MIL entry Mac: 2012 Mini with SSD or 2014 Mini?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by dmk1974, Jul 1, 2016.

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MIL entry Mac: 2012 Mini with SSD or 2014 Mini?

  1. 4-year-old 2012 Mac Mini i5 16gb RAM 240gb SSD

    20 vote(s)
    76.9%
  2. New/Refurb 2014 Mac Mini i5 base 4gb RAM 500gb HDD

    6 vote(s)
    23.1%
  1. dmk1974 macrumors 68000

    dmk1974

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #1
    My wife and I are going to attempt to convert my Mother In Law from an old Win7 PC to a Mac. She does not want a laptop and based on budget (and I think ease of conversion) I am looking at getting her a Mac Mini so the peripherals she has will all remain as-is (only the box and OS change).

    I know it has not refreshed in a long time, and maybe never will, but I'm looking at either passing her my 2012 Mac Mini i5 which has 16gb RAM and a 240 GB SSD (4-years old, but still runs great) or having her buy the entry-level 2014 Mac Mini which can be had from the Apple Refurb site (when in stock) for $419. Sucks the 2014 isn't as upgradeable as the 2012. I'd assume leaving the 2014 as-stock.

    Which do you think would be better to have her get? Her use is just web browser, MS Word and Excel, and looking at some pics and video and printing some documents from time to time. Thanks!
     
  2. jpietrzak8 macrumors 6502a

    jpietrzak8

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    #2
    I gotta say that your 2012 should actually run better than an entry-level 2014. The CPU upgrade in the 2014 is not huge, and the entry-level HD 5000 graphics probably won't make any noticeable difference either. But the SSD is a very nice advantage on the 2012's side; and more importantly, that 4 GB is a huge bottleneck for the 2014. Modern versions of OS X require well over a gigabyte of RAM all by themselves; I could imagine Word and Excel having some trouble fitting into what is left over. :( There's no guarantee that future versions of OS X won't continue to consume even more resources, so the 2014 might even become obsolete long before the hardware goes bad.
     
  3. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68000

    dmk1974

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #3
    Yeah, the RAM no longer being upgradable for the 2014 really really sucks. I do only have 4gb in my 11" MacBook Air and it seems ok, but as you said...for how long?

    I came across a video showing how to upgrade the HDD in the 2014 to a SSD. Looks to be a bit more difficult than it was compared to when I upgraded my 2012.
     
  4. geoffpalmeruk macrumors regular

    geoffpalmeruk

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2013
    Location:
    Exeter, Devon
    #4
    Fresh install on 2012 would be my bet, i just obught a 2012 and love it! far better than my haswell pc i built last year
     
  5. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68000

    dmk1974

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #5
    We went over to their house today and I set them up with the 2012 Mac Mini. It's going to be a bit of a learning for them switching from Windows, but I hope we spent enough time with them so they can navigate well enough and do what they need to do.

    That said, I also ordered myself a 2014 Mini. I just use it as a media server anyhow and even if the RAM is only 4gb instead of the 16gb, I plan to try to add a SSD drive to it (and then plug in my external USB3 HDD that has all of my media files). Crossing fingers that the Apple Refurb store sends me one with upgraded RAM ;) But really the piddly 1.4 GHz/4gb model should be ok for my purposes....supplemented by my MacBook Air.
     
  6. tubeexperience macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2016
    #6
    Leave her alone.

    She is already used to what she has.
     
  7. mmomega macrumors demi-god

    mmomega

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    #7
    The changing of the HDD to SSD is really not that difficult at all. A colleague watched me one day changing a few and timed me. From shut down to reboot to desktop was less than 14 minutes if I remember correctly, might be 12. With the 14 there's just two tools you need really. a T9 Torx and a TR6 Torx Security screw driver <that's the important one that gets about 90% of the screws.

    To most folks doing normal web viewing, computers programs an SSD is going to make the largest difference in speed hands down. If you don't want phone calls about how slow something is, get the one with the SSD.
     
