My screen is failing (flex cable), is the Mac mini the only reliable Mac?

Yr Blues

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jan 14, 2008
2,187
188
I need to fix my '16 MBP … sell it … and buy a new Mac. Perhaps the mini is the only good Mac. The iMac is nice, but I can upgrade the memory on the mini when I need to.
 

iPadSliderz

Suspended
Feb 28, 2019
2
0
Have you tried contacting Apple? They've been helpful to me even when devices are out of AppleCare warranty.

Just be nice and explain this seems to be an issue affecting many Macs.
 

leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
10,223
4,720
I will let you on a terrible secret: there is no such thing as a reliable computer. At all. Between one in five to one in ten are expected to fail within three years of ownership.

And since MacMini has less components and is a much lower complexity device altogether, it has less points of failures and is — and has always been — indeed more reliable.
 

jerryk

macrumors 603
Nov 3, 2011
5,034
2,478
SF Bay Area
The Mini is probably the most "reliable" of all Macs.

If you don't need portability, it would be a good choice.
Not sure about that. A lot jammed a small box with not the best cooling. The only Apple devices that I have die are Mac Minis. Both my 2009 and 2012 needed main board replacements and Wifi was dodgy on the 2009. I think the mini also suffers from Apple's obsession with looks over function.
 

Yr Blues

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jan 14, 2008
2,187
188
Not sure about that. A lot jammed a small box with not the best cooling. The only Apple devices that I have die are Mac Minis. Both my 2009 and 2012 needed main board replacements and Wifi was dodgy on the 2009. I think the mini also suffers from Apple's obsession with looks over function.
Hopefully not the new mini.
 

pshufd

macrumors 68000
Oct 24, 2013
1,540
974
New Hampshire
We have the new Mini and it's great. I looked into buying portable KVM to use it on the road but those great portable monitors are hard to find in the US.
 

Mendota

macrumors 6502
Jan 9, 2019
321
636
Omaha
I will let you on a terrible secret: there is no such thing as a reliable computer. At all. Between one in five to one in ten are expected to fail within three years of ownership.

And since MacMini has less components and is a much lower complexity device altogether, it has less points of failures and is — and has always been — indeed more reliable.
We have already discussed this and it has been disproven. Your only reference provided from an old SquareTrade (third party warranty, ten years old) turned out to be invalid as a point of proof. I have both Mac and Windows computers that are more than 5 years old.... A quality computer last longer than 3 years. You need to stop with this misinformation as a way of defending Apple's poor quality of late.
 

Locoman

macrumors newbie
Dec 15, 2011
20
0
My 2011 MacMini has be running non stop 24/7 since I bought it. (Knock on wood) So yes, I would say it is quite reliable.
 

igorpreston

macrumors newbie
Sep 9, 2018
20
1
I think iMac 2017 is very reliable. Never seen any problems and I own one, still going strong and trouble-free. Even though iMac Pro was reported to have issues but never for iMac 2017.
 

Painter2002

macrumors 65816
May 9, 2017
1,083
759
Austin, TX
We have already discussed this and it has been disproven. Your only reference provided from an old SquareTrade (third party warranty, ten years old) turned out to be invalid as a point of proof. I have both Mac and Windows computers that are more than 5 years old.... A quality computer last longer than 3 years. You need to stop with this misinformation as a way of defending Apple's poor quality of late.
I think perhaps the definition of “failure” on computer is a vague term. I think @leman is referring to a computer having repairable issues in general on a computer. I’d have to agree with with his statement that there is at least a 1 in 10 chance that a computer will have a “failure” that requires fixing within three years. What makes it different nowadays is that many computer manufacturers, not just Apple, are embracing the stamped together designs, which make it harder/more expensive to complete repairs.

Do I have data on this? No, but personally experience is a higher than 10% failure rate in computers. It also depends on the amount of use a computer gets. If a person only uses YouTube or browsing on a computer, of course it’ll likely last well past 3 years with no issues. But computers used in a professional capacity for editing, programming, analytics, or other intensive lines of work, there will certainly be a much higher “failure/issue” rate.
 

