Second thoughts on the Mac Mini 2012

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by zer0tails, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. zer0tails, Jan 18, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2013

    zer0tails macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2008
    Hey all,

    I ordered a Mac Mini 2.6 i7 with 16GB 3rd party ram from Crucial and a 1 TB fusion drive. This was to replace an early 2008 Mac Pro 2.8 ghz 8 core machine, 120 GB SSD, 3 TB HDD, with 14 Gb ram. I figured since i still had my 27" LED Cinema display and keyboard/mouse, the mini would be perfect.

    Despite the impressive paper specs, I sold that machine because it felt like it was getting on with age and was slowing down. I felt compelled as well to try and get as much $$ as I could from selling it now rather than later.

    I use my machine mainly for writing. I will typically have 10 pdfs, and 4 word documents and excel sheets open. I use it for browsing where I will have several windows with 10 tabs in each open. At the same time, I stream a lot of music, and videos. It all felt very slow on the mac pro for some reason. I enjoy gaming once in awhile but not super demanding ones. Think plants vs zombies and the walking dead on steam. I also used my mac pro to manage my extensive photo, music and movie collection.

    I suppose I could be described as a "prosumer" whatever that means.:eek:

    However, despite having already ordered my Mini, I've continued to read reviews and have found some that speak negatively about the Mac Mini 2012's performance. In fact, a lot of the issues these reviews point out are the weak Intel 4000 gpu, heat and loud fans.

    This leaves me with the question for you: Did I just downgrade by ordering a mini instead of upgrading?

    Will the mini be blazing fast for what I use it for? And how long can it be competitive? 2 years? 3 years?

    I had planned to order the top of the line 27" imac however, the long shipping times and lack of stock at my local Apple store pushed me towards the mini. For some reason too, I've always had a fear of all in ones since I had an iMac G4 and when the display died I was basically stuck with a useless computer. However, I am now wondering if i am better off canceling the order before its too late because I know Apple doesn't accept returns on BTO macs.
  2. scottw324 macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2012
    I ordered my 2.6 ghz mini as well to replace my aging dual core 2.2 ghz laptop that ran my media server and iTunes for the house. It wasn't able to keep up with the demand of streaming HD content to three devices at one. Too much buffering.

    Since I have gotten the mini though I haven't noticed any issues. My iTunes library loads faster on my apple TVs. The USB 3 works great with my 3 tb ext HDD. The quad core processor flys when it is converting video content, unlike my laptop which handbrake would take hours and hours to convert one movie, now only takes about 20-30 mins depending on the length of the movie. TV shows convert in about 2-7 mins.

    It does get a bit hot if you have the CPU maxed out on task like video conversion for long periods of time but typically it is quiet and fairly cool.

    Definitely love my new mini.
  3. zer0tails thread starter macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2008
    Hey scottw324 thanks for sharing your experience. Great to hear you love your mini. Did you get the fusion drive as well?

    Given your experience and from the reviews I've read on tech sites, I don't see why the mini shouldn't work for my needs. I guess I'm just sceptical since i've always had more powerful machines than needed.

    Plus, the mini is so small! Hard to believe there's a full desktop machine in there.
  4. JohnnyComeLatly macrumors member

    Nov 12, 2010
    I have a slew of stuff open all the time on my Mini. I've upgraded to a 500 gig ssd, and everything launches instantly. The only time my fans come on at a higher speed is rendering 2+ min HD videos, or exporting larger videos to YouTube. I imagine ripping a lot of CDs might kick the, on eventually. However for what you describe I don't think you will have any problems.

    Also, now that you've gotten a newer machine you can follow the OS X updates. My 2008 MBP can't be upgraded to the latest/greatest.
  5. attis macrumors member

    Nov 18, 2012
    I recognize your description of the Mac Pro feeling sluggish - could it possibly have something to do with the older architecture of the Xeons, slower speed of the RAM or something like that?

    Whatever it is, I "upgraded" to a 2.6GHz i7 Mini. It feels zippier in general, and I haven't noticed any issues with the presumedly sub-par HD4000, not after the EFI upgrade anyways. I think my workload is greater than yours, but the Mini stays quiet enough most of the time. When exporting/converting large amounts of highres raw photos it gets hot and loud, but I think any computer would when the load is 100% for an extended period of time. And it gets the job done quicker than my old MP.

