Refurb 2012 MD387LL/A or New 2014 MGEN2LL/A

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Matte2, Nov 13, 2014.

  1. Matte2 macrumors newbie

    May 31, 2014
    I currently own a 2006 Mac Mini running OSX 10.5.8 with 2GM RAM, 2.16ghz, 500MB HD and an NVidia GeForce 7600GT graphics card that has served me well but has slowed down over the years to where I get the spinning wheel and crashing more often.

    I use the computer about 8 hours per day mainly online doing research on the internet with multiple webpages open and watching videos (YouTube, embedded in finance news articles videos that use flash player) so a good graphics card and the ability to have multiple windows open is important to me.

    For my needs, which is the better value? A standard configuration (no upgrades) refurbished 2012 MD387LL/A or a new 2014 MGEN2LL/A? The major pro of the 2012 would be the lower refurbished price. The major pros of the new 2014 would be 8GM of RAM vs 4GB and an Intel Iris graphics card vs the HD4000. How much better is the Iris graphics card vs the HD4000?

    Thanks for your suggestions.
  2. macaron95 macrumors regular

    May 5, 2014
    iris pro is quite an improvement vs previous chipsets, but in the case of the new mac mini, it's not the iris pro, just the iris

    unless you are gaming, it won't make much difference

    the new Mac Mini supports Displayport 1.2a

    but if you don't have specific use, go for the 2012 Mac Mini, it also supports large displays and its intel 4000 is way enough for all needs
  3. ZipZilla macrumors regular

    Dec 7, 2003
    I'll put it to you this way...

    Was accidentally sold *two* 2014 Minis at the closeout sale price of $404 and I returned them and got the 2012 Minis.

    Upgradeability trumps the 2014 Minis and if you get a quad core, do does performance. Skip the 2014.
  4. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    That could be related to the HD slowly dying. If you are on a very tight budget, replacing the HD _may_ solve your problems for significantly less than a new/refurbished mini.

    On the other hand, 10.5.8 is not supported anymore (security!) and components actually do age, so a newer machine may be saner than investing in 8 year old hardware.

    For your usage any 2012 and 2014 model should offer plenty performance. Ram might become an issue with lots of tabs open, but going with a (cheaper) 2012 and 4GB you could test it for yourself and upgrade for little money further down the road.

    If you're using/planning a multi-monitor setup and/or driving 4k monitors, the TB2 ports in the 2014 (with DisplayPort 1.2 spec) may offer an essential edge over the 2012.
  5. kelub macrumors regular

    Jun 15, 2010
    I've seen quite a few people say "2012 but get get quad core" with very little consideration/comparison to both option's base models.

    I decided to get a 2012 base model instead of a 2014 base (or midrange) model because 1) it was cheaper and 2) I could upgrade it over time. The difference in the dual core i5 processors between the 2012 and 2014 is not enough of a difference, IMO, to make up for the lack of upgradability in the 2014. Plus, I picked up the 2012 on sale NEW at Best Buy for $449 - less than 2 weeks ago. There are still retailers with them in stock if you look around.

    Otherwise, Craigslist/eBay is an option. I saw a few good deals on CL for some 2012's, including some with already upgraded HDD's and RAM, for reasonable prices. They were just too slow to get back to me (I'm impatient, and if you're selling something, don't take 9 hours to respond to an inquiry.)

    So for me, 449 got me the system that will function for my needs (photography & video stuff) - I was able to function with the stock 4gb of RAM and 500GB 5400RPM drive. I did order an 8GB RAM upgrade pretty quick (just installed 2 days ago) and will definitely get an SSD sometime soon, but I like that I have the option to live with it the way it is AND to upgrade it later, unlike the 2014's.