Expobill

Suspended
May 30, 2018
1,425
919
all in all im happy with my macmini 2012 without upgrading any hardware.
but im selling, exchanging or boxing that afteri get my new laptop
 

Chancha

macrumors 6502a
Mar 19, 2014
920
793
The 2017 iMac has been proven to be the most reliable Mac that Apple currently sells, ever since the 2015 MBP was taken out of the store. The only major problem the iMac has is the dust issue in the bottom screen corners.

The 2018 Mini has the T2 chip, so with it also came the kernel panics, and also audio interface dropout issues. The USB ports are also known to not supplying stable power to the point where devices drop connection. This iteration of mini does not hold a candle to the standard that the 2012 mini maintained.
 

leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
10,223
4,720
We have already discussed this and it has been disproven. Your only reference provided from an old SquareTrade (third party warranty, ten years old) turned out to be invalid as a point of proof.
Disproven? Turned out to be invalid? How that? I don't recall you pointing to a more recent empirical study that contradicts what I am saying.

I have both Mac and Windows computers that are more than 5 years old....
And my friend has a grandma who is over 100 years old. Does this mean that I can expect to live that long?

A quality computer last longer than 3 years. You need to stop with this misinformation as a way of defending Apple's poor quality of late.
And you need to stop manipulating what others are saying. I never claimed that a quality computer doesn't last longer than 3 years. It's all matter of probabilities. Empirical evidence we have suggests that approx. 1 in 5 good quality laptops is expected to suffer a failure within 3 years of purchase. I have seen nothing that suggests that this probability has changed substantially within the last 10 years. There is a good reason why a 3 year warranty extension for a laptop is around 20% of the laptop's initial price.

From my professional experience as someone who has maintained over a hundred of laptops, my ballpark estimate for Mac laptop lifetime is somewhere around 5-6 years. Assuming a normal distribution, this means that half of them are expected to die before that mark. It's all about probabilities and chances. And it's what people have to be aware of when making a purchase. Nobody can guarantee that your laptop will last 5 years or that you will live to 70 years. However, both you and your laptop have a reasonable chance to get there.
[doublepost=1551469299][/doublepost]
I think perhaps the definition of “failure” on computer is a vague term. I think @leman is referring to a computer having repairable issues in general on a computer.
I am referring to any kind of problem that renders the computer unsuitable for further use and requires either repair or replacement.

And I agree with you that more tighter integration of contemporary computers makes repairs less and less viable. I don't know if the disadvantage is that big though, since the modularity of laptops was already fairly limited before. You could replace RAM and hard drive, that's about it. And as far as RAM goes, there is at least some anecdotal evidence that soldered-on RAM is more reliable since a) you have less points of failure and b) the system can be adjusted to work more efficiently in terms of its electrical properties, which might reduce wear and tear on the components. At any rate, I haven't seen a single RAM failure when we moved to soldered RAM machines — and one doesn't generally hear about RAM failures on phones — but for desktop computers with slotted RAMs it was a fairly "common" occurrence (as far as failures go). I don't know though, really.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Painter2002

BasicGreatGuy

Contributor
Sep 21, 2012
11,971
10,930
In the middle of several books.
The 2017 iMac has been proven to be the most reliable Mac that Apple currently sells, ever since the 2015 MBP was taken out of the store. The only major problem the iMac has is the dust issue in the bottom screen corners.

The 2018 Mini has the T2 chip, so with it also came the kernel panics, and also audio interface dropout issues. The USB ports are also known to not supplying stable power to the point where devices drop connection. This iteration of mini does not hold a candle to the standard that the 2012 mini maintained.
The 2017 iMac doesn't have dust problems on the screen like some of the earlier models did.
 

