refurb Mini 2018 or 2014?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by ChumpyD, Jun 4, 2019.

  1. ChumpyD macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2012
    #1
    Trying to decide between either the 14 or 18 model. I like the 6 core on the 18 but not the lack of easy upgrades. I will use this for normal file management and remote into work. Not a gamer just need a solid system. The main issue against an older model is that it will be retired sooner then the newer one.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. D.T. macrumors G3

    D.T.

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    Sep 15, 2011
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    Vilano Beach, FL
    #2
    2018 model no question. The 2014 has soldered RAM, so I would think if upgrading later is a factor, the 2014 is way less desirable[?]

    Sounds like an i5 refurb would be a great option for you too, based on your use case, they've had those pop up as refurbs, ~$970.
     
  3. bigfatipod macrumors regular

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    Sep 22, 2011
    #3
    2018 hands down. I don’t think upgrading a 2014 should be any sort of factor when comparing the two.
     
  4. Cheapassmac macrumors regular

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    Nov 5, 2018
    #4
    Maybe the OP meant 2012 model and not 2014? There's literally no merit in the 2014 model unless the price difference is massive. There is no real upgrades for 2014 model (though recently OWC now offers SSD replacements).

    If you can get a 2012 model cheaply, it might be worth while since Apple announced compatibility with the new Mac OS Catalina with it. The quad cores is usable today, though there's no point if you can find a based 2018 model at a similar price point.
     
  5. doboy macrumors 68020

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  6. Boyd01 macrumors 601

    Boyd01

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    #6
    I don't really disagree with the sentiment to buy the 2018. But if price is important and you only have the modest needs you describe, B&H has a 2014 2.8ghz i5/8gb/1tb fusion Mini for $529 new. Apple wants $849 for the 2.6ghz model in the refurb store - which is ridiculous! :confused:

    I just ordered one of these myself to replace the base 2014 1.4ghz/4gb Mini that I have been using as an iTunes server for the past 3 years. Have been wondering what I'd get to replace the old server when it inevitably dies (it runs 24/7 in a closed cabinet) and the new Mini is too expensive and also overkill for my needs. :)

    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1086737-REG/apple_mgeq2ll_a_mac_mini_2_8_ghz.html
    https://www.apple.com/shop/product/FGEQ2LL/A/Refurbished-Mac-Mini-28GHz-Dual-core-Intel-Core-i5
     
  7. Cheapassmac macrumors regular

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    Nov 5, 2018
    #7
    The OP is asking for a solid system. In this day and age, a dual core barely cuts it for a good experience. This is why most people are not recommending the 2014 model.

    I mentioned no merit for the 2014 unless it's cheap, which I have to say, $530 is a nice find for new.

    That said, for 500 bucks, you can probably find a used 2012 quad core that would run circles around that 2014 model.
     
  8. Boyd01 macrumors 601

    Boyd01

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    #8
    I also have a 2012 2.6 ghz i7 quad, and it certainly beats the 2014 2.8 ghz i5 in terms of geekbench scores (~12,500 vs ~7,200). I use my 2012 quad exclusively for video/audio editing and it handles 1080p fine. But the 2014 model has a faster SSD, two thunderbolt 2 ports, better graphics chip and much faster wifi. And it's also new, with a one year warranty and AppleCare eligibility.
     
  9. Cheapassmac, Jun 5, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2019

    Cheapassmac macrumors regular

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    Nov 5, 2018
    #9
    There is certainly merits to the 2014, but those trade offs are very minor compared to the huge performance difference and upgradable RAM.

    The model you mention doesn't have an SSD hard drive, that fusion drive only has a 24gb cache which barely accelerates anything beyond the OS (it's not smart like intel's optane tech).

    Thunderbolt 2 has the same bandwidth as Thunderbolt 1. The only real advantage is being able to run a higher resolution, which these minis don't fair well anyway (ie: weak integrated graphics).

    The better graphics chip doesn't equate to much realistically (ie: weak integrated graphics).

    Wifi is better, and if you need a strong wifi and unwilling to work around the issue, then that could be a scenario the 2014 is the better choice from a technical stand point. Being new is nice too I suppose. I'm just laying out why at least consider a 2012 if you are considering a 2014.

    I still stand by sticking with a 2018 model as the 1st choice though...
     
  10. Boyd01 macrumors 601

    Boyd01

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    #10
    Like I said, I have a 2012 2.6ghz quad with the original Apple internal SSD. It's a great computer, you don't need to sell me on that. But I wouldn't buy another one today. Too old and a used one will have a lot of mileage. The graphics chip really limits it also. $529 for a new Mini that Apple sells for $849 as a refurb seems like a very good deal to me - if it meets your needs. In my case, it will be a big upgrade to the 1.4ghz Mini I use as an iTunes server. For someone who wants an all-purpose computer... don't know. Just pointing it out as an option - and it is certainly a better deal than the 2014 Apple refurb that the OP said he was considering.