    I put in a 256GB 830 SSD, but run i separately from the 1TB HD - no fusiondrive. Still waiting for 16GBs of ram to arrive, and that will hopefully take care of a bit of lag when running web/mail/spotify/word/bridge/photoshop/lightroom/cyberduck and some other things simultaneously... :rolleyes:
  6. dasx macrumors 65816


    Jun 18, 2012
    I have the exact same Mini as you.

    Heat: Yes, it does get hot. Nothing the Mini can't handle though. Unless there's a design flaw with yours, you'll be completely fine.

    Fans: Yes. They may be loud at full load. When, for example, handbraking for 10, 20, 30 minutes, the CPU tends to get around 95-100ºC (depending on room temp and some other stuff) and fans get close to they're maximum, (5500rpm), and yes, they are loud. BUT! I don't have the CPU at 100% all the time, and while doing any of the stuff you mentioned the fans average 1800rpm (minimum) and they're completely silent. My external drive is clearly noisier when using it.

    Anyways, if you're a noise freak you can always go my route.

    As for the graphics… I don't game either. But PvZ? An HD4000 won't even notice you're running that game. There's a thread about gaming on this machine. You can play almost any graphics demanding game as long as you don't expect 60fps at higher settings and are comfortable with 25-30fps at mid settings.

    My advice: Enjoy this Mini as it's gorgeous. The CPU power is amazing. My father got himself a 2012 MBA in July, and the comparison is crazy. Have a look here if you like.
  7. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    "This leaves me with the question for you: Did I just downgrade by ordering a mini instead of upgrading?"

    Try it first. You may be pleasantly surprised.

    I replaced a 2004-vintage PowerMac g4/1.25 MDD tower with a 2012 Mini i7 2.6ghz. The Mini seems fine. My requirements aren't overly "heavy", there's essentially no fan noise and the CPU isn't overheating (mine is at 110F right now).

    I don't see -any- problems at all with Word or Excel files, pdf's or streaming music.

    If the streaming videos seem ok, I think you'll be all set.
  8. slickadam macrumors member

    Nov 6, 2012
    Germany & Hungary
    Even the base mini could do all of these with ease. More important is the RAM (in his case).
  9. hugodrax macrumors 6502a

    Jul 15, 2007
    Its fast, even Final Cut Pro and DSLR videos are fast. In addition to Aperture and 20+ Megapixel Raw images.

    I would not be concerned.
  10. cocacolakid macrumors 65816


    Dec 18, 2010
    My 2011 quad core mini server would kick in the fans after just a few minutes of streaming Netflix. It would shoot up to 5500 rpm's. My 2012 quad core mini rarely goes over 18000 rpm's and I've never seen it go over 2300 rpm's (might only be because I've never heard it make a noise, period, to go check the fans). It's silent. The difference between the two as far as noise is night and day, at least in my personal use, which includes lots of open tabs and streaming music, movies, etc. I do not do much converting or ripping.
  11. trancinchino macrumors member

    Nov 6, 2012
    For the uses you listed, I wouldn't worry about performance at all.

    I'm running a 2012 2.6 ghz quad w/ an SSD to boot, and second SSD for audio with 16 gb ram. My mini is really fast when handling any sort of everyday things (opening pdfs, streaming video, websites, excel). Your mini will easily handle that with no issues.

    I recently installed CS:GO just to play around with when I'm bored. Surprisingly, the Intel 4000 handled it with no lag. I was fully expecting some skipping etc since its not a dedicated GPU.

    My primary use for my mini is audio production, which is the only time it gets warm. If I run Logic for 4-5 hours, the mini's fan will notch up and it will be warm to the touch. I've never done a temperature test etc, so I'm not sure the actual temp its running at. With that being said, it also runs Logic flawlessly which is my most taxing usage of the computer. I have yet to run into performance or latency issues.

    To sum it up, I can't imagine your Mini will come close to slowing down or heating up if you are just writing, using pdfs, word documents, excel spreadsheets, music, videos, and doing some light gaming,
  12. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    My primary use of my 2.3GHz 2012 Mini is also writing. What you describe is pretty much how I use my Mini (except for the occasional gaming...) plus I always have a very large DEVONthink database open. I also use the Mini for image editing using a variety of software.

