Why is the 2012 Mini so in Demand?

RUGGLES99

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 9, 2015
409
94
I have a base mid 2010, the last with superdrive that I use mainly for writing, several published nonfiction books. Ive thought of upgrading to an ssd to speed things up, but basically with 4gb of ram its fine. But it seems mini aficianados rave about the 2012. Why?
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G3
Jul 30, 2003
9,534
2,303
Delaware
The 2012 may have a quad-core i7 (if you can find one for a reasonable price)
Over the 2010, the 2012 has USB 3, Thunderbolt, and a quieter fan (some come with the older, somewhat-noisier fan)
Finally, the SATA bus is 6Gbps, for SATA3 speeds.

Even with your somewhat-slower model, an SSD would be a worthwhile upgrade
 

yjchua95

macrumors 604
Apr 23, 2011
6,725
230
GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
I have a base mid 2010, the last with superdrive that I use mainly for writing, several published nonfiction books. Ive thought of upgrading to an ssd to speed things up, but basically with 4gb of ram its fine. But it seems mini aficianados rave about the 2012. Why?
Because the 2012 mini is as close to a desktop as it can be (quad core i7 option - 2.3 or 2.6GHz, 16GB of RAM, USB 3 and Thunderbolt, plus SATA 3 (6 Gb/s).

Aside from the mediocre iGPU, it's basically an Ivy Bridge 15" rMBP.
 

Dark Void

macrumors 68030
Jun 1, 2011
2,614
465
It's mostly because they were offered with quad core CPUs, and also in comparison to what came afterwards (2014 refresh) they're more upgradable. The 2014 models were a disappoint for various reasons including the soldering of the RAM modules (so you have to BTO your mini and pay Apple premiums) as well as removing the quad-core options. In other words, they've severely limited the product line in its most recent refresh, and the 2012 models are the next most recent ones without any of these disappointments.
 

SpacemanSpiffed

macrumors regular
Mar 27, 2013
176
253
Pacific NW
As said above, the number #1 reason for current demand is the quad core CPU. The Mini's a fantastic combination of price, packaging and performance, but the lack of a quad core CPU really screwed over the current version. #2 reason is probably the easy upgradability of RAM and Storage.

Sadly, but quite understandably, I don't see user upgradable RAM coming back. Switching to LPDDR3 RAM makes a noticeable decrease in power consumption, especially at idel, which is one of Apple's goals, but it's not designed for use in removable modules - and there are NO LPDDR3 DIMMs produced anywhere. Back when everyone was gnashing their teeth over it after the 2104 mini announcement, I wish that had been pointed out better. Skylake CPUs may bring a change to DDR4, but I have no idea if that will bring removable/modular memory back.
 
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newellj

macrumors 604
Oct 15, 2014
7,278
2,299
East of Eden
Quad core, user serviceable RAM and fixed storage...but at some point the HD4000 integrated graphics are going to catch up with some users, unfortunately...
 

Pakaku

macrumors 68020
Aug 29, 2009
2,158
2,129
Quad core, user serviceable RAM and fixed storage...but at some point the HD4000 integrated graphics are going to catch up with some users, unfortunately...
eGPUs are becoming a thing...
 

SpinalTap

macrumors regular
Sep 25, 2003
205
15
Bournville, UK
Surprisingly, in the UK, at least a couple of 2012 Mac Mini's have appeared on the Apple Refurb Store in the past two weeks - so it's worth checking in regularly to see if some more become available.

I really appreciate my 2012 Mac Mini Server with added SSD.
 

campyguy

macrumors 68040
Mar 21, 2014
3,415
932
Quad core, user serviceable RAM and fixed storage...but at some point the HD4000 integrated graphics are going to catch up with some users, unfortunately...
Yes, I agree with the first 3 with a but at the end... I've installed 10.11 B2 on my 2012 i7 Mini Server's second hard drive and it's connected to a Dell P2715Q display - IMHO it's pretty serviceable, with the display looking nicer and responding much better than with Yosemite. I also use an iPad and Duet for minor operations on the Server.

And, if one's Mini needs a bit more "oomph" or a larger desktop, Matrox just came out a couple of months ago with two new versions of their eGPUs that support Yosemite and multiple displays. So we can get some more time out of our Minis!
 

newellj

macrumors 604
Oct 15, 2014
7,278
2,299
East of Eden
Yes, I agree with the first 3 with a but at the end... I've installed 10.11 B2 on my 2012 i7 Mini Server's second hard drive and it's connected to a Dell P2715Q display - IMHO it's pretty serviceable, with the display looking nicer and responding much better than with Yosemite. I also use an iPad and Duet for minor operations on the Server.

And, if one's Mini needs a bit more "oomph" or a larger desktop, Matrox just came out a couple of months ago with two new versions of their eGPUs that support Yosemite and multiple displays. So we can get some more time out of our Minis!
Mine drives a pair of Dell 2410 displays with no complaints from me at all, but my video demands are not high. :)