Need Mac Mini Buying Advice

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by iUseMacBooks, Jul 23, 2016.

  1. iUseMacBooks, Jul 23, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2016

    iUseMacBooks macrumors member

    Jun 2, 2015
    Hey everyone, it's been a while since I've been on these forums

    I'm looking for some help with buying a used Mac Mini. I found one that is admittedly old, but I think it has potential, I just don't want to make a bad purchase. It's a 2009 C2D Mac Mini. It has been refurbished, and upgraded to 8 GB of RAM and the HD has been replaced with a 240 GB SSD. It is running Snow Leopard. I'm not so concerned with the price, because I've seen others that are more expensive with significantly less RAM and/or spinning hard drives.

    My question is, would a computer like this work OK in today's world? I realize a 7 year old computer isn't ideal, but I wouldn't be doing any high-end tasks like Final Cut or anything, just web browsing/playing music and writing for work. I've been trying to justify it by convincing myself that the SSD and 8 GB of RAM will make it much faster than the standard 2 GB of RAM and 120 GB HDD that others of this era came with. What do you guys think? Would this be usable for light tasks?

    Thanks for any help, love these forums!

    Edit: Apologies for double post, but I'd also like to add that this wouldn't be my main machine. I mean, I would be doing real work on it, but I'd use my newer MacBook Air for most things still. This would be a secondary machine. Is it a good buy at those specs?
  2. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000


    Nov 20, 2007
    Nah. At this point I wouldn't buy anything older than 2012 with an 'i' series cpu, (no C2D), for security and software compatibility reasons mostly.
  3. iUseMacBooks thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 2, 2015
    Ok. I have one more question along those lines. I looked into some 2012 Mini's, and a lot of them are in the $450-$500 range. With that being the case, would it be a better buy to just get a new one at a similar price? The only thing I know is 2012 is (I believe) user upgradable, whereas the new ones are not.

    Oh I'm sorry, I just now realized I forgot to write in the price lol it is $250
  4. iUseMacBooks thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 2, 2015
    So I've done some thinking re: my budget, and I'd like to present a new scenario if anyone has any advice. The main thing turning me off about a new Mac Mini is I don't want a 5400 RPM HDD or even a fusion drive really. I'd like an SSD. I was going to go with an older MM but I also want something that will last, so newer is probably better. So I found a 2014 MM with a Samsung 240GB SSD. Other than that it's the base model, 4 GB RAM, etc. The price is about $470. My thinking is it's only 2 years old, comes with an SSD, and is cheaper than the base model MM from Apple, which starts at $499. Any advice?
  5. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000


    Nov 20, 2007
    My only concern there is the 4GB RAM. Probably OK, but maybe not if you want it for years to come. I believe that RAM is non upgradable on these models.
  6. iUseMacBooks thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 2, 2015
    Right, I think the last year of upgradable RAM is 2012, so I would be stuck with the 4GB. I think it would be OK for what I'd use it for, writing for work, listening to music, and occasionally watching Netflix lol. If I was doing any kind of high-end work I'd definitely want 8GB or maybe even 16 GB, but I feel like I might be able to get away with 4 GB. Maybe I'll look for one with 8GB and see how the prices compare.
  7. jhmaughan macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2005
    I have three of the 2012s for my employees at work (clerical like quickbooks and lots of web apps). They were dogs until I put an SSD in them and now they are rock stars. 8GB seems to be just fine. I plan to stick with them for quite some time.
  8. iUseMacBooks thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 2, 2015
    That's my main concern. I've been looking around and most of them have 500 GB HDD's. I've seen SSD installation videos, but I don't trust myself enough to do it lol with my clumsiness I'd likely screw it up. My mid-'12 MacBook Pro has the same 500 GB HDD and it has become painfully slow at times, which is why I don't use it often. The one I was considering sold, so I have to keep looking and weighing my options. Thanks everyone for the help. Soon I plan to own a Mac Mini.
  9. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000


    Nov 20, 2007
    Man, if you haven't swapped out the spinner in you MBP then do that first. Beyond easy to do.
    The mini swap is not hard either, just take your time - with no distractions.
  10. HappyMBAowner macrumors member


    Feb 23, 2015
    Forget the C2D. It's really totally outdated and you'll regret your decision. I'm holding on my iMac 2007 with a C2D. The rest of the machine is still in mint condition. But not being upgradable, my iMac 2007 will have to be put to sleep shortly.
  11. MRrainer macrumors 6502a

    Aug 8, 2008
    Zurich, Switzerland

    SSDs are easier to install on the 2012. The market on them is a bit skewed.
    The 240 for the 2009 is too expensive. I would maybe pay 50 for it.
    I wouldn't buy an un-upgradeable low-end 2014, either.
    It's a 2012 (i5 or i7) or a mid-tier 2014 with at least 8GB RAM and Fusion Drive.
    Else it's just a daily struggle. Who needs that in 2016?
    If you can't afford that now - better wait and save up.
    Apple could come out with an updated model for Christmas ;-)
  12. iUseMacBooks thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 2, 2015
    I know I should I've just been nervous/reluctant since I've never really tried anything like this before. But I watched a bunch of videos and it seems simple.

    That seems to be the consensus. I was initially thinking the SSD and upgraded RAM would make up for the older processor, but with the help of the forum I've now turned my attention to 2012 and newer models.

    I may end up waiting/saving a bit more money so I can make a better decision. When I first started looking, I hoped to already have purchased one by this point, but I'm seeing that that isn't the case. I may have to save more and try to get into the price range of a MM with 8 GB of RAM and an SSD. I check listings everyday, and will continue to do so. Also, I hadn't considered that Apple may come with a new MM this year. That's also something to think about lol Thanks everyone for the help and input, these forums are a great resource.
  13. adam9c1 macrumors 68000


    May 2, 2012
    I recently sold two early 2009 Minis 2.0 4GB 320GB spinners for $130 including shipping. After shipping, pp, eBay fees I should have kept one of them...

    How can you justify buying a computer with a 240 GB SSD if that's the cost of the drive?
  14. Razzerman macrumors regular

    Sep 11, 2007
    It's quite scary how the older mini's keep their value here in the UK. Even the old 2009 C2D minis are going for around £200 on ebay. I upgraded my old mini to 8gb of ram and a 240gb ssd. World of difference, it's used daily by the wife and kids, and runs Logic Express with no problems. No intention of 'upgrading' the OS beyond 10.7.5.

    If I were you, OP, I'd be looking to pick up a cheap(ish) 2012 mini, and add ram etc. as and when you feel you need it, if it's only for light duties.



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