Which Mac Mini should I buy?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Ingolfo, Jan 5, 2015.

  1. Ingolfo macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2015
    I'm looking to buy a 2014 Mac Mini but having trouble deciding which one to go for. I'm really struggling to decide between these 3 options:

    1: the entry model - 1,4GHz, 4GB memory, 500GB hard drive
    2: the entry model - but upgraded to 8GB memory
    3: the mid model - 2,6GHz, 8GB memory, 1TB hard drive

    The main use for the Mac Mini would be as a media center with Plex installed - connected to Samsung TV through HDMI. Later on I would also want the Mini to be able to stream multiple (+1 or 2) video files simultaneously to other TV's in the house (I guess through Wifi?). So basically the main use is streaming ripped videos through Plex and I'm not sure whether RAM or processer is important for this? The videos are almost all 1080p MP4, some with external srt-subtitles if that matter - I guess that means some transcoding?

    Secondary I would like to use the Mac Mini for file sharing between other computers in the house - Like a Nas server. Hard drive on the Mini itself is not that important as I will add external USB 3.0 drives to the Mini. However I would like the Mini to act as a "home server" from where I can access/edit files from other laptops if that makes sense?

    I will not be using the Mini for any daily use, like web browsing, gaming or office work. Perhaps run a few extra apps that enhances the media server setup but that's it.

    I appologize if this doesn't make much sense, but I'm really no IT or Mac wizard. Can anyone recommend if the cheapest no. 1 solution is sufficient for my purpose or should I invest in the 2nd or 3rd option. I don't want to pay for something I won't use but still I would like the Mini to be somewhat future proof as a media center and perhaps able to use it for a smarter media center/server setup as I learn more of it's capabilities in the future.
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    I use a 2010 Mac mini with 4GB of RAM for exactly those purposes (Plex Server, Plex Home Theater, file sharing), and it also gets a lot of use for web browsing, MS Office, TeamViewer, iTunes, emails, etc. It does the job just fine and I'm just now getting ready to upgrade the HDD to a SSD. Any of the current Mac minis will easily handle the workload you described.
  3. Ingolfo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2015
    Thanks, do you use yours for multiple streaming to more than one TV/Ipad etc. as well?

    What would be the reason (if any) to upgrade RAM or CPU when using it mainly as a media center? The entry level was my first pick as well but since the new ones can't be upgraded later on I'm a bit worried...
  4. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030


    May 20, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    Do not get the entry level one. It is a bad deal in damn near every way. That processor (especially when coupled with the 5400RPM hard drives that they come stock with) is way slow (it's the same processor that's in the MacBook Air). Pair it with an SSD and it's less bad of a deal, but at that point, you might as well go with the mid-range Mac mini.

    Midrange Mini with maximum RAM (as you can no longer upgrade that stuff aftermarket) is what I'd do. If you can swing a Fusion or an SSD, obviously, you should…otherwise, the 1TB drive should be fine.
  5. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Yes, I have streamed to multiple devices from the same Plex Server running on the Mac mini. I doubt upgrading CPU would make any impact for your purposes. You might consider 8GB of RAM and a SSD to enhance performance so you would have the flexibility of using it for other purposes, as well. Since you'll have most of your data on external drives, a smaller capacity internal SSD would be a significant bump in performance for reboots, data access, etc.
  6. Ingolfo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2015
    I know it is not possible to switch RAM or CPU later on but will I be able to change the internal drive on the new Mini - if I decided to go for a SSD in a year or so?

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