Which Mac Mini should I buy?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by McRocket, Apr 3, 2012.

  1. McRocket, Apr 3, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2012

    McRocket macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2012
    #1
    What I use it for (please excuse the fact that I am semi-computer illiterate):

    - web surfing (extensive with multiple sites open at once)
    - watching videos - primarily YouTube, Netflix, iTunes
    - some gaming - mostly Mac Apps but also some decent non-App games
    - substantial video uploading and downloading - though I store most of these on separate hard drive
    - little or no photo editing

    My priorities are:

    - obviously being able to do all of the above
    - Have the computer good for a solid 2-3 years
    - QUIET operation


    I am leaning towards a 2.7 i7 with a 256 SSD (and add RAM later)?

    Or should I get a 2.0 Quad i7 with a 256 SSD (and add RAM later) - though I read it is noticeably louder due to running the fan more?

    BTW - right now I am running an Acer desktop with an AMD 9600 2.3 Quad and 8 G's of RAM and it does everything I want just fine - I just want to have an Apple.


    All opinions are welcome?
     
  2. TjeuV macrumors 6502

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    Dec 14, 2011
    Location:
    Belgium
    #2
    The 2.5 with 8 gig ram added should do the trick


     
  3. McRocket thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 3, 2012
    #3
    Thank you.
     
  4. scottness macrumors 65816

    scottness

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    Location:
    Room 101
    #4
    Agreed. That'll last you and should work fine for what you're doing.
     
  5. McRocket thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 3, 2012
    #5
    Thank you.
     
  6. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000

    Santabean2000

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    #6
    Agreed:
    2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
    4GB memory
    500GB hard drive1
    AMD Radeon HD 6630M


    Upgrade to 8GB RAM via Crucial or OWC etc.

    Swap in an SSD for an extra boost if you're feeling up for it.
     
  7. McRocket thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 3, 2012
    #7
    Thank you.

    You three are turning my head around (and potentially saving me PILES of dough).

    :)
     
  8. TjeuV macrumors 6502

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    Dec 14, 2011
    Location:
    Belgium
    #8
    See for yourself after a month of use if you need that SSD. It's way overpriced to have it installed on purchase but to do it yourself it's quite complicated.
     
  9. AppliedMicro macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2008
    #9
    If any 3D gaming is on your list, I'd definitely recommend getting the Radeon-equipped dual-core equipped dedicated Radeon graphics over the Intel graphics server version. Should provide a more "balanced" experience and save you some bucks (the quad-core is the faster CPU though, which would be quite noticeable in video encoding/transcoding, for instance).
     
  10. McRocket thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 3, 2012
    #10
    Thank you both.
     
  11. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000

    Santabean2000

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    #11
    Yes and no. Yes for expensive on purchase, but not that hard to swap on in later.

    I'm no pro, but managed ok. I put in a 60GB (OWC) SSD, which was relatively cheap. Certainly big enough for a boot drive (with no Bootcamp/VM partition). I run mine as a HTPC and keep all my media on a FW external.

    Once Thunderbolt prices drop I'll look at getting a faster and larger solution.
     
  12. xlii macrumors 68000

    xlii

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2006
    Location:
    Millis, Massachusetts
    #12
    Just want to point out to the OP that new minis will be coming out in the near future. My guess is June - July. Seeing how you already have a machine that is working and doing what you want... think about waiting for the new model.

    I agree with the above posters about which of the current mini's will fit your needs if you want to buy one now.

    2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
    4GB memory
    500GB hard drive1
    AMD Radeon HD 6630M
     
  13. tshrimp macrumors 6502

    tshrimp

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2012
    #13
    I am going to come at this a different way then some of the above (who had good recommendations). You already seem to have a PC that can already play games, and the Radeon that comes with the Mac Mini is better than the Intel, but still nothing to write home about. I would look at the Low end Mac Mini i5 2.3 and upgrade the ram to 8GB (I used Patriot and it has worked fine) and use your PC for gaming as you will have better video card and more games anyways.

    This would save you some $$$ and you would still have a better game experience.

    Good luck on your choice.
     
  14. McRocket thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 3, 2012
    #14
    Thank you all.

    Your suggestion makes great sense - but I would like a system that can play most of the better games on the Mac App store at a fairly high level...though I realize that may be asking too much of a Mac Mini.

    But that is my ideal.
     
  15. Tomacorno macrumors regular

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    Sep 29, 2009
    #15
    Sure the 2.5 is better, but for what the OP is looking for, why not the 2.3?
     
  16. Poki macrumors 6502a

    Poki

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    Mar 21, 2012
    #16
    Note the point "also some gaming [...], but also some decent games"
     
  17. t0mbola macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2011
    #17
    My advice if you don't need to play games:

    Base Mac Mini 2011:

    - get the secondary SATA cable
    - get fast SSD (Crucial M4 in my case)
    - get 2x 4GB 1333MHz RAMs (Crucial)
    - reinstall OS to SSD (you can use Lion's internet recovery feature)
    - move your music/video/photos to 500 GB HDD to keep fast space for the OS and Apps
    - enjoy

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/tcerney/sets/72157627385384709/
     
  18. McRocket thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 3, 2012
    #18
    What is a SATA cable and how do I get a secondary one?


    Thank you all (so far) for your input.
     
  19. t0mbola macrumors member

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    May 30, 2011
    #19
  20. Pheo macrumors regular

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    Jun 13, 2011
    #20
    2.5ghz fit 8gb of ram and an SSD yourself and you'll have a very capable machine. This is what I've done and I'm very happy with it.

    Think the quad core is ott unless you do a lot of multithreaded computations (which you don't based on use cases provided)
     
  21. Poki macrumors 6502a

    Poki

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    #21
    The quad-core is very handy if you process or edit a lot of video or if you have to process many RAW files bigger than 20MP in Lightroom or Aperture. But for "casual users" - yeah, the quad-core is pretty much overpowered.
     
  22. Pheo macrumors regular

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    Jun 13, 2011
    #22
    Yep completely. Also apps you are using need to be multi threaded - I'm assuming aperture and final cut are.
     
  23. Pheo macrumors regular

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    Jun 13, 2011
    #23
    Plus with the quad the lower clock speed will likely drop some performance off the tasks you do which benefit from a fast single core.
     
  24. Tomacorno, Apr 4, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2012

    Tomacorno macrumors regular

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    Sep 29, 2009
    #24
    Thanks. I did not think too hard about that. My kids play games on my 2.4 C2D Macbook Pro which is a few years old now. But that one does have dual video cards. As far as I know it has been mainly WoW and Minecraft. A couple of their windows friends thought it ran WoW pretty good compared to their machines - but who knows, their machines might be older or lower spec'd or whatever. I used to like gaming but now I cringe when I see the kids pounding the keys. :eek:

    I would then qualify the choice with look for the recommended specs of the types of "decent" games you want to play and then get something a little better.
     
  25. nydennis macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2011
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    #25
    If you don't know what an SATA cable is then I have to ask are you comfortable with opening up the Mini and installing the parts yourself? If you have any doubts about installing the RAM And/or the SSD HDD I'd suggest finding a friend who has worked inside computer's to help you install it. There are many videos online on how to do this. I just don't want to see you force anything or break anything inside.
     

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