Mac Mini / Intel NUC shock

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Padaung, Aug 24, 2015.

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Would you still buy a Mac Mini over a similar Intel NUC at this price difference?

  1. Yes

    37.9%
  2. No

    62.1%
  1. Padaung macrumors 6502

    Padaung

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    I've decided that having now used a computer with a SSD installed, I never want to buy another machine without one as its regular boot drive (external hard disk drives for extra storage/backup are a different entity).

    I use Macs at home and work, and also use Windows for work and as a media server at home. Although I prefer Mac OS, Windows 10 is turning out to be really good. If I had to use a Windows machine every day then I'm OS agnostic enough to switch for personal use.

    I have a Mac Mini already and love the form factor. My media server is an old Intel NUC, which whilst tiny, has a large external power brick. However, the latest NUCs have a power brick the size of a mobile phone charger - i.e. tiny! I decided to do a performance and cost comparison.

    I was expecting the Mac to be more expensive (and the Apple premium is something I have happily paid many times over the years), but I was not expecting the price difference to be of this margin..!

    Mac £1759
    NUC £828

    Difference : £931

    This massive price difference did come as a shock. The NUC has a 3.1Ghz i7 processor, the Mac is a 3.0Ghz i7 processor. Both specced with the same size SSD and RAM and all other specs are much the same (inc. graphics chip) apart from the obvious (OS). As you can see from the Geekbench scrores, they perform to a relatively similar level.

    I strongly feel Apple needs to look at the price it charges for the SSD and RAM. SSDs are fast becoming ubiquitous in the bracket of the market they sell too (i.e. the premium end of the market), as is a greater allocation of RAM to a new machine, and this price difference for me is too great to simply make a choice based on OS preference now.


    [​IMG]
     
  2. mojolicious macrumors 68000

    mojolicious

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2014
    Location:
    Sarf London
    #2
    It's evident when you look at the Mini and iMac ranges side by side that Apple's margins on the Mini are sky high. Their obscene RAM and SSD/flash prices simply compound the ridiculousness.
     
  3. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #3
  4. Micky Do macrumors 68000

    Micky Do

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2012
    Location:
    An island in the Andaman Sea.
    #4
    Mac, without whinging……

    But not a fully loaded top of the range, which would be way over the top for my humble needs.

    The Mac comes with OS X, iLife and iWork. It is ready to plug in and be doing stuff, hassle free within a few minutes, and is likely to remain so for many years.

    Can the same be said for the alternative, whatever the specs?
     
  5. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #5
    My current Windows desktop is a month short of being 6 years old. Outside of a bad firmware update that was my fault to begin with it has run wonderfully since I built it.
     
  6. richpjr macrumors 68030

    richpjr

    Joined:
    May 9, 2006
    #6
    Depends on if you are a heavy iLife or iWork user. I switched over to Macs over a decade ago and never user either one of those apps so that would be a total non-issue for me if I was considering switching.

    I do use Windows at work and agree that Windows 10 is finally good enough that I could use it at home. I have no reason to switch and likely won't but it is nice to have an alternative.
     
  7. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000

    Santabean2000

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    #7
    Apple's move to gluing and soldering has only made matters worse, too.

    I agree Apple is becoming more and more the huge, greedy monstrosity it so famously despised...
     
  8. Micky Do macrumors 68000

    Micky Do

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2012
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    #8
    I don't think you got my point.

    With a Mac you don't just pay for a bunch of hardware. OS X and iLife / iWork are part of the deal (and I use them all the time). A new Mac can be plugged in and ready to do things within a few minutes, in my experience (of two new Minis). You also have the option of running Windows if you have the need or the desire (I don't).

    Does the cheaper alternative come with an OS and apps installed, ready to go, and offer such versatility?

    Why bother with a Mac at all if you don't use OS X and associated apps?
     
  9. richpjr macrumors 68030

    richpjr

    Joined:
    May 9, 2006
    #9
    I do get the point. But in my case, and I'm sure many others, the included apps are simply not adequate for my needs. I don't care that they are included and ready to go out of the box. Why bother with a Mac if I don't use iLife and iWork? Seriously?
     
  10. steve123 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    #10
    If you look at the configuration above it looks like he configured the NUC with Windows 10. So, you get whatever comes with that.

    Apple does need to address their pricing. I remember when they would regularly roll out new (lower) pricing at their media events. That seems to be absent these days.

    I am quite shocked at the price difference as well. I recall when I purchased my first Mac in 2006 (MBP), it was price parity, if not actually less, than a comparable Toshiba or Thinkpad at the time.
     
  11. Micky Do, Aug 25, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2015

    Micky Do macrumors 68000

    Micky Do

    Joined:
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    An island in the Andaman Sea.
    #11
    If you are going to whinge about the price, yes, seriously.