    The fan in my Mini has never made noise when viewing YouTube videos. I usually stream music via MOG or access a large iTunes music library. No Problemo...

    There is info here and on the Internet regarding how the current Minis run various games. Depending on what you like to play and the settings you are willing to accept the Mini may or may not cut the mustard.

    It sounds like an iMac would be over-kill for your purposes. And like someone mentioned, you have 14 days to return the Mini if it doesn't suit you.

    Frankly, I'd let go of your buyer's remorse and wait until it arrives. In the meantime I would stay away from online forums and the like so you won't waste precious time second-guessing your decision.
  13. Cuechick macrumors 6502


    May 30, 2010
    So Cal
    I just made a very similar switch. A 2008 mbp for the new mini. I bought my monitor in 2010, refurbished from Apple. A 30 inch cinema screen... I did have to buy another adapter so they would work together... other than that I have had no problem so far... though I have not really put to the test much either... yet.

    I think it was a good choice...and so far am happy with the purchase. An iMac is not even a option for me because the monitor is useless for the kind of photo editing I do.
  14. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    ^^ This . ^^

    The main problem with Apple is that they have intentional gaps in their desktop product lines.

    No max mini
    mini mac pro
    and/or headless iMac.

    Your use describes a need for one of those pieces of gear.

    Apple has not made this piece of gear for a real long time (cube?).

    So no matter what desktop you get you will tend to second guess about the other 2.
  15. zer0tails thread starter macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2008
    Thanks everyone! Your posts describing your experience with the mac mini have made me feel less remorseful. In fact, I'm actually wishing I had the mini right now to test!
  16. bigbird macrumors 6502

    Aug 17, 2007
    Zer0tails, I did exactly what you did. The only difference was that my 2008 MP had 12 GB of RAM instead of your 16 GB. I sold my MP last summer to a guy who needed it for ProLogic, or whatever the music program is called. I got a real good buck for it. I just got the exact Mini you ordered, except I upgraded to 16GB of RAM myself, instead of letting Apple gouge me for it.

    I couldn't be happier. Compared to the MP, this thing flies. With the Fusion Drive, bootup is really fast, yet I still have decent HD storage at 1TB.

    You didn't make a mistake. You will be very glad you upgraded.
  17. zer0tails thread starter macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2008
    Awesome, we have the same Mini and upgraded from the same old machine:p That is definitely good to hear that compared to the Mac Pro its way faster. What display are you running with your mini?

    Did you find that your MP was slowing down that's why you sold it? I'm wondering if it could be as a poster above suggested due to the Mac Pro's older xeon and ram architecture.

    By the way, I ordered my ram from Crucial not Apple :cool: Gotta save when you can! Because I was a bit miffed that the fusion drive brought the price of the mini past $1,000.
  18. slickadam macrumors member

    Nov 6, 2012
    Germany & Hungary
    My second thought on my Mac Mini:

    Back in November, I ordered a Mac Mini with the quad core CPU. As we know, there was that famous screen problem, so I sent it back very fast. After Apple released the "fix", I ordered an other one (base model, but this is unimportant).
    Everything "is" fine, I'm using the Thundebolt port to connect the Mini to my old Samsung monitor (with VGA).
    Today I made an experiment: I switched to the HDMI port. Straight HDMI-to-HDMI connection to my monitor ---> same old crushed whites, and the Mini can't even detect the correct resolution of my monitor (16:10). Tried with my Panasonic VT50 plasma tv ---> whites look good, resolution is f##ked up. This is just ridiculous. Stupid OS X can't set the resolution correctly??? (and don't tell me to try this or that, I tried everything). Even my - even more - stupid Windows notebook doesn't have problem with these things.
    I can live with the Mini, since - as I said - I use the TB port, but I'm a bit pissed off right now. :apple:
  19. utekineir, Jan 18, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2013

    utekineir macrumors 6502

    Feb 20, 2008
    Doing about the same switch.

    Have had a 2.8 08 octo mp for 5 years. Upgraded to 10gb, ssd, some platter drives and esata. Its only real shortcoming is the 2600xt which was reverted back to last year after a reflashed upgrade card died. If you are still on the 2600xt that may be the cause of your speed issues, there was absolutely a decrease in overall smoothness when i reverted. Nowdays you can pretty much just drop in modern nvidia cards (after running power cables).

