New Mac Mini or New MacBook Air?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by yeroc3103, Jul 30, 2011.

  1. yeroc3103 macrumors newbie

    Nov 28, 2010
    So, here my situation. I currently have 3 Macs. A Macbook connected to my HDTV that needs to be phased out, a Mac Mini (2.26 c2d, 4gb ram, 9400m) as my Primary desktop/media server and an old MacBook Pro (2.2 cd2, 4gb ram, 8600m 128mb). Here are the 2 options I am considering.

    1: Purchase a new Mac Mini (i7, SSD, 6630m) and have it take the place of the my current Mini and migrate that to the TV. Then continue to use an aging MacBook Pro for on the go. This would give me a chance to set down and play a game or two like my old PC days.

    2: Purchase a new MacBook Air (13" 128 GB base) to replace my MacBook Pro. In this scenario I would still move my current Mini to the TV, but my MacBook Pro would become my desktop and take the role as media server. This would grant me a better "couch" experience.

    I really am split. But when it comes down to it, I need something else at my TV. The old MacBook really chugs with 1080p video, plus it sounds like a jet engine. My budget is under $1500 thats why I am considering a high end mini or mid range air.
  2. stisdal macrumors 6502


    Feb 28, 2010
    Get a base ($599) mini, upgrade the ram yourself (less then $100 for 8Gb), then get an air. Keeps you right close to the budget and should cover your needs nicely....

    Just my 2 cents....
  3. knarzie, Jul 30, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2011

    knarzie macrumors regular

    Aug 5, 2008
    haha, I am in the exact same boat now. I started off being convinced I needed a mini for my needs (see here:

    but I now think it might be overkill.

    Currently I use my late 2008
    Macbook unibody for everything (work upstairs on my desk with external display, out of the house, and a lot for video and music playing/streaming.

    While extra performance would be nice, what I really need is more storage space. But surely airport extreme + an external harddrive could do that job just as well me thinks. I just keep returning to the mini because I have no idea to set it all up, and mini would be more wife-friendly. By the time I have bought Airport extreme + hard drives, I am not that far away from the low-end mini anymore.
  4. moxxey macrumors regular

    Feb 27, 2011
    One note about this. I bought both a Mac Mini quad and a 2011 MBP 13". I found the 13" to be too slow when connected to a Cinema Display etc. Some things lagged a bit, in general day to day use. Mac Mini quad flies. Both have an SSD.

    I'd assume the Air will be slower for professional use than the MBP, even the Sandybridge Air. I was holding out for the 2011 Air, but ended up with the MBP 13" earlier this year. Don't really have many regrets as I believe the Air would be too slow for me.
  5. mrklaw macrumors 68020

    Jan 29, 2008
    I had a 15" 2008 MBP and a 2007 mini (950 GMA graphics)

    I now have a 13" 256GB air (faster than my MBP!) and a base 2011 mini.

    So that would be a great setup if you have the funds.

    However.... if your mini under the TV is genuinely just a HTPC/media server, your current mini should be enough. the 9400M GPU supports hardware acceleration of video, so something like PLEX or VLC should play 1080p no problem if you have HW acceleration turned on. And for simple serving of files you don't need CPU, just a nice wired ethernet connection and either a NAS to hold the files or a bunch of USB drives hanging off your mini.

    But the new mini will give you more headroom - e.g. for transcoding 1080p video to stream to an iphone/ipad/appleTV, or for encoding DVD/bluray rips
  6. mrklaw macrumors 68020

    Jan 29, 2008
    He has a 2.2/8600m MBP, that sounds like the 2007 non unibody MBP. Sandy Bridge Air outperforms my previous 2008 unibody MBP in benchmarks and in real world usage it flies due to the SSD. And it has the same resolution as a 15" MBP and *way* better battery life.

    In almost every respect its an upgrade
  7. yeroc3103 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 28, 2010
    Thanks for all the responses guys! I have been doing some reading on the Airs and one thing I can't find is quality of the screen. I know it has I nice high resolution for its size, but my MBP has great viewing angles, while the old MacBook has horrible viewing angles. Does anyone know what the viewing angles are like on the Air?
  8. mrklaw macrumors 68020

    Jan 29, 2008
    realistically closer to the macbook than the MBP. MBP has an amazing screen and I miss it a bit. However if colour critical work for example is important, might be worth getting an external monitor for those jobs.

    Still a very good screen though, just that you'll have been spoilt with a MBP
  9. dmk1974 macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2008
    I was all set to get a Mini and use it along with an iPad2 as my portable device. Then I got a hold of an Air and like the OP, am trying to decide what to go with. Mine is a 2010 13" ultimate Air, but still sweet! I think I'm going to ditch the iPad2 now, but still having a hard time justifying the need for both the Mini and Air (but trying) :)

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