Mac Mini Questions

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by MeinKraft, Jul 12, 2012.

  1. MeinKraft macrumors newbie

    MeinKraft

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2012
    Location:
    USA
    #1
    Hello,
    I have been looking into getting a Mac Mini and I have some questions I want to ask before I get one. I am going off a tight budget and I wish to purchase a Mac that would meet my needs and not take a huge toll on my wallet. I decided to go with a Mac Mini, because it is cheaper than all of the other Macs (although I am willing to spend more if there is better Mac that has a greater deal on it). Below I have listed some questions I have about the Mac Mini...

    1) Is 2GB of RAM good enough for a Mac Mini, or should I upgrade it to 4GB?
    2) Should I get a 2.3GHz Mac Mini or the 2.5GHz Mac Mini?
    3) Is the Mac Mini a good personal computer (i.e. Doing School Work, Creating home movies, etc)
    4) Would I be better off hooking it to my HDTV, or buying a cheap monitor?
    5) Would it be worth my hard earned money?
    6) Since a monitor would be $200+, the keyboard would be $70, and the mouse would also be $70, is it exactly worth it?
    7) Would I be better off getting an iMac or MacBook Air? (because they both come with a screen, keyboard, and trackpad/ mouse)

    Thank you for your time! I'd appreciate any advice on this. :)

    (I'm hoping to purchase one fairly soon because my laptop's hard drive crashed last night and now it won't boot up, so I need a new computer and FAST)
     
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #2
    Since you provide zero information on what you use your computer for, the answers to #1-7 are "it depends on what you use your computer for."
     
  3. MeinKraft thread starter macrumors newbie

    MeinKraft

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    Jul 4, 2012
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    #3
    I use a computer for media such as editing photos, making a home movie, etc (nothing too serious), surfing the web, and I use it for school work.
     
  4. charlieegan3 macrumors 68020

    charlieegan3

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2012
    Location:
    U.K
    #4
    1) 2gb most likely enough, if you've got the cash then upgrade to 4gb.
    2) stick with 2.3, won't make a lot of difference
    3) yes (this is an apple community though, what kind of an answer did you expect?!)
    4)how big is the hd tv, if its bigger than 24" i would buy a cheap hdmi monitor.
    5) depends how hard earned
    6+7) if you can stretch your budget to the cheapest iMac that might be simpler for you to set up.

    you could have got a lot of this from google.
     
  5. MeinKraft thread starter macrumors newbie

    MeinKraft

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2012
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    USA
    #5
    I searched Google a LOT but all I got was a bunch of mixed opinions so I decided to ask this forum (because there's a lot of smart people here, much like you. I'm not exactly the brightest person in the world. lol)
     
  6. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #6
    1) I'd get 4.
    2) You won't see any difference.
    3) It's fine.
    4) Personal preference.
    5) Subjective.
    6) Subjective. You don't have to buy an Apple keyboard/mouse either.
    7) Depends how much you value the MBA or iMac form factor.
     
  7. MeinKraft thread starter macrumors newbie

    MeinKraft

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2012
    Location:
    USA
    #7
    I truthfully have no need for portability, so I think that an iMac or Mac Mini would be best for me. Also, what other keyboards could I buy for it? I always thought that only Apple keyboards had full functionality on Apple products. I'm looking for something that will last for years to come, so what do you think I should do?
     
  8. Batto macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    #8
    Yes, why do you need to spend 70$ on a keyboard and 70$ on a mouse when you are on a budget? A 10$ product will do the same job just fine.

    Also, if you add up the costs (2.5 GHz mini, keyboard, mouse, monitor) it adds up to the same value as the base 21.5" iMac.
     
  9. MeinKraft thread starter macrumors newbie

    MeinKraft

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2012
    Location:
    USA
    #9
    Hmm, so would I be better off getting an iMac? (And I'm willing to strain my budget to get something that is very high quality and will last a really long time)
     
  10. Json81 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2012
    #10
    2.3 vs 2.5 isn't about CPU speed, the big difference is graphics card.
    Do you need the AMD-card or is intel HD3000 enough?

