Returning my 2014 mac mini

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

  1. ymarker macrumors member

    Sep 6, 2009
    Well folks after a great week, I have decided to return the 2014 mac mini 8 gb ram with the samsung 256gb pcie back to apple. I had parallels 10 and win 8.1 and office 365 already installed. After having owned it, here are my thoughts:

    ++ Quiet. To me this was key (others may not be). I had the quad core haswell intel nuc before which some people think is quiet but boy this thing is pin drop quiet. I also have a haswell laptop and I can hear that fan ramp up at times, but this thing was dead quiet.

    ++ Sips energy. I think this is a combo of hw + sw optimizations.

    ++ Fast pcie flash.

    ++ supports 2560 x 1600 @ 60 hz. I don't have 4k to drive.

    -- There is a subtle lag. You notice the tearing while moving windows around in 2560x1600. You can see the cpu util hit high usage %age on activity monitor with parallels and guest os such as win 8.1 doing basic task like running update (no transcoding, no gaming, etc). While I agree that most productivity usage scenario is not cpu bound, there are times when you need the extra headroom. For instance zipping, unzipping, etc. Yes, these are minor annoyances and I have 4 other laptop/desktops that are many times faster than this little guy (and also make a whole lot more noise), though for a $900 box, I expect better from a 2014 box. If this was 2004, fine, but not 2014 and certainly not when I am paying a premium compared to what I can get from any other box.

    Other tangential things unrelated to hw, is the inability of the yosemite mail app to sync my office 365 exchange server completely. It gets the last 10 years of mail then stops. There is no option for cached exchange where you can specify how much to keep in local cache. I had reached a point, where I didn't even fire up parallels or try to login to the web version of office 365, I would just remote desktop (using the ms rdp app which is great btw on the mac) to my htpc (which is many times more powerful than it needs to be) and run the windoze/office apps from there and was frankly near lag free over my gigabit network. I can still have mac running and no need to bootcamp over yet they are sufficiently separated that there is little cross contamination.

    I realize these sw issues have little to do with hw, but apple is selling the complete experience, and this is not complete. If you completely live in the confines of the apple ecosystem, all is nearly well, though and this little box will serve you well, if you don't mind the subtle lag.
  2. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    Was the lag only when running VMs?
    What screen where you using?
  3. crazzapple Guest

    Oct 19, 2014
    icrap mini 2014. Sad to see a ~50% decrease in performance in a 2 year *newer* product for those that need quad-core.

    I was careful not to become dependent on apple software. Switch to Windows 10 will be easy with a far more powerful computer for less money.
  4. RoastingPig macrumors 68000


    Jul 23, 2012
    get out of here then windows boy
  5. cinealta macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2012
    My 2009 Mini supports 2560 x 1600 @ 60 Hz. The 2014 should support two of those displays.
  6. torquer macrumors regular

    Oct 16, 2014
    Odd. I'm not using Parallels but I saw no perceptible lag at 2560x1440@60 in either Windows 8.1 or Yosemite on my 2014 i7.

    I can't speak to the issues with Office 365 but that has *nothing* to do with your Mac.
  7. crazzapple Guest

    Oct 19, 2014
    I use the best tool for the job, windows/osx/linux. Good to see the iFanboys are out though, apologizing for apples crap products.
  8. torquer macrumors regular

    Oct 16, 2014
    Actually if you were subjective and reasonable you would be able to see where Apple does make superior hardware. Not always, but there are instances. For example, there are PRECIOUS few laptops out there that can compare with the Macbook Pro Retina. There are plenty of powerful PC laptops and I've owned over 2 dozen in the last 10 years. The problem is, they all suffer from one or more of the following issues:

    Crap display
    Crap wireless
    Crap keyboard
    Crap touchpad
    Crap wireless
    Crap battery life

    The Macbook Pro Retina is the first laptop I've found that doesn't have any glaring build quality or hardware issues. And the best thing is, I can run Windows on it natively, which I do.

