     
  16. crazzapple Guest

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2014
    #16
    Exactly. If you are are in the US, there have been a lot of i7 refurbs showing up nearly everyday.

    2012 i7 quad-core $589
    16GB ram $135
    Samsung 850 Pro 256 GB $185
    Total: $909
     
  17. gugy macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2005
    Location:
    La Jolla, CA
    #17
    Well, the cheapest I found new (2012, i7) was at $789. Used or refurbished I wasn't able to find much better. The middle of the pack 2014 is at $699.

    ----------

    That looks like a great upgrade but I have not seem a quad core at this price point yet.
     
  18. crazzapple Guest

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2014
    #18
    That price is direct from apple's refurb store. You will need to sign up for notification at one of the refurb tracker websites. I have not been signed up for a week, so it's possible they have stopped putting them up.
     
  19. Oracle1729 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2009
    #19
    I actually gave up and bought the Server model for $760 in the refurb store. The extra $170 was a bit high for an extra 1TB drive and special cable, but at least it was available and it's still a bargain for the whole machine at that price.

    I may still grab a 2.6 or 2.3 quad core if I can get one with everything else base. I really don't see any mac going in a direction I'd buy any time soon.

    ----------

    They haven't been up for about a week, but I'm hoping we haven't seen the last of them.
     
  20. gugy macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2005
    Location:
    La Jolla, CA
    #20
    Yeah, I have been checking the Apple site often with no success. I'll check the refurb checker
     

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