What are the limitations of a mini?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by mlpsponzischeme, Jan 4, 2011.

  1. mlpsponzischeme macrumors regular

    Jun 16, 2009
    I'm thinking of buying a mini but I'm really curious of what the limitations are. I download a lot of tv shows and movies using utorrent. I also need to be able to convert files using handbrake. I have a 4 yr old Dell. Last Windows running machine I will ever buy. My big concern is multitasking. Can I use the internet while downloading torrents and using streaming video to my apple tv? I guess the big question is...how much is too much for the mini? Any advice or input will be greatly appreciated. I plan on maxing out the memory to 8gb.
  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    That isn't exactly heavy, your internet may feel slower when torrents are hogging the connection but it would feel slow even with 12-core Mac Pro because CPU nor RAM is the bottleneck there, it's the internet connection. You can even add HandBrake to that mixture and everything should still be fine.

    It's hard to say what's too much because today's computer will pretty much handle everything you throw at them, slower computers just complete the task slower.
  3. yrh0413 macrumors newbie

    Dec 29, 2010
    I have tried handbrake on my mac mini server (2010)... with the 2.66GHz C2D processor, it took quite a long time to convert a 3-hour 1080p video. During the conversion process my CPU usage spiked at over 95% for both cores... and my Photoshop CS5 slows down to a crawl.

    Based on your needs, the mac mini should handle well on torrenting/web browsing/video streaming. However you might want to seriously consider getting a router that supports QoS.
  4. dh2005 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010
    I have to say that I find the 2010 Mini to be very pedestrian, in terms of power. My father bought one over the Summer to replace a three-year old PC (it's a 2.4GHz something-or-other...), and the Mini is definitely slower for opening applications like Office and using the internet, and everyday stuff like that.

    The machine I'm talking about has 4GB of RAM, so extra RAM will help. But, all the same, I wouldn't want to multitask it very much at all. At least, not if I was in a hurry...!
  5. Bosep macrumors regular

    Nov 11, 2008
    Its plenty fast, using it as my primary computer instead of a 700 dollar PC. Only reason why its slow opening apps is because of the harddrive. Of course you will replace the 5200rpm with a ssd.

    btw the current mac mini is faster booth in graphics and in CPU compared to the "mid 2009 imac"... which is kinda cool in a compact comp like the mac mini.
  6. 0007776 Suspended


    Jul 11, 2006
    The mini will not be the source of any slow downs you experience, it can handle all of that easily. You may experience slowdowns if your internet connection isn't fast enough, but you would experience those on any computer.
  7. dh2005 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010
    That'd be like me saying, "my Renault Twingo doesn't suck! I just haven't fitted a Porsche engine to it, yet".

    Buying a 2010 Mini, and fitting 8GB of RAM and a (small) SSD runs to well over £1,000. Absolutely ridiculous money for such an average computer.

    ... and, when we're comparing iMacs to Minis, let's please not forget that iMacs come with industry-leading LCD panels, keyboards and mice. And, at the bottom of the range (which is what you were talking about, re the 2009 models), cost less than the Mini you've specced.

    Look. With all due respect to you and your opinion, the Mini is absolutely fine. I know a lot of people are very fond of it, and good on them. I even have some affection for it, myself... but let's not pretend that the bang-to-buck ratio is anything other than pretty awful.

    Sure, they're small and efficient, and they look great and they run OS X and all that... but they're not good value. Particularly when you start maxing the RAM and fitting SSDs...
  8. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    I am in 100% agreement. A 2010 mini is a ripoff.

    a 2009 refurb 2.66ghz is the best of the minis. It is 719 on apple's website a 4gb ram stick can be had for under 50. A 500gb scorpio black hdd is around 70 so for about 840 the refurb is just about the equal of a maxxed 2010.
  9. fa8362 macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
    Depends on how you define value. I see your value point, because it's obvious, but for some users, like myself, the mini is the better value because:

    1) I already have a keyboard, mouse, etc.

    2) I already have monitors

    3) I like the mini's portability and use minis for work on a desktop, and in a front projection home entertainment system. The Mini fits the home entertainment system much better than any of the other Apple computers would, and when I need to use that Mini for work, it's easy to disconnect and move it to my second desktop setup.

