One last question, before pulling the trigger on i3/8/128

Amazing Ox Space Monkey

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 21, 2015
149
144
So, it’s time to upgrade my 8-year-old 2010 i3/3.06 12/512 iMac. The main reason for upgrading is the outdated peripherals, the slow HDD, as well as the atrocious speeds when working with video.

Most of my daily computing needs are fulfilled by my iPad (web browsing, emailing, etc.) and I use the iMac for Cubase, Sibelius, iPhoto and iTunes. The occasional classic game. However, I’d like to get into home-level movie editing, of which the my iMac is not quite capable (= slow)

As you see, I’ve kept this rather slow beast for 8 years now, and hadn’t it been for the outdated peripherals, I would keep it a little longer. I am not worried about future proofing a mac mini. Pretty sure that the i3 mini may last for > 5 years. The main programs I use (Cubase and Sibelius) are not resource hungry. Therefore, I think the processor in the 4C i3 mini will do.

I am, however, more concerned about the SSD space which is only 128GB. Regardless of which mini I get, I am buying an external SSD anyway (1TB). An inspection of the HDD of my iMac showed:

313GB taken by my home folder
24GB taken by Library
7GB taken by System
12.7GB taken by Applications (5GB of which is the installation file of High Sierra)
129GB free space

I gather the home folder can be moved to an external SSD. Am I right in my assumption that the internal SSD of the mac mini should hold only the remaining data (which takes a total of ~40-50GB)? Will the storage of the base i3 mini be enough if I transfer my home directory to an external drive?
 

macdos

macrumors regular
Oct 15, 2017
221
295
I fail to see the need for an external SSD. Just get a TB3 or USB3 HDD, and you are set. Keep your documents on the external.

So, it’s time to upgrade my 8-year-old 2010 i3/3.06 12/512 iMac. The main reason for upgrading is the outdated peripherals, the slow HDD, as well as the atrocious speeds when working with video.

Most of my daily computing needs are fulfilled by my iPad (web browsing, emailing, etc.) and I use the iMac for Cubase, Sibelius, iPhoto and iTunes. The occasional classic game. However, I’d like to get into home-level movie editing, of which the my iMac is not quite capable (= slow)

As you see, I’ve kept this rather slow beast for 8 years now, and hadn’t it been for the outdated peripherals, I would keep it a little longer. I am not worried about future proofing a mac mini. Pretty sure that the i3 mini may last for > 5 years. The main programs I use (Cubase and Sibelius) are not resource hungry. Therefore, I think the processor in the 4C i3 mini will do.

I am, however, more concerned about the SSD space which is only 128GB. Regardless of which mini I get, I am buying an external SSD anyway (1TB). An inspection of the HDD of my iMac showed:

313GB taken by my home folder
24GB taken by Library
7GB taken by System
12.7GB taken by Applications (5GB of which is the installation file of High Sierra)
129GB free space

I gather the home folder can be moved to an external SSD. Am I right in my assumption that the internal SSD of the mac mini should hold only the remaining data (which takes a total of ~40-50GB)? Will the storage of the base i3 mini be enough if I transfer my home directory to an external drive?
 
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mr.steevo

macrumors 65816
Jul 21, 2004
1,299
736
So, it’s time to upgrade my 8-year-old 2010 i3/3.06 12/512 iMac. The main reason for upgrading is the outdated peripherals, the slow HDD, as well as the atrocious speeds when working with video.

Most of my daily computing needs are fulfilled by my iPad (web browsing, emailing, etc.) and I use the iMac for Cubase, Sibelius, iPhoto and iTunes. The occasional classic game. However, I’d like to get into home-level movie editing, of which the my iMac is not quite capable (= slow)

As you see, I’ve kept this rather slow beast for 8 years now, and hadn’t it been for the outdated peripherals, I would keep it a little longer. I am not worried about future proofing a mac mini. Pretty sure that the i3 mini may last for > 5 years. The main programs I use (Cubase and Sibelius) are not resource hungry. Therefore, I think the processor in the 4C i3 mini will do.

I am, however, more concerned about the SSD space which is only 128GB. Regardless of which mini I get, I am buying an external SSD anyway (1TB). An inspection of the HDD of my iMac showed:

313GB taken by my home folder
24GB taken by Library
7GB taken by System
12.7GB taken by Applications (5GB of which is the installation file of High Sierra)
129GB free space

I gather the home folder can be moved to an external SSD. Am I right in my assumption that the internal SSD of the mac mini should hold only the remaining data (which takes a total of ~40-50GB)? Will the storage of the base i3 mini be enough if I transfer my home directory to an external drive?
I have to point out that the idea of Future Proof makes a lot less sense to me when it comes to a Mac.
When the 2018 Mac Mini is no longer supported it is no longer supported across the board.