    Why pay a premium for an OS and apps you don't want, if all you are interested in are the specs you need / desire to run the OS and apps you want to use?

    I remain happy to pay the premium for more humble Macs because they have OS X, along with the apps and grunt required for my humble needs. That they can be set up and ready to go in minutes, and remain hassle free for years does matter to an average Joe like me.
     
  12. CelestialToys macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2013
    Location:
    up above the streets and houses
    #12
    If the NUC was specced with PCI-E SSD as the mini is then the price difference wouldn't be quite as extreme. Then add on the labour costs for assembly and the "Apple Tax" factor isn't quite so high.
     
  13. z31fanatic macrumors 6502a

    z31fanatic

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2015
    Location:
    Mukilteo, WA USA
    #13
    Maxed out Macs are some of the worst values in computing, so I am not shocked at the price difference.
    It's criminal that you pay $2000 and still only get a dual core processor and integrated graphics.
     
  14. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2014
    Location:
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    #14
    SM951's aren't enough more expensive (129 for 128GB -399 for 512GB) to close the gap.
     
  15. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #15
    I feel like this very thread has been beaten to death over and over and over again.....

    Yes you can buy non-Mac hardware cheaper especially if you go with the high end stuff.

    But what about Mid-range? What if you are happy with i5's and 8GB of RAM and a DIY SSD....

    $670 for a Mid-Mini + $100 for SSD = $770

    $400 for NUC + $50 Memory + $100 SSD + $140 (windows pro OEM) = Approx $700

    Now the difference is fairly minimal. Just sayin'. Maxing out a Mac from Apple has never been a financially sound decision.
     
  16. Johbremat macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2011
    #16
    If I had different needs I would have likely gone the white box route, but was able to nab NOS 2012 6,2 for my virtualisation lab. After dual SSD and 16GB RAM upgrades, still only cost me AUD$1400 a piece which looks a saving on the price you quoted for the NUC build.

    IMG_20150807_194123.jpg
     
  17. Johbremat macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2011
  18. CelestialToys macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2013
    Location:
    up above the streets and houses
    #18
    SM951s aren't readily available in 1TB sizes that I can find a price on, other 1TB PCIe SSDs are around the £700 upwards mark. You can't make an Apples to Oranges comparison to make a point.
    I could also point out that the NUC system in the OPs post is reduced from full price.
    We all know that Apple are slightly more expensive than the competition, but we must compare like for like. It's unfair to compare a prebuilt ready to run system against anything other than another prebuilt ready to run system with identical specs. This is the mistake that nearly everyone making the argument makes.
     
  19. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    #19
    Newsflash:
    If you BTO apple devices, you pay lots.

    Buy a standard spec and the mini isn't priced TOO badly. I guarantee you that running OS X on a Mini will be less painful than running a NUC (I hackintoshed my PC on the weekend and broke it within a couple of days, yes i can fix it, but it's just a pain in the rear).
     
  20. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2014
    Location:
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    #20
    I wasn't arguing for the Nuc I was just pointing out that PCIe SSD's aren't all that expensive, nothing beyond that. I'm still waiting on an NVME SM951 to show up at a seller I've heard of because I want one for myself.
     
  21. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #21
    FYI this poll is terrible. There needs to be a third choice: I wouldn't buy a maxed out Mini

    Really no one should be buying Maxed out Macs from Apple at all....
     
  22. steve123 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    #22
    According to the OP the performance specs of the two systems were comparable. So, regardless of whether or not the mini is "maxed out", the price differential is extreme when you look at the price / performance ratio. This is what Apple needs to pay closer attention to.
     
  23. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #23
    Well if you want to talk about price to performance ratio....

    https://browser.primatelabs.com/mac-benchmarks

    The 2.6ghz i5 and the maxed out 3.0ghz i7 is about 500 points in geekbench (6600 vs 7100). Why anyone would max out a mini when you are talking such a small increase is lost on me.
     
  24. solaris macrumors 6502a

    solaris

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    Location:
    Oslo, Norway
    #24
    I would buy neither, and actually did just recently.

    Back in February I checked out various NUC's and Mac mini's, to be used as a virtualization and home server. After weighing pros and cons I ended up with a NOS late 2012 Mac mini Server (2,3 GHz Quad core i7), in which I dropped 16GB 3rd. party RAM. It set med back about £800 in total.
     
  25. richpjr macrumors 68030

    richpjr

    Joined:
    May 9, 2006
    #25
    Where did I ever whine about or even mention price? I merely said iWork and iLife are not adequate for my uses so the fact that they are included, while great for you, is useless to me.
     

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