Mac Mini advice needed

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by anewman143, Sep 5, 2014.

  1. anewman143 macrumors regular


    Jan 18, 2008
    OK - get out your crystal balls - just found some "free" money at work that I can use for a new computer for home and very inclined towards the Mac Mini with dual monitors. That money needs to be spent before December 3 - so although I'd love to get the Mini now, I can certainly be patient until then... keeping my fingers crossed for a new Mini before then.

    It will be replacing my 5-year-old iMac with multiple attached HD's for media/backup, so am thinking of going with the 1TB fusion drive instead of the 256GB SSD - but before then I'm going to do everything I can to remove unnecessary files from the iMac HD and see how much space I can free up... going pure SSD would be my goal (did this on my MacBook Pro via OWC and it's like a new computer!)

    So, great Kreskin - how likely is it that the Mac Mini will see an update before December??

    Second question - *very* much like the idea of a dual 23" or 27" monitor setup, as I'd be using it mostly for Aperture and Photoshop work. I don't have the money (or inclination) to buy 2 Apple monitors...which leaves the field wide open - Dell? HP? Nixeus? I'm not a photo professional, so perfect color calibration is not a critical component to my workflow.
  2. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    Who knows what Apple will do? good luck with that.

    Meanwhile, the mini is a great bargain. Depending on your iMac model, could you use that as a monitor? TDM is great; I use it and although it eats more juice than a regular monitor would I get an IPD 2560x1440 and a spare computer.

    For a second monitor get a matching IPD; there are tons of 'em out there with prices getting lower all the time. Just be careful since the cheapest ones don't necessarily have lots of choices of connections. Two 2560x1440s work great for me for Lightroom and PS. They are some slightly better screens out there for a little more as well, maybe something with a bit more adjustment capability, which even if you don't use full on calibration might be useful depending on the lighting where you work.

    I prefer SSD + HDD over Fusion, but that's sort of personal preference. I don't like the idea that the failure of the HDD in a Fusion could take down the whole thing. But YMMV.

  3. macs4nw macrumors 601



    Just curious, why are you leaning towards a new Mini, rather than a new iMac? Without knowing how much green you're planning on spending, an updated Mini with KB, mouse, speakers and two non-bargain basement, decent quality 27" monitors will come close to what a maxed out 27" iMac with 780 graphics and 1TB of SSDs will set you back. True, you'll only have the one monitor, but it's unlikely the updated Mini, if it ever appears, will have discrete graphics (more than likely Iris or Iris Pro), or even the option of 1TB of SSD storage.

    I wish I had a crystal ball, and I could tell you Apple's plans, but alas…… I do know that for Aperture and Photoshop work, a maxed-out 27" iMac is a very capable machine.

    The best thing that can be said is that you have the luxury of nearly 3 mos to bide your time, and see what happens on the Mini front.

    As far as the iMac is concerned I don't believe other than a small spec bump and the addition of TB2, anything major will be included in any possible near future iteration. Broadwell is still too far off, and Retina displays would have to come down in price significantly before they could realistically be included in future iMacs.

    Best of Luck!!
  4. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    First, I'll say I have a Mac Mini with 16 gigs RAM and an internal 3rd party SSD. I do use PS and Capture One software. For the most part, the Mini works okay but I'll have to agree with you that the BTO 27" iMac may prove to be a better fit if* the OP opts for 32 g RAM and take advantage of the GPU. One can always add a 2nd monitor later.

    I happen to use one 24" NEC that works great for critical work. I think that the Dell Ultrasharps and the higher end HP screens are excellent options too for 'moderate' image work. The only thing I can say about the 27" inch iMacs is that one should be careful to avoid glare on that much screen real estate.
  5. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    Just grab the current mini. Apple won't come wit much better this year, simply because Intel does not make it possible. Best possible upgrade is HD5200 instead of HD4000 graphics. If Apple drops other stuff for that, like FW, 2 sata bays and self upgradability, it is not worth waiting for GPU bumps alone.
  6. ELMI0001 macrumors 6502


    Jan 5, 2009
    Olympic Hills GC
    There aren't better chips from Intel available for the Mini? they haven't released anything that could go in the Mini since Oct 2012? I think they have.

    Apple may update it next month. Traditionally they have updated hardware in Oct. Wait until that announcement and see what happens.
  7. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    Not a serious upgrade anyway, minor tweaks, better under-clocking to save power and marginal efficiency improvements. Nothing with the impact of Sandy and Ivy bridge back then. The max power has stalled around 14000 geekbench with quad i7's. And since they are as much on 22nm as back in 2012, the heat envelope of the mini does not allow the fancier chips. It is either slower CPU and better GPU, or keeping things similar.

    Apple has ONE option though for the Mini: Minify it further. Keep speed the same, drop the price 100 bucks, drop FW, drop dual SATA bays and memory upgrades for soldered SSD/RAM and shrink the box further.

    Next year, around the summer vacation, Intel will finally come with 14nm broadwells with 6 cores at a nice price. Until then, Ivy is just as good.
  8. ELMI0001 macrumors 6502


    Jan 5, 2009
    Olympic Hills GC
    I could see them going for a smaller form factor. Maybe something that compliments the Pro. Go with the black look and make it more like NUC. I think they could sell that.
  9. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    If a new Mini comes out then the only thing that would make it possibly worth an upgrade (for me) is

    TB2 (unlikely)
    Intel Iris Pro graphics a la 5200 (worthy if apps can take advantage)
    WiFi AC rather than N

    Beyond that, I would imagine any upgrades are modest bumps and not much more.

    Maybe Apple will surprise us and realize that the Mini is more than just an entrance into the Mac world and know that some of us don't need a Mac Pro but something more like a Jr. version for the pro-hobbyist.

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