New Mac Mini or pre-owned Mac Mini Server

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by onmalm, Apr 25, 2016.

?

Mac Mini 16 or Mac Mini Server 10

  1. Mini 16

    8 vote(s)
    61.5%
  2. Mini Server 10

    5 vote(s)
    38.5%
  1. onmalm macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2016
    #1
    I have the opportunity to buy either a new Mac Mini for $499

    • 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
    • 4GB memory
    • 500GB hard drive1
    • Intel HD Graphics 5000
    Or a pre-owned Mac Mini Server for $350

    Apple Mac Mini Server (mid 2010)

    CPU: 2.66 Intel Core 2 Duo
    RAM: 4Gb 1066 MHz DDR3
    GFX: Nvidia Geforce 320M
    HDD: 2 x 500 Gb

    -----

    1. Will the Mac Mini Server work as a daily driver? Using the web, pages, numbers, Google sketch up and a bit photoshop. (Not professional)

    2. Which one is the Best Buy?
     
  2. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    #2
    Absolutely! I can say that with certainty, as that's what I'm doing right now (I'm typing this post on a 2010 Mini Server).

    The "new" (2014 era) Mini has significantly improved hardware over the 2010 version; the CPU is more powerful, and the Intel integrated GPU is much better (although I have to admit I'm a fan of the Nvidia 320M, that thing can handle more than you'd expect).

    However! Be warned that 4GB of RAM will be consumed very quickly, especially when using the most recent versions of OS X, as they are extremely resource-hungry. Both machines will face this issue, but this is where the 2014 Mini has a serious problem -- the RAM is soldered to the motherboard, and cannot be upgraded.

    Upgrading RAM in the 2010 Mini is easy. I've already upgraded mine to 8GB in order to avoid swapping issues with some apps.

    I have to say, I would never get a 2014 Mini with just 4GB of RAM; you might be able to manage with that amount of RAM today, but if your needs ever increase, there's really no other option than to junk the device and buy something else...
     
  3. onmalm thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2016
    #3
    So the conclusion is pretty much, buy the older Mac Mini Server?

    Since i can upgrade it, it´ll probably last longer for me as a daily driver?

    Can it handle 16 GB? And will it be able to use double SSD´s??
     
  4. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    #4
    Should you ever need to manage some extremely large data sets (and if you're playing with Photoshop, I'd potentially put you in that category), the answer is yes. :)

    Yes!

    I think so, although I haven't performed that upgrade yet myself. I've heard that some types of SSD have had problems with the drive controller in some older Minis, so you may need to confirm whether a given SSD will work. I normally go to Other World Computing to check for that sort of hardware, they're my favorite Mac upgrade source:

    http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/ssd/owc/mac-mini/2010/server
     
  5. jbarley macrumors 68030

    jbarley

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2006
    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    #5
    They used to be my favorite also, until I needed a pram battery, $3.95 for the battery and $32+ for shipping, this battery is about the size of the first joint of your little pinky finger.
    And yes I did contact OWC sales but they would not budge and could offer no valid reason for the exorbitant fee.

    Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 3.21. PM.jpg
     
  6. nebo1ss macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2010
    #6
    I know you did not include it as an option, but you should try and get a good deal on a 2012 server instead of the 2010.
    It is the last of the Mac Mini that is fully upgradable and has a much better spec.
     
  7. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    #7
    Wow, that is pretty bad. :( (Although I've seen a lot of Ebay sellers doing stuff like that recently. Maybe this is the future of retail...)
     
  8. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #8
    The 2010 has a much slower CPU, a slower GPU, no Thunderbolt, and very slow USB 2.0 ports. The base 2014 is stuck with 4GB of RAM.

    I would not get the 2010 at all, and I would not get a 2014 with 4GB of ram. I would do one of the following:
    • 2014 Mac Mini and pay extra for 8GB of RAM
    • 2012 Mac Mini (best year Mini in my opinion)
    • Wait for Fall and see if a new Mac Mini comes out and has anything compelling about it
    If you do end up buying a 2014 Mac Mini, you shouldn't pay full $499 MSRP for it. Get it from a discounted retailer that's an Apple Authorized Reseller, such as B&H Photo. At least you'll save $50.
     
  9. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    #9
    In other words, your solution is to

    SPEND MORE CASH!!!

