Mac Mini Worth It?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by BeK, Nov 22, 2014.

  1. BeK macrumors regular


    Mar 2, 2012
    I'm looking to purchase another computer for my home. For what it's worth, we currently have the following in our home.

    1 iPad Air 2
    1 iPad 3
    2 iPad Mini's
    2 Apple TV's
    1 iPhone 6 Plus
    1 iPhone 6
    1 AirPort Extreme
    1 PC

    I really would like to see what the Mac software for desktops is like so I'm leaning toward the Mac mini for my very first ever Mac desktop. The 2014 model only offers a dual core CPU and I'm not sure if that will be enough for what I wish to use it for. I'm debating on whether or not I should look for a 2012 model but my concern is that I may have to upgrade sooner than later if I chose to go that route.
    This is what I plan to use this machine for.

    Web browsing
    Word processing
    Streaming video
    Photo editing (light)
    Video editing (light)

    Please share your thoughts regarding whether this machine would even be worth it.
    Currently I have no desire to go with the iMac or the iMac Pro as they are more than I want to spend money on.
  2. ImBuz macrumors 6502


    Oct 23, 2014
    I used a 2012 mini for all the above and it worked fine.
    You will need a mouse and keyboard and monitor so those will be an extra cost.
    you might want to look at a refurbished iMac
  3. jdphoto macrumors 6502


    Jan 13, 2014
    I think the current Mac Mini would be fine for your needs. I'd make sure to get at least the 2.6 Ghz i5, 8GB of RAM, and maybe a fusion drive if you have the cash, for what you're doing that should be enough. Hope you enjoy OS X, I really enjoy it :)
  4. brdeveloper macrumors 68020


    Apr 21, 2010
    Since you have an AirPort Extreme and Apple TVs, I think you can even make internet wake up to work, that is, you could make your Mini work as a "cloud storage" server. Never tried this, but I'm thinking about buying an Airport router just for experimenting remote wake up. Not that it WILL work, but I think it's worth trying if you buy a Mini. It's nice connecting remotely to your home in a relatively safe connection.
  5. BeK thread starter macrumors regular


    Mar 2, 2012

    How long do you think it could meet my needs before I have to upgrade? Could I possibly get 4-5 years out of it?
  6. jji7skyline macrumors 6502


    Aug 10, 2011
    Does you current PC meet your needs? What are its specs?
  7. corvus32 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 4, 2009
    I do that stuff on my iPad, so no I don't think a Mini is worth it.
  8. Jjaro macrumors regular


    May 29, 2009
    Yokosuka, Japan
    Well some people, myself included, find that some of these tasks are easier with a mouse and keyboard. Personally, I prefer photo editing and word processing on a computer rather than my iPad. I think that is what OP is trying to say and why they are seeking a Mac Mini.
  9. BeK thread starter macrumors regular


    Mar 2, 2012

    The current PC does meet my needs but we need another computer in the house as I plan on moving the PC into my man-cave and using it as a gaming machine. Currently it is the family computer. The plan is to make the Mac Mini the new family (of 4) computer.
    I wanted to go with a computer that was more stable than our current Windows based one, and that is why I'm leaning toward my first Mac.
  10. benx1111 macrumors member

    Oct 17, 2013
    I recommended (i7, 16gb, and 256ssd mac mini) or (iMac i5, 16gb and fusion drive) if you want good photo and video editing
  11. Midgetinabikini macrumors regular

    Aug 1, 2006
    well, as I said before, I still use my early 2009 MacMini. I used it several weeks to run WoW and Logic Pro, ran just fine. Now I'm using it back as HTPC it was before.

    So yes, MacMini will be great for you.
  12. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    If you decide on the 2014 Mini, I'd recommend that at the very least, you get the midrange model with 8gb of RAM and the 2.6ghz CPU. Plus, you get better graphics when you move up to the midrange Mini.

    You might consider ordering some form of internal SSD drive as well, either a "straight up" SSD or a fusion drive.
    The advantage of getting SSD storage in the 2014 Mini is that it now uses a PCI-e interface for the SSD drive, which yields speeds considerably faster than SATA.

    Although I will say that I've had no problems booting and running a 2012 Mini via an externally-mounted (USB3) SSD for almost two years now -- boots quickly, runs great.

