Which Mac Mini? 2011 vs. 2012 vs. 2014

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by AllDayVanguard, Jun 27, 2015.

  1. AllDayVanguard, Jun 27, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2015

    AllDayVanguard macrumors newbie


    Apr 23, 2015
    Alright, so I have $700, coming off of a broken, base model 2.5 GHz Mac Mini which had 4GB of RAM and a 500GB 5400rpm hard drive. Here are my options:

    1. Mac Mini 2014 2.6 GHz i5, 8GB RAM, 256 GB SSD
    = $663.65

    2. Mac Mini 2012 2.5 GHz i5, 8GB RAM, 500 GB 5400rpm Hard Drive
    = $506.00

    3. Mac Mini 2011 = 2.5 GHz i5, 8GB RAM, 120GB SSD, 750GB 54000rpm Hard Drive
    = $425.00

    So, with option 2, I definitely would swap the 500GB hard drive for an SSD (I can't go back from an SSD now). This would be for light-medium photo editing and browsing, of course - I feel like saving money by getting another 2011, but I kind of don't want the same computer, of course.

    Which one should I get, guys?
  2. rosario1990 macrumors regular

    Feb 1, 2015
    Dhaka, Bangladesh
    If you tell me to select 1 out of 3. Then definitely i'll go for latest one. Because 2014 is updated than 2012 & 2011. So, no worry just go for it.
  3. redheeler macrumors 604


    Oct 17, 2014
    Adding an SSD to the 2012 brings it close to the 2014 in cost. You might as well go with the 2014 and get a better CPU, GPU, and PCIe SSD.
  4. AllDayVanguard thread starter macrumors newbie


    Apr 23, 2015
    That's a really good point, and kind of pushes me toward the 2014!
  5. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    Primate Labs Geekbench 2 results

    Late 2011
    2.3 score 5839
    2.5 score 6393
    2.7 score 6936​
    Late 2012
    2.5 score 6773
    2.3 score 10784
    2.6 score
    Late 2014
    1.4 score 5923
    2.6 score 7625
    2.8 score 7970
    3.0 score 8295​

    While numbers don't always equate to real usage, they are a pretty good indicator. Of all of these, the late 2012 2.3 or 2.6 is the best of the bunch in cpu performance. Depending on your apps, if they can exploit multi-core and as for many photo apps, some do take advantage of the gpu but, items like Photoshop CS6 (and earlier) are not that impacted by GPU performance.

    The beauty of the 2012 is access to drive swap, add RAM as needed, USB 3 and Thunderbolt. These are not easy to come by but occasionally someone has a used one. If you notice, you wont find them on Apple's site under refurb as they are very popular for all the right reasons with Mini lovers.
  6. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    Without saying what you are using it for, it's impossible to give a reasonable suggestion, just everyone will say what they would do in their own circumstances. Their circumstances are not your circumstances.

    That said. I've got 3 2009 minis and 2 2012 minis, both top and bottoms of line at the time. For everything I use them for (light computing, entertainment centers, file server) if I had to pick one of the three you present I'd go with the third (the 2011) for having the most disk capacity, enough SSD to hold the files where it matters, roughly the same performance, but the lowest cost.
  7. z31fanatic macrumors 6502a


    Mar 7, 2015
    Mukilteo, WA USA
    Why are you posting quad i7 scores when all of the three machines he is looking at have i5 processors?

    OP, the first option makes the most sense.
  8. tibas92013, Jun 28, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2015

    tibas92013 macrumors 6502

    Jun 2, 2013
    Costa Rica
    Recommend #1 Option; around 3 weeks ago I purchased from the Apple On-line Store a Refurbished Mac Mini 2014 2.8GHz i5, 8GB Ram and 256GB SSD and could not be happier with this purchase.

