Used Mac Minis still worth it?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by AmishIndy, Jan 6, 2017.

  1. AmishIndy
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    AmishIndy

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    #1
    Considering gettting a 2010 mac mini as a media center pc. is this a good idea?
     
  2. triptolemus
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    triptolemus

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    Apr 17, 2011
    #2
    Try to find a Late 2012 - the last of the "user serviceable" -- can easily upgrade RAM, HDD

    As my daily driver, I'm rocking a Late 2012 mini w/ an i5, 16 GB RAM and an 500 GB SSD. Great machine, no issues running latest macOS.
     
  3. chuxdaddy
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    chuxdaddy

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    #3
    A month ago I was able to find a 2012 quad core mac mini server for $699. I owned a 2009 mini, and wanted to upgrade to a quad. But in 2014 Apple killed my dream. OWC has some quad core macs, but they are rather pricey. Check out mac of all trades, maybe they might have what you are looking for.
     
  4. DonCarlos
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    DonCarlos

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    #4
    "Try to find a Late 2012".

    Yup that is the better thing to do,
     
  5. Boyd01
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    Boyd01

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    #5
    I wouldn't get a 2010, just too old and it doesn't have USB3. But I agree on the 2012 models, they are still very serviceable. I bought a used 2012 quad i7 2.6 with 16gb and original Apple 256gb SSD from OWC a couple months ago. I love this machine, it is dedicated to video editing and has cut my render times in half. OWC is a bit expensive, but they also offer a 90 day warranty and 14 day return/exchange period. I felt the peace of mind was worth the additional cost.

    I had a base 2012 mini that I upgraded to 16gb (cost $65) and an external Samsung T3 512gb SSD (about $170). Ended up with a very responsive little machine that I gave to my daughter's family for Christmas. They are beyond thrilled with it. :)
     
  6. jpietrzak8
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    jpietrzak8

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    #6
    As everyone here has mentioned, the 2012 is currently the best choice for a used Mini, at least in terms of functionality.

    But, as I am typing this post right now on a 2010 Mini, let me go ahead and put a plug in for it. If all you are doing is playing media, a 2012 Mini is going to be overqualified in terms of CPU power. In fact, the 2010 Mini is going to be overqualified. :)

    On the plus side, the 2010 has a Core2Duo processor (which, while antique at this point, is still usable), the ability to upgrade its RAM to 16 GB (which, again, you really don't need for serving media), and the very nice Nvidia GeForce 320M GPU. It has HDMI and Mini DisplayPort ports; the HDMI can drive up to a 1920x1080 display, and the mDP a 2560 x 1600 display.

    On the minus side, it is now a fairly old machine. So hardware issues could become a problem. The ports are fairly old (no USB3, no ThunderBolt), although it does have a Firewire 800 available, so you can get at least a little speed out of external drives. Also, while Apple still supports the 2010 with the latest version of macOS, there's no guarantee that they will continue to do so in the future. And yeah, if you have a TV with a higher resolution than the 320M GPU can manage, you won't be able to drive it directly from the Mini.

    In any case, if you can find a good deal on a 2010 machine, I would go for it. It is still quite a capable performer for many tasks, especially for things like serving media.
     
  7. AmishIndy
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    AmishIndy

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    Nov 26, 2016
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    #7
    of course the down side of the 2012 is that lacks an optical drive. The TV is a 6 year old 22" westinghouse with a dying chromebook plugged into the hdmi port. The kids killed our dvd player and we do have a bunch of dvds. Plus I like front row. my only worry is that without continued support from developers, the internet will become as impossible to use as it is on my wife's eMac.
     
  8. jpietrzak8
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    jpietrzak8

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    #8
    Not a problem. USB DVD drives are dirt-cheap and plentiful; I have one connected to my 2007 Mini (it's internal drive died years ago), and it works just fine.
     
  9. Meister
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    Meister

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    Oct 10, 2013
    #9
    As everyone else said: get a 2012 mini

    they are better than the 2016 ones ...
     
  10. scgf
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    Location:
    Market Harborough, UK
    #10
    I have a late 2012 i5 MacMini with a 500GB SSD and it flies. I run Windows 10 on it as MacOS doesn't display fonts as crisply as Windows on an external monitor - a known problem. I installed Windows manually rather than using Boot Camp so I could use EFI boot which isn't supported by Boot Camp on this model.
     
  11. EightyTwenty
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    macrumors 6502

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    #11
    Graphics will be a MAJOR bottleneck on all used Mac Minis. The 2012 has a paltry HD4000.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 17, 2017 ---
    I'm glad I'm not going crazy.

    I just had to return my 2014 Mac Mini because fonts looked HORRIBLE compared to Windows 10. Literally to the point of being unusable. Went back to Windows and it's like a breath of fresh air. I can actually read text again!

    And yes, I fiddled around with text smoothing (on, off, different levels... nothing worked).

    It also felt extremely slow and laggy, I guess mainly due to the 5400 spinner inside (I'm used to SSD).

    I will say that macOS looks GORGEOUS in retina and I plan to save up for a retina iMac.
     
  12. Boyd01
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    Boyd01

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    #12
    I agree. I have a 2014 base Mini and it is surprisingly slow. I only use it as an iTunes server, so it's fine for that. But I also had a 2012 base Mini with the same slow 500gb hard drive and it felt faster.
     
  13. tibas92013
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    #13
    [
    It also felt extremely slow and laggy, I guess mainly due to the 5400 spinner inside (I'm used to SSD).



    [/QUOTE]

    MY Refurbished MM(Late 2014), 2.8GHZ,8GB Ram, 256SSD is one "FAST Beast" as it boots-up and opens Apps in a few Seconds.
     
  14. macgeek18
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    macgeek18

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    #14
    I just bought a 2011 i5 Mini for home use. Is it the fastest ever no. But I sure beats the Core Duo Mini I have been using. And if I need power I have a quad core computer that works for that.
     
  15. MH01
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    MH01

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    #15
    2012 is the best chocie , a 2010 will work fine, but will not have the longegeviety of the 2012. Heck the 2012 is superior to the current unit
     
  16. scgf
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    #16
    I originally bought my Mac Mini 2012 last year as it offered exactly what I wanted and the older Intel i5 chipset is absolutely fine - later iterations haven't offered much more. I bought a good Dell monitor but I found the screen fonts were dreadful. I tried all the solutions online, like forcing RGB mode, tweaking anti aliasing etc. to no avail. I decided to give up on MacOS and install Windows 10. I found a way of installing Windows in EFI mode natively - which doesn't happen with BootCamp on older Macs. BootCamp installs Windows in an emulated mode which boots more slowly and just isn't as good. The font display is hugely better than in MacOS and I found I actually prefer Windows 10 over MacOS. I agree that the retina font display on the new iMac is beautiful - I initially bought the 21" 4K model but the screen was not a uniform colour. It had a slight bluish hue at the top and a yellowish hue at the bottom. Absolutely not acceptable so I returned it.

    My future upgrade plan is to buy something like an Intel NUC and a 4K monitor, but the Mac Mini is very fast with an SSD and I actually have no need for anything with more power. A new machine with an Intel i5 really wouldn't be noticeably faster - although the graphics would be better. Having said that I don't do anything graphic intensive so the Intel HD 4000 graphics chipset in the Mini is more than good enough.
     

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