    At least 4GB ram. Don't buy from Apple, it's easy to upgrade yourself.

    Any usb keyboard/mouse will work, but if you buy a standard keyboard for windows some symbols will be incorrect. I.e. win-button = cmd, and alt-gr combinations.
     
  11. MeinKraft thread starter macrumors newbie

    MeinKraft

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    USA
    #11
    Well, about how much more power does AMD have over the Intel HD 3000? I don't exactly use heavy applications.
     
  12. FrankHahn macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 17, 2011
    #12
    If you need to get a keyboard, a mouse, and a display, I think that you are better off to get a 21.5" iMac.
     
  13. MeinKraft thread starter macrumors newbie

    MeinKraft

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    USA
    #13
    Yeah, that's what I was thinking too. :)
     
  14. wickedpapercut macrumors member

    wickedpapercut

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    #14
    here's another $.02 of advice:

    1. it's simple and cheap enough to start with the base 2GB and upgrade to 4GB if you find you need it. Go with Crucial, OWC, Newegg, etc. if you need to buy extra memory.
    2. as others have said, it doesn't matter. you won't see the differences in speed between the two processors.
    3. Yes, I've been using a mini for over three years and love it
    4. get a cheap monitor. I just looked at Newegg (but shop around). a cheap 20" monitor is about $100. USB keyboards are about $20 and a mouse is about $15. Buying something that's used locally would be even cheaper.
    5. all money should be treated as if it's hard-earned.
    6. your prices are inflated... see #4 above.
    7. that's subjective. since you're new to Macs, I'd suggest the mini to get started. If you don't like it, sell it and all the peripherals and you'll be surprised at how they hold their value. If you like it, you can upgrade to an iMac later when you have more cash.

    Good luck with your buying decision. Have fun with it and always remember that it's not "final". Regardless of what you buy, you'll be thinking about upgrading in a year or two.
     
  15. McCaffers macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2012
    #15
    I bought the 2.3Ghz 2011 Mac Mini and upgraded the ram myself from Amazon. I only use it for development but it runs great. I would recommend upgrading the ram though, its cheap and there are some big benefits.
     
  16. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #16
    "Is 2GB of RAM good enough for a Mac Mini, or should I upgrade it to 4GB?"

    You don't want -less than- 4gb of RAM. If the configuration you choose doesn't come that way by default, it's cheaper to buy and add RAM yourself, than it is to pay Apple to "upgrade" at purchase.

    "Would I be better off hooking it to my HDTV, or buying a cheap monitor?"

    A dedicated monitor would probably be better. However, don't go "too cheap". Get something decent, your eyes will thank you. If you're currently using a PC right now, you can probably switch that monitor over to the Mini, while you search for "the right one". Hmmm... see in later posts that you're using a PC laptop. In that case, you probably could hook up to a tv while you hunt a good monitor down.

    "Since a monitor would be $200+, the keyboard would be $70, and the mouse would also be $70, is it exactly worth it?"

    You DON'T have to use an Apple-branded keyboard or mouse, in fact, I don't recommend either. If you have a USB keyboard and mouse right now, you can keep on using them. Third-party keyboards and mice work fine, in fact I consider Logitech mice to be far superior to anything Apple offers.

    "Would I be better off getting an iMac or MacBook Air? (because they both come with a screen, keyboard, and trackpad/ mouse)"

    That's your decision, both of those will cost MUCH more than a Mini. Actually, the MacBook Pro 13" "base model" offers considerably more "bang for the buck" than does the MacBook Air.

    IMPORTANT:
    Be aware that there are probably new iMacs coming out VERY soon. Same with the Mini. I think these are worth waiting for, if you don't absolutely positively have to buy something RIGHT NOW. If you can be patient, it will be rewarded!
     
  17. jaguar451 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2002
    #17
    Also consider that you have more options with the mini, such as different screen sizes, and came update screen and computer separately..... For a keyboard, vendors such as Logitech have mac specific keyboards (same "special" symbols and in similar (same?) locations as Apple keyboards.)
     