    In the end, it's up to what you want to use it for. If you think the upgraded GPU will benefit you, then 2014 is the way to go. I'd recommend the midrange as the best price-to-performance ratio. If the GPU update isn't going to affect you (and unless you're going to try to game with it or use it for CADD or something, the HD4000 should be fine) and you can accept that the 2012 CPU's are 1 generation behind (a very marginal performance dropoff), then I'd save a bit, get a 2012, and upgrade it as you need. You'll get a very usable system right now, for less money, and have more options down the road to delay its obsolescence.
  6. crazzapple Guest

    Oct 19, 2014
    That is a major point about being able to upgrade over time. It's very difficult to know how much ram you will need a few years from now (or even now for that matter). FYI I use CAD software on a 9400m (6 year old nvidia graphics in the macbook) and it's useable. What I could really use though is quad-core.
  7. Brian Y macrumors 68040

    Oct 21, 2012
    IMO go for the 2012. There will be very little between the machines, other than reduced upgradability in the 2014 one.

    The upgrade from 4->8GB will be cheap anyway.
  8. BigDukeSix macrumors 6502a


    Sep 22, 2010
    34.6700N 118.1590W
    I would rather be able to open it up and upgrade vs having the very latest.
    Best place to find a good deal is the Apple Refurb store, although you need to be running to be sure you get notified when they arrive in the store. Mini's are not there very long.
  9. qcmacmini macrumors 6502

    Oct 26, 2014
    The Netherlands
    Another potentially useful feature on the 2014 is the dual thunderbolt 2 / mini display port.

    I think the HDD will be eventually upgradeable on the 2014 but you'll be waiting a while until the kits come out.

    If you want a basic machine you can throw a couple of 2.5" SATA drives into, the 2012 is a no brainer.
  10. newellj macrumors 604

    Oct 15, 2014
    East of Eden
    That's not certain, and best case could take years and be very expensive.
  11. qcmacmini macrumors 6502

    Oct 26, 2014
    The Netherlands

    I'm referring to the HDD, not PCIe kits. Technically you could buy the base model and use the right screwdrivers to put in a single SSD right now.

    Apple have set it up so that most people would just give up and buy it with the fusion drive option.
  12. Matte2 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 31, 2014
    Thanks for all your suggestions and based on your comments I ended up buying a new MD387LL/A at Best Buy in November for $449, which I thought was a great deal. The 2012 Mac Minis are a better value than the 2014s and it seems like they are coveted in the used market.
  13. dokindo macrumors regular

    Feb 4, 2009
    I bought the 2014 model and had my 1tb hdd upgraded to an SSD by my local Mac repair shop for $50. I got the 2.6 i5 8gb from BH for $629 so the SSD upgrade including the installation was still reasonable.
  14. qcmacmini macrumors 6502

    Oct 26, 2014
    The Netherlands
    Personally I think that's the best value option right now, for a 2014, as it already comes with 8gb RAM.
  15. kelub macrumors regular

    Jun 15, 2010
    Not to necro-post, just going through my notifications and wanted to post an update. You came to the same conclusion I did - thought I'd mention that since I posted that, I've upgraded the RAM to 8GB and the HDD to an SSD. I'm very glad I went with the option that allowed me to do so.
  16. DonMega macrumors regular

    Jul 8, 2007
    SSD Later?

    If one was to purchase the mid-level 2014 Mac Mini with the 8GB RAM is the hardware there to install an SSD later?
  17. Celerondon macrumors 6502a


    Oct 17, 2013
    Southern Cal
    Yes and No!

    You can swap the existing SATA HDD for a compatible SSD.

    However, to add a faster PCIe SSD you will need to obtain some special bits.
    1. A unique Apple style PCIe SSD
    2. A special new PCIe cable kit

    I don't know if these kits are available for 2014 minis yet. Of course, the 2014 minis that are sold with Fusion Drive or SSD already have the required hardware for PCIe SSD installation.
  18. DonMega macrumors regular

    Jul 8, 2007
    Thanks Celerondon, that's exactly what I was looking for. I'll have to get one with SSD already onboard.

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17 November 13, 2014