Please help to advise on my mac mini purchase plan

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by macsap, Oct 25, 2014.

  1. macsap macrumors newbie

    Oct 25, 2014
    I am planning to get the middle tier i5 2.6gz 2014 mac mini but I struggling whether I should get the following upgrades:

    1. Upgrade to 256gb SSD, or
    2. Upgrade to 1TB fusion drive
    3. Upgrade to 16gb ram.

    After browsing through different forums, people states that would be a huge performance gap between SSD and conventional HDD, but for the ram I don't know 8GB is sufficient as I can't upgrade latter. 2012 version is not an option as only I5 model left in few shops.

    Here is what I probably will do on my new mac mini:
    - Programming with XCode and eclipse.
    - Run webhosting and database program.
    - Install windows 7 using bootcamp with office, projects and visio studios
    - Install windows server 2008 r2 using bootcamp, as I want to learn server administration and policy settings
    - Running VM, for system testing.
    - Gaming is a plus, as I won't play games on PC and I probably won't do video editing on this machine too.

    I plan to use this machine around 3 to 4 years.

    a. Should I chose 1 or 2? I will have 3 os partition in my new mac mini around 80GB each If I get 256GB SSD option. I don't know whether 80GB is enough for osx. And seems Fusion drive could only boost mac OS but not other OS despite having larger volume.

    b. Should I also upgrade option 3? Is that really worthy to do it with quite high premium than normal ram?

    c.Also should I get apple care to extend the warranty period?

    Thanks so much for your advice.
  2. SoCalReviews, Oct 25, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2014

    SoCalReviews macrumors 6502

    Dec 31, 2012
    I recommend the 16GB RAM upgrade for sure since you can't add it later on the new 2014 Minis. You will have to decide between the SSD or the Fusion drive. I personally would opt for the 256GB SSD if that was the only (largest available) Apple factory installed SSD option. I simply prefer the design reliability of a pure SSD over a hybrid Fusion drive. However, I also like having large amounts of storage. I plan on installing 512GB or 1TB SSDs in my 2012 quad i7 Minis in a few years. If I needed the storage space on a new 2014 Mini the 1TB Fusion drive is an option I would consider for an Apple factory installation. You can also add external storage via USB3 or Thunderbolt 2 interface on the 2014 Minis.
  3. tom vilsack macrumors 68000

    tom vilsack

    Nov 20, 2010
    ladner cdn
    2.6GHz,16mb ram,256 ssd,applecare=$1198 us!

    Should keep you set for 2-3 years....
  4. mojolicious macrumors 68000


    Mar 18, 2014
    Sarf London
    On the assumption that the mini doesn't keel over – and they don't seem to – I'd go for 16GB RAM to maximise its useful life.

    Storage is trickier. With the pre-2014 2x SATA models it was easy: just buy an HDD version and add your own SSD. At present PCIe SSD is still relatively expensive from third parties, and the 2014 minis are that little bit more locked down which would put me off 'tampering' with an in-warranty computer.

    If you went with the 1TB Fusion and leave it 'Fused' a) Bootcamp partitions are outside of the Fusion Core Storage logical volume and will reside purely on the HDD, and b) Fusion scares the cr*p out of me from an 'inextricably linke what the hell happens if one of the two inextricably linked drives fails?' sort of fashion.

    If you 'deFuse' then you're stuck with the 128GB SSD which really doesn't give a lot of space, particularly if you want to install a couple of Windows partitions on the SSD.

    My strategy, if forced to buy a 2014 mini, would be to buy the 256GB PCIe SSD model. Add a USB HDD for storage of your more static data. Once the mini is out of AppleCare then open that baby up and add a SATA SSD or HDD, according to taste.

    Has anyone ever tried asking nicely for the invisible '256GB SSD and 1TB HDD' built to order option?
  5. psymac macrumors 6502

    Jul 17, 2002
    If you don't need right now and can wait a week or so, then I'd recommend a refurbished 2012 mid range, going for $589 (2.3Ghz, i7 quad core, 4GB ram, 1TB HDD). Was just available this morning for about two hours (when I ordered one) and the day before for about 10 minutes (which I missed), both before selling out.

    Use or to get notified when in stock.
  6. haligonia macrumors newbie

    Oct 19, 2014
    This is what I want to do: combine a PCIe SSD and SATA SSD. It seems like you should be able to have both types of SSD, but Apple's tech specs are not clear on this point.

    Do we know for sure the 256GB SSD option is connected via the PCIe port? And, if so, that does leave an empty SATA connector which can be used to install a SATA SSD later?

    Yesterday I went to an Apple Store to ask a Genius this question. Let's just say this guy was no Einstein. He didn't know what SATA or PCIe meant. He just kept pointing at the storage options on the Apple website and telling me what I have already read 20 times. Sigh.[/QUOTE]
  7. majkom macrumors 65816

    May 3, 2011

    Thats why Sheldon likes to make fun of Apple geniuses :D
  8. mojolicious macrumors 68000


    Mar 18, 2014
    Sarf London
    The Apple website clearly states '256GB PCIe-based Flash Storage'.

    Re the SATA, have a look at the iFixit teardown of an HDD mini. I can't believe that even present day Apple would go to the lengths of deliberately crippling SATA connectivity on a mini ordered with PCIe flash only, but it might be best to wait for a teardown of a PCIe flash model!
  9. Crosscreek macrumors 68030


    Nov 19, 2013
    What ever you decide on for the 2014 for all you want to do the 16GB RAM, SSD and Apple Care are a must.

    The 2012 would be much more economical. Good Luck.
  10. ceraz macrumors member

    Apr 1, 2008
    Through process of elimination: entry model is a joke, high end i7 model is expensive. So i5 is the best starting point to benefit of the better Iris GPU.

    An old hard disk is a no-go for me, so it's fusion or SSD. Like others I'd go for SSD (less parts, PCIe is faster and if you really need more than 256GB for local storage -> use an external USB drive or NAS).

    For me, the choice is between the two i5s with 256 SSD ($899 vs $999), knowing that the difference between the two CPUs is marginal (I've read 5% to 10% improvement).

    Then for RAM, it's more difficult as numerous forums post that 8GB is more than enough for casual video editing + web/iTunes/iPhoto. And others that advocate 16GB to be future proof.

    (1) If money is tight I'd suggest i5 2.6Ghz, 256Gb SSD and 8GB RAM for $899.

    (2) To be future proof and not blow a hole in your pocket I'd invest in RAM rather than CPU and go for i5 2.6Ghz, 256Gb SSD and 16GB RAM for $1099.

    So like you a bit of thinking and realization that we're talking of a Mac Mini desktop and not a Mac Pro power house!

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