In your case, when ordering online select the i3 version of Mac Mini and then upgrade to the i7.

To future proof.
 

harriska2

macrumors 65816
Mar 16, 2011
1,115
572
Oregon
I didn’t move my home folder to my external drive (10tb usb3) because I heard it can cause problems if your internal dies and you’d need a admin account? to get to it. Sounded sketchy to me. So I moved itunes and photos to a user folder I created on the external drive and made a favorites link to it. Downloads is kept clean which is still on the boot drive. I also had to manually move ithings backups to the external. I have 1 tb boot but am paranoid about filling it. I think I’m using about 80gb on it and about 800gb on the external.
 

opeter

macrumors 68000
Aug 5, 2007
1,584
489
Slovenia, EU
I am using a cheap Transcend USB 3.1 SSD for Windows installation. That is all. My actual work folder is on the internal SSD, all other documents and stuff on external 2 TB HDD.

This combination works all right for my needs.
 

Machspeed007

macrumors newbie
Nov 8, 2018
12
5
Romania
I have the i3 with exactly your configuration (512gb tb3 external ssd) and I find no problems with my usage (web browsing, light gaming, photo editing).
The nice thing about the mac (coming from Windows) is that free space stays free on the internal drive. Windows has the tendency to fill up the system disk regardless of what applications you install. On the mac, I have plenty of applications on the internal 128Gb (the applications themselves are small) and still have enough free space.
On my Windows machine I also have an internal 128Gb as boot drive and use it to install applications (which are small themselves as well) but I'm more stressed out about remaining free space than on the mac mini.

One thing that definitely needs upgrading down the line is available RAM. On Windows I have 32Gb RAM and I run multiple applications better. On the mini I think at least 16gb RAM would be a worthy upgrade.
 

Amazing Ox Space Monkey

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 21, 2015
149
144
I have to point out that the idea of Future Proof makes a lot less sense to me when it comes to a Mac.
When the 2018 Mac Mini is no longer supported it is no longer supported across the board.

In your case, when ordering online select the i3 version of Mac Mini and then upgrade to the i7.

To future proof.
I never said I want to future proof the mini. What’s the point of ordering an i7 provided I make no use of it?

I have the i3 with exactly your configuration (512gb tb3 external ssd) and I find no problems with my usage (web browsing, light gaming, photo editing).
The nice thing about the mac (coming from Windows) is that free space stays free on the internal drive. Windows has the tendency to fill up the system disk regardless of what applications you install. On the mac, I have plenty of applications on the internal 128Gb (the applications themselves are small) and still have enough free space.
On my Windows machine I also have an internal 128Gb as boot drive and use it to install applications (which are small themselves as well) but I'm more stressed out about remaining free space than on the mac mini.

One thing that definitely needs upgrading down the line is available RAM. On Windows I have 32Gb RAM and I run multiple applications better. On the mini I think at least 16gb RAM would be a worthy upgrade.
That actually answers my question, thank you. I will consider upgrading the ram - either to 16 or 32GB at a later stage.
 
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Spectrum

macrumors 65816
Mar 23, 2005
1,383
748
Never quite sure
I fail to see the need for an external SSD. Just get a TB3 or USB3 HDD, and you are set. Keep your documents on the external.
Really? I disagree. I think in this day and age the single most important upgrade is solid state storage. Moreover a 1TB external USBc or USB3 SSD can be had pretty cheaply.
I would only choose external HDD if had multi GB of storage requirements - which doesn't seem to be the case for the OP.

I second the comment that you may find you need more than 8GB down the line. But this is a fairly easy DIY option, or if needed you can pay a workshop to do the modification (~1 hour of labour).
 

macdos

macrumors regular
Oct 15, 2017
221
295
SSD is important for fast files, that is system files, apps, cache and such.

For slow files, like documents, movies and so on, there is no need whatsoever for SSD, your system will not be faster. For such files, vast amounts of storage is more relevant.

Really? I disagree. I think in this day and age the single most important upgrade is solid state storage. Moreover a 1TB external USBc or USB3 SSD can be had pretty cheaply.
I would only choose external HDD if had multi GB of storage requirements - which doesn't seem to be the case for the OP.

