Which Mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by roland.g, Feb 22, 2016.

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Which Mini would you opt for?

  1. 3.0Ghz i7 8 GB RAM 512 GB SSD refurb $1,269

    5 vote(s)
    41.7%
  2. 2.8Ghz i5 16 GB RAM 256 GB SSD new $1,199

    7 vote(s)
    58.3%
  1. roland.g, Feb 22, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2016

    roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

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    #1
    Option for two different Mini configs.

    Mini 3.0Ghz i7 8GB RAM 512GB SSD - refurb - $1,269.00

    Mini 2.8Ghz i5 16GB RAM 256GB SSD - new - $1,199.00

    I ordered the refurb and will be getting it this week but jumped on it because it looked like a good deal. Going from a quad-core 27" iMac to the Mini w/ Dell 34" Ultrawide 3440x1440 screen, and will be mainly using Mini for Safari, Mail, Quicken, iTunes for sync to iPhones/iPads and server to Apple TVs, along with occasional Pixelmator (very light). No real video editing, except the occasional GoPro footage.

    I usually prefer more RAM, and am concerned after having 24GB in my iMac that the 8GB refurb is not enough.

    Obviously each user is different. Which Mini would you go for?

    I'd prefer not to BTO it and get into the $1,399 or higher range by bumping the CPU or SSD on the new config.
     
  2. treekram macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    I have yet to find a good explanation of what the difference is between the i5 and the i7 dual-cores. The i7 are usually 3.0Ghz+, the i5 <3.0Ghz but that's about it. You probably won't notice the .2 Ghz difference. You seem to be very concerned about the RAM so I would go with the i5 16GB RAM. There are options for adding more disk storage if you find that you need more but that's not the case with RAM.
     
  3. roland.g thread starter macrumors 603

    roland.g

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    #3
    Thanks. I think you're right. Part of the reason I jumped on that refurb was it looked like a BTO and the main page doesn't list RAM, it is instead listed as a tech spec. In the past Apple often listed BTO refurbs under grouped listings and people got machines with more RAM or a larger drive as a result. I was hoping that it would show up with 16 GB. It hasn't arrived yet, but I logged into my Support Profile and it shows 8GB. I might use it for a week and see how the RAM does. But I think I'd rather save $75, get more RAM and like you said I can always add external fast storage.
     
  4. treekram macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    You can also add a SATA internal drive at a later point. If you don't want to do it yourself, you can have somebody install it for you. It won't be as fast as the PCIe SSD, but the difference isn't as much as it is on the MBP. 30% slower maybe, which would be more than fast enough for a lot of use cases.
     
  5. shaunp macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2010
    #5
    Go for the 1275 GT in racing green. Oops, not that kind of Mini ;)
     
  6. roland.g thread starter macrumors 603

    roland.g

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    #6
    Is that worth it over getting a 240GB SSD USB 3.0 drive from OWC for $159? I just want to move my Photos library off the internal SSD if I go with the 256 internal as the 256 in my iMac is less than 60 free because of my growing photo library.

    Also, didn't know I could add a 2nd internal SSD to the 2014 mini. I thought you could only replace a 5400 drive.
     
  7. Borin macrumors regular

    Borin

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    #7
    Unless I'm mistaken it essentially boils down to hyperthreading and cache sizes, things that the average user won't notice, much like the 0.2GHz difference.
     
  8. treekram macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    The 2.8Ghz model has the 1TB fusion as the base, the 256GB PCIe SSD can be substituted, which would leave the SATA slot empty. That SATA slot can be used for either an HDD or SSD.

    Dual-core i5's also have hyper-threading (those in the Mini do, at least).
     
