The "Mac Mini" Enough for My Needs?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Lady Clara, Feb 26, 2015.

  1. Lady Clara, Feb 26, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2015

    Lady Clara macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2015
    #1
    Hello my name is Clara and thank you for taking the time to read my thread. My current Mac Mini which I think I have had since 2007-8 has stopped working.

    My elder brother who is a wizz with computers took it apart and was able to salvage my data. I would have only lost a few hours of work due to Time Machine but thanks to him nothing was lost. He tested the parts he could but nothing worked.

    I now find myself needing a new computer and I've used Apple computers all my life. So I really need an Apple computer in my opinion.

    I come from an affluent family and I've always had everything bought for me. However as I will be turning 17 this year my parents feel as I have a job I should pay for my own computer. I have to say if I was in their shoes I would feel the same way but my dreams of a 5K iMac seem distant now.

    Perhaps I am alone in saying so but I liked the Mac Mini even though it shows it age prematurely compared to Apple's other offerings. So I am quite content to buy another one. My only bugbear is that the current gen Mac Mini's are Dual-Core correct? I'm sure my last Mac Mini was a Dual-Core "Core 2 Duo" and at I bought that about 7 years ago...

    However I'm not sure I can stretch to an iMac at the moment. My parents will however buy me "the laptop of my choice" and a monitor when I go to Uni. That's still a few years away so I don't want to buy a MacBook now as I'll get a better one then.

    God sorry this if this is getting TL: DR... :p

    Bar the usual word-processing and social media stuff that a calculator can do these days these are my needs:


    • dBpoweramp

    Finally dBpoweramp has a OS X beta and I can start ripping my music in OS X instead of on a PC. I'm not sure if your familiar with it but it's an amazing CD ripping tool that uses "AccurateRip".

    It also comes with a batch-ripper, CD-Writer and music converter. I think most if not all I'm not sure about the CD burner make use of multiple threads but I could be wrong...

    I have an external Blu-ray drive and 100 disc CD/DVD/Blu-ray Autoloader just fyi. :)

    • Photoshop & Lightroom (on occasion Final Cut Pro)

    I use Photoshop and Lightroom for school and pleasure. However I don't have the latest (last retail version) and will not be buying the subscription until I reach Uni.

    My last Mac Mini struggled and I'm not sure if the current ones will do better this is where I would like your input. I know a lot of you will suggest an iMac for this reason but I'd rather not as I like the form factor of the Mimi.

    • Handbrake & DVDFab for Mac

    Purely for enjoyment here but I like to rip my Blu-rays to my Mac Mini's NAS (iPad friendly format). Again this takes forever and I can see an iMac being a big improvement on a Mac Mini but as this is just really stock gap I'd rather spend the other £1000 it would cost me to buy the iMac on clothes or CDs etc.

    The main use for the Mac Mini was listening to music via iTunes and Spotify and using FaceBook when not in Photoshop so I think I could live with a slower Mac for another 2 years. However if I really had to I would get the iMac but I will wait to see what you say.

    If you made it this far you are a saint and I applaud your persistence; Thanks for reading. ;)

    Clara
     
  2. Pharmscott, Feb 26, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2015

    Pharmscott macrumors 6502a

    Pharmscott

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    Dec 13, 2011
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    #2
    Sounds like a mini will be great for you. Would Handbrake rips happen faster on a more powerful iMac? Sure. But we're not talking life changing savings here. Be happy with your new mini now and look forward to a Macbook for college.
     
  3. jmiddel macrumors member

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    Mar 3, 2010
    Location:
    Land of Enchantment
    #3
    Get the mini with 16 gig of RAM and the 256 SSD and the i7 processor and it will be so much faster than your core duo!
     
  4. Lady Clara thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2015
    #4
    Great news thank you both! I would still appiracite other peoples opinions so will not mark as reloved just yet. In the meantime I shall do my happy dance. /dance :p

    Bis Später,

    Clara
     
  5. Gildarts macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2014
    #5
    What I can tell you is this.

    If speed is your concern. Make a CTO order and put in an SSD. I have seen video's on youtube where the Mac Mini is so slow to start up just because it doesn't have an SSD.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IgMPbPcF4o (video made about a week a go of the latest mac mini)

    The most speed you'll gain is from putting in an SSD. Sure you'll see improvement anyways compared to you're old one. But you'll see a MacBook like perfomance (bootup, wake from sleep) when you put it an SSD.

    A lot of people will tell you that 16GB is overkill and 8GB is enough. I would say keep the $200 extra and buy clothes and/or cd's with it.

    So my advice would be: midrange model, which has a stronger graphics card (that will help with your photoshop/lightroom stuff) + add in an SSD for an extra $200.

    That'll run you about $899. If you want to have 16GB instead of 8GB that'll add another $200 to your total making it $1099. Maybe get student discount?
     