I second the comment that you may find you need more than 8GB down the line. But this is a fairly easy DIY option, or if needed you can pay a workshop to do the modification (~1 hour of labour).
 

Amazing Ox Space Monkey

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 21, 2015
149
144
SSD is important for fast files, that is system files, apps, cache and such.

For slow files, like documents, movies and so on, there is no need whatsoever for SSD, your system will not be faster. For such files, vast amounts of storage is more relevant.
I would not buy a hDD fpr my main storage. It’s 2019, not 1999. Besides, my files occupy a total of 300GB, that does not count as “vast amiunt of data”. A simple 1TB SSD in my opinion would be a much better solution than whatever HDD.
 
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ADGrant

macrumors member
Mar 26, 2018
48
24
I would not buy a hDD fpr my main storage. It’s 2019, not 1999. Besides, my files occupy a total of 300GB, that does not count as “vast amiunt of data”. A simple 1TB SSD in my opinion would be a much better solution than whatever HDD.
I agree but my preference would be for a larger internal drive. Simpler and faster (larger SSDs are faster than smaller ones).
 

Spectrum

macrumors 65816
Mar 23, 2005
1,383
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Never quite sure
SSD is important for fast files, that is system files, apps, cache and such.

For slow files, like documents, movies and so on, there is no need whatsoever for SSD, your system will not be faster. For such files, vast amounts of storage is more relevant.
I know what you are saying (for large files - movies and things), but I disagree if your use is lots of small pictures/office docs.
I once "upgraded" from a Core2Duo 2008 MBPro with a DIY SATA 256GB SSD to a 2011 Quad core i7 500GB HDD.
It was like pulling teeth - booting, opening apps, opening, closing, and saving files was like pulling teeth.
I ripped it open on within a week and installed an SSD - the difference was night and day - even for opening/saving 'small' office files. The machine is still going strong (upgraded to 2GB SATA SSD, and disabled the AMD card which failed two weeks ago).
[doublepost=1548858407][/doublepost]
I agree but my preference would be for a larger internal drive. Simpler and faster (larger SSDs are faster than smaller ones).
I also went for a 1TB internal (for simplicity) - but it is a lot of cash compared to a 1TB external.
Indeed, the added benefit of a 1TB external is that should the mini develop a fault, you still have an external with all your files on it!
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,444
5,657
OP wrote:
"I gather the home folder can be moved to an external SSD"

My advice is:
DON'T do this.
The users folder should be on the same volume as the OS.
Things just work better that way.

I just checked my own home folder -- it's 8gb in size (and that's after using this 2012 Mini for 6+ years).

What you need to find out is ... WHAT is making the home folder so large?
What do you have in there?
A lot of it could be "somewhere else" (other than the home folder).

How much stuff do you have in your "documents" folder?
How much stuff do you have in your "movies" folder?
How much stuff do you have in your "pictures" folder?
How much stuff do you have in your "music" folder?

These 4 folders could be relocated to the external SSD and run there without problems.
But... again... the home folder -itself- will work best if you leave it on the internal drive where the OS and apps are.
 
Last edited:

Amazing Ox Space Monkey

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 21, 2015
149
144
OP wrote:
"I gather the home folder can be moved to an external SSD"

My advice is:
DON'T do this.
The users folder should be on the same volume as the OS.
Things just work better that way.

I just checked my own home folder -- it's 8gb in size (and that's after using this 2012 Mini for 6+ years).

What you need to find out is ... WHAT is making the home folder so large?
What do you have in there?
A lot of it could be "somewhere else" (other than the home folder).

How much stuff do you have in your "documents" folder?
How much stuff do you have in your "movies" folder?
How much stuff do you have in your "pictures" folder?
How much stuff do you have in your "music" folder?

These 4 folder could be relocated to the external SSD and run there without problems.
But... again... the home folder -itself- will work best if you leave it on the internal drive where the OS and apps are.
Will take this into consideration, thanks!

I agree but my preference would be for a larger internal drive. Simpler and faster (larger SSDs are faster than smaller ones).
A Mac mini with i3/8/1TB internal SSD would set me back with €1900 - the penalty for ugrading the
SSD from 128GB to 1GB is €1000, whereas an external would cost €230, making the computer affordable.
 
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Spectrum

macrumors 65816
Mar 23, 2005
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Never quite sure
Will take this into consideration, thanks!