    Got a base rmbp a couple months back, its utterly fantastic and now most of my computer time is spent on that.

    However was left needing a media server. My mp idles at about 200 watts, and still has some resale value. Was torn between a mini or nas, last week picked up an i7 mini to fill the role with the bonus of replacing the mp for desktop use. Upgraded it to 16g ram, will add an ssd down the road when a proper deal is found. It idles at about 13 watts on my meter, which is absolutely fantastic.

    Honestly, for my non professional use the only difference noticed between the 3 machines is the platter drive in the mini, and the 2600xt being severely outdated in the pro. All 3 encode in handbrake at virtually the same average fps. Each handles whatever is thrown at it (non gaming) without a hitch or hiccup. Each pcmarks (free 32 bit) at similar number.

    I will miss the internal drive bays, pci-e slots and how the noise stays consistent. But may as well get something back while there is still value to be recovered since the current i7 machines have caught up to the 5 year old pro.

    Imo the mini is more or less a side-grade over the 2.8 octo, trading hardware expandability for the bonus of significantly lower power consumption opening up home/media server options. That and hopefully several more years of os update support.

    Turning it on its side (power supply up) and removing the base had a huge difference in fan noise and temps while encoding btw. The little plate on the bottom is a massive air flow restriction.
  20. bigbird macrumors 6502

    Aug 17, 2007
    The same display I bought for my MP, a Dell 2407WFP. It still looks great.
  21. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    A "headless" iMac would be nice. But I personally don't need one; the Mini serves my needs quite nicely. Even if such a Mac was a reality I would have a hard time justifying the difference in price; after several months of use I now realize that I could have saved $200 because the i5 Mini would be good enough for me.

    I think that the Cube is a poor example for the point you are trying to make... It was initially far too expensive for what you got when compared to other G4 Macs. Substantially lowering the price didn't boost sales because its limited RAM capacity and lack of upgrade options meant it could not compete with other Macs. I loved how it looked but its size and design requirements along with Apple's hardware decisions makes it the first-generation Mac Mini.
  22. Acorn macrumors 68020


    Jan 2, 2009
    with the impending release of the new mac pro in 2013 i think selling it now rather then later was a god idea. once the new mac pro is released you wont be able to get as much for it.

    how much noise you get from the mini will depend what you do. going by what you listed i dont see it ramping up at all. it should be silent.
  23. 53x12 macrumors 68000


    Feb 16, 2009
    Please tell me you didn't order 16GB from Apple?
  24. zer0tails, Jan 18, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2013

    zer0tails thread starter macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2008
    Update: My mini is being prepared for shipment!! Oh the excitement :D

    Thanks for all the replies the macrumors community.

    Nope, ordered it from Crucial :) Apple charges way too much for Ram!


    Nice. With the octo mac pro I was using the Nvidia GT 120 card. The 2600xt had died a long time ago and wasn't very good anyways. So I don't know if that was the cause of the sluggishness.

    Haha a side grade. I've never heard that term before but good point. It doesn't always have to be either or :) The one thing I do like about the mini despite not having one yet is that when it comes time to retire the machine from "Everyday computing" use I can use it as a media server or connect it to my TV and install plex on it.

    So perhaps this will be one mac that will see a second life in my home rather than get sold.


    Thanks for your insights. I'm excited to see what the new 2013 mac pro brings. Hopefully it will be priced affordably too. The 2008 xeon mac pros were the best priced in my opinion (bang for the buck).


    Yeah the G4 Cubes were cool but that was really it. They were overly priced in terms of what you got. And it's fair to say that the G4 cube is the predecessor to the mac mini.

    A mac mini pro in my opinion would be the perfect set up. What is a mac mini pro you ask? I'm thinking a dedicated gpu, expandable ram, which the current mini already has and user serviceable hdd slots.
  25. utekineir macrumors 6502

    Feb 20, 2008
    Sounds like a hackintosh

    Its the avenue I would have taken if my focus was not on low power consumption. Really its the only valid option for building an os x computer with a dedicated gfx slot at the moment since the mac pro lineup is old and priced in the clouds.

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