Mendota

macrumors 6502
Jan 9, 2019
321
636
Omaha
I think perhaps the definition of “failure” on computer is a vague term. I think @leman is referring to a computer having repairable issues in general on a computer. I’d have to agree with with his statement that there is at least a 1 in 10 chance that a computer will have a “failure” that requires fixing within three years. What makes it different nowadays is that many computer manufacturers, not just Apple, are embracing the stamped together designs, which make it harder/more expensive to complete repairs.

Do I have data on this? No, but personally experience is a higher than 10% failure rate in computers. It also depends on the amount of use a computer gets. If a person only uses YouTube or browsing on a computer, of course it’ll likely last well past 3 years with no issues. But computers used in a professional capacity for editing, programming, analytics, or other intensive lines of work, there will certainly be a much higher “failure/issue” rate.
Well I use my computers a lot and in a lot of different ways. Being a software person I have never enjoyed dealing with hardware and so I have always bought top of the line computers. I can tell you from my own experience I have had pretty much zero issues from computers just breaking. In fact I have computers that refuse to just break and thus can't get my husband to get rid of them. He is using a 10 plus year old HP gaming laptop to rip video for our media server, refuses to buy a new machine... I am using a 2012 Mac and the 2011 Mac Air I gave my niece is still going strong.

When I worked at the universities computers in the labs did fail, but then you are talking about students and spilled drinks, and dropped items, etc.

Now frequent failures on cheap machines I can't speak for, but a machine costing upwards from $2000 should not have issues such as we are seeing on the new Macs.
[doublepost=1551491236][/doublepost]
Disproven? Turned out to be invalid? How that? I don't recall you pointing to a more recent empirical study that contradicts what I am saying.



And my friend has a grandma who is over 100 years old. Does this mean that I can expect to live that long?



And you need to stop manipulating what others are saying. I never claimed that a quality computer doesn't last longer than 3 years. It's all matter of probabilities. Empirical evidence we have suggests that approx. 1 in 5 good quality laptops is expected to suffer a failure within 3 years of purchase. I have seen nothing that suggests that this probability has changed substantially within the last 10 years. There is a good reason why a 3 year warranty extension for a laptop is around 20% of the laptop's initial price.

From my professional experience as someone who has maintained over a hundred of laptops, my ballpark estimate for Mac laptop lifetime is somewhere around 5-6 years. Assuming a normal distribution, this means that half of them are expected to die before that mark. It's all about probabilities and chances. And it's what people have to be aware of when making a purchase. Nobody can guarantee that your laptop will last 5 years or that you will live to 70 years. However, both you and your laptop have a reasonable chance to get there.
[doublepost=1551469299][/doublepost]

I am referring to any kind of problem that renders the computer unsuitable for further use and requires either repair or replacement.

And I agree with you that more tighter integration of contemporary computers makes repairs less and less viable. I don't know if the disadvantage is that big though, since the modularity of laptops was already fairly limited before. You could replace RAM and hard drive, that's about it. And as far as RAM goes, there is at least some anecdotal evidence that soldered-on RAM is more reliable since a) you have less points of failure and b) the system can be adjusted to work more efficiently in terms of its electrical properties, which might reduce wear and tear on the components. At any rate, I haven't seen a single RAM failure when we moved to soldered RAM machines — and one doesn't generally hear about RAM failures on phones — but for desktop computers with slotted RAMs it was a fairly "common" occurrence (as far as failures go). I don't know though, really.
Yes I did. I explained in detail what SquareTrade was about and who they were and kind of computers that they provided warranties for. They have nothing to do with top rated high end systems sold directly from manufactures. So the data they were providing was on second hand computers and refurbs other than the original OEM.

And yes glued and sealed units are harder to repair which is why companies that do this to include Dell, Microsoft, and Apple need to make sure the QA is first rate in order to minimize the need for repair. Few people out there want to fix on their machines no matter how easy they are to open, and few want to have to keep sending them back no matter how good the customer service.
 