    Are you sure about that? Because EveryMac does not agree with you: https://everymac.com/systems/apple/mac_mini/specs/mac-mini-core-i5-2.8-late-2014-specs.html
    __________

    Standard Storage: 1 TB (Fusion*)
    Details: *By default, this model was configured with a 1 TB "Fusion Drive" (which combines a 1 TB hard drive and a 128 GB SSD).
    ___________

    There's also this: https://tidbits.com/2017/08/07/imac-1-tb-fusion-drives-have-smaller-ssds/
    ____________

    although the 1 TB Fusion Drive in the Mac mini includes a 1 TB hard disk and a 128 GB SSD, as did the original 1 TB Fusion Drive in the iMac, the 1 TB Fusion Drive you can purchase with any current iMac model includes only a 32 GB SSD.
     
  11. Infinite Vortex macrumors regular

    Infinite Vortex

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2015
    #11
    I would only buy the 2014 if you were looking to run an OS, or software, that the 2018 model couldn't. There's nothing compelling about the 2014 at all outside of that and secondly, price. Upgradeability is merely double-speak for not wanting to pay for Apple's inflated upgrade pricing… which I totally get so don't misread how I'm saying this.
     
  12. Cheapassmac macrumors regular

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    Nov 5, 2018
    #12
    If all 2014 mac mini models includes at least 128gb SSD/cache in their fusion drives (as oppose to just initially), then at $530, if you were on a tight budget, it might actually be a viable. I could have sworn I read an article somewhere that Apple was being cheap using 24gb going forward in 1TB fusion drives...

    Thanks for the correction if your sources are true, but still standing by my original assessment: 2018 first choice, 2014 only if at a low cost, and consider a 2012 as it is more powerful than 2014 at equal/lower cost with minimal drawbacks (and even than, those can be worked around).
    --- Post Merged, Jun 6, 2019 ---
    I would be curious what the 2014 could run that the 2018 couldn't lol
     
  13. Neodym macrumors 68000

    Neodym

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2002
    #13
    You most probably can’t downgrade the 2018 mini indefinitely. Probably High Sierra at best. If someone has a software that isn’t working with a newer macOS version (no updates anymore), you may need to stick with a system that can run e.g. Mavericks or El Capitan.

    Granted, that’s a pretty theoretical scenario ...
     
  14. Boyd01 macrumors 601

    Boyd01

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    #14
    I have about $6000 of legacy software - VectorWorks, Vue Infinite, Strata3d Cs, PhotoShop, Legacy Final Cut Pro, FileMaker Pro 11 and more. I’m retired now and it wouldn’t make sense to update all of these, but I still need them from time to time. The nice thing about my 2012 quad mini is that it runs Mountain Lion. So I kept that installed on the original internal Apple 256gb SSD and can boot into it whenever I want my old software. But normally I boot into Sierra on a 1tb external SSD. I think the 2014 Mini can only go back to Yosemite however.

    So there could be advantages to an older mini, for some people. The OP did not suggest he was such a person however. I have said all along, the 2018 would be my first choice for a new computer that I plan to keep for awhile. But if budget is important, and your needs are modest (as the OP suggested), then IMO this B&H deal is worth at least considering.

    What I definitely would not do is purchase a refurb 2014 Mini from Apple, when you can get a new one for over $300 less at B&H. :D
     
  15. Cheapassmac macrumors regular

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    Nov 5, 2018
    #15
    I would not buy the 2014 refurb from Apple either. Considering Apple themselves sell the base 2018 which is superior in every way for less (except for the scenario where you need to use legacy professional software and not in a position to get the latest version/alternative).
     
  16. getrealbro, Jun 6, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2019

    getrealbro macrumors 6502

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    Sep 25, 2015
    #16
    As others have posted there are some limited advantages to a 2014 vs 2018 Mini. The main one is the ability to boot and run older versions of OS X e.g. El Capitan and legacy software. The other advantage is the absence of a T2 chip. For example, when the discrete graphics in my early 2011 MacBook died last summer, I purchased a 2014 Mini for an immediate fix that would install, boot and run El Capitan. This allowed me to be back up and running in less than 24hours without upgrading any apps, etc. BUT…

    Although I’m happy I have a 2014 Mini, I wouldn’t recommend it unless you have a need/desire to run older versions of OS X and legacy software. And if you do get a 2014 Mini remember that the RAM is NOT upgradable. So be safe and get at least 16GB of memory.

    GetRealBro
     
  17. a2jack macrumors regular

    a2jack

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    Feb 5, 2013
    #17
    All of the above plus + the 2014's resale prices are already degraded by the referb houses to that of the 2011's. The 2014 is a bad buy.
     
