Refurb mid tier 2014 mac mini

Totally

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 22, 2012
742
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West Coast = Best Coast
Hey!

Kind of a quick question for you all.

I've been looking at getting an average desktop computer for a while, and it seems like a mid tier 2014 mac mini meets my qualifications. The $699 retail one.

If one had the opportunity to pick up said mid tier mac mini for ~$520 in refurb condition from someone who isn't apple, is that a decent price? I see them going for $500+ on eBay with the better condition ones approaching or exceeding $600. So that says this is a fair price. Just wanted to get your guy's opinions, cause you know, you're the experts. Not me.

I have a fair enough feeling that a mid tier 2014 mac mini is future proof enough for the next few years and that a mid tier 2014 mac mini will probably be able to keep up with a lower tier mac mini if a new one is ever released. I don't feel like playing the wait and see game with apple though.
 

tibas92013

macrumors 6502
Jun 2, 2013
467
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Costa Rica
Last June I bought my second Refurbished i5 Mac Mini(MM)Late 2014, 2.8GHz,8GB Ram, 256SSD with AppleCare(AC) from the Apple Store and it is one sweet machine.

My first is a Refurbished MM(Late 2012),2.5 GHZ, 4GB Ram, 500GB HD with AC from the Apple Store and which "pails" in comparison on speed in starting-up and opening Apps. Last January I upgraded the Ram to 16GB and will install a SSD in the very near future. I now will not buy any Mac/PC without an SSD.
 
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Totally

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 22, 2012
742
259
West Coast = Best Coast
Nice ^

I decided to go ahead and order it since I need a middle of the road desktop right now. I picked up a Best Buy refurb 2014 mid tier Mac Mini for $494 + tax. I had a 10% moving coupon that expires like tomorrow that I used. I checked on ebay and they are going for like $550-600
 

Thunderboltedge

macrumors regular
Nov 12, 2014
143
18
Milan
I cannot encourage someone buying an HDD in 2015 believing to have a future proof device.

I hope for you that you never get the chance to use an actual ssd, you could never be back using that mac mini, IMHO.
 
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Totally

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 22, 2012
742
259
West Coast = Best Coast
My main computer is a retina 15" mbp with an SSD in it... it gets all the heavy actual computing.

This mac mini is is basically an internet browser attached to my tv screen that can also play movies/music/etc. Maybe I'll run some light matlab or simulations on it. I would rather have the storage space over the speed of the storage in this machine. Not gonna drop $1k+ to have a mediocre size SSD in it.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,700
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My advice is:

Don't buy ANY 2014 Mini UNLESS it has either a fusion drive or an SSD.

You aren't going to be happy with the performance you get from a platter-based HDD.

Also, buying a Mini with the fusion or SSD installed from the factory means you are getting a PCI-e based SSD, rather than a SATA-based drive. This will yield a significant increase in performance.
 
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Cape Dave

macrumors 68000
Nov 16, 2012
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Northeast
I cannot encourage someone buying an HDD in 2015 believing to have a future proof device.

I hope for you that you never get the chance to use an actual ssd, you could never be back using that mac mini, IMHO.
So true. They should be removed from the shelves. SSD. Period.
 

Micky Do

macrumors 68000
Aug 31, 2012
1,973
2,457
a South Pacific island
My advice is:

Don't buy ANY 2014 Mini UNLESS it has either a fusion drive or an SSD.

You aren't going to be happy with the performance you get from a platter-based HDD.

Also, buying a Mini with the fusion or SSD installed from the factory means you are getting a PCI-e based SSD, rather than a SATA-based drive. This will yield a significant increase in performance.
OP wrote above:
"I've read about all the upgrades etc the 2012 Mac Mini can do, but I don't think I need quad core or SDDs."

If you need 4k, I don't think the current (2014) Minis -- ANY of them -- are going to give you what you want.

We're not going to see true 4k support in the Mini until the NEXT version is released, but I wouldn't expect them to arrive sooner than February/March 2016 at the earliest. Are you willing to wait that long?

If you "need 4k now", you probably need to go to the upper-end iMac line, or the new Mac Pro.

Having said that...

...For Yosemite or El Capitan, you -DO NEED- an SSD drive.
Prediction: you ARE NOT going to be happy with Apple's most recent OS's running on a platter-based hard drive.
All too soon, you'll be back here asking, "how can I speed this thing up?"

The "least-equipped" 2014 Mini you should shop for is the midrange model that also has the 1tb fusion drive.
For $100 more, you could get the "top-level" model that includes the fusion drive.

But I don't think you'll be satisfied with the purchase of a Mini that has only an HDD inside it...
How do you know that no one is going to be happy with a computer with a HDD? Why do you keep on harping on about this?

My Mac Mini has a HDD that is over six years old now, and I remain happy with it. Lots of people are happy with HDD in a desktop…….. Why so?

Sure a computer with an SSD boots faster, but how often do folks boot a Mac Mini? Mine is usually on 24/7, and it wakes from sleep in an instant.

Most apps I use frequently are always open, so the extra speed advantage is negated there too. For apps I don't use frequently, I'm ok with a few bounces before they open. For most things I do there is not a lot of swapping between the HDD and RAM involved, so that's not a biggie. Sure there is a little time involved in writing some things when saving or closing a document or app, but it is seldom enough to be an issue.

For a laptop computer, which is being moved often, booted frequently, and may be used on the move, the light weight, energy efficiency, robustness and speed of an SSD makes it the only sensible way to go.