    Which is fine. :) You can certainly get more oomph out of a 2014 with more RAM, or a 2012. However, if the 2010 can do the job for you (for just $350 or so), I don't see a problem with that, either. :)

    (BTW, the 2010 does have a Firewire 800 port, so it isn't completely useless with external drives...)
     
  10. Totally, Apr 25, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2016

    Totally macrumors 6502a

    Totally

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2012
    Location:
    West Coast = Best Coast
    #10
    Well my answer to this question be neither. If you need a computer in this price range, buy a pc. The 2014 mac mini is 2014 technology. This is 2016. And you'll pay full retail. Why would you do that?

    The 2010 is old technology. Really old.

    I'd buy a new $500 PC. That pc will run circles around either mac mini. You can get a $500 Pc with a new 6th generation i5 with 3+GHz. The 2014 mac mini will have a 4th generation at 1.4. And the 2010 will have an ancient CPU.

    Now if apple announces an upgraded mac mini in the future, of course I'd change my answer. But it seems less likely each month.
     
  11. phillyboy82 macrumors regular

    phillyboy82

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2015
    Location:
    Not from Philly
    #11
    Core2Duo is pokey in 2016 =/
     
  12. onmalm thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2016
    #12
    (First of all, thank you everyone for taking your time!! <3)

    Okey, the 2010 server was sold anyway :(

    But I found a Macmini5,1 for $360

    I5-2415m
    8GB Corsair Ram
    256GB Samsung 830 Series SSD
    Included trackpad/w.keyboard.

    Is this a better choice?
     
  13. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    #13
    In almost every way! :) Better CPU, more RAM, has a Thunderbolt port. Having an SSD is nice. The Intel 3000 GPU is, well, somewhat limited (weaker than the 320M), but (other than for gaming) it can still get the job done.
     
  14. onmalm thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2016
    #14
    No gaming is beeing played on this anyway, no time for that! (Wife, kid, and Building a house)
     
  15. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #15
    Well they all exceed OP's $350 option, but I believe only the first bullet point exceeds OP's $499 option. The second and third bullets would not be spending more cash, and the part not quoted was actually how to save $50 by not buying directly from :apple:.
     
  16. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    #16
    On that second bullet point -- how much less than $499? I've been keeping an eye on OWC's site, and the 2012s there are generally no less than about $550 (and usually much, much more). There are a few on Ebay below the $500 price point, but not much below... It's still a very popular machine. :)
     
  17. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #17
    Fair point. There's even a thread about used Mini prices going up.
     
  18. onmalm thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2016
    #18
    Thank you all for the input, i now bought the pre-owned macmini5,1

    I5-2415m 2.3 GHz
    8GB Corsair Ram
    256GB Samsung 830 Series SSD
    Included trackpad/w.keyboard.

    Paid roughly $350 with shipping. i'm happy with that! =D Just the trackpad/keyboard is around $150 right?
     
  19. Micky Do macrumors 68000

    Micky Do

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2012
    Location:
    An island in the Andaman Sea.
    #19
    Not necessarily.

    If you use Apple products, yes, but you don't have to stump up that much. Use any keyboard, and mouse or track-pad that takes your fancy, or that you have handy.

    I use a wired Apple keyboard because I like it, but not everyone does. I also like the Magic Mouse, but not enough to pay $80 for one. A $10 wired Logitech one is fine for me.
     
  20. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    #20
    Buying a 6 year old computer of any description is a recipe for failure.

    The new machine has faster SATA ports, faster CPU, faster memory and a faster GPU in it. it's faster. And will have a warranty.

    That said:

    - Don't get less than 8 GB of RAM, especially with a spinning hard drive. 4 GB is a sure fire way to kill OS X performance. with a hard drive especially you'll get perhaps 50% of the speed of a machine with 8 GB at 90% of the cost.
    - Replace the hard drive with an SSD as funds permit. It will be a massive boost.
     
  21. onmalm, Apr 27, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2016

    onmalm thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2016
    #21
    Now this computer is a tad over 3.5 years old. late '12
    it also has 8 gb ram and 256 gb ssd.
     
  22. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    #22
    Of what kind? (I'm writing this from a 6 year old computer. I've got even older ones running as servers, an HTPC, and a router...)

    And it will cost more. If you don't need faster SATA ports, faster CPU, faster memory, and a faster GPU, why spend more money?

