New to Mac, want a Mac mini.

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Big Bytes, Dec 26, 2014.

  1. Big Bytes macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2014
    #1
    Hi, new here and new to Mac. I have not been using a computer for several years since my ipad and iPhone. I want a Mac mini to serv as storage for movie, music, pictures and other documents. I want it to be able to share music and movies to multiple TV's and tablets, probably no more then 3 devices at a time. So basically it will be a media server for all my TV's and devices.

    I have been looking and reading and trying to figure out what I need without getting more then I'll ever use. I am thinking the mid Mac mini will fit my needs fine but I really have no idea.

    I don't game, or do any intensive stuff.

    Any direction will be appreciated. Thanks
     
  2. Yvan256 macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    #2
    If the Mac mini will be dedicated to being an iTunes server then the entry-level model should be more than enough. In fact an older Mac mini would do fine in that role as well if you can find one.

    If you plan on storing TV shows and movies in your library I would suggest to go with the base model of Mac mini without upgrading its hard drive and just go with external USB drives instead to store all your media.

    And if you prefer small and quiet with less heat dissipation, go with external 2.5" drives they don't even require external power. They cost more per GB but I find the advantages to be worth it.

    And if you go with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse that means you have four USB ports for four external drives before you need a hub, too.
     
  3. Big Bytes thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 26, 2014
    #3

    So you don't believe I will see an advantage of the mid over the entry with the faster processor and twice the ram?
     
  4. Rodster macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    #4
    I don't believe there's that much of an advantage from the 2014 base to mid mini. If you have the money then go for it. But I did have a go with a base 2014 mini at Best Buy and just running the basics I felt the 2014 base mini was just as quick as my base 2012 mini.

    Keep in mind that since Mavericks 10.9, Apple is using memory compression so 4GB still has some headroom.
     
  5. MRrainer macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2008
    Location:
    Zurich, Switzerland
    #5
    That or get a 2012 (2nd hand).

    As the RAM cannot get upgraded (on the 2014 models) I'd say whatever surplus money you have at the moment should go into getting one with as much memory as possible.
    You can always add external storage via Thunderbolt or USB, but you can't add RAM, unfortunately.
    The speed-difference between i5 and i7 is probably not worth the money upgrading.
     
  6. Yvan256 macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    #6
    I understand the comments about the RAM, however does running OS X + iTunes really need more than 4GB of RAM? From what I undertand it's going to be a dedicated iTunes media server, nothing else.

    Of course, getting the base 2014 Mac mini with 8GB of RAM instead of only 4GB means it's a special order but it also means it will have a better resale value in a few years.
     
  7. Big Bytes thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2014
    #7
    Thanks for the replies. I feel that at least whatever I get it will do what I want it to do. So that makes me feel a lot better about it, I was afraid that I would need more speed and memory to watch movies and such on multiple tvs or devices. So now I can spend more money on something else like another iPad.:D
     
  8. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #8
    The "late-2012" i7 2.3ghz model is getting harder to find.

    IF you decide to buy a 2014 Mini, I suggest you spend a little more for the "mid-range" model. Comes with 8gb of RAM (and since that is no longer upgradeable, you DO want 8gb of RAM "for the future"). Also has the faster CPU and the IRIS GPU.

    And if you can afford to spend a little more, getting the mid-range model with the fusion drive would be a good idea, as well.

    Equipped this way, the Mini would give good service for a sufficient time into the future...
     
  9. Big Bytes thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 26, 2014
    #9
    Can the 2014 not be modified at all in the future?
     
  10. SpecFoto, Dec 27, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2014

    SpecFoto macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2013
    Location:
    So Cal
    #10
    Not by "normal" humans. :rolleyes: With soldered ram and security screws hiding the other components, you would not want to do any upgrades while under warranty. Best left to someone who knows what they are doing.

    Sugget you get a basic or mid unit, new or used 2012, with 1 TB internal drive and USB3 ports. 2011 and older minis have USB2, which is fractions the speed of USB3. Then buy a 1TB 2.5" USB3 drive in enclosure and hook it up to be a Time Machine backup to the Mac mini, it is set and forget. 1TB drives are less than $75 now.

    If by chance you have a 2.5" fire wire 800 enclosure, you could use that drive with the 2009 to 2011 Macmini for TM, they have FW800 (which is about 2-1/2 times the speed of USB2). But try to stay away from using USB2, it is really slow for transferring files when initially setting up or adding large new files, like movies, or worst case, doing a full restore from TM.

    Regarding ram, if you only intend to do what your original post says, 4GB would suffice but 8GB or more is better for sure. My 2009 Macmini has been running this way as the feed to my ATV for a while now with 4Gb and I keep the movies on a external FW800 drive. But I just upgraded to a 2012 i7 quad model and plan to put 16GB on it, as it will be used as a server, plus transcode some DVD I own.
     
  11. MRrainer macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2008
    Location:
    Zurich, Switzerland
    #11
    We don't know how much RAM the next version of OS X is going to need.
    But I surely don't want to find out on a 4GB 2014 Mini ;-)
    As all the base models of the 2014 Mini don't have SSDs, I wouldn't consider 8 GB RAM a bad investment.
    I live under the assumption that the next version of OS X is going to run OK on a base (4GB RAM) MacBook Air - but that has a PCIe-SSD about two or three orders of magnitude faster (in terms of latency) than a 5400 RPM rotating-rust drive....
    For reference, the entry-level, soldered-everything iMac has 8GB RAM.

    This may also be of interest:
    https://twitter.com/rzezeski/status/398306728263315456
     
  12. Big Bytes thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2014
    #12
    Well I went ahead and ordered the mid mini no upgrades. Along with a SuperDrive and keyboard and track pad. Oh yeah I went ahead and ordered a refurbed 64gb iPad mini 2 for my wife.:cool:

    So now I will be completely rid of all windows and android devices except for my 3 year olds Leapfrog ultra and that will be replaced with an iPad in a year or 2.
     
  13. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #13
    OP wrote:
    [[ Well I went ahead and ordered the mid mini no upgrades. Along with a SuperDrive and keyboard and track pad. ]]

    If you find the performance to be limited (and chances are you WILL, because of the relatively slow 5400rpm internal HDD can't keep up with the demands of Yosemite), you can add an external USB3 SSD for considerably faster boot times and running.

    I would have advised you to eschew an Apple-branded keyboard and mouse, but, too late now. You may discover the functionality of these peripherals lacking, when compared to 3rd-party devices (such as Logitech mice, for example). Insofar as keyboards and pointing devices go, Apple's products are more about "styling", less about "substance".
     
  14. Big Bytes thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2014
    #14
    The reason I went with the apple keyboard and trackpad is because I have wanted them for a long time. Mostly because of the clean simple look, also all I use at work is an ipad and whenever I sit down at a standard keyboard I go brain dead like I forgot how to use it.
     
  15. tennisproha macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2011
    Location:
    Texas
    #15
    why external? he can simply install an internal SSD with no problems rt.

    I'm looking for a keyboard and mouse for a rMini I just ordered and the selection seems to be pathetic across the board. I hear the apple trackpad is the best out there though. but apparently all wireless Mac keyboards out rt now suck.
     

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