Mac Mini question

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by jamezz23, Nov 12, 2015.

  1. jamezz23 macrumors newbie

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    Nov 12, 2015
    #1
    Hello! I am somewhat of a Mac newbie, I just own a late 2014 Macbook Air, but the Mac Mini I'm looking at is 2011 but with better specs and I was wondering if the specs are a little skewed and what I can really expect. I am only going to be using the Mini to trade stocks, with platform Interactive Brokers and it works good on my Air but id like to get another monitor going and the Mac Mini looks like the route I want to go.

    The Air is late 2014 with 1.4ghz i5, 4gb of ram, and a 120 SSD, like I said it runs it fine but I need another monitor going. The Mini is a mid 2011, 2.3Ghz i5 (doesn't say but I suppose dual core) it has 16 GB of ram, and a 250 SSD and he's asking 400. Whats scaring me away is that its a 2011, even tho specs are better, will it preform better than the Air due to its age?
     
  2. Joelburman macrumors regular

    Joelburman

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    #2
    I've done a fair bit research on this topic myself and in sweden 400 bucks for a 2011 with those specs is the going rate. I haven't much experience with the mAIR segment but I have a hard time thinking that the air will outrun the mini.

    One con with 2011 mini is that it only has USB2. The 2012 model has USB3.
     
  3. jamezz23 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 12, 2015
    #3
    Okay thank you for the response. As far as it only being USB2 what would that effect? Only thing I would use the usb for would be a mouse or keyboard and those might be wireless as well. Its going to be 100% stock trading computer, with 1 program installed that being my broker and a little web mixed in, so I don't think USB2 will hurt me as much as it might others since I won't be transferring anything back and forth
     
  4. Joelburman macrumors regular

    Joelburman

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    #4
    I thought that as well. Just wanted to mention it since it keeps the price up on second hand if you for some reason want to sell it in the future.
     
  5. Celerondon macrumors 6502a

    Celerondon

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    #5
    For your type of use, this mini may be very similar to the MacBook Air. How does the Air perform for you? If it has some weak points we may be able to compare. Otherwise, less demanding work makes performance differences between computers less obvious and relevant.

    I think that Joelburman made an important point with that USB 2.0 observation. You should (and did!) consider that issue since it is a major difference between the two machines. As you said, the slower USB interface should not hurt you as much as it might others.

    That mini looks like a good deal for you especially since it is rather maxed out. You may not ever perform any upgrades to the 2011 unless you decide to use it for something completely different. :apple:
     
  6. BeatCrazy macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 20, 2011
    #6
    I had a 2011, and the USB 2.0 was a killer. I eventually invested ~$200 in a Thunderbolt dock, which helped the pain a bit. Ultimately I got a Late 2014 model, which is much faster than the 2011 mini in every way. I'd recommend looking for a used/refurb 2014 model with either SSD or FusionDrive.
     
  7. Decimotox macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 8, 2013
    #7
    I'd go with a late 2012 or late 2014 model. Definitely with SSD and as much RAM as you can afford.

    The difference between the two: RAM is upgradeable in the 2012, but NOT the 2014 (you may know this already).

    I have a 2012 model and it's fantastic as a normal-usage computer. I threw a SSD in it and it screams (to quote our late, great Steve Jobs).
     
  8. c8rlo macrumors 6502

    c8rlo

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    #8
    i second the late-2012 MM, you'll get the benefits of USB 3.0 ports which the 2011 and earlier don't have and BT 4.0 which supports the new Trackpad & Keyboard; and RAM replaceable.

    as Decimotox mentioned, an SSD upgrade helps with improved perfromance. my late-2012 has (2) Samsung 512GB ssd and maxed out 16GB ram.
     
  9. Partron22 macrumors 68000

    Partron22

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    #9
    USB 3 is about 4-5 times faster than Firewire 800. That makes it much easier to get into the habit of making a complete backup to an external drive on at least a semi-regular basis. Sooner or later, not having a backup is going to cause a lot of pain.
     
  10. Celerondon macrumors 6502a

    Celerondon

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    #10
    You are all correct about USB 3.0 but... :rolleyes:

    • The OP has a specific job planned for this mini
    • The OP has considered the USB 2.0 versus USB 3.0 trade off
    • That 2011 is only $400 for a loaded computer (max RAM+SSD)
    • Network backup solutions are simple and fast (like USB 3.0)

    I agree that a similarly equipped 2012 or 2014 would deliver better performance in many areas. The newer machines could also be considered a better investment.

    Is jamezz23 investing or selecting a tool to do a job? Does this OP need a better computer than that $400 2011 for the intended purpose? Is the difference in performance worth the $800 or more that it would cost to obtain a 2012 or 2014 mini with 16GB of RAM and an SSD? :)
     
  11. Partron22 macrumors 68000

    Partron22

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    #11
    You're correct. I only mentioned USB 3 because it sounds a lot like he's been running without a reliable backup scheme, and I think he really should consider implementing something. If he's already got network backup, great! If not, he should think about that, or a secondary USB 2/3 HD.
     
  12. Celerondon macrumors 6502a

    Celerondon

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    #12
    Agreed!
     