  6. imaccooper macrumors regular

    imaccooper

    Joined:
    May 29, 2014
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #6
    I definitely agree with the SSD. That is an absolute must for overall speed. the i7 could be helpful when you are on some of the pro apps you mentioned so I think that is a smart choice as well.

    I'm not saying 16 gig of RAM is a bad thing or that it won't help on occasion, but I don't think it will make enough difference to justify its extra price.

    Overall I think you will enjoy a new mini as it will definitely be a great machine until (and even after) you can get a macbook pro.
     
  7. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #7
    Tough call

    I think a modern mac mini will do you fine (or a quad core 2012 if you can find one) but as with the others I'd reccomend an SSD or a fusion drive as a must have upgrade.

    So if we are looking at the mid range one with a 1TB fusion we see a price of £729.

    Where as an Imac of similar spec (1TB fusion) will be £1209 so a £500 difference.

    Yeah if you have a nice screen keyboard and mouse already I just can't reccomend an iMac for you although I think you'd love the quad core in photoshop and FCPX.

    Keep an eye on the apple refurbished store there are no imacs or minis in there at the moment but you may find a bargain....
     
  8. spatlese44 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2007
    Location:
    Milwaukee
    #8
    Mac Mini should do you fine. I'd agree what others are saying and vote for the SSD. You might want to think Fusion and I'd say the 8GB is the right idea. BTW, I've got two desktops; ones an iMac, the other a Mac Mini. The iMac needs replacing and while I like the Mini, the aesthetics of the room kind of say go with the iMac. The room the Mac Mini is in is a little more, let's say busy. I love the Mac Mini form factor and really wouldn't trade it for an iMac if it were offered to me. Sometimes I disconnect it and take it into the living room where I have an AppleTV, which I disconnect and plug the wires into the Mini. The power cord is the same, so plug that and the HDMI in and I'm up and running. Arguably more portable than a laptop.

    In terms of raw processing power, let's throw some ballpark geekbench numbers out here. I'm going to generalize as there's several models from each generation:

    64 bit Multi core

    2014 Mac Mini 7,000
    2012 Mac Mini (quad core) 12,000
    2013 iMac (quad core) 12,000
    2007 Mac Mini 1,800

    The point here is that 12,000 is not fantastically better than 7,000, but 7,000 is over three times what your old machine was doing. Dive into single core performance and factor in an SSD and better i/o and I don't think you're missing much going with the Mini. BTW, I replaced my 2009 Mini with the 2012. I'm not the type to replace every couple years, but there was quite a difference in performance. I won't get rid of it until the OS isn't supported anymore. That said, I would rather have a 2014 with a Fusion drive.
     
  9. Lady Clara thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2015
    #9
    Great post thank you the GeekBench numbers were helpful in away that I know that even though I'll be buying a Dual-Core it will be a massive improvement from what I had.

    Before my Mini died I did similar to your setup using it as a media center on the go using my iPhone/Pad to control iTunes. :)

    Clara x
     
  10. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    Oct 10, 2013
  11. Fishrrman macrumors G3

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #11
    Some folks will say, "you must get an SSD", but I believe you could do just as well with the 1tb fusion drive.

    This will save some money, and offer general performance that comes close to that of an SSD in most day-to-day operations. NO, it's NOT "pure SSD", but it's still pretty good.

    If you're going for a Mini, get AT LEAST the "mid-range" model. You get a significantly faster processor, 8gb of RAM (instead of 4gb), and better IRIS graphics.

    If you favor more internal storage space vs. "absolute speed", the fusion drive is the best buy.
    If you absolutely, positively have-to-have "the fastest speeds", then go SSD.

    But again, I think you'd do just fine with fusion.
     
  12. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #12
    I agree. A FD is part ssd. Also the mid-range mini would be the best buck for the buck for the OP. The 16gb ram upgrade is very likely wasted $$$.
     
  13. Gildarts macrumors regular

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    Oct 20, 2014
    #13
    A fusion drive doesn't save money over an SSD.

    The upgrade to either one is the same price ($200).
     
  14. mcnallym macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 28, 2008
    #14
    I would say with the Photoshop, and also the handbrake dvdfab then find a 2012 model Quad.
     
  15. Lady Clara thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2015
    #15
    Hi All!

    Thank you very.much for your time and suggestions. I have managed to get hold of a second hand 2010 Mac Mini for £20. I am going to upgrade it rather than splash cash on a new model (I can also avoid Yosemite :rolleyes:).

    I will say that I do not trust fusion drives I know how they work and I've seen the benchmarks but for me it's SSD or if possible PCIe flash storage all the way.

    I am looking for a toolkit to upgrade my Mini and any future computers can you help? LINK

    Thank you all!