  9. Borin macrumors regular

    Borin

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    #9
    I was under the impression that the i5 comes with hyperthreading disabled by Intel, for some reason or another that I forget. That may just be older generations, though
     
  10. treekram macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    Apple is just wierd sometimes. In their "Tech Specs" page for the Mini, nary a word about hyperthreading. Yet, in their splashy "Features" page (presumably for the non-computer savvy), it's there: "When you’re using processor-intensive applications, Turbo Boost 2.0 increases the clock speed up to 3.5GHz. Hyper-Threading lets each core run two threads, so OS X multitasks even more efficiently."

    http://www.apple.com/lae/mac-mini/features/

    It's for the quad-core i5 where hyperthreading is unavailable except for the i5-4570T (why just one processor?). The history of which processors had hyperthreading and which didn't in the past is too complicated for me to get my head around.
     
  11. roland.g, Feb 22, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2016

    roland.g thread starter macrumors 603

    roland.g

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    #11
    Thanks everyone for the feedback. I had not really thought about the i5 to i7 jump being somewhat insignificant for a Dual-Core Mini. One would more likely notice it more in a MacBook Pro, iMac, or Surface Pro 4. I think that the RAM is a bigger factor for me, and if I can easily add a second internal SSD for Photos library or use an external SSD, then the 512 is a non issue. Frankly I would have been fine if this refurb had been $200 less and only had the 256.

    I can pick up the refurb from the local store anytime. Not sure I want to do that if I'm just going to take it back and order the 16GB BTO, which at this point will be delivered Wed-Fri of next week.

    I took it a step further and looked at the Geekbench results. Originally I had just compared the Mini against my iMac that I am selling to see how much of a drop in performance I would see.

    Looking at the 3.0 v 2.8, the 3.0 is 3-4% faster across 32 and 64, Single and Multi-Core.

    Looking at the 2.8 v 2.6, the 2.8 is 5-6% faster.

    And comparing the 3.0 against the 2.6, the 3.0 is only 9-10% faster.

    Based on that I'm inclined to save another $100 and get a 2.6Ghz 16GB 256GB SSD for $1,099.

    Doesn't seem like I'll get much for those CPU bumps.

    Thanks again for the input.
     
  12. iceman42 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2012
    #12
    if you are getting it from the apple refurbished store online then i would get 3.0Ghz one
     
  13. bingeciren macrumors 6502a

    bingeciren

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    #13
    What model year are these machines? If it is 2012 or earlier upgrading RAM is trivial. However, starting from 2013, RAM is soldered to the main board, in that case chose carefully. Despite running multiple VMs simultaneously, I find that 8GB of RAM usually delivers satisfactory performance.

    My main criteria for a newer generation Mac Mini is mainly focused on the SSD / HDD combination. I'd go for a model with a 2TB Fusion drive in order to get the 128 GB Flash disk and a 2TB HDD. 1TB Fusion drive comes with a 24GB Flash disk by the way, which is totally unacceptable. Later on you can split the Fusion drive if you wish.

    I find that having a PCIe based flash drive is more important for the overall speed of the machine than simply the difference between the i7 or i5.
     
  14. roland.g thread starter macrumors 603

    roland.g

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    #14
    I ordered a refurb 3.0 i7 8GB 512GB SSD which is waiting for pickup at a local Apple Store but I also since then ordered a 2.6 i5 16GB 256GB SSD which should arrive next week. Both are 2014 models. My research showed the 2.6 was 9-10% slower across all benchmarks than the 3.0 i7. And only 15% slower than my 3.2 Quad i5 27" iMac, only single core tests. The multi core tests were night and day but that is true of the iMac vs the 3.0 i7 too. I think for me the RAM will prove to be more important than a slight CPU bump and even though the refurb has a 512 drive, I can get a 240 or 480 external from OWC for a decent price and move my photos and video content to that. I already store iTunes content on an external 4TB USB 3 drive, inclusive of all music, movies and other iTunes content.

    I just don't want to see Apple come out with a 2016 Mini in the next couple months and miss the boat on that. But I need to complete this transition from iMac to Mini plus screen pretty soon as I plan to use the screen as a monitor for my Dell laptop for working from home.
     

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