Want a new Mini but I'm confused

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by sahni130, Dec 26, 2013.

  1. sahni130, Dec 26, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2013

    sahni130 macrumors 6502

    sahni130

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Location:
    Atlanta, Georgia, United States
    #1
    I'm looking to replace my aging iMac with a newer Mini. Though I love iMacs, I already have two Dell monitors, external hard drives, etc that I like and would like to make use of, as well as the :apple: wireless keyboard and Logitech mouse. I'm going to retire my MBP for the most part and really just keep it around for on-the-go use, trips, or I may just sell it as I'm no longer very mobile.

    I would like to get a new desktop to which I can transfer all of my files, photos, music and use it to host those files via the Server app. Now i've tried "docking" my MBP with the monitors,etc but I find that idea inconvenient and annoying. Not to mention you cannot, or perhaps should not, run the mbp 24/7 as a server.

    OPTION ONE:
    1. Base 2.5 Ghz Mini ($569.99)
    2. WD MyBook 3TB Ex-HDD ($120)
    3. 16GB Ram ($150)
    4. Powered USB 3.0 Hub ($25)
    5. Magic Trackpad ($63) or Logitech trackpad for $25-30?
    6. Maybe replace the Dell 20-inch with a Dell 23-inch, to complement the other 23-inch? (Approx $160)
    Approx total cost: $920 from BH
    OPTION 2: all of the above, save for the 2.3 Ghz Quad-Core i7 Mini ($739)
    Cost $1082

    I like the idea of having the quad core version because I feel like it would speed up my amateur film (iMovie), and minor iPhoto and Aperture use, as well as the usual heavy Office, browsing, and moderate media consumption (Netflix, Handbrake, etc) use. Besides, having the same 2.5 Ghz i5 processor in a desktop seems counterintuitive and redundant. I do want 16GB for longetivtiy, etc, not to mention I'm maxing 8GB on my MBP now and frequently.

    I would be buying end of next month (January) or beginning of February, though I could wait a week or two. I would love to have Iris or Iris Pro graphics, or better, in a Mini but I'm afraid the next-gen might be less upgradable. I would like to add an SSD in the future, maybe, so yeah. i'd also like to keep it around $100 or below and would not mind considering open-box or refurbish deals as hey come along. So far the HD4k has not let me down, and runs along fine with HD movies, netflix etc so I don't think that'll be too much of an issue, though it does hurt, if you will, two pay for what is essentially 2-yr old hardware.

    I don't think another iMac makes too much sense, and i like the idea of being able to keep the monitors and replacing the cpu, etc or vice-versa. What do you suggest?

    Thank you for always giving constructive advice.
    Love the Mac Community.
    -Jay
     
  2. kazmac macrumors 601

    kazmac

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2010
    Location:
    in a Shaw Brothers wu xia
    #2
    ...

    For what it is worth, it sounds like you favor upgradability, so if this were me, I'd buy the existing Mini in the specs you listed; except maybe with the chip upgrade (for the video work/handbrake coding you do.) I am sure others can offer better info in the chip upgrade regard, I've seen arguments for the i5 and the i7 for these processing tasks.

    As far as the older tech, you might want to look at a refurb in order to keep costs down.

    I am in a similar position of needing a new machine. The next Mini will most likely be my next Mac. I do not want to return multiple iMacs again and given Apple's display issues across the board now, a Mini makes perfect sense. I will wait for that next Mini release.

    It sounds like you know exactly what you want and I wish you the best with your purchase. :)
     
  3. bingeciren macrumors 6502a

    bingeciren

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    #3
    Over the past 6 years I've bought 6 Minis. With the exception of the 2008 and 2009 Minis which had older cases with external power supplies, all the other Minis I bought were servers from the refurbished store.

    With the exception of the 2 Minis, which are really used as small business servers, the other 2 Mini Servers are actually being used as media servers at home and for video editing.

    I would suggest you to pick a Mac Mini Server from the refurbished store. By doing that, you get a quad core CPU and two 1TB internal drives. If you pick a regular Mini and upgrade the CPU during the purchase and add a second hard drive from OWC or iFixit, it will almost come to the same price as picking a up server from the refurb store.

    if you pick a new generation server (Mac Mini 6.2), it will have USB3 pots as well, which gives you almost identical speeds for the external USB drives compared to the internal HDD (measured by Black Magic).

    Having said that, if you replace one of the drives with an SSD then you would have a very capable and a satisfying machine.
     
  4. spatlese44 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2007
    Location:
    Milwaukee
    #4
    The last few years I've received a bunch of Apple gift cards for xmas and made an upgrade to one of my Apple products (phone, computer, laptop, etc.). Last year it was the Mac Mini, which I thought about considerably and decided that I didn't want to wait for the Haswell version and instead got the 2.3 GHz i7 version. Glad I did as that was a year ago. At this point, you really should consider waiting. You have a viable setup for now and the graphics improvements and processing bump will be worth it. I doubt they will change much else.

    As for the rest of your questions, I did go for the Apple trackpad and wireless keyboard at the same time and am very happy. Since you already have the keyboard, why not spend a couple extra dollars, get the trackpad and make it a match set?