    4) I don't need the additional power of an iMac (2 years ago that wasn't true, but the Mini is more than powerful enough for my needs).

    5) I don't need more than 4GB of RAM, but I've seen 8GB recently available for $100

    6) I have no interest in SSD and am satisfied with the speed of the existing Mini HD
  10. DarthMoops macrumors regular

    Aug 7, 2010
    Baltimore MD
    I'd gladly forego the SSD for a 7200 rpm HD. 1 TB if possible, 500-750 GB if not.
  11. dh2005 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010

    I see what you're saying mate, but I don't personally agree.

    1 & 2). Sure, you have a monitor, a keyboard and a mouse already. But that shouldn't mean you're happy to get charged far too much for a machine that doesn't have them.

    3). Yeah, no doubting that it's very portable - and it's become all the more convenient since it gained an HDMI socket. Although I have serious misgivings about its capabilities as a home entertainment device... but that's a whole different debate.

    4). Okay, but my retort would be similar to 1 & 2. Why deliberately pay over the odds for this computer because it 'meets your needs'? And who can say when your needs might increase, and when the more powerful machine might've been handy?

    5). The default 2010 Mini has 2GB of RAM, so even you would need to buy another two. And nowhere in this country can I find 8GB of suitable RAM for so little money. Not even close.

    6). Fine, no argument there. I was simply responding to another poster's assertion that the Mini was only slow because of the hard drive.

    I'm not here to tell everybody that they're idiots for buying a Mini. It's their money, and they can do what they like with it. But when I hear about people talking up its power and its value, I feel it's only responsible to express my disagreement.

    For me, it's under-powered, and poor value.
  12. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Where are you from? Crucial has 8GB kit for 116$ and they ship nearly every country. Crucial isn't even the cheapest, in NewEgg 8GB kit can be had for 85$.

    Even here in Finland with our 23% VAT, 2x4GB can be bought for less than 100€
  13. dh2005 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010
    United Kingdom.

    I assume that's 2 x 4GB you're talking about, is it?
  14. dh2005 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010
    Crucial UK are asking £90. I'll take a guess at £5 for postage and packing (I can't check, because it's out of stock). £95, right now, is just under $148US. Which is less than I thought, but still not that close.

    It also makes Apple look like criminal wallet-rapists; they charge (wait for it...), £409 to upgrade the RAM from 2 to 8GB.

    [rubs eyes]

    Seriously. Can any card-carrying member of the Mac Mini Fan Club justify that, for me...?!

    EDIT: On a personal note, Hellhammer, can you point me to some RAM to go into my 2010 iMac? 4GB really isn't doing it for me.
  15. Hellhammer, Jan 6, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2011

    Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Yup, 2x4GB in all cases. 90£ in Crucial.

    Some other links (just posting if you or someone else is interested in 2x4GB):


    EDIT: Link #1 Link #2 Link #3 Link #4. I would go with 4GB module(s) though, getting one gets you 8GB but leaves one empty slot for future upgrades
  16. dh2005 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010
    Nice. Thank you.

    Are there rules about which slots need to be populated, etc.?
  17. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008

    So if you end up getting 1x4GB, be sure to switch the original 2GB modules from top slots to the bottom slots and place the single module in one of the top slots
  18. jasontrucks76, Feb 4, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2011

    jasontrucks76 macrumors member

    Dec 27, 2009
    Just last night I was doing almost the same tasks with my 27" iMac and with HB running, downloading, internet surfing, and streaming to the ATV2 I was maxing out my machine. I have a Mini sitting on the next desk and would not think of trying all the above tasks at one.... Now to be fair... The Mini I have is about three years old and not Intel based so may not be a fair comparison.

    But my iMac is brand new with 8g ram and I forget the CPU right now as I am at work but I watched my usage last night and I was 95 to 98% maxed.

    I do like the Mini and it was my introduction to Mac so for that I am grateful but I now have been using Mac for a while and have a 2009 Pro and a new iMac and can tell you I see no reason to go with a Mini unless you have a specific need.
    It sounds like you are going to task your machine a little and for me I would spend a FEW hundred more and get the iMac loaded.... In the long run I bet you will be much more happy.

