Specific use case - which Mini?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by xxmarkc, Jan 5, 2015.

  1. xxmarkc macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2011
    I want to get a Mini to leave on site (I don't want to lug the MacBook Pro in and out everyday) and I only have one thing I want to do with it, and that is exploring OpenCL development using Xcode6 and Swift.

    The (old) Windows laptop I am prepared to leave on site is not up to the task. After a couple of days I have failed to get the Intel Kernel builder to work. I could live with Visual Studio and C/C++ for this exercise - but I can't get it to work.

    I have managed to get the HelloWorld OpenCL example on the Mac Developer site working with Swift on my MacBook Pro so I am convinced (since essentially the hardware in a mini is very similar to my MacBook Pro) a mini will do.

    I have watched Ebay over the last few weeks - and I see no point in paying those prices for something 2nd hand with no aftersales. I would rather pay a bit extra and go the refurb or new route. BTW I can't understand why the 2nd hand market is so expensive - but that is another story.

    There is nothing on the Apple refurb store in the UK. But I can get a dual core 2.3 i5 with 4G of RAM and 500G from a supplier offering 3m of warranty for £400. I would then get a 8G stick for around £60 and end up with a 10G machine which I could later put a SSD in (and more RAM).

    Or for essentially the same investment (well £20 more) I can get a new 2014 mini with slower processor, 8G rather than 10G, but HD5000 rather than 4000, and a 12m warranty - with no upgrade path.

    Since I am only going to want to do one thing with Mini - maybe 4G will do?

    I see no point now is getting a souped up 2014 mini - I don't need it, the price rises very quick once you start kitting out, and I would rather wait and see the 2015/2016 mini as I am confused which direction the mini is going in.

    I see myself with a choice between either buying old hardware that has flexibility I might never need, or buying new hardware with no flexibility that I might need.

    So 2 closed questions - For OpenCL programming with Xcode6:

    a) 4GB or 8GB?
    b) refurb 2012 2.3 i5, or new 2014 1.4 i5?
  2. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    4gb would work fine, but I would be worried about the 1.4ghz cpu in the 2014.
    I would choose the 2012 base model, new from :apple: if possible, and upgrade later as you need to.
  3. dyt1983, Jan 5, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2015

    dyt1983 macrumors 65816

    May 6, 2014
    edit: To remove personally identifying info not relevant to the conversation.
  4. P00t macrumors member

    Mar 14, 2012
    Nottingham UK
    Sorry to sound like a pusher but I have a 2 month old Mac Mini 2012 with 8GB of ram I upgraded myself.

    I can do it for £400 shipped if you're interested.

    Full warranty intact (10 months left) and you can of course add more warranty via apple care.

    I'm in the UK by the way.
  5. xxmarkc thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2011
    Pusher no. Before answering - looking at your other posts it seems you have 2m after getting the 2012 model gone for a 2014 upgrade. Interested in which spec you went for, and why?
  6. P00t macrumors member

    Mar 14, 2012
    Nottingham UK
    I actually went from a Mac Pro 2010 to the Mac Mini 2012 since I found it was pretty much too much power for what I do.

    Believe it or not, the single core performance from the Mac Mini beats the Mac Pro and I never fully used all of the Quad cores from the system.

    When I purchased the Mac Pro, I had intentions of using it for photoshop type stuff for a small printing company I planned to do, but I changed my mind due to power usage of the printer I was using didn't quite cover the costs.

    I found the 2012 Mac Mini was more than capable of doing what I wanted with Photoshop, so I always had plans to to get another Mac Mini.

    I also found out about how much power my Mac Pro was consuming while being left on without use, which was shocking compared to the Mac Mini.

    I love the Mac Mini now, it has more than enough power for what I do (Movies playing, music playing, downloading, internet surfing and even some gaming with external GPU).

    At the weekend I was shopping around and made a splurge purchase on the mid model 2014 for the reason that I could add an internal PCIE SSD drive, although I've found some disadvantages to this.....the cost of the drives compared to standard 2.5".

    Along with with that, it's got 2 thunderbolt2 ports which would work better for my external GPU (GTX980).

    So for me Thunderbolt2 and easier access to a PCIe SSD.

    Of course I could of installed an SSD inside the 2012, but I don't have any Apple stores near me, so I don't fancy voiding the warranty on that part.

