whats the best mini for me?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by madeirabhoy, Oct 26, 2012.

  1. madeirabhoy macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2012
    can you help, my brain is spinning. i keep switching from 1 to 2 to 3...i know apple have 3 options so everyone stuck goes with the middle one but im not sure...

    i have an early 2009 2ghz mini. i use it for general internet, playing football manager, civilisation and playing pc games, mainly what ive ordered in steam sales.

    its running fine but football manager is a wee bit sluggish, civ 5 is unbearable and ive ordered lots of games on steam, generally whilst half cut, that wont run onto my machine.

    i can accept low graphic settings and less than optimal speeds and im talking about playing

    deus ex 3
    borderlands 1 and 2
    la noire
    civ 5
    football manager 2013

    i am too tied to apple to do the sensible thing and buy a gaming pc, and financially i cant afford an imac...

    but i am in 3 minds and my mind does a circuit of them.

    the base 2.5 i5 is a bargain at 600 euro. its a few times faster than what i have. probably the sensible option.

    BUT...200 euro more and i get a 2.3ghz i7 quad core. plus a bigger hard drive. id prob spend 100 euro on a usb drive anyway for more space. this is faster for general use but maybe not for games..

    SO:...another 100 euro and its a 2.6 quad core, far better for games and a 1TB drive to boot.....

    however its still 900 euro which is 50% more than the base model...which is the more sensible option so...round the circle again...

    spending more will mean it plays things better and lasts longer...

    the middle unit seems the worst option.

    i guess im going to spend the same either way...either 600 euros for a base unit every 2 years or 900 for top of the range mini every 3 years..

    what should i buy?
  2. fa8362 macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
    They all use the same video chip, so I doubt it matters which one you buy for games.
  3. Poki macrumors 65816


    Mar 21, 2012
    Exactly. Although the i7 chips have a tiny little advantage when it comes to gaming, it's nowhere near worth 200.
  4. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030


    May 20, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    How are you "way too tied to Apple"? Apple makes it so that you can own an iPhone and an iPad and still be a PC user. In fact, you are no less "in need of sticking with Apple" as a result of owning those products as someone with a Snow Leopard machine. All of the iCloud integration would be nice, but it's not like you need them on a PC, especially when for the cost of the lowest end Mac mini, you could get a machine that doesn't choke with that stuff. Really, I'm not sure that the Intel HD 4000 in tow on the Mac mini doesn't choke on Civ 5. I'm personally interested as I'm torn as to whether to have my dad build a new PC with an Ivy Bridge CPU and no discrete GPU (as Civ 5 and the two Portal games are the only graphically intense programs, let alone games, that he runs) or with an AMD FX CPU and an AMD Radeon card as both are comparable in price...yet the desktop version of the Intel HD 4000 is apparently substantially faster than the notebook version which is what Ivy Bridge Mac users deal with when dealing with that video processor.

    A Mac mini for those games is probably not sensible. If your games list included everything made by Blizzard and Valve, and games from two (or more) years ago, I'd say that you'd be fine on this Mac mini. Otherwise, you will definitely not enjoy the video performance of the new Mac mini.

    If you insist on sticking with a Mac and will not build yourself a PC, I recommend buying this:


    Or you can keep checking back on Apple's refurbished models and look for the previous generation high-end Mac mini, which actually does have a discrete GPU that is better than both the current Intel HD 4000 as well as last generation's Intel HD 3000. Those retailed at $800 when new; my guess is that, when available, you'll be able to get one for $650ish.

    eBay prices will likely be comparable to what Apple charges on their refurbished section of their online store.

    But as far as your Mac options go, those are really your only sensible buys given what you want to be doing with them. Running the games you want to run, especially Civ 5, which hogs video memory like it's the thing to do, on an Integrated (shared memory) graphics processor is asking for disappointment, be it a Mac or PC.
  5. sunandsurf macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2008
    For editing videos on a non-professional level (using FCP), is there then no significant difference among the 3 minis? Would a 2011 or 2012 iMac be any better? Thanks.
  6. madeirabhoy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2012
    cheers mate. by tied, i didnt mean tied by products, i just meant i like macs and have always owned macs, bought my first in 1993.

    a few sites have said about refurbished imacs but this seems only to be a possibility in USA. im in portugal. apple's portuguese site doesnt even have a refurb section, and i phoned them about a refurb mac mini 2011 to see if they had any discounted and they made me feel like i was asking for out of date bread.

    ive looked a good few times on uk, and on ireland apple sites and neither has had any imacs on refurb this time, just this morning the uk site has the 2011 server on refurb but that doesnt interest me.


    cheers mate. i think im just trying to persuade myself the extra money is worth it, but realistically if its not going to make a huge difference, the 300 euro extra to the 2.6 i7 is effectively half the way to my next machine a few years away. or an ipad mini....
  7. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030


    May 20, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    If that's the case, I'd try to phone your nearest Apple retailer, and see if they have any clearance sales for the 2011 iMacs. I'd imagine you could get a high-end 2011 21.5" iMac for comparable to a really high-end Mac mini.

    The problem is that the Mac mini's graphics aren't meant for newer stuff. They are comparable to what Apple was using in iMacs and 15"/17" MacBook Pros in 2008-2009 and will thusly run games of that vintage wonderfully, but they'll be encroaching the realm of unsatisfactory on some of the newer stuff.

    Ideally, you find yourself able to buy one of the new 21.5" iMacs (maxing out the RAM while you do so, of course), and you'll call it a day.

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