Become a MacRumors Supporter for $50/year with no ads, ability to filter front page stories, and private forums.

Decoy205

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 12, 2020
18
6
New Joersey
Hi All,
My first thread here. I’ve been reading a lot and leaning a lot. The game has changed quite a bit since I’ve been buying Macs.

I have a Mac Pro 3,1 that has been having some panic issues lately. It started running super slow and crashing constantly around the holidays so I opened it up to check everything. I reseated the ram and it seems to but running again but it’s 12 years old now so I need to upgrade.

I’ve been going back and forth between the Mac mini and the MacBook Pro 16 but I’m reading a lot and still very hesitant.

iMac won’t work for me since I need a screen that I can use with my windows laptop. I have limited space as well.

I was looking at the Mac mini with 32gb ram and 1tb drive.


What do you all suggest?
 

velocityg4

macrumors 604
Dec 19, 2004
7,195
4,530
Georgia
Unless you need a laptop. Save money and buy the Mac Mini.
- Upgrade the RAM yourself.
- Get the base SSD and use an external SSD for storage.
- Upgrade to the 6-Core i7 CPU
- If you need a faster GPU get something like the Sonnet Breakaway Box and add a GPU yourself.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Decoy205

Decoy205

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 12, 2020
18
6
New Joersey
Thanks velocity, that’s kind of what I was thinking to do.
I definitely want to get the i7. Upgrading ram on these would void the warranty no? I wish it was as easy as the old ones! I’m worried I’d mess something up. I was looking at the 16ram and 512 ssd. I guess I can expand from there.

Isn’t adding external ssd almost as expensive as internal?
 

velocityg4

macrumors 604
Dec 19, 2004
7,195
4,530
Georgia
Thanks velocity, that’s kind of what I was thinking to do.
I definitely want to get the i7. Upgrading ram on these would void the warranty no? I wish it was as easy as the old ones! I’m worried I’d mess something up. I was looking at the 16ram and 512 ssd. I guess I can expand from there.

Isn’t adding external ssd almost as expensive as internal?

SSD: Going from 128GB to 1TB is $600. A Thunderbolt 3 NVMe adapter is $130 plus a high end 1TB NVMe like a Samsung 970 Evo is another $170. At $300 you are looking at half the price. Plus you'll have the adapter already if it turns out you'll need more storage later on. Add to that you could then move the then old NVMe into a laptop, resell or give it to someone in the future.

RAM: Not sure about the warranty. Just keep the old RAM. If there is an issue with the computer. Switch it back before turning it in for service.

I suppose, the RAM install looks a little daunting. There aren't too many parts to remove. Just some delicate connectors. You could see how much a shop will charge to perform the upgrade if you bring your own parts.

As far as cost is concerned 16GB RAM costs about $70 and 32GB costs about $140. Apple charges $200 and $600 respectively. How much is a one year factory warranty worth to you on a computer with a low likelihood of failure? Is it worth the additional $130 for 16GB? How about the additional $460 for 32GB? Would you ever pay $460 for a one year warranty on the Mac Mini? That is essentially what you'd be doing by paying Apple to upgrade the RAM to 32GB if you went with your initial plan.

Edit: Microcenter charges a $30 fee to upgrade RAM.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Decoy205 and kazmac

Decoy205

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 12, 2020
18
6
New Joersey
SSD: Going from 128GB to 1TB is $600. A Thunderbolt 3 NVMe adapter is $130 plus a high end 1TB NVMe like a Samsung 970 Evo is another $170. At $300 you are looking at half the price. Plus you'll have the adapter already if it turns out you'll need more storage later on. Add to that you could then move the then old NVMe into a laptop, resell or give it to someone in the future.

RAM: Not sure about the warranty. Just keep the old RAM. If there is an issue with the computer. Switch it back before turning it in for service.

I suppose, the RAM install looks a little daunting. There aren't too many parts to remove. Just some delicate connectors. You could see how much a shop will charge to perform the upgrade if you bring your own parts.

As far as cost is concerned 16GB RAM costs about $70 and 32GB costs about $140. Apple charges $200 and $600 respectively. How much is a one year factory warranty worth to you on a computer with a low likelihood of failure? Is it worth the additional $130 for 16GB? How about the additional $460 for 32GB? Would you ever pay $460 for a one year warranty on the Mac Mini? That is essentially what you'd be doing by paying Apple to upgrade the RAM to 32GB if you went with your initial plan.

Edit: Microcenter charges a $30 fee to upgrade RAM.

This is extremely helpful information. I really appreciate you taking the time! I guess with new tech i'm always skiddish about cracking things open and playing around. Usually when stuff is older i'm less hesitant to open stuff up and tinker. Now i'm really on the fence about the ram. Debating if i should go 16 now because its much more reasonable at b&h vs 32, and see i that works or just do as you say and get the minimum and upgrade cheaper now. There is a microcenter not far from me so maybe I will call them and confirm if they can do it.

My applications aren't crazy demanding currently. I use DAWs like Reaper for recording 1 or two tracks at a time and usually have some midi drums. When mixing the plug ins and track counts can eat up ram so that's why i was going for a higher count. I think maybe i'd get the 16gb for now and then upgrade later if i see that it is not enough.

You make extremely good points about the pricing. I'm new to outboard storage and even SSD!!