    The Mac Mini is also a very nice piece of kit. The BRIX PCs have gotten poor reviews due to their poor thermal management. The NUCs are nice, but plasticky and cheap looking. Zotac makes VERY cheap stuff that I've bought a couple of times and always had problems of one kind or another.

    Quadcoregate notwithstanding, the Mac Mini has great build quality, great thermals, and great reliability. It just costs a lot more as does pretty much everything else Apple makes.

    Its fine if you're a troll or anti-fanboy, but don't pretend not to be one when your posts say otherwise.
  9. crazzapple Guest

    Oct 19, 2014
    Believe me, I know apple can make good hardware, which is why I'm annoyed by this situation, otherwise why would I care? I have a 2008 unibody macbook, which is the best laptop *I will ever own*. There will never be an apple laptop with easily upgradable ram, disks, and battery.

    Lots of people were ready to upgrade to the 2014 mini. Big letdown after 2 years of waiting. That's great if the new mini works for you, enjoy it.
  10. mapleleafer macrumors regular

    Nov 2, 2009
    My use is similar to yours. I get the tearing running MS Office in Parallels on my late 2009 iMac (Core 2 Duo) with 8 GB of RAM, but it's better than it was when I had only 4 GB of RAM. I will be getting the mid-range i5 with the same PCIe flash but with 16 GB of RAM. I'm confident that this setup will be a massive improvement over what I have now.

    I apologise that I cannot join in with the rants about why the new lineup is so bad.
  11. ABC5S Suspended


    Sep 10, 2013
    I like Apple systems

    I left Microsoft for Apple because of all the software issues

    I'm not a fan boy for any system that is lousy. That includes Apple if need be

    How does that make me or others a Fanboy at all ? We like it because it easier to use. Microsoft has many issues as well.
  12. torquer macrumors regular

    Oct 16, 2014
    Everything you just said is perfectly reasonable. I have no argument with it or you.
  13. SoCalReviews macrumors 6502

    Dec 31, 2012
    Windows 8.1 and 10 VMs using Parallels Desktop 10 seems to run really well on my 2012 i7 quad Mini with 16GB RAM... although I am not pushing the display very hard. My suggestion to anyone who wants to run VMs is to max out the RAM on your Mini. When using Parallels Desktop make sure you configure the VM with more RAM and display memory in the virtual settings than Parallels sets up by default. For Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 I would recommend 4GB or more system RAM. With the quad core i7 models you also have more virtual cores (of the up to eight) to set for each Windows VM.
  14. Crosscreek macrumors 68030


    Nov 19, 2013
    When running VMs the quad core with 16gb would be a perfect machine for you leaving plenty of head room for multitasking with. I also agree the price for a well configured new Minis are ridiculous compared to other boxes that can get the job done.

    I have a 2012 I5 Mini with 8gb of ram and a 2012 I7 quad with 16gb. The I5 will run Parallels 10 with Windows but all the Ram is used and it chugs to get things done. The I7 cruises and ram is never an issue even while multitasking or encoding.

    If you want a Mac because they are quite and small you might want to look at a quad core 2012. You can still get referbs when available with the full 1 year warranty.
  15. psymac macrumors 6502

    Jul 17, 2002
    Noticed the same surprising lag at the Apple store just browsing the internet with Safari, but just attributed it to the entry level 1.4Ghz model.
  16. haligonia macrumors newbie

    Oct 19, 2014
    Which processor?

    I am planning to run Quickooks for Windows via Parallels on the mid-range 2014 Mini, but I've never run this setup before. Now after reading your review I am worried the dual-core processor is not powerful enough.

    What do you mean by a subtle lag? Are you talking just about the graphic display under 2560x1600? Or are you talking about a general sluggishness, such as in loading applications? I'm not planning to use such a high rez display so not sure if that would make things better for me or not.

