Upgrade 2008 Alu Macbook to Mac Mini?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by LERsince1991, May 26, 2015.

  1. LERsince1991 macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2008

    I was hoping to get some advice and discussion going about what to replace my macbook with.

    For the last 6/7 years I have used my Macbook to its absolute maximum load and upgrading the components every couple of years for educational use. This includes photoshop, aperture, 2D/ 3D CAD modelling/drawing, indesign etc...

    I have now completed my course (Architecture, UK), bought an apartment and got a job.

    I now intend to use a new mac set up as a desktop, running 24/7 as a media server (iTunes, Plex), as well as the occasional use on light photo editing (18mp RAW) and other things. I have a large number of high capacity hard drives used for archiving and media storage so more USB 3.0 ports would be useful (I am currently running from one macbook USB).

    Current Specs - Very happy with this machine
    Macbook Unibody (Late 2008)
    2.4Ghz Core 2 Duo P8600 Processor
    8GB 1067 MHz DDR3 RAM
    250GB Samsung EVO 840 SSD
    500GB 5400rpm HDD (Secondary, in CD Drive Place)
    NVIDIA GeForce 9400M 256MB Graphics

    Desired/ Minimum/ Comparable Specs
    Processor: Slight improvement appreciated (single threaded performance)
    Hard Drive: SSD? (but not sure how much I'll be able to cope with a HDD)
    Any slight improvement in graphics (Would be good to future proof with ability to run 4k tv/monitor)

    I also intent to purchase an iPad (/pro) when the new ones launch in 4 months and upgrade my iPhone 5s at the same time.

    Processor Benchmark Comparison
    Link to source
    (Single thread score in brackets)

    2008 Core 2 Duo 2.4Ghz P8600 - 1558 (947)
    2014 i5 1.4Ghz>TB>2.7Ghz 4260U - 3620 (1543) / +63% increase in single threaded tasks
    2014 i5 2.6Ghz>TB>3.1Ghz 4278U 4303 (1689) / +78% increase in single threaded tasks


    So really I just want to kind of trade my current macbook for a slightly improved lower power desktop machine which I can leave on and serve its purpose but do not want to drop any performance.

    I also do not want to spend more than my machine is currently worth (£500 budget maximum)

    So I am looking at a Mac Mini.
    I still get HE Edu Discount.

    What do you recommend?
    How much difference will an SSD/ Fusion make against the HDD? (I certainly won't pay £180 more for the fusion)
    How quickly does the 1.4Ghz i5 scale up to its 2.7Ghz turbo boost? (for all tasks?)
    How hard is it to replace the HDD with an SSD in the new Mac Mini?
  2. addictive macrumors 6502

    Jul 6, 2008
    Current Mac Mini is not upgradeable after purchase

    I am typing on the same excellent machine you have. The Macbook Unibody (Late 2008), 2.4Ghz Core 2 Duo Processor. I installed 8GB of DDR3 RAM and a 256SSD too. It works brilliantly considering how many years old it is. My only problem is the very poor battery life (100 minutes and i'm on my third battery).

    I've been tempted by the Mac Mini but over the past five years it seems :apple: cares very little for the machine which once was so attractive especially to switchers. I think the current low end machine has criminally low specs and I wish :apple: would put SSDs in all their machines across the line. There is no way for Apple to justify having a spinning HDD in your Mac in 2015.

    The Mac Mini has been manufactured now in a way that makes upgrading near impossible (go watch the relevant youtube videos for proof). If you are thinking of trying to add RAM or another HDD after purchase think again. You'll have to future proof your Mac Mini at the time of purchase.

    I would suggest buying the i5 (both processor options i5 or i7 on this current model are dual core) and load it up with 16GB RAM. I'd suggest your configuration should have the PCI-e Flash 256 SSD rather than the fusion. If you are running various external drives off USB3 or Thunderbolt this should be okay.

    Other board members might suggest you go for the Fusion drive option. I'm interested in what they have to say.
  3. LERsince1991 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2008
    Thanks, I'm trying to do this fairly low cost but of course I want a machine that will last!

    8gb will be enough given that's what I've been using for about 4 years on massive files. Now I'm dropping down to standard usage so I am sure 8gb will be enough especially with the +50% increase in clock speed and I can't warrant the extra cash on the 16gb upgrade.

    I understand it's soldered and the HDd is hard to get at, and voids warranty?

    I understand that when oushed the 1.4ghz i5 in turbo boost at 2.7ghz will give a +63% increase in CPUs speed compared to my current system. But will turbo boost kick in instantly when needed so it feels like a 2.7ghz system on a single app single thread task and given is has the thermal capacity available, or will it feel like a measly 1.4ghz processor and only turbo boost when it hits 100% and is forced to do a complex task faster?

    What I am unsure about is how much of a different the spinner vs SSD will make given I am used to SSD speed on my current system. It's a huge cost addition for the fusion and even more for the PCI-e SSD upping to the mid range mini.
  4. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    You could just get the one with a normal hd and swap it out for your ssd as the normal HD is sata connected, I think that will void the warranty but you can swap the HD back if you have any issues and they'll never know....

    See here for details

    FYI I'd never buy another computer without some sort of SSD they are the best thing to happen to computing in decades...
  5. spatlese44 macrumors 6502

    Dec 13, 2007
    You will be unhappy without an SSD. Yes, you can do it yourself, but the Apple version is faster, has native TRIM support (that's going to continue to work) and no risk with warranty and installation. For the small amount you would save, it's not worth it IMO. For a 500GB SSD, the math works out a little different, but you probably don't need that.

    Student discount also applies to the SSD. In the US, you only save $20 on the computer, but the fusion drive is $25 cheaper as an option ($225 vs $250).
  6. LERsince1991, May 27, 2015
    Last edited: May 27, 2015

    LERsince1991 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2008
    Some costs:

    Mac Mini - £650
    Dual Core i5 2.6Ghz > 3.1Ghz
    8gb ram
    SSD or fusion - 256gb
    Iris Graphics

    Mac Mini - £610
    Dual Core i5 1.4Ghz > 2.7Ghz
    8gb ram
    1TB Fusion
    5000 Graphics

    Mac Mini - £500
    Dual Core i5 1.4Ghz > 2.7Ghz
    8gb ram
    256GB DIY SSD
    5000 Graphics

    Mac Mini - £430
    Dual Core i5 1.4Ghz > 2.7Ghz
    8gb ram
    500GB HDD
    5000 Graphics

    Mac Mini - £360
    Dual Core i5 1.4Ghz > 2.7Ghz
    4gb ram
    500GB HDD
    5000 Graphics

    Screen +£100
    Keyboard +£30
    Mouse £owned

    I'm probably looking at £650 upwards with the screen.

    But still unsure about the 1.4Ghz as in unsure how regularly the turbo boost will kick in, can anyone help with this point?

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5 May 26, 2015