    Please don’t thing I'm on a soap box or anything... I'm no expert! Just a regular user and have, like I said, owned all three models now. The Mini served me well but as I became more savvy with Mac I ran out of CPU and disk space pretty quick.

    Good luck with your choice! And let us know what way you went and your thoughts!

    Take care,

  19. emoore macrumors regular

    Aug 27, 2003
    A mini with a G4 will never be able to handle those tasks. Any intel mini is suo much faster than a g4 mini. Not a fair comparison.
  20. jasontrucks76 macrumors member

    Dec 27, 2009
    Thanks for that... I got to thinking about that and you are absolutly correct.

    However, I do still support a larger machine for the OP's intended use.. No?
  21. mdgm macrumors 6502a

    Nov 2, 2010
    A Mac Mini would be fine though the iMacs are more powerful machines.
  22. mistamidget macrumors newbie

    Jan 18, 2011
    2x4G cost A$112 here in oz which isn't too expensive IMO.
    only thing is to run memtest86 overnight to make sure it's reliable.

    The best thing about the 2010 mini is the wife loves the look and sound (lack) of it. I also use it with a 32" hdtv as my eyesight is crap and that make the iMac a limitation, but horses for courses there I suppose.
  23. mdgm macrumors 6502a

    Nov 2, 2010
    The thing is that you don't have to upgrade them now. I have both an early and late 09 Mini. I got Apple to upgrade the early 09 mini to 4GB RAM, but I got the stock configuration 2.53Ghz Late 09 Mini.

    Once the AppleCare warranty has run out, to give the machines a longer useful life, I'll consider putting a SSD and perhaps 8GB RAM in each machine. Hopefully by then (during 2012) prices will have fallen some more.

    My early 09 Mac Mini has a 120GB HDD in it. I'd like to put a SSD in it with greater capacity as 120GB isn't that much these days. I'm pretty sure the HDD is causing a performance bottleneck for me at times and a SSD would help alleviate this a little. In the late 09 Mini, it'd be nice, but not essential to put a SSD in it with more space than the 320GB HDD I have in it now.

    Sure the Mac Mini isn't the fastest machine around, but I find it great for use as a HTPC. While the performance isn't as fast as I'd like, the performance of the 09 Mac Minis still beats easily the performance of the 07 MacBook I'm typing on now.

    I also don't like the idea of a desktop built into a LCD screen. That's fine with a laptop, but with a desktop, it's fine to keep the computer and monitor as separate items. So that doesn't leave much choice in the desktop line. Mac Mini or Mac Pro, with nothing in between. I think I'll try and save up for a Mac Pro, but I'll still probably get some more Mac Minis as well.
  24. hfg macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    Get the new Mini Server model ... 2ea. 500GB 7200 rpm disks which you can set up as RAID-0 for a 1TB super fast drive built in. Works great!:D
  25. Uofmtiger, Feb 5, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2011

    Uofmtiger macrumors 68020


    Dec 11, 2010
    All macs are priced higher than PCs with similar specs, so by most measurements none of them are a bargain...unless you pay more for the OSX and the Apple experience..which goes a long way in explaining the price.

    The point that you can get more for your money by getting the built in monitor really depends on your use for the monitor. I want the ability to get better spec'd monitors than the one built into the Mac. I also want the ability to stick the mini in one of my home theater setups when I eventually upgrade. I don't have any use for a old computer attached to an old monitor. In other words, the built in monitor affects it's current use and it's future use. I would never buy a computer that has a built in anchor..I mean monitor.

    My 4gb mini runs Plex and Boxee without issue. I use it in a home theater setup and a desktop setup. Since I use it that way and it does everything I need, I would like to hear your misgivings.

    Anyway, the mini remains the least expensive Mac in the line up (even cheaper if you qualify for the student discount) and the next step up without the built in monitor is a HUGE step up in price. This is why they can charge more for it.

    To the OP, I would be surprised if you can't do what you want with it. I don't download torrents, but I do use handbrake, run eyetv in the background, while I do other tasks without a problem.

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