    I guess I'm not sure whether I should get the 2012 quad core or not, given that I want to run Quickbooks for Windows via Parallels. A poster in another thread told me I should be fine with the 2014 mid-range model, but now your post makes me unsure ...
  17. majkom macrumors 65816

    May 3, 2011
    lol, even dual core with 4gigs ram shoul be able to run parallels decently..
  18. SoCalReviews, Oct 25, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2014

    SoCalReviews macrumors 6502

    Dec 31, 2012
    For running just Quickbooks in Windows with Parallels 10 you should be fine with either the mid range 2014 Mini or a 2012 quad core model. I upgraded tp 16GB system RAM on all my dual core and quad core Macs. I am not sure about how the 2014 models work but adding system RAM on the 2012 models also bumps up the available video memory up to 1024MB which grabs it from the system RAM. Windows VMs can be hungry for system RAM. I really like the value and easy RAM upgradeability of the 2012 i7 quad core but the mid-2014 would also work well. The quad would be better if you plan on running multiple VMs at once. The dual core is fine for running one VM. Either way you decide you should be good to go. I recommend going with 16GB RAM regardless of which model you get.
  19. SoCalReviews, Oct 25, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2014

    SoCalReviews macrumors 6502

    Dec 31, 2012
    It would work but Windows 7, 8 or 10 likes to use system RAM. I allocate 2-4 GB for each one of these VMs which doesn't leave much left for OS X and video memory. With only 4GB you could experience lag as the system tries to utilize disk drive virtual memory. I recommend 8GB minimum and 16GB optimal for running VMs.
  20. tom vilsack macrumors 68000

    tom vilsack

    Nov 20, 2010
    ladner cdn
    Humm...I'm running Yosemite on my Macbook late 2009 (2.26,4g ram,stock 5400rpm hd) and don't notice any lag at all using safari ect...
  21. Cape Dave macrumors 68000

    Nov 16, 2012
    16GB for sure no matter what with Parallels. You will be happy.
  22. Florals macrumors member

    Jul 19, 2013
    Do you only see this lag when running a VM, or is it present when you're running OSX apps?

    I've purchased the same config and now I'm wondering if I've made a bad choice...
  23. sublunar macrumors 6502a

    Jun 23, 2007
    The Parallels note was interesting. I'm wondering if 16Gb of RAM would solve it because it could be the swap file kicking in due to low RAM? Did you take a look at Disk and Memory usage on the Activity Monitor too?

    I don't see any lag while running a 16Gb i5 256Gb Samsung PCIe 2013 13" Retina Macbook Pro in clamshell mode on a 30" Dell. That's similar hardware to your Mini and I am very pleased with the fact that the fan doesn't kick in and the rMBP gets vaguely warm while doing my low intensity tasks.

    However I am up to 8Gb-9Gb usage with dozens of Safari windows and other small apps open such as Coda or Textwrangler. That's low memory pressure according to Activity Monitor. I don't run any virtual machines as of yet although I am thinking of purchasing VMWare Fusion or Parallels and I am following forum posts at this stage.

    Looking at the way Mac OS X is going I would have maxed the RAM on a 2014 Mini to 16Gb because of the memory compression technology that Yosemite apparently has which could also be causing the apparent lag. Does your Mini lag while not running something as memory intensive as Parallels?

    The improved fan assembly of the 2014 was of particular interest to me for reasons of quiet computing. The big plus point of the 2014 Mac Mini is the increased thermal headroom due to the more efficient processor and the fan. What I take from that is any 2014 Mini should be able to run at top speed for longer and be quieter. The only question, which early adopters like yourself should be able to answer for the rest of us, is at what point does the fan kick in for a sustained period and is it noisy compared to a 2012 for example?

    The point I am trying to make is that for some people, quiet computing and energy efficiency has a value attached to it and Apple haven't stopped pushing the Mini as the most energy efficient Mac. I don't like the way that this is being cast aside as a plus point by many of the naysayers in the hundreds of replies to some of the threads in this forum.

    Those folks are too busy trying to get Mac Pro performance at a third of the cost, and seem to be crying about the loss of that option.

    Apple want people on the latest OS to reduce support costs and the 'upgrade fee' appears to be having to buy a new Mac more often than they might care to. Do they complain about the resale value of their 'older' Mac being far higher than the 'scrap value' of many Windows desktops at a similar age?