Last edited:

leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
10,223
4,720
Yes I did. I explained in detail what SquareTrade was about and who they were and kind of computers that they provided warranties for. They have nothing to do with top rated high end systems sold directly from manufactures. So the data they were providing was on second hand computers and refurbs other than the original OEM.
Sigh. You can literally go to their website and buy a warranty extension/insurance for any new computer you buy. They don't even let you buy protection for a second hand computer. And the study we are discussing was analysing 30000 brand new computers. As I wrote before, I am not familiar with the details of SquareTrade's business and it very well might be that they have some special contracts with second hand resellers but the published study has no relevance to all that, since it is about brand new machines only. I really don't see anything confusing or complicated about this.

Now frequent failures on cheap machines I can't speak for, but a machine costing upwards from $2000 should not have issues such as we are seeing on the new Macs.
Yes, new Macs have some systematic reliability issues. As did old Macs. As has any piece of mass-produced equipment, especially if it's produced on cutting-edge tech.
 
Last edited:

Mendota

macrumors 6502
Jan 9, 2019
321
636
Omaha
The study is over 10 years old that you referenced and includes everything from the cheapest netbooks on to some very esoteric items. And it only referenced items that they had contact with. Most people use the original OEM warranties on the top products. Their idea of "new" is anything that has been purchased in the last 30 days and is in working condition. Many resellers on eBay and Amazon use them to provide warranty service to their customers.

We will just have to respectfully disagree with each other on computer failure and what is considered normal. In my view the issues that the new Macs are having are too many to be considered acceptable. I won't accept it. Just as I won't buy another Alienware due not only to the issue I had with mine, but also Dell's response or lack of. This doesn't mean that I hate Dell or Apple. I'll buy their other products iPad, or XPS, but not items that show issues that the companies try and ignore.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Eason85

Chancha

macrumors 6502a
Mar 19, 2014
920
793
The 2017 iMac doesn't have dust problems on the screen like some of the earlier models did.
I am typing on my very iMac 2017 that have "dust sucked in" traces on the bottom left corner. I have no idea how wide spread the issue is across all iMacs, but it did happen to mine.

And let me stress again, despite the issue developing, I found it to be much less of a problem compared to the T2 and keyboard nightmares that the other Macs can have.

_DSC0193.jpg
 

SDColorado

Contributor
Nov 6, 2011
4,275
4,222
Highlands Ranch, CO
The study is over 10 years old that you referenced and includes everything from the cheapest netbooks on to some very esoteric items. And it only referenced items that they had contact with. Most people use the original OEM warranties on the top products. Their idea of "new" is anything that has been purchased in the last 30 days and is in working condition. Many resellers on eBay and Amazon use them to provide warranty service to their customers.
There are a number of issues with that SquareTrade report for sure and it has been fairly debunked I believe for flawed methodology, inaccurate statements and leaving several holes in their conclusions. Starting with the fact that they took 30,000 laptops from 9 manufacturers across 3 categories. Lenovo for one complained "in an industry which shipped 142.5 million laptops last year the "total number claimed in this report is not a statistically significant sample for a study where no attempt is made to control key variables affecting repair rates, such as comparable machine types, end users, geography, and applications."

While it is true that you can buy a SquareTrade warranty on a new computer, much as you can buy a 3rd party extended warranty on a new car, why would you? The usual answer is price and SquareTrade warranties are primarily sold on lower-priced computers from Sam's Club, WalMart, Target, Office Max/Depot, Staples and the like. These warranties are generally not being purchased for premium machines.

SquareTrade is also a warranty company and in the business of selling warranties. SquareTrade telling you that 1-3 computers fail and therefore you should buy one of their warranties carries about as much weight as Symantec telling you that 1-3 computers will be infected with a virus and therefore you need to buy Norton or 1-3 people will experience identity theft, so, therefore, need to subscribe to LifeLock.

Taking it for what it is, it was an interesting effort to try to quantify failure rates of computers, but apparently an A for effort and a C- for execution?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mendota