    As to the processor upgrade, getting the i7 made the machine seem a little more future proofed and generally a little more of an upgrade as I was coming from a 2 GHz core 2 Mini and the base model just wasn't that much more capable than what I had. That said, the trackpad and keyboard pushed the total price close to $1000 at which point I stopped short of the Fusion drive. That was a mistake and one I think you should think about. Yes, I'm technically capable of putting in my own SSD and converting it to a Fusion setup, but there's always some risk with taking apart these things and then there's just the hassle of it all. Note that Fusion is not an option from Apple without the i7 upgrade. I will probably, at this point, do my SSD upgrade, but wish I would have done it the other way. BTW, why the external hub? Trackpad and keyboard are bluetooth.
     
  5. sahni130 thread starter macrumors 6502

    sahni130

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Location:
    Atlanta, Georgia, United States
    #5
    Update-sort of!

    Alright, so I still have not purchased anything and was originally going to purchase at the end of this month but now I feel like it makes no sense to purchase a Mini at this time. The refresh can't possibly be that far away?

    The other part of me still wants to buy everything I listed this month and not worry about whatever comes next as technology is always advancing. I wish we had some sort of news, or even rumors of a possible refresh this quarter. That'd be awesome. I just want a new Mini :(
     
  6. s15119 macrumors 65816

    s15119

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2010
    #6
    I'm with you. I am ready to hand them my money. But I know as soon as I buy the current mini, that afternoon they will announce the updated one. I'll wait.
     
  7. Akaba macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2012
    #7
    By all means, please do buy one today ... then I'll only have to wait until tomorrow to go for the updated one :)
     
  8. dan1eln1el5en macrumors 6502

    dan1eln1el5en

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2012
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    #8
    save the money on the RAM, this you can get elsewhere, much cheaper.

    and go for the i7
     
  9. JAT macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2001
    Location:
    Mpls, MN
    #9
    As of now, the only Macs that even have a spinning drive are the Mini and iMac. It's possible the next gen would offer SSD as a base model. Even the Pro is all flash, now.
     
  10. sahni130, Jan 8, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2014

    sahni130 thread starter macrumors 6502

    sahni130

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Location:
    Atlanta, Georgia, United States
    #10
    Change of heart?

    Alright, I promise I'm not crazy, but I think instead of waiting for a refreshed Mini, I may just go for another iMac.

    I found the late-2012 21.5-inch model for $1150 brand-new on BH.
    The specs are:
    2.7GHz Intel Core i5 Quad-Core
    8GB of 1600Hz DDR3 RAM
    1TB 5400rpm Hard Drive
    nVIDIA GeForce GT 640M Graphics (512MB)
    21.5" HD LED-Backlit IPS Display
    1920 x 1080 Native Resolution
    802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
    Thunderbolt, USB 3.0, SDXC Card Reader
    720p FaceTime HD Camera, Dual Mics
    Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion (64-bit)

    The reason I want the late-2012 model instead of the 2013 is that even though it's a GT640, that card still has it's own dedicated memory so it won't pull from the main memory of 8GB. Right now on my MBP I believe there is 1GB (1024MB) always being used by the HD4000 graphics (according to stat) so I figured having dedicated card, even if it's low-end, will leave ore memory for the OS, etc?

    So I've been monitoring my usage and actually being realistic about it and I've realized my usage is relatively moderate and the iMac should definitely suffice. My old 2.4 ghz Core2 lasted me this long! I love that thing. If you can tell me why I should go for the base 2013 model for $50 more, I'd like to hear you out! The only reason I've been using a lot of ram on my mbp is because i hadn't restarted it in 40 days. LOL.

    Or I could for for the 27-inch model for $1599 (really stretching the budget) but I feel like this would be overkill and I would not get to use my other monitors with the 27 because the 23-inch Dell would feel awkward/small next to the iMac? also, do any of you use a larger external display with your iMac, if so, how do you like it/feel about the size difference?

    I'm still going to purchase a 3 or 4TB external hdd for backups/storage and install Server on the computer to host files. I have never used the Magic Mouse either-can you do all the same gestures as the trackpad? Also, does anyone know that say, if you have four USB 3.0 Ports and you connect 2 USB 3.0 and 2 USB 2.0 devices into the Mac, will all the USB devices run at 2.0 speed?


    Thank you!
    -Jay
     
  11. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #11
    I use a roughly 10 year old 20" Dell monitor next to my 27" iMac and it looks and feels just fine. The "trick" is you don't stretch a single app across the displays but use them independently (works very well with the changes to multiple monitor support in Mavericks).

    You don't need Server.app to share files. Just set up the share from the Sharing tab in System Preferences.

    No, there are fewer. However look at the application BetterTouchTool.

    No, the ports are all independent.
     
  12. Tike1994 macrumors member

    Tike1994

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    Location:
    St. Charles, IL
    #12
    I was in the same boat as you regarding waiting for a mini refresh.

    I decided to pull the trigger because a mini refresh will probabaly look like an Airport Extreme and may be less accessible for upgrades. One of the things I liked about the mini is it's easier to upgrade than the new iMacs.