    There are some PC home theatre builders who have to juggle low wattage cpu, with passive graphics capable of running 1080p or perhaps even 4k, into a small case, all to run silently in their living room. Some of them think nothing of paying large sums of money for a passive cpu heat sink and case fans that will help keep the noise down. These guys are not bragging about building the cheapest computer but they discuss things such as fan-less power supplies, motherboards, cpus and graphics cards (if applicable, some of these guys look on the Iris Pro 5200 in the low end iMacs with interest). Look at what Apple achieve over the supposedly noisier Brix or NUC products.

    The ifixit teardown suggests that only 2 802.11ac aerials have been used within the 2014 model - on par with the Macbook Air, but not the full 3x3 set-up within the Retina models. This is fine for the form factor I suppose as some users might use the ethernet instead.

    I think the minority of folks are whining about losing their 4-core option for an assortment of their own reasons. Mainly price I would have thought.

    I would have liked to see a 4-core option with Iris Pro 5200 graphics, yes in a case with a bespoke cooling solution for silent computing at sustained 100% usage but I don't really see Apple doing it unless they are planning to axe some of their low end iMac offerings.

    There's a few experienced forum posters in here who have shared their experiences of hammering a 4 core Mini and seeing temperatures (and fan noises) rise to the point where components such as hard drives and motherboards start to fail early. This can't be a preferred solution either.

    The speculation on the Primate Labs site about the different sockets forcing Apple into a decision about Quad Core vs Dual core makes sense to me. I'm satisfied with Apple retaining the existing case but don't forget I am looking to see if you can thrash the 2014 mini for longer without noise and eventual heat death being such an issue.

    Finally, a bit of sketchy speculation regarding the future of the Mini. We know that 2015 should see the advent of the Skylake chipset which will come with Thunderbolt 3 and improved Iris Graphics. Let's say that Intel delays see it slipping to 2016 meaning the 2014 Mini becomes an 18-24 month product with its own entertaining thread about replacement.

    Thunderbolt 3 will enable 4k displays with a single Thunderbolt cable rather than the balkanised multi stream transport methods which appear to be un-Apple-like for now.

    We also know that if Apple want to release a 4k or 5k Cinema Display they'll want all concurrently available desktop Macs to be able to use it. I think even the current Mac Pro will need a Skylake refresh to be able to connect directly to an Apple branded solution using Thunderbolt 3, and the iMacs will need updating too as well as the 2014 Mini which only has Thunderbolt 2 and slow Iris graphics.

    The Retina iMac was launched with powerful OpenCL graphics card and only i7 processors and currently represents very good value for money if you want a 5k display (computer for free etc) and would have purchased the i7 upgrade and fusion drive anyway.

    If Apple are planning a 21.5" 4k Retina iMac next year they'll similarly use a powerful graphics card (perhaps one of those Nvidia 970 ones spotted in Yosemite builds) and it would be nice to differentiate by using an upgraded i7 and Fusion drive in those models too.

    It continues to reinforce the notion that Apple are heading towards improved graphics and OpenCL compute performance ahead of cpu considerations.

    I believe that the by the time Skylake comes along the dual core U-series mobile chips in the mid and high level 2014 Mini currently will have vastly improved graphics and be capable of running 4k displays at 60Hz without significant performance concerns. In effect we could be talking about Iris Pro 5200 graphics in a 25w part (sorry there might be a video ad on that page).

    If they reuse the same case for the Mini going forward and keep improving the cooling and noise reduction solutions without feeling the need to make it smaller, we might have a little powerhouse of a usable computer.
  24. psymac macrumors 6502

    Jul 17, 2002
    Returning my 2014 also today, never opened. Weighing the pros and cons for me, I thought if I could get a refurb for $589, that would be overall the best deal, which I was able one to find this morning. I do think the 2014 is a really transitional model.
  25. Count Blah macrumors 68040

    Count Blah

    Jan 6, 2004
    US of A
    Only pro apple posts will be tolerated!!!


    If you only need two cores, and you are happy to pay 3 times more for the max amount or RAM, then yeah, I can see where one can be happy with the new mini.

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