For many folks with a desktop, cost effective storage is more of a requirement. The HDD remains a reliable winner on that count, and is likely to remain so for a while. As long as a computer has enough RAM, lack of speed in opening and saving documents and apps is only going to be a big deal for a restive few.

Sure, SSD and the Fusion Drive compromise do have their desirable advantages. For some uses they are the definitely desirable option. For others they may be a "nice to have" option for those who have have funds to squander, but not essential. To suggest otherwise is disingenuous and narrow-minded.
 
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garirry

macrumors 68000
Apr 27, 2013
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Canada is my city
I love the Mac Mini, but the 2014 is so un-upgradable (soldered memory, SSD or SATA only depending on what you order, no second SATA port, security Torx screws) that it's pretty much a deal-breaker for me. Unless you don't mind this, I would personally wait until Apple fixes this or redesigns the computer (because, let's be honest, they are being total dicks reducing the upgradability for no reason while keeping the exact same design).
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,700
6,868
"How do you know that no one is going to be happy with a computer with a HDD? Why do you keep on harping on about this?"

Because for most folks, it's going to prove true.

And also because -- speed wise -- the best option is to order with an SSD "blade drive" factory-installed into the PCIe slot. It's going to yield read times that are 25-40% better than those of ANY current SATA-based SSD installed into the SATA drive slot, or connected via USB3 or firewire.

Yes, it's possible to add the blade drive SSD later on, BUT -- since nobody sells these as a "new item", the only source is used Apple drives from places like ebay. And by the time one spends the $$$ for the drive, and additional $$$ for the PCIe cable, the price is nearly the same, or more than, it would have cost to buy the drive factory-installed.

As strange as it seems, Apple is offering us "the better value" by buying the drive from them at "build time".

I didn't always recommend this.

I myself carefully ordered my own late-2012 i7 quad core Mini WITHOUT an SSD, and I added one as an external boot drive via USB3. I have posted in this forum MANY times about the advantages of running a late-2012 Mini that way, rather than opening it up to do an install, and then running into problems (there have been many postings in this forum from folks who thought they could do that job, then opened the Mini and.... broke something inside).

But Apple has changed things by introducing the PCIe drive in the 2014 Mini.
They're offering us "the best setup" right out-of-the-box.

It's better to spend extra up front and be set with a Mac that's going to be good for 5-6 years, than to "cheap out" and buy something that's hobbled.

I wouldn't be surprised if the next-generation Mini comes with a PCIe drive that will deliver read speeds approaching 1,000mbps, as do that latest MacBook Pros.
 

xylitol

macrumors 6502
Nov 2, 2013
270
45
Finland
Micky Do, IIRC you're still on Mountain Lion. SSDs are very much recommended for the latest OS X releases. I literally had to install an SSD in my late 2009 Mac Mini after upgrading to Mavericks. The Mini actually became surprisingly fast even with SATA II speeds and my parents are still using it as their main computer (on Yosemite now).

Nowadays SSDs are really no-brainers, or would be if it weren't for the ridiculous 2014 Mac Mini lineup.
 

Osamede

macrumors 6502a
Oct 28, 2009
689
400
I love the Mac Mini, but the 2014 is so un-upgradable (soldered memory, SSD or SATA only depending on what you order, no second SATA port, security Torx screws) that it's pretty much a deal-breaker for me. Unless you don't mind this, I would personally wait until Apple fixes this or redesigns the computer (because, let's be honest, they are being total dicks reducing the upgradability for no reason while keeping the exact same design).
Unfortunately this is true. Apple has invested big in repairs as a service. And they are locking the devices in order to generate business. You buying a mac mini 2014, you had best either pay through the nose to max the hard drive and memory specs it comes with, or dont buy it. This is the sad state of affairs in 2014.
 

Totally

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 22, 2012
742
259
West Coast = Best Coast
Well I didn't mean for this thread to turn into a debate between HDD and SSD, cause I really don't care. So if the mods could close this, that would be great.

The SSD is a small selling point for me. I'd rather have a slower 1TB than a fast 128GB. I have a laptop with an SSD that does most of my stuff.

Thanks for the opinions. But the hard drive isn't going to change my mind.
 
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xylitol

macrumors 6502
Nov 2, 2013
270
45
Finland
Of course your preference makes perfect sense per se, but then why on earth wouldn't a mid-tier Mac Mini be future-proof for you? (The last paragraph of your original post seems to be a red herring, if you don't care about the most blatant thing that makes the said Mini non-future-proof for others.)
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,700
6,868
OP wrote above:
"The SSD is a small selling point for me. I'd rather have a slower 1TB than a fast 128GB. I have a laptop with an SSD that does most of my stuff."

Then why not get the 1tb fusion drive option?

Because that has BOTH a 128gb SSD -and- a 1tb HDD.

If you don't care for the "fusion concept", then "split apart" the fusion drive into a standalone SSD and a standalone HDD. This isn't hard to do, and it will actually allow the PCIe SSD to run at full speed.

You'll then enjoy 730mbps read speeds of the SSD along with the 1tb of additional storage space on the HDD.

It makes little sense to buy a 2014 Mini with an HDD in the SATA slot, and then replace it with an SSD -- only to have the HDD "in your hand".

Yes, you can buy an external USB3 enclosure and use it that way, but...
... why not buy the factory-equipped PCIe SSD instead?
It's considerably faster than ANY SATA SSD you can put in there...
 
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