A Mac mini with i3/8/1TB internal SSD would set me back with €1900 - the penalty for ugrading the
SSD from 128GB to 1GB is €1000, whereas an external would cost €230, making the computer affordable.
Yeah, the prices of these internal SSDs are bonkers - for performance that most buyers are unlikely to need or appreciate. But unfortunately it didn't stop me speccing a 1TB internal...sigh...
 

Amazing Ox Space Monkey

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 21, 2015
149
144
At the end I got the i3/8/128. My first impession is that the computer is absolutely silent. A huge upgrade in that regard from the iMac. The HDMI cable sends the sound output to the TV. Have to decrease the contrast of the TV as it is way too bright. I am using the scaled resolution 1920x1080 - I don’t know if this is retina (the TV is 4k) but it looks good.

Now, on to purchase an external SSD from Amazon.

Thanks to all who replied!
 

BasicGreatGuy

Contributor
Sep 21, 2012
11,878
10,903
In the middle of several books.
At the end I got the i3/8/128. My first impession is that the computer is absolutely silent. A huge upgrade in that regard from the iMac. The HDMI cable sends the sound output to the TV. Have to decrease the contrast of the TV as it is way too bright. I am using the scaled resolution 1920x1080 - I don’t know if this is retina (the TV is 4k) but it looks good.

Now, on to purchase an external SSD from Amazon.

Thanks to all who replied!
Congrats. Hope you enjoy it.
 

ADGrant

macrumors member
Mar 26, 2018
48
24
Yeah, the prices of these internal SSDs are bonkers - for performance that most buyers are unlikely to need or appreciate. But unfortunately it didn't stop me speccing a 1TB internal...sigh...
I agree that the price Apple charges for a large SSD is insane. I do think though that a fast SSD and plenty of RAM are more noticeable in general use than a fast CPU or GPU.

In my particular use case, software development and running virtual linux machines, it all about the SSD, RAM and the CPU.
 

harriska2

macrumors 65816
Mar 16, 2011
1,115
572
Oregon
I have the i3 with exactly your configuration (512gb tb3 external ssd) and I find no problems with my usage (web browsing, light gaming, photo editing).
The nice thing about the mac (coming from Windows) is that free space stays free on the internal drive. Windows has the tendency to fill up the system disk regardless of what applications you install. On the mac, I have plenty of applications on the internal 128Gb (the applications themselves are small) and still have enough free space.
On my Windows machine I also have an internal 128Gb as boot drive and use it to install applications (which are small themselves as well) but I'm more stressed out about remaining free space than on the mac mini.

One thing that definitely needs upgrading down the line is available RAM. On Windows I have 32Gb RAM and I run multiple applications better. On the mini I think at least 16gb RAM would be a worthy upgrade.
You aren't kidding about Windows filling up but the Mac seems to have tons of free space. I went from 256gb completely full SSD with apps and cache along with 12 TB of data on HDD to 1 tb SSD only 130gb full (with more apps!) and less than 1 tb of data used on my 10TB HDD. I don't understand how the boot drive has so little used on Mac. I went on a spending spree and bought hundreds of dollars of apps including Office, FileMaker Pro, Final Cut Pro/Logic/Compressor, Pixelmator Pro, Luminar 3, Affinity Photos and Designer, 4 web browsers, along with all the apps that come with Mac. On the PC I had Adobe 5 photoshop, indesign, and illustrator and acrobat, but the rest was pretty much the same, if not less (no Final Cut/Logic/Compressor, not photo editors, and no FileMaker). I didn't haul all my ABBYY scanned files over to the 10TB HDD but instead converted them to PDF searchable. Those were absolute terabytes. Even then, geez, what a sippy sipper on data storage.
[doublepost=1548969559][/doublepost]
At the end I got the i3/8/128. My first impession is that the computer is absolutely silent. A huge upgrade in that regard from the iMac. The HDMI cable sends the sound output to the TV. Have to decrease the contrast of the TV as it is way too bright. I am using the scaled resolution 1920x1080 - I don’t know if this is retina (the TV is 4k) but it looks good.

Now, on to purchase an external SSD from Amazon.

Thanks to all who replied!
Oh my goodness, the stupid Intel NUC has decided to whine the whole time and it is annoying. I turned it off and there is NO NOISE. Not even the external 10TB drives hanging off the Mac. So weird.
 

Scarpad

macrumors 68000
Jan 13, 2005
1,881
366
Ma
mine with those specs is running as a plex server only. if i was to use it as my daily use machine i'd get the 256gb