    Happy, Happy, Why??= FAST, FAST, FAST!
  9. Orr macrumors 6502


    Oct 8, 2013
  10. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    Because it is all relative. Sometimes we target a particular purchase only to find it might be a worthwhile venture to widen the search. When seeing scores we get a bit of a better idea of what we are getting into. Since it is nothing but words and numbers on a post, it doesn't cost the OP anything to scan over it and see if the original choices are what he/she really wants.
  11. z31fanatic macrumors 6502a


    Mar 7, 2015
    Mukilteo, WA USA
    Don't beat around the bush and just admit it, you wanted to make the 2012 look like the better option. :D
  12. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

    Jun 1, 2011
    I'd get the 2011 and pocket the extra $200. It handles your usage and will offer similar SSD speeds (yes I realize it is only 128 GB in comparison to 256 GB PCIe) and you have the extra storage of the mechanical drive.

    I suppose my suggestion would depend on if you need that extra storage or not though. If you do, it seems more appealing for your usage instead of #1 + an external drive which will exceed your budget.
  13. rosario1990 macrumors regular

    Feb 1, 2015
    Dhaka, Bangladesh
    Yeah lot's of feature in it including CPU, GPU, and SSD has inspired me to go for the latest one 2014.
  14. spatlese44 macrumors 6502

    Dec 13, 2007
    No USB 3 in the 2011 would be a reason not to go with option 3.

    I'd agree that 2014 with faster SSD. If raw quad core CPU power was something you needed, you wouldn't be asking us what to do. In real world performance, I think you're going to be happier with the 2014.
  15. loby macrumors 6502a


    Jul 1, 2010
    Option #1. With the mini it depends on the your usage and need. Option #1 is best for typical demands..

    If you look at the discussions/arguments across the internet about the mini, it all depends on the usage verses CPU requirements. If you need more CPU intensive demands depending on your apps (FCPX etc.), then look at other options.
  16. rosario1990 macrumors regular

    Feb 1, 2015
    Dhaka, Bangladesh
    Right! There has some definite logic to go with 2014.
  17. grahamperrin, Jul 16, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2016

    grahamperrin macrumors 601


    Jun 8, 2007
    Apple Mac mini 2.7GHz Core i7 (Mid 2011) MC816LL/A https://www.macofalltrades.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=MM-27-M11A was appealing at a glance but then –

    – and the people to whom I'll gift the Mac do have multiple USB drives, at least one of which might support USB 3.0, so the 2012 is more appealing.

    Thanks @thats all folks (in a more recent topic) for drawing attention to mac of all trades in the US. Is there any comparably good vendor of secondhand Macs in the UK? Not necessarily refurbished. South coast here.

    Speeding through the Buy it now set of 2012 models on eBay:
    If I limit myself to auctions, http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm//191920120373 catches my eye for £440 with 16 GB memory and a Fusion Drive, but I have never bid in an auction (I can't get excited at the thought) so I have no idea how high the bids might rise and moreover, that one is will be somewhat more than the £400-ish maximum that I have in mind for the gift. Edit: with two hours left, that's up to £530, more than I want to spend at this time.


    Gently, please. I'm an eBay virgin. Thanks!

    Also, if any of those questions from me are familiar, sorry – I did get advice from people a few months ago but right now, I can't find my record of it. Maybe it was in IRC on a different computer …


    Following a quick chat with Branes in irc://chat.freenode.net/##mac I chose the £375 one.
  18. Larry-K macrumors 68000

    Jun 28, 2011
    As much as I love the 2012s, your best option is #1.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 16, 2016 ---
    In this case the SSD overshadows any other performance consideration.
  19. JamesPDX Suspended


    Aug 26, 2014
    Well, I would imagine that those scores were posted because an i7 is a BTO option on the latest Mini. -But even then it is only a Dual Core, not a Quad-Core, and to reach even near the spec of my 2012's, with and SSD, you'll have to spend $1699. http://www.apple.com/shop/buy-mac/mac-mini?product=MGEQ2LL/A&step=config

    You could buy a used 2010 Mac Pro 6-core for that dough.

    The 2012 MM i7 is Quad-Core, but they're so rare now, that one would be better off waiting for the new one. Unless it has a mobile processor, then there will be a panic-buy-wipeout of the current models. Let's just hope that the next Mini is an improvement over the 2012.
  20. grahamperrin macrumors 601


    Jun 8, 2007
    Thanks … the 2012 model that I purchased was £375, I can't find (on eBay) a suitably superior 2011 model at a lower cost:
    Postscript: @Larry-K maybe you were replying to the opening poster. I imagined that you were replying to the post before yours …

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