  13. jamezz23 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 12, 2015
    #13
    I didn't think this thread got any more reply, quit getting notified for some reason. I didn't end up getting that 2011 MM, the seller quit responding to me for some reason. Im still on the market for a Mac Mini but stated to also look at iMac's recently so I'm not quite sure what I want now. Lost on a few 2012 MM getting outbid at the last seconds which sucks, I'm not too good at bidding on eBay, probably cause I'm being too cheap and loosing by like $10 every time :mad:

    Im not sure if what to think on the 2014-New Mac Mini's, read some reviews and people aren't too fond of them, just cause how they are non/hard to upgrade certain parts, however I'm starting to consider buying one straight from apple cause no one seems to be selling one with 16 GB of ram with the SSD combo, surprisingly rare comb to find really.

    Ive read the the best to own is the 2012 i7 quad core model, but those are quite pricey, given its age. Whats your guys and gals take on the new Mac Mini compared to the 2012 models? How much better are they really?? Or are people nit picking it? I get warranty, and peace of mind with buying new so thats what I'm kinda leaning towards. I would be getting the 16 GB of ram and the SSD storage or what ever they call it now, something like plc-e or something, just going back and forth on getting the i5 or i7, if its something I'm going to own for a while, why not spend the extra 200 and get the i7 is what I'm thinking now
     
  14. Joelburman macrumors regular

    Joelburman

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    #14
    Considering what you gonna use it for you'll definitively be fine with a 2012 i5. i7 would be overkill unless you start changing your mind what you want to use it for. Hell I'd even say a 2010 would be a solid choice for stock trading. However, to some the that version is really sought after since its the last version having a built in dvd player so I don't know what it goes for nowadays. I think you can rule out both 2014 and 2012 i7. As long as you buy a 2010/2011/2012 used they are pretty easy to fix if something breaks (mainly ram and HDD/SSD).
     
  15. jamezz23 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 12, 2015
    #15
    Okay thanks. I saw a thread on a 2014 MM running 2 monitors with no lag, and that actually is what I might lean towards doing also. Would the i7 be smart to get then?
     
  16. Joelburman macrumors regular

    Joelburman

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    #16
    I still think the i7 is overkill for that. But someone with more knowledge should chime in. As far as I understand the i7 is mainly for rendering in fcpx and speeding up handbrake sessions besides stuff like that they seem to be hard to get to work on full speed.

    I think the lag issue on displays might have to do with ports more than cpu. The 2014 have two TB2 ports while the older machines have one TB1 and HDMI port only.

    But as I said I'm basing this on what I've heard from others.
     
  17. Celerondon, Nov 29, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2015

    Celerondon macrumors 6502a

    Celerondon

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    #17
    I know some Harry Potter type incantations that may help in this department. ;)

    Yes, 16GB + SSD is rare and expensive as well.

    Yes, the PCIe SSD is somewhat faster than the older SATA SSD but both are a lot faster than a regular hard disk drive (HDD).

    Joelburman is correct. You would be fine with a 2012 i5. The i7 is better but only if you use the extra CPU cores for the tasks that you do.

    JB was right again. 2012 i7 minis are good for Handbrake sessions and other jobs that can utilize the additional CPU cores. Both the 2014 and 2012 minis can support dual displays with ease. The 2014 mini does have superior graphics specifications but the 2012 is no slouch.

    Although you should be fine with a 2014 mini or even one of the older models, I am inclined to steer you toward the 2012 i5 (or i7) for a couple of reasons.
    • Cost - your desire to have 16GB of RAM will add $200 to the cost of a new 2014 mini
    • Cost - your SSD storage requirement will add at least $200 to the cost of a 2014 mini for a small SSD
    • i7 - if you decide to purchase one the 2012 is the genuine article (a real Quad-Core hyper threaded beast)
    RAM installation on a 2012 is a ten minute job including shutdown and booting. SSD installation is much more involved on the 2012 and 2014. Parts for both jobs are really inexpensive for the 2012 mini.

    On the other hand... If the cost of a 2014 mini with 16GB RAM and a nice fat SSD is not prohibitive (for you) then you should probably get one and enjoy the warranty. Some folks like tearing into a new (or newly purchased) computer to install SSDs but a small mishap can break parts that are hard or impossible to repair. :oops:
     
  18. Celerondon macrumors 6502a

    Celerondon

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    #18
    Oops! I forgot to post these two images from MacOfAllTrades and PowerMax. These prices should be competitive with eBay prices and you cannot loose!

    MacOfAllTrades.png PowerMax.png
     
  19. jamezz23 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 12, 2015
    #19
    Kind of a side question, not really warranting a new thread, but I'm going to go with a 2 monitor setup, whats the best way of going about that? One can be directy plugged into HDMI but since theres only one port the other will get hooked up through the thunderbolt port, which is where my question is. Anyone have any info to share on whats better to buy? thunderbolt to HDMI or VGA? Also theres a thunderbolt to HDMI cable, then theres the thunderbolt to HDMI converter box, then you plug your HDMI directly into that. Sometimes for some reason, a certain way works better than others, or not work at all which is why I'm asking first :)
     
  20. Celerondon, Dec 1, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2015

    Celerondon macrumors 6502a

    Celerondon

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    #20
    The answer to this question is dependent on which monitors you have and of course, which computer.

    If you use modern digital displays then there should be no issues. VGA is an old school analog interface standard. Mac minis are versatile and adapters are available for all of the common combinations. (even VGA)
    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201853

    Note: The Thunderbolt port also functions as a Mini DisplayPort.
     

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