Which Mac mini ?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Dentifrice, Nov 10, 2011.

  1. Dentifrice macrumors 6502

    Aug 27, 2008
    Hey guys

    I want to buy a mac mini to replace my old iMac and I don't know which model should I buy.

    The only think I'm not sure about the two models is the video card.

    I'm not playing any game with this (I have a PC for that). I'll use for normal daily tasks plus some photo editing (photoshop, lightroom, iphoto,etc..) and maybe some iMovie.

    If I buy the first model I'll put 8 gb of ram in this little friend (so the shared memory of the Intel HD 3000 isn't a problem).

    Now the question....how does the Intel HD 3000 perform vs the ATI/AMD ? Will I really see a difference ? Is the intel capable of playing 1080p videos (mkv, flash,etc..) ?

    Right now I have a macbook air 2010 with nvidia 320m and some videos don't play very well.

    The price difference between the base model and the AMD/ATI is somewhat big.

    People here with the base model ? Is it enough ?

    Thank you and sorry for my english
  2. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
  3. Dentifrice thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 27, 2008
  4. SR45 macrumors 65832


    Aug 17, 2011
    Went back and forth with deciding which Mini to get, finally settled on the one listed in my sig below and could not be happier

    Word applications
    Internet stuff
    You Tube
    No gaming except Angry Birds
    Flash stuff
  5. warvanov macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2011
    Both machines are pretty powerful. The low end one won't be as good for games, obviously, but if that's not a concern of yours then it should suit all of your other needs just fine.
  6. Dentifrice thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 27, 2008
    thanks everyone

    I'll take the low end and fill it with 8 gb of ram !
  7. Dentifrice thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 27, 2008
    last question what do you think of refurbished mac mini ?
  8. warvanov macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2011
    Refurbished is a great way to go. The Mac mini's go fast though. They usually sell out in less than a day.
  9. VeganHipster macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2011
    If you can get refurbished, I would recommend getting the higher end model. If you are willing to spend that much, I remember seeing the server for about $700-$800 and I think the model with the AMD GPU was I think $650
  10. Hammie macrumors 65816


    Mar 17, 2009
    Wash, DC Metro
    I am always of the philosophy if I have the money to get as many upgrades as possible, I'll do it. I never know what advancements of changes in software will come down the line. You mention Lightroom and Aperture. There alone you will want a fast drive and a multi-core processor (depending on how much you do, that is).

    Just my two cents.
  11. Dentifrice thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 27, 2008
    I went to my local apple store yesterday.

    The reason I want a mac mini as a desktop is because my macbook air 2010 (c2d) is a little slow on cpu "intensive" tasks (like websites with a lot a flash,etc..).

    So I tried the base mac mini model. To be honnest, I was disapointed. I tried the same websites I find slow on my MBA and it wasn't that impressive.

    And them, I tried the new MBA 2011 (core i5 1.8). This little baby was really fast. No lag at all when loading sites,etc.

    The mac mini have a better cpu than the MBA...but the MBA had 4gb of ram (2 gb for the base mac mini) and a SSD.

    Do you think adding ram to the mac mini will speed it like the MBA ? I'm sure the 5400 rpm drive isn't helping versus the MBA SSD...
  12. shortcut3d macrumors 65816

    Aug 24, 2011
    Upgrading the base model Mac Mini to 4GB or 8GB is very inexpensive and easy from known high quality vendors like OWC. You will see a performance improvement going from 2GB to 4GB or more. If your issue is interaction with a loaded Flash website, then upgrade to 4GB or more. However, launching Safari and other disk related activities benefit from the MacBook Air SSD. If your issue is launching Safari, then you'll need to swap in an SSD.
  13. LaMerVipere macrumors 6502a


    Jan 19, 2004
    What he said. The only thing holding back the Mac mini is the 5,400RPM laptop HD that comes standard. Either upgrade it to a 7,200RPM or an SSD and it should increase load times and responsiveness immensely (dramatically faster with the SSD of course, but the 7,200RPM would still be a big improvement).
  14. frank4, Nov 11, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2011

    frank4 macrumors regular


    Oct 17, 2011
    I got a refurb base Mini about a week ago, it arrived looking perfect like a full-price unit. I'm happy with it so far, it's my first Mac and I'm still figuring things out (impressed and baffled at same time).

    Also got the Apple wireless keyboard which I like a lot, note the new "B" keyboard - MC184LL/B - has 2 relabelled keys for Lion. No Magic Mouse yet, I'm using a trusty old USB Logitech optical mouse.

    This machine is decent, appears to run smoothly and handle everything so far, which I admit is not a heavy workload, it will be mostly websurfing, playing with music and photo apps, and the occasional video download, maybe a little video editing. From reading reviews and trying one at a store for a while, I figured the base 2.3 Mini would be enough. I'll probably not be gaming at all but maybe I'll find an interesting game later and just play it in reduced resolution mode.

    I'll be playing some SD resolution videos videos soon, copied from my old computer. I've downloaded a few 720P and 1080P video samples from TV manufacturer Blu-ray demo disks and VLC plays them no problem.

    Sound quality is good, about the same as a $150 Echo Audio card I added to my Windows notebook a few years ago.

    Note that my monitor is 1680x1050 so I'm not able to see the full 1080P yet. I'm using the included HDMI to DVI adapter and the video looks sharp and colourful on my 3 year old 22" Samsung LCD monitor.

    This Mini is very quiet and barely gets warm after a few hours.

    So far the 2GB RAM seems to be enough for me, not running a lot of apps, I'll just upgrade to the max 8GB if I notice a problem. If I keep this Mini for more than a year I'll probably swap in a bigger HD, whatever looks good at that time. 5400 rpm seems OK. I notice a lot of the external HD units are using 5400 these days so it may not be much of a performance drop.

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