    Bizarre! What does RAM have to do with a spinning hard drive? I've seen folks here who think that it is just fine to skimp on RAM, and instead spend all day swapping to an SSD, but that's just crazy. An SSD is slower than RAM, and RAM is cheap today; get as much as you need to avoid swapping when running your normal application load. Your SSD will thank you (especially as swapping is the quickest way to reduce SSD lifespan).

    Um, no. Actually, even the latest versions of OS X can run just fine in 2 GB of RAM (although, when you do that, it doesn't leave enough memory to actually run any applications without swapping). For light work, 4GB is fine; my mother's machine is running El Capitan with that amount of RAM, and the apps she normally uses (mostly e-mail and web) run fine without swapping.

    Just a flat statement here? Not even going to provide some anecdotal evidence for this claim? ;) Yeah, it's easy to start swapping in a modern Mac with just 4GB of RAM, but it depends on what you are running.

    And again, the answer is always to SPEND MORE CASH!!! An SSD will most definitely be a massive boost -- for any activities that spend all their time accessing the SSD. But stuff like e-mail, web, games -- many apps don't spend all their time reading from and writing to the SSD, and thus do not gain a massive (or, really, any) boost from it...
     
  23. throAU, Apr 28, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2016

    throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    #23
    Hard drive failure goes up exponentially after 4 years for a start. As does the failure rate of a variety of other components. This is why AppleCare and other warranties are offered to 3 years only. It's not worth Apple offering longer due to the failure rate across large numbers of machines. Google and others (e.g. Backblaze) have published studies on this.

    Yes machines CAN last longer than 5-6 years if you're lucky, but expecting to get a decent time out of an already 6 year old machine is kidding yourself. I have working machines older than 6 years myself. Does that mean I'd spend money to buy a 6 year old box? Hell no. They're on borrowed time. And for a saving of 150 dollars vs the new model listed by the OP? No way. No a chance. I'd buy a 6 year old Mac mini for 50 dollars. No more. The risk of failure due to age is just too high. Sure. Maybe you'll be lucky. But maybe you won't. I don't rely on luck when spending money if I can help it.

    Swap kills performance. 8 GB is the sweet spot for light usage in OS X at the moment. Sure you can run it in less but performance nosedives unless you have ssd for swap. That was the reference to a spinning drive. They suck for swap. Stepping from 4 GB to 8GB is a night and day difference. And 8 GB of ram is worth well under 100 dollars. It's just not worth cheaping out on ram to less than 8 GB especially with a spinning disk.
     
  24. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    #24
    True. However, age does not guarantee failure, and there's no reason to throw a piece of hardware into the trash simply because it has reached a certain age.

    More importantly, hard drives are replaceable components! (At least in older Minis.) You can replace a drive that goes bad.

    My 2007 Mini is still doing fine, running 24/7 as a file server. My 2010 Mini is still my main desktop machine. I don't see why people think that these devices are so disposable; the build quality here is quite good. (BTW, just checked the OWC website: they're currently offering a used 2010 Mini for $549.)

    Absolutely.

    Sure, for one definition of "light usage". For another definition, it might be 6 GB, or 4 GB, or even 16 GB. Depends entirely on what you are doing.

    If you swap, performance nosedives. This is true if you have a spinning HD. This is also true if you have an SSD. The SSD handles it better, sure, but you're still wasting vast amounts of CPU cycles marshalling pages of RAM out, dumping them to the drive, waiting for the I/O to complete, then pulling other pages out of the drive, waiting for the I/O to complete, and marshalling them back in. And all those extra writes contribute to the eventual death of SSD sectors...

    If you use more than 4GB of RAM, yes. If you don't use more than 4GB of RAM, no. The difference depends entirely on what you are doing with your machine. (And, of course, it's trivially easy to tell how much RAM you are using, just by checking Activity Monitor or some equivalent utility.)
     
  25. phillyboy82 macrumors regular

    phillyboy82

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2015
    Location:
    Not from Philly
    #25
    Do you have any data to back up the exponential failure rate for electronics equipment? Pretty sure that the failure curve is still flat for most pieces of electronics after four years. I could be wrong, since hard drives have a mechanical nature to them.

    In general, if a six-year-old electronic device hasn't failed yet I wouldn't be worried about it failing in the next year. Or two. Or four. Also, we have many, many 2009-2010 Mac Pro owners that are still buying and using these machines if we need to look at data points... :)
     

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