    I would NOT recommend ANY Mac of ANY kind with less than 8gb of RAM. That's the absolute "floor" these days...
  13. jji7skyline macrumors 6502


    Aug 10, 2011
    Get the base model with the 8GB RAM upgrade. Why?

    1. The 1.4Ghz i5 has excellent single core processing speed and turbo boosts up to 2.7Ghz. This means that when you are doing demanding stuff like video editing, the CPU will boost to this speed as long as the temperature isn't soaring. Even the 2.6Ghz upgraded i5 will throttle to lower frequencies when it gets hot, so you don't lose a lot of performance by selected the 1.4Ghz.

    2. 8GB RAM is important for everyday use, and you'll feel the difference a lot more than a CPU upgrade. Newer apps use more and more RAM, and the Mac Mini cannot be upgraded to add more RAM, so it will be a good future-proofing measure.

    3. 500GB is plenty of storage, especially since most of your large files such as photos and videos should be stored on external drives or possible RAID configurations for the best safety. Fusion drives aren't really worth it in my opinion.

    4. You don't need gaming performance as you'll be doing that on the PC. Intel 5000 is more than enough for everyday general usage with infrequent photo/video editing.

    5. Mac Minis have unbelievably low deprecation. Even if you sold it 1 year from now, you'd probably get 80-90% of your money back. No other computer is like this. Even 3 years from now, you'd probably get around 75%. In comparison, your desktop PC is probably worth at best half of what you bought it for, estimating that it is 2 years old. Therefore you can just sell it when you don't want it any more and put the money towards your next computer, which will have a much better price to performance ratio, rather than trying to 'future-proof' by adding expensive upgrades.

    I hope that helps you in your decision, if you have any questions, feel free to ask.

    It would have really helped to know the specifications of your PC though.
  14. BeK, Nov 23, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2014

    BeK thread starter macrumors regular


    Mar 2, 2012
    Mac Mini Worth It?

    I appreciate the detail of your response. Would you recommend the Flash Storage option with the Mac Mini?
    This is what I was thinking for my Mac Mini. What are your thoughts?


    My PC specs are below.

    CASE:*NZXT*Phantom*PHAN-001WT*Red Steel / Plastic Enthusiast*ATX*Full Tower Computer Case
    CPU:*AMD*Phenom*II*X6*1100T*Black Edition*Thuban*3.3GHz,*3.7GHz*Turbo Socket AM3*
    CPU Cooler:*ZALMAN*CNPS11X*Extreme V-Shaped Dual*Heatpipe*Design w/120mm*Long Life Bearing
    GPU:*EVGA*GeForce*GTX*550 Ti 2048 MB*GDDR5*x2
    PSU:*Antec*High Current Gamer Series*HCG-900*900W*
    MEMORY:*G.SKILL*Ripjaws*X Series*8GB*240-Pin*DDR3*SDRAM*DDR3 186
    OPTICAL DRIVE:*SONY Black*Blu-ray Burner 12X
    SSD:*Intel*520 Series Solid-State Drive 120 GB SATA
    HDD 1:*Western Digital Caviar Blue*WD5000AAKS*2TB*7200 RPM*16MB*Cache
    HDD 2:*Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKS*1TB*7200 RPM 16MB Cache
    HDD 3:*Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKS*500GB*7200 RPM 16MB Cache
    WIRELESS ADAPTER:*ASUS*PCE-N13*Wireless Adapter IEEE*802.11b/g/n
    MOUSE:*Logitech*G700*& Steelseries*WoW*MMO*Gaming Mouse
  15. MRrainer macrumors 65816

    Aug 8, 2008
    Zurich, Switzerland


    Unless "patience" is your second name.
  16. jji7skyline macrumors 6502


    Aug 10, 2011
    It looks like you've got a solid gaming build there. It might feel weird buying a computer with such a low clock speed, but here's some raw performance figures for you.

    Geekbench 32-bit
    1100T Single Core: 1925
    i5-4260U Single Core: 2506

    1100T Multi Core: 9735
    i5-4260U Multi Core: 4865

    Basically, for everyday use the i5 is neck and neck with the AMD, if not faster. The only difference will be in highly multi-threaded applications, which are very few. The i5 has Hyper-Threading also, so it will show up as having 4 threads.

    I prefer SSD based computers, because you can easily add external hard drives for storage. The only problem is that the cheapest Mac Mini with an option for SSD storage costs $899 all up. I think that might be more than you are willing to spend.

