Should I buy a Mac Mini 2014 or Macbook Pro Retina 13" 2014?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by kid72, Oct 3, 2014.

  1. kid72 macrumors newbie

    Oct 3, 2014
    I am planning to buy a Mac, but I am wondering which one I should buy to fit my needs and I would like to ask for your advice.

    I am a software guy, mostly work with embedded development. Reasons why I want a Mac:
    - I want to have experience with iOS programming and OS X -> definitely need a Mac.
    - Apple's hardware is said to be the most stable and powerful.
    - My current laptop wants to break up with me :(

    What I need from my Mac:
    - Powerful enough, most of the time it will be used as a desktop connected to an external LCD (already have one).
    - Be able to run OSX, Linux, Windows (as my understanding, there will be no big issues using BootCamp)
    - Portability is nice to have. (I don't know whether I will need a laptop or not)​

    Why Mac Mini or Macbook Pro Retina 13"?
    - Mac Pro is too expensive for me.
    - iMac's price is about the same as MBPR but I would rather choose Macbook Pro at this price (portability)
    - Macbook Air is not so powerful compared to Mac Mini or Macbook Pro.​

    Mac Mini 2014, expected to be announced late of this month (i7, custom 8GB DDR3, 1TB SATA) or Macbook Pro Retina 13" 2014 (i5, 8G DDR3L, 128GB SSD)?
    I am wondering which one I should choose:
    - Mac Mini: i7 but SATA 5400rpm, not so portable, cheaper
    - MBPR 13": i5 but SSD + portability + Iris Graphic Card, more expensive

    Please help give me some advice or suggestions. Thanks :D
  2. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Who knows what the new mini will be

    IF there is a new mini we have no idea where they are going with it. Will it have macbook air internals like the new low end Imac??? Will it have macbook pro internals, we can sure hope so, will it be upgradable have all the connections you need etc etc etc. Seems odd to be making a choice on something you have no idea about.

    If you need portability and some power then the pro 13 is ideal for your needs, of course this will not be desktop class in any way but for development as long as you don't have a lot of 3D graphics etc should be fine.

    I would reccommend an SSD in any modern computer they make all the difference in day to day use, a minimum of a fusion drive is pretty much a must these days.
  3. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2013
    First of all, a new Mac Mini this month is unlikely. Just by the way, the Mac Mini uses the exact same internals as the MBP lineup, so any Broadwell Mini would most likely be released at the same time as the rMBPs, assuming there is no external upgrade to either lineup. If the Mac Mini comes out this month, or even this year, we have no idea what the internals will be, and we have no idea what the externals will be. They may just discontinue the machine altogether.

    If they do release a mini later this month, the baseline model will most likely come with exactly the same internals as the 13" rMBP, assuming the trend continues. This means it will have the same processor, the same GPU, the same type of RAM, and maybe even the same SSD. If it doesn't come standard with an SSD, you should pay to upgrade to one anyways, whether it can be done via a 3rd party or through Apple.

    Another fun fact. For most tasks, the MBA currently performs better than the 13" rMBP just because it runs about 30% the amount of pixels. If you need a quad-core mac at under $1000, the Mac Mini is probably your answer. If you would like portability and don't need the extra kick, a MBA or a rMBP will do just fine.

    Quite frankly, the assertions you are making about an October Mac Mini release are overly ambitious. Apple may release a Mac Mini this month, but the chances are slim to none. Even if it does release this month, there have been no leaks, so we have absolutely no idea what Apple's plan for it is. It may come with standard SSD. It may not be user upgradeable anymore. We have no idea, or at least I don't, so I can't really tell you what to do.

  4. jtara macrumors 68000

    Mar 23, 2009
    You're speculating about two products that don't exist, and may not exist in the future.

    Do you need a notebook? Then get the notebook. Otherwise get the Mini. Pretty easy choice. They'll have similar specs.

    You want a Fusion drive.

    A good strategy for a developer is to flip between notebook and Mini. I started with a 2008 Aluminum Macbook. When it felt too slow I got a 2012 Mac Mini. I will probably update the notebook next, but, hey, if I can get a decent price for the Mini or have some other use for it, I might just get the Mini too.

    I don't think they'll update the Mini in 2014. I think they are waiting for the right chipset to really make a performance difference.
  5. kid72 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 3, 2014
    According to, the MBPR 13" 2014 has higher benchmark point than MBA 2014. So I am curious how do you know MBA performance is better than MBPR?


    Thanks Samuelsan2001, mad3inch1na and jtara!
    I agree that I was too ambitious to make an assumption that Mac Mini will be released next month. It's all because I am new to Mac world and I read this rumor:
    I thought after 2 years with no update for Mac Mini and Broadwell devices schedule might be delayed till end of next year, this rumor may become correct. My assumptions about new Mac mini (if released) are totally based on the old Mac Mini 2012 and some other news (Mac Mini configuration normally will be similar to the latest Macbook Pro).

    Btw, thanks to Samuelsan2001 about the SSD suggestion.

    Anyway, please help me to make a comparison again between:
    - Mac Mini 2012 (i7, custom 8GB, custom 256GB SSD)
    - Macbook Pro Retina 2014 13" (i5, 8GB, 128GB SSD)
    For these two, the prices are almost the same and I seem prefer MBPR. But does the i7 of Mac Mini is much more powerful than the i5 of MBPR?

    I also have another question: Do 128GB SSD and 256GB SSD make a big difference about the performance? (since storage is not the problem, both of them are not enough and I will use an external USB 3.0 storage instead)
  6. yukyuklee macrumors 6502


    Jan 4, 2011
    Boston, MA

    All depends on what you are planning to do with the laptop\mini if you are going to do minor stuff like browse the web a little bit of photos etc etc get the i5. If you are going to do some heavy photoshop, video editing, using a lot of power hungry programs than get the i7 for the hyper threading.

    As for the SSD size between the both you won't notice anything different in speeds\writes.
  7. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2013

    That benchmark tests for CPU performance, independent of the GPU and the display. For CPU intensive tasks, the rMBP will perform better than the MBA. Like I said though, for most tasks, like web browsing, writing, watching movies, and gaming, the MBA will have less UI animation lag. The MBA GPU is about 20% worse than the one in the rMBP, and it runs 1/3 the pixels. This is not my personal experience, but forum members who own both computers have made this claim.


Share This Page