  18. Boyd01 macrumors 601

    Boyd01

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    Feb 21, 2012
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    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #18
    I don't disagree with that sentiment, but I don't know where you could find a new 2014 with 16gb, and a the cheapest refurb 2014 that Apple has is $1019: https://www.apple.com/shop/product/G0R80LL/A/Refurbished-Mac-Mini-28GHz-Dual-core-Intel-Core-i5

    That makes no sense to me, you'd definitely be better off with a 2018 refurb (they start as low as $679) if you need more than 8gb of RAM. Of course, there are also used 2014 Mini's, but that's something completely different - the OP was specifically asking about Apple refurbs (with full warranty).
     
  19. ChumpyD thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2012
    #19
    Thanks for all the replies. Given all this info I am leaning towards a refurb 18 or finding deal on a 12. I have a 12 macbook pro that I still love. What i like about the 18 is its newer on the scale and 6 core I5. Other then that I could work with another 12 since I am not really taxing my system. Basic file management, minor photo editing, vpn to work etc.
     
  20. getrealbro macrumors 6502

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    Sep 25, 2015
    #20
    I agree that finding a 2014 Mini with 16GB wouldn’t be easy or cheap, which makes a 2018 Mini all the more attractive. FWIW the 16GB RAM comment was meant to remind anyone thinking of a 2014 Mini that the RAM is not upgradeable.

    After over 6 months with my 2014 Mini, I would not even consider buying a 2014 Mini with only 8GB of RAM as my main computer. My 2014 Mini running Mojave struggles to run the exact same mix of apps that runs with ease on my early 2011 MacBook Pro with 16GB of RAM running El Capitan*. The Activity Monitor shows that the 2014 Mini is almost always RAM constrained and bogs down with even simple tasks, unless I quit apps to free up memory.

    GetRealBro

    *I’d still be using the early 2011 MacBook Pro as my main computer, but the failed discrete graphics means it will no longer support my external monitor.
     
  21. Cheapassmac macrumors regular

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    Nov 5, 2018
    #21
    16gb was a BTO option, finding one in the wild would be rare, as you'd only be able to buy it pre-owned from someone who custom ordered that (apple must have made some for BTO orders, but either didn't sell them or got returned).

    I agree that at 8gb, even a casual user could be bottlenecked by the ram. The sad thing is, most 2014 models out there are base model with 4gb. I don't know what Apple was thinking, releasing that non-upgradable 1.4ghz with 4gb RAM as a replacement for 2012 lol

    Boyd's find of that $530 top of the line 2014 model is practically the only 2014 option worth considering.
     
  22. Boyd01 macrumors 601

    Boyd01

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    Feb 21, 2012
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    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #22
    My new 2014 Mini has arrived from B&H. I can confirm that the Fusion Drive does include a 128gb SSD (Disk Utility reports 120gb free). Blackmagic clocked it as 700MB/sec write and 760MB/sec read (about the same as my 2013 MacBook Air). It was easily split into separate drives and Mojave is installing on the SSD right now. :)

    So... yeah, there are plenty of good reasons to get the 2018 Mini, but for my own needs, I'm happy with this deal for about 500 bucks. Like the base 2018 Mini, I have a 128gb ssd and 8gb RAM... with a POS 5400 RPM hard drive as a bonus (or maybe "booby prize" would be more accurate). :D
     
  23. Cheapassmac macrumors regular

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    Nov 5, 2018
    #23
    Thanks for pointing out the ssd size disparity. Weird that they didn't cheapen out on the mini but did on the iMac. I would split it too at 128gb (as I voiced this in your other thread). Hope it works out for you.

    Just use the POS booby prize as a time machine lol
     
  24. Boyd01 macrumors 601

    Boyd01

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    Feb 21, 2012
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    #24
    That article about the iMac fusion drive that I linked to above implied that the change was made around 2017. Were they still building 2014 Mini's then? This machine had Sierra pre-installed.

    I'm very happy so far, this machine boots in about 20 seconds and apps open instantly from the dock. A huge improvement from the 1.4ghz Mini it replaces. I got everything I expected from my $530. But this is just a server, so others will have to consider whether the limitations of the 2014 are appropriate for their own use.
     
  25. Infinite Vortex macrumors regular

    Infinite Vortex

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2015
    #25
    MacOS 10.13 High Sierra and everything before it. So if you have something that won't run in Mojave you're screwed with a Mac mini 2018… like FileMaker 14 (I use this as I won't use FM17 - or whatever is current - any differently). Then you've got stuff like Adobe CS6 and older Office versions. Having to additionally pay for a boatload of software upgrade costs can raise the price quite significantly.
     

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44 June 4, 2019