    Fusion Drives are basically a 1TB HDD and a 128GB SSD combined, and cost the same as the SSD to BTO. I think they're not as good value because with just an SSD, you get a larger SSD where you can store all your programs and documents. Ext HDDs are cheap.
  17. BeK thread starter macrumors regular


    Mar 2, 2012

    So are SSD and Flash based storage the same? I want to spend about $1000-$1200 at most.


  18. scottsjack macrumors 68000

    Aug 25, 2010
    Of course all of us here would love nothing more than to tell you what to do:). Full disclosure; I am one of those 2012 mini aficionados who passed on the 2014.

    Unless you are all caught up in video or photo editing a 2014 is probably going to be just fine. If you are going to keep your new mini for awhile unfortunately with the 2014 you need to get the most RAM and the most powerful processor that you expect to need in the next few years.

    To me that means the fastest i5 and 16GB RAM. For me I would get the i7. I use an i5 PC at work (much faster than any mini, costs half as much). For personal use I want all the goodies and speed that an i7 brings.

    I would also get no less than 1TB of storage. Both of my Macs have 960GB SSDs which are about one-half to two thirds full. I have a lot of music much of which is either hi-def from HDTracks or lossless CD rips so I could never live with 500GB of storage even if it was a super fast SSD and made coffee for me every morning.

    The problem is that the i7 mini with max RAM is a $1400 machine, plus Apple Care. Had I purchased a 2014 that is what I would have bought.
  19. corvus32 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 4, 2009
    By the time you configure a 2014 Mini that will last, it's not worth it.

    Either buy a cheap used Mini to see what OSX is like, or use that $1200 budget to buy some real hardware - not this Mickey Mouse "oh, I hope it will last me more than a year" hardware.
  20. Occamsrazr macrumors 6502

    Apr 26, 2012
    The 2014 mini model blows away the 2012.

    Most of the people on this forum are comparing the high end 2012 to the low end 2014
  21. scottsjack macrumors 68000

    Aug 25, 2010
    Not true. Most of the people on this forum either want quad-core processors or want the ability to easily upgrade their machines later. Anyone comparing a high-end 2012 to the really low-end 2014 is stupid.
  22. corvus32 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 4, 2009

    For $1200, you can build a computer with an i5-4690K, GTX 970, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD.

    It would last a lot longer and be capable of doing much more than a Mini. Two years from now, which would you rather have?

    If it were me, I would build that computer, let the family have the older PC, and just not bother with a Mini. It's not worth it.
  23. jji7skyline macrumors 6502


    Aug 10, 2011
    Yes, they are exactly the same.

    I think that buying an upgraded Mac Mini to try and use it for a long time is a waste of money. Like I said though, if you by the base model with 8GB RAM you can take advantage of the very little deprecation to sell it after a while and buy a new computer.

    16GB is way overkill for a gaming build, let alone an everyday build. My brother gets by fine with 2GB and I personally never find myself using anything close to all of my 12GB of RAM. 8GB will be more than enough. The only reason I have 12GB is because I often need to use virtual machines, which eats of RAM like nothing else.

    If you're intent on using all of your budget, sure you could go for the high-end i5 or i7, but I'm sure you have better places to spend your money.
  24. BeK thread starter macrumors regular


    Mar 2, 2012

    Thank you for your input but can't the same argument be had against ANY Apple desktop hardware? I am fully aware that I can build another PC. That goes without saying my friend. The thing is that I want a Mac. I hear that they are good/reliable computers and most people claim that they are worth it. Most say that they hold their value and that they last for years. It's important to me to have something stable that I can get at least 3-4 years out of. Are you saying that a Mac Mini won't even last 3-4 years before becoming obsolete? If that the case then the thought of this device ever selling at all is surprising to me. Who wants to purchase a computer that they will have to replace in a mere year...
  25. corvus32 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 4, 2009
    I'm asking, 2-3 years down the road, which would you rather have?

    4690K + GTX 970 or i5-4278U?

    It's 2016. Forget Broadwell. Forget Skylake. Intel has released Skymont. 4K video is everywhere - even the new iPhone. Is everyone going to still be happy with a mediocre dual core CPU from 2014? What about the Mini's integrated graphics? RAM?

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