    Clara x
     
  16. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #16
    Your mistrust of fusion drives is misplaced


    They have been around for 3 years now and have been as reliable as any other storage.
     
  17. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Location:
    Folding space
    #17
    How to fix/upgrade anything short of a nuclear reactor and the tools needed. Expect the reactor teardown as soon as they get back from Iran...

    iFixIt

    Dale
     
  18. spatlese44 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2007
    Location:
    Milwaukee
    #18
    You got quite the deal. These things are going for more like $350 (£225). If you are avoiding Yosemite to keep TRIM, there's the Angelbird route. Not sure if they won't find a way to block that from working one day, but apparently it's working for now.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1812663&page=8
     
  19. Lady Clara, Mar 4, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2015

    Lady Clara thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2015
    #19
    I know they have been around for awhile I just doubt their intelligence. They are supposed to prioritize certain applications and store them on the flash section of the drive. From my limited experience with fusion drives this is not a seamless operation; Perhaps they have improved but considering how important your boot drive is to performance and how cheap external storage is I'd go go for flash even if you get less GBs for your money...


    Thanks Dale I'm going to order a kit from iFixIt when I get paid. You made me laugh :) x



    I couldn't believe it when I got it back and got it working a steal indeed. I am not going to lie or act smart I don't know what TRIM is, nor have I heard of Angelbird. Thank you for the info off to Google. ^_^

    Thanks All,

    Clara x
     
  20. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #20
    Trim keeps your SSD in tip top condition...

    there is a small trim enabler app that will turn this on but in yosemite it can cause problems if you don't turn it off before you do updates that need a restart. I also won't pretend to be clever I don't know why I just know it's an issue...
     
  21. Lady Clara thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2015
    #21
    I didn't mean what I said in s bad way. I had no idea about the TRIM issue or App I've just looked it up but I didn't want to appear as if I knew what it was when I didn't.

    Thank you for the info I will get the app. :)

    Clara x
     
  22. Lady Clara thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2015
    #22
    Is this the app? Thanks again for your time.

    Clara x
     
  23. casperes1996 macrumors 65816

    casperes1996

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Location:
    Horsens, Denmark
    #23
    Well, I'll take the role as the bastard who pretends to be clever then.

    When you delete data from an SSD, the data isn't actually removed from the drive. Instead, the data is marked as "unused", and the OS is told it can use this space for other data. SSDs however benefit from having free storage, and not just "marked as unused storage". Going into more technical detail than that may be pointless, but essentially, TRIM tells the SSD to wipe the data that is marked as "Unused" entirely. Note that this command is sent when the SSD is in idle, and isn't constantly happening. From my understanding, it'll also make recovering deleted data harder, which can be a positive or a negative, depending on whether you work with sensitive data or not. In the end, it makes sure the SSDs don't degrade in speed over time.

    Also, Clara... See, there's something interesting happening in the industry, where CPUs don't really get as much faster year over year as they used to, and their performance generally matters less and less relative to GPUs that are becoming more and more important. Don't get me wrong, the CPUs are still important, but a lot of things are happening in GPGPU (General purpose Graphics Processing Units). In other words, a fast CL GPU accelerating CPU tasks may be as beneficial as a fast CPU. So looking at the Geekbench numbers that were posted that only focus on CPU, does paint the full picture. Yes a quad-core mini is still faster in terms of multi-threaded tasks and so on, but with GPU acceleration, especially in let's say Final Cut, the difference is less than it seems because of Iris. Now, I realise you've already bought a new machine, and I hope you're happy with it, but for future consideration, I thought it noteworthy.

    Also, in regards to Fusion; I've done extensive testing with PCIe SSDs, Fusion Drives, and HDDs of differing speeds. I've tested with various capacities and fill percentages, and Fusion Drives are managed extremely well by the OS. Testing obviously showed some difference (although actually minor), but I couldn't feel a difference at all (except when working with large FCPX files) between a Fusion and a pure SSD setup. If Apple would just move to Fusion Drives with a 256gb SSD allocation, instead of 128, it'd be perfect, but as it is, it's darn near closed to perfect.

    I don't know how far ahead the prospect of an iMac and a MacBook is, but I suggest waiting for upgrades on the iMac retina, and the MBP. As a rule of thumb, I say that if there's no haste, always buy after new models are released. There's nothing more annoying than buying an MBP a month before the next comes out, and the next having major benefits over the old. (I did this once. Not because I didn't want to wait, but because it was urgent. I expected a new model would be out soon, but my old one died (darn you Radeongate), and I desperately needed it for school).

    If you've any questions about anything, I am at your assistance Clara.

    -Casper

    ----------

    Thought I'd give you a quote too, so that you don't miss the above, in case it is of use to you.
    Oh, and yes. That's the app.
     

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