    I got the base model and ordered a 120GB SSD from OWC for a little over $100.

    Also, if you're used to a trackpad with your MBP, I'd definitely suggest you get a Magic Trackpad instead of a Magic Mouse. The trackpad has more gestures.
     
  13. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #13
    It's always possible to "wait and see" and if it is bad news just buy the old one on close-out or refurbished. In any case it's unlikely to look like an Airport Extreme because it doesn't have to house the antenna array, the reason for the new AE's tall shape.
     
  14. havokslug macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle
    #14
  15. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #15
    They come and go quickly. They seem to refurbish in batches. I looked about 10 hours ago and there was only one. Nothing to do with release of a new model.
     
  16. sahni130 thread starter macrumors 6502

    sahni130

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Location:
    Atlanta, Georgia, United States
    #16
    I was on the refurb store this morning and noticed all the minis too! they had nearly all of them in stock, which was very tempting. But I think I'm pretty set on the iMac now, unless they release an updated mini within a month or so. Right now the battle in my head....21.5 or 27-inch....sigh.... Why am I not a billionaire? haha
     
  17. Crosscreek macrumors 68030

    Crosscreek

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2013
    Location:
    Margarittaville
    #17
    If you buy a Mini now you will have no problem in reselling it when the refresh comes out. Minis' are like gold, they hold there value. Just take a look at EBay.
    Don't get saddled with a compromise that is harder to get rid of. Go to your Best Buy store and see if they have a open box. I picked a new one up for $150 off. Full one year warranty .
    You live in Alanta, you should have a bunch around.
     
  18. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #18
    I went from a 20" (2006) to a 27" (2009 when they first came out) and the big display is really mind-blowing! I believe once you take into account the different aspect ratio, the 21.5" display is smaller than the 20" plus it has considerably less performance.

    The downside of this is that they seem to last forever. I've got three (white plastic) minis that I'd love to replace with the svelte aluminum ones but as long as they continue to do their jobs (a server and two entertainment centers) I can't find an excuse!
     
  19. Crosscreek macrumors 68030

    Crosscreek

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2013
    Location:
    Margarittaville
    #19
    Yea, i have to agree with that.
     
  20. sahni130 thread starter macrumors 6502

    sahni130

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Location:
    Atlanta, Georgia, United States
    #20
    Best Buy-open box

    So I visited a couple of BBs in my area, and neither had any open box Minis as of yet. However, I've got about a month to wait so I'll keep an eye out! In the mean time I picked up some speakers and a 4TB external hdd to hold me over! Haha couldn't wait.

    I also checked out the iMacs today and I think If I do go that route, I'll have to go with the 27-inch. It was simply beautiful and the extra horsepower and screen real estate never hurts.
     
  21. Frogabound macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2014
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    #21
    Pimp your mac mini

    I also was contemplating replacing my MBP with a Mac mini for the same reason that I don't need the portability and also have a bunch of peripherals I currently hang of my MBP so all reusable. However I'm a graphic designer so I really need grunt for my daily workflow as I'm often running multiple task at once, and workflow can cross into video encoding as well, so I've been considering something with decent horsepower. The Mac mini really suits me cos I can hang all kinds of peripherals off it and it gives me the flexibility to build a custom system with what I already have, and the various ports seem to fit nicely with my workflow. My only concern was wether it was powerful enough. Anyway I started to do a bit of research and came across this article here at Mac World
    http://www.macworld.com/article/2013675/lab-tested-the-mac-mini-maximized-with-fusion-drive.html
    Which answered all my questions as to what a current pimped out Mac mini might be capable of. Not cheap, but this article is a year old and I know I can get the ram at least half what they quote. So for my next upgrade I'm going to wait to see what Apple gives us for the 2014 mini and pimp it like they did in this article. Perhaps out of some peoples price range, but thought I'd share cos it shows what they are capable of.
     
  22. kazmac macrumors 601

    kazmac

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2010
    Location:
    in a Shaw Brothers wu xia
    #22
    Great info

    LOL<I am wondering if I should just jump now after noticing IR/ghosting on my 2010 iMac display (it's been going downhill since I installed Mavericks a couple of months ago. Now I am starting to see all kinds of hardware issues in addition to the grumbles with Mavericks.)

    What a great argument for minis Talmy.

    I would not like it if the next mini looks like those new AirPort Extremes/Time Capsules.
     
  23. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #23
    They won't. The reason for the AE/TC shape is to house the antennas. The mini is the last Mac (other than the obviously EOL "Classic" MacBookPro) to have an IR receiver for a remote and a FW800 port. Maybe the IR receiver might stay but the FW800 port is sure to go. Minis have had the fewest changes since they first came out than any other Mac line.
     
  24. Frogabound macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2014
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    #24
    Perhaps the new minis will look like a shrunken version of new mac pros since it seems as if apple is progressively shifting its focus more towards peripherals these days?
     
  25. TheGenerous macrumors 6502a

    TheGenerous

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2010
    Location:
    I'm an Austronaut
    #25
    I switched from a 23 in. to a 21.5 in. display because things look sharper. They have the same resolution, but the pixels in the 21.5 in. are smaller.
     

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