If I was to go with a smaller Hard Drive like a 128 and use outboard SSD wouldn't the OS and apps run slower once the applications start to fill up the main drive?
 

retta283

macrumors 68030
Jun 8, 2018
2,900
3,006
Victoria, British Columbia
It's too bad they removed the Target Display feature from the 27" iMacs. If it was still there, you could easily use it as a display for the Windows machine while also having a very powerful Mac.

I'd probably look at a high-end Mini. MBP might be a bit limiting in Port selection and future upgrades.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Decoy205

velocityg4

macrumors 604
Dec 19, 2004
7,195
4,530
Georgia
This is extremely helpful information. I really appreciate you taking the time! I guess with new tech i'm always skiddish about cracking things open and playing around. Usually when stuff is older i'm less hesitant to open stuff up and tinker. Now i'm really on the fence about the ram. Debating if i should go 16 now because its much more reasonable at b&h vs 32, and see i that works or just do as you say and get the minimum and upgrade cheaper now. There is a microcenter not far from me so maybe I will call them and confirm if they can do it.

My applications aren't crazy demanding currently. I use DAWs like Reaper for recording 1 or two tracks at a time and usually have some midi drums. When mixing the plug ins and track counts can eat up ram so that's why i was going for a higher count. I think maybe i'd get the 16gb for now and then upgrade later if i see that it is not enough.

You make extremely good points about the pricing. I'm new to outboard storage and even SSD!!

If I was to go with a smaller Hard Drive like a 128 and use outboard SSD wouldn't the OS and apps run slower once the applications start to fill up the main drive?

You're Welcome.

With the large Thunderbolt SSD. Just forget the internal SSD exists. Use the external as the boot drive. Perhaps use the internal as a scratch disk, to store extraneous files or to try out dual booting. There's a myriad of uses for it besides as your boot drive.

See what Microcenter says then on the RAM. As I see it. It'll be cheaper to get the base Mac Mini from B&H with the i7 upgrade $1000. Then have Microcenter upgrade the RAM to 32GB. Than it is to get the base Mac Mini with i7 and 16GB upgrade at B&H $1300.

Just remember to ask Microcenter for the original RAM back.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Decoy205

hobowankenobi

macrumors 68000
Aug 27, 2015
1,934
790
on the land line mr. smith.
If I was to go with a smaller Hard Drive like a 128 and use outboard SSD wouldn't the OS and apps run slower once the applications start to fill up the main drive?

SSDs don't slow as they fill, nor do they suffer from block fragmentation, so no performance hit for using 70+% of a drive, like you would expect on a spinning drive.

You can get away with as little as 128GB of SSD internally for OS and Applications, etc. The OS and Apps for a typical install would take 20-40GB, leaving plenty of breathing room.

256 is better, and 500 is plenty for a typical user, outside of large media collections.

You can easily setup so that your user data sits on the external (SSD or HD); could be your entire user Home directory, or just a handful of larger data collections, like Music, Photos, etc.

The most important thing on a modern Mac is that you are booting to solid state. HDs are no longer acceptable performance for modern MacOS.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Decoy205

Decoy205

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 12, 2020
18
6
New Joersey
Thanks all. Appreciate all the info for sure!!

so I’m looking at the ram and drives.

is this the drive:


And I believe this is the right Ram:



Lastly, I was checking on the NVMe enclosure . is this the right thing?:


Thanks!
-John
 

jtara

macrumors 68000
Mar 23, 2009
1,998
532
Unless you already have a Retina quality display, the 2019 27” iMac with 8 core i9 is really a hell of a deal. to configure order pick 3.1 ghz 6 core 8gen i5 then choose processor upgrade to 8 core 9gen i9.

you will not be able to configure a mini plus an equivalent display for anything close.

im guessing from the age of you Pro your display(s) could likely use upgrading.

it is hard to look at a lesser display once you’ve used the 27” retina!

save yourself some money and order with minimum memory and plug in third party memory. It still has a hatch in the back!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Decoy205

Decoy205

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 12, 2020
18
6
New Joersey
Unless you already have a Retina quality display, the 2019 27” iMac with 8 core i9 is really a hell of a deal. to configure order pick 3.1 ghz 6 core 8gen i5 then choose processor upgrade to 8 core 9gen i9.

you will not be able to configure a mini plus an equivalent display for anything close.

im guessing from the age of you Pro your display(s) could likely use upgrading.

it is hard to look at a lesser display once you’ve used the 27” retina!

save yourself some money and order with minimum memory and plug in third party memory. It still has a hatch in the back!

Thank Jtara, It is so tempting for sure. My issue with the iMac is the display cannot be easily used with a PC laptop. im using a regular HP 23" monitor right now. I would love to get a 27" iMac but then i need room for both the monitor and the imac. The ram upgrade on these is so easy though.
 

Decoy205

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 12, 2020
18
6
New Joersey
So I went with a 2018 Mac mini, i7, 8gb ram and 512 internal.

I got the extra 32gb ram. B&H installs for 40 bucks so when I get it, it will be good to go. Lastly an external 1tb thunderbolt 3 ssd.

Thanks for the advice everyone. I saved some money on this. I think that this machine will serve me well for a while.
 
  • Like
Reactions: velocityg4
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.