  8. Kaida macrumors regular

    Kaida

    Joined:
    May 28, 2016
    Location:
    Singapore
  9. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68000

    dmk1974

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #9
    Looks like my TH6 screwdriver got delivered. If not too terrible to install internally (I'm sure it will take me more than 14 min!) I probably will go that route. I currently have it connected via USB 3 enclosure and it's bootable (thanks to CCC) which is running fine. But benchmarks on the SSD R/W are in the low/mid 200's over the USB3.
     
  10. ziggy29 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2014
    Location:
    Texas
    #10
    I'd like the 2012 except for Apple's new precedent with Sierra for forced obsolescence based on age, not capability.
     
  11. Jambalaya macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #11
    My 2009 Mini still runs just fine (will not take Sierra) so I gave another vote for the 2012 machine. 16gb is excessive but won't hurt obviously
     
  12. mmomega macrumors demi-god

    mmomega

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    #12
    The main advice I would give it the fan connector, lift and pull back slight and it will pop out. When you go to put it back it, just lay the male connector over the female and press down and you will feel a slight click when it goes back into place.
    The first one I did on the 2010 model I pulled the connector forward rather than up , when removing it, and it broke. - Learning experience.
    I have to do an SSD swap on a 2014 model next Monday or Tuesday, I can probably do a quick video and put it on youtube.
    I just have to remember to do the video :)
     
  13. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68000

    dmk1974

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #13
    Thanks. I've successfully done it on the 2010, 2011, and 2012 Mac Minis, but I know this 2014 is a bit more involved. I'll review that iFixit instruction too.
     
  14. mmomega macrumors demi-god

    mmomega

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    #14
    Oh ok well then you shouldn't have any issues at all. The main difference with the '14 is the plastic bottom cover pops off rather than twist and the security screws.
    You got this then.
     
  15. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #15
    OP wrote above:
    "I currently have it connected via USB 3 enclosure and it's bootable (thanks to CCC) which is running fine. But benchmarks on the SSD R/W are in the low/mid 200's over the USB3."

    I'm going to take a -guess- that the enclosure you have doesn't support UASP (USB attached SCSI protocol). You need that support in order to achieve the highest transfer speeds of which USB3 is capable.

    But -- I wouldn't worry about it.
    Speeds in the mid 200's are probably "good enough" for your MIL.
    The question to consider is, "are they happy with it" ...?

    If they seem to be, my vote is to leave it alone with the "external booter".
    Too many folks have opened the Mini, thinking they could do the job, and then.... had something break on them.
     
  16. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68000

    dmk1974

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #16
    Well, on the "new" 2014 I went slow and it took me 40 minutes from shutdown to restart, but the iFixit instructions were perfect. Probably would have taken 10 minutes less if I took less care with the tape on the HDD connector and if the reconnection of the antenna wire was easier. Working perfectly!
     
  17. c8rlo macrumors 6502

    c8rlo

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2015
    Location:
    FL
    #17
    2012 MM, more than enough for her needs and easy to replace/upgrade internals.
     
  18. mmomega macrumors demi-god

    mmomega

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    #18
    The main thing I like about the 2012 is that you don't need to remove the logic board to remove the stock HDD, unless you have the server model with dual HDD.
     
  19. geoffpalmeruk macrumors regular

    geoffpalmeruk

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2013
    Location:
    Exeter, Devon
    #19
    Or Data Doubler ;-)
     
  20. MH01 macrumors G4

    MH01

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    #20
    2012, for sure, you can also upgrade it in the future if needed
     
  21. craig1024 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    #21
    I had to remove the motherboard in my 2012 i5 mini because the hard drive was in the upper position, it took me 2 hours of being extremely careful to replace it with an ssd but it was worth it.
     
  22. geoffpalmeruk macrumors regular

    geoffpalmeruk

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2013
    Location:
    Exeter, Devon
    #22
    I do love how easy it is to work on (when you know what you are doing)
    Just be careful and take your time until you are comfortable with what you are doing.
     

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