    This has still been a costly splurge LOL

    Sale of my Mac Mini 2012 will cover most of it I guess.

    P.S. Sorry to blabber on and on
  7. xxmarkc thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2011
    So got distracted by other priorities - and had to put this project on hold for a bit. Still mulling over what to do. I am veering away from buying a 2012 model and started to think the mid 2014 model might be a sensible model to buy.

    Yesterday I saw that model and the base model on the refurb store. At 15% discount the prices start to look very attractive. Hell £340 for the base model is starting to get close to my impulse buy-and-don't-care-if-I-regret price point!

    The only thing that is holding me back from buying a refurb (apart from waiting for the mids to reappear) is that further down the list I see I can buy as base spec Pro for £2200. That is way above my impulse buy point, but 3 years ago I paid £1500 for my base spec 27inch iMac. Even that base spec pro would blow my iMac out of the water - and after 3 years I can justify an upgrade.

    The new pro is almost as luggable as the Mini !
  8. scottsjack macrumors 68000

    Aug 25, 2010
    I am still of the belief that buying a 2014 mini with any less than the mid i5 and 8GB RAM is going to result in a mini that is harder to sell in the future. While I am an i7 fan the mini I would want to put on the market in 2019 would at least be a 2.8GHz i5 with 16GB RAM. Think about it. Right now who wants to buy a 2009 mini with 2.0 C2D and 2GB RAM?
  9. ixxx69 macrumors 65816

    Jul 31, 2009
    United States
    I disagree with this logic... spending a bunch of money on what you don't need in order to sell it for a little more five years from. That's just doesn't make sense to me. What would make more sense as an "investment" is to take the money you would have spent on upgrades you don't need and invest it in Apple stock or a mutual fund. I do consider resale when looking at budget, but...

    Plenty. So, that exact configuration (with a 160GB HDD) went for US$165 on ebay yesterday. It originally cost US$650 for that configuration (AFAIK), which basically breaks down to less than $100/year (about $8/month) to own that computer if purchased in 2009. Whether you think that's a good deal or not is personal opinion/budget, but IMO, that's the way to look at it.
  10. gpspad macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2014
    Good point. I kind of found that the money I put into the mac mini, I could have grabbed an iMac in the end.

    I have more flexibility with the mini; being able to use the monitor with another computer, or being able to just replace mac mini with another one of it breaks.

    But when everything was tallied up, the iMac was not such a bad deal. Same argument on an apple display vs all the extra stuff you have to end up buying for the non apple monitor.
  11. xxmarkc thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2011
    Well five months rumbled by and I resolved this in a way I did not expect. In the end I was not prepared to buy a 3 year old 2012 mini to get the upgradability. Yes they come up every now and then on the refurb store (so have a guarantee). I was not prepared to buy of Ebay - watched many auctions. The only other reputable source I found was http://www.hoxtonmacs.co.uk. I nearly took a refurb base 2014 many times - but in the end I could not face buying a new mac in 2015 without a SSD. Equipping yourself with a 2012 MacMini with SDD is not a cheap option, and is 3 years old. For a 2014 Mac Mini the "with SSD" price is way more than the base price.

    Today I saw PC world were offering £50 of all MacBook Airs. So I read many, many 4G v 8G RAM threads and then went and brought the 11 inch one. This is a third Mac and in no way is intended to replace my MacBook Pro or iMac. Yes I have paid £700 rather than £400 - but I feel for the £300 difference I have got something with far more utility value. I can carry the air back and from work with no hassle.

    Its a bit like what is the best camera? The one you alway have on you!
  12. Celerondon macrumors 6502a


    Oct 17, 2013
    Southern Cal
    How much RAM did your MacBook Air come with?
  13. xxmarkc, Jun 29, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2015

    xxmarkc thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2011
    I got the 4gb one - they only had 4gb models in store. In the end I wanted to keep the cost down. The closer I got to 1k the more I would say sod it I will get the 13 inch rMBP instead. When I need more RAM I will have to use another computer. After using it I am totally sold on SSD. Planning to ditch the optical drive in my MacBook Pro very soon!

    i really like the form factor. it fits in the same sleeve as the iPad2 I retired last week (and does not weigh much more).

    i still want a mini, but will wait till you get the guts of an air inside it for £400-£500.

Share This Page