  18. Json81 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2012
    #18
    For most applications there's no difference (Not sure about photoshop and video editing).
    But in games the AMD card is quite a bit faster.
     
  19. AxiomaticRubric macrumors regular

    AxiomaticRubric

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2010
    Location:
    On Mars, Praising the Omnissiah
    #19
    As Fishrrman said, another point to consider carefully is that both the iMac and the Mac Mini are long overdue for updates. There will certainly be brand new models released this year (see other threads for rumoured dates) and they will be much better than what is currently offered.

    However since you need a new machine right away, I'd say go with the Mac Mini with a cheap monitor and keyboard/mouse. One of the great things about the Mini is that you can upgrade the monitor! ;)
     
  20. calaverasgrande, Jul 13, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2012

    calaverasgrande macrumors 65816

    calaverasgrande

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2010
    Location:
    Brooklyn, New York.
    #20
    2gb is merely adequate for the OS to run. 4gb is more realistic and 8gb or more is where you want to be. Ram is the last place you should pinch pennies.
    As mentioned above, the main difference is the discrete GPU vs the intel chipset graphics. The ATI/AMD GPU in teh 2.5 ghz model will make the computer much more responive. Even for web browsing.
    Yes.
    If your HDTV has HDMI or displayport and does 1080p you should be fine. I do this with my 32" JVC. Was just playing Diablo last night.
    There is hardly a better value in desktops.
    As stated above there is no need to purchase a monitor. Also, while it may not be as aesthetically pleasing, any USB mouse and keyboard will work.
    The iMac and Air are more expensive and have higher priced applecare as well.
    The Air is great but lacking in connectivity options that the iMac and Mini have, such as firewire, multiple USB etc.
    If you are unsure the Mini is a better bet as it is a lower pricepoint. If budget is tight you may do well to purchase the minimum Mini and upgrade the ram and HDD later. Though personally I would be inclined to shoot for the 2.5ghz mini, choose the BTO option to upgrade to an I7 cpu (they really are faster) and then when it arrives, max out the ram with cheaper, non apple ram.
    I also prefer to use an actual apple keyboard, but a cheap 2 button mouse, so that I have an actual 2nd button and not some vaguely defined "2nd button area", as on the magic mouse. But I do like to have the function key labels and command/option/control keys. As well as eject!
    The monitor would only be an issue if your HDTV is too far from where you sit to be able to read comfortably. The other consideration is an optical drive. While not necessary, I still like to watch DVDs on mine and there is quite a lot of software such as games, that is not in the App store. Oh yeah speaking of DVDs, having one hooked up to your TV makes HULU great.
     
  21. benfica35 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2010
    #21
    Vedio card

    I'm having a problem with my Mac Mini and my question is that, can I replace the vedio card on a Mac Mini?
     
  22. ChristianJapan macrumors 601

    ChristianJapan

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    Location:
    日本
    #22
    no physical video card in a Mac Mini. All on the main board. nothing really to be maintained by user (except disk and memory; depend on model).

    If you have AppleCare or within warranty period bring it back to an Apple Store for repair (a.k.a. replacement) of main board.
     
  23. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #23
    I use a Mac Mini server model, had both iMac and Mac Pro.

    From what you describe, a Mini would work well except for the movie work which would be beyond slow. I do photo work on my system and I use it with a high end monitor that is calibrated.

    Honestly, I think you would be a lot happier with an iMac if you can afford it and yes, absolutely get more RAM (3rd party) and not 4 megs but 8 if you plan to do serious photo work and a little bit of movie stuff. RAM is fairly cheap.

    Only the Mini server has a quad cpu in the Mini line up and you are at a disadvantage if you go for a lesser Mini (save for the discrete video chip).

    The iMac has the more powerful CPU, better video and of course the screen. What most don't comment on is that the hard drive is also faster than the Mini being a full size 3.5" as opposed to a laptop 2.5 drive.

    Just my two cents.
     

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