Worth buying

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by skaertus, Oct 3, 2017.

  1. skaertus macrumors 68040

    skaertus

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    #1
    I am thinking of a small form factor desktop and the first choice would be of course the Mac Mini.

    As it cannot be upgraded later, I thought of the intermediate model, with a Core i5-4278U 2.6 GHz, 8 GB RAM, and a 1 TB HDD. However, I can see Apple has not updated it in the last three years, and it is seriously outdated.

    An alternative would be the HP Prodesk 400 Desktop Mini, which ships with a Core i5-7500T 2.7 GHz, 4 GB RAM, and a 500 GB HDD, and Windows 10 Pro. This one would be about 25%-30% cheaper than the Mac mini (please note that I am not buying the laptop in the U.S., so it would be worthless any recommendations of stores with a better price). However, it comes with less RAM and storage (which can of course be upgraded).

    Which would be more worth it?
     
  2. Novus John macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    #2
    Another alternative is a macbook and an external screen. Combine them and you've gotten yourself a mini-"desktop" machine. A bit more expensive than the mini but at least you can take it wherever you want.
     
  3. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

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    #3
    The Mac Mini is so outdated at this point that it should never be recommended.
     
  4. Boyd01 macrumors 601

    Boyd01

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    #4
    For starters I think you need to decide whether you want MacOS or Windows, then choose whatever fits your budget. Personally, I am not interested in Windows machines regardless of cost. ;)
     
  5. xylitol macrumors 6502

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    #6
    Tell that to the Apple executives!
     
  6. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68040

    skaertus

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    #7
    Thanks. I already have a MacBook Pro and I am getting tired of all the hassle of taking it out of the bag and putting it on the bag again, and connecting it to the monitor, every single day. A desktop would be nice in this sense.
     
  7. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68040

    skaertus

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    #8
    I can get along with both. As long as it is not Linux I am fine.
     
  8. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68040

    skaertus

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    #9
  9. Boyd01 macrumors 601

    Boyd01

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    #10
    If cost is important and you don't like MacOS more than Windows, I can't see why you would be interested in the Mac at all. :)

    But getting back to the Mini, you have not said what your intended use would be. I have a 2014 base model Mini and a 2012 top spec quad mini. Both are well suited to my uses, the 2014 is a server that just sits there 24/7 running iTunes with home sharing. Not much is required for that, it's probably even over-kill. But that machine feels really sluggish if I try to do anything else with it.

    I also had a base model 2012 2.5ghz Mini and increased the RAM to 16gb (which is cheap here in the US). That was a surprisingly fast little machine, I had it boot from an external SSD. Gave that one to my daughter and it works very well as their "family computer".

    I use my 2012 quad mini primarily for video editing, it boots from a 1tb external SSD and feels very fast for most things. It's about 50% faster than the top of the line 2014 mini due to the quad core i7's. It is a little more than twice as fast as the base 2012 Mini I gave my daughter - which is probably pretty similar to the model you are looking at. I was able to run Final Cut Pro X and even tried Davinci Resolve on that machine and they both ran.

    So the model you are looking at should perform fine if you are just doing general stuff like mail, web, productivity software. Should also handle more complex things like video and audio as long as you don't expect too much. Is it "worth buying"? That is totally up to you. As I said above, if you'd just as soon use Windows then there has never been much reason to buy a Mac.
     
  10. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68040

    skaertus

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    #11
    It will be for general purpose. Browsing the web, listening to music, using Office apps. Lots and lots of multitasking, several apps opened at once. Like forty browser abs opened at once, and another ten PDFs. But no video editing.

    I will connect it to a 27” 2560x1440 display (or perhaps one with an even higher resolution) so it can handle all the multitask that I use.

    That is basically it. No preference between Windows and Mac OS. Both are fine. I have no budgetary problems, I just don’t want to overpay for hardware which is not worth it. I plan to buy a top-range 27-inch retina iMac after I move (which may or may not happen in about a year or so), but until then I want some compact desktop which is good and can handle my tasks appropriately but which is not over-expensive.
     
  11. alien3dx macrumors 6502a

    alien3dx

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    Feb 12, 2017
    #12
    Mac mini not worth much, because of the equipment allready long time stock. HP specification kinda nice but at least you may check intel nuc.Dell also got small form factor so as acer..
     
  12. APPLENEWBIE macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    I bought a 2014 Mini with a hard drive and it was unusably SLOW. I ended up booting from an external SSD on the USB3 bus. At least get an SSD or fusion drive!
     
  13. Boyd01 macrumors 601

    Boyd01

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    #14
    Your usage is completely different from mine, so I don't have any personal experience. But it sounds like you should consider 16gb of RAM since it is not upgradeable and that might help with so many tabs and documents open at the same time. Of course a SSD is nice too if you are tight on RAM, since swapping will be so fast that you may not even notice it.

    But since you would just as soon use Windows and have already said the Mini "is seriously outdated", I still don't understand why you are considering it.
     
  14. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68040

    skaertus

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    #15
    I am considering the Mac Mini because it is the most obvious choice, thinking of a mini computer. I can find one in nearly every store. I cannot find any of the others so easily. The HP, for instance, I have to order via Internet.
     
  15. Trusteft macrumors 6502a

    Trusteft

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    Nov 5, 2014
    #16
    Based on your usage, any Mac Mini (I assume you are looking for latest models and not second hand 2012 models) will do. Since you will not need much hard drive space, you could go with the smallest SSD they are offering, just make sure to have at least 16GB of RAM.
    If you can only afford SSD or RAM upgrade, get the RAM and then use an external SSD when you can afford it, to run macOS from there.
    I avoid Windows machines as for a couple of years now they only come with Windows 10 and I avoid Windows 10 like the devil.
    If you can find a cheaper higher specs machine that runs Windows 8.1 or 7, go for that.
    But, if I was to buy a new system now, it would be a Mac 100%.
     
  16. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68040

    skaertus

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    #17
    Thanks for the advice. In fact, I do not really think the Mac Mini would be worth it for me. I would have to add 16 GB RAM and an SSD. It cannot be a small SSD since I will install Windows alongside Mac OS on it. My MacBook Pro, for instance, has a 512GB SSD nearly full.

    If I customize the Mac mini, I would lose any discount I have. So, this Mac mini will end up being very expensive in the end to the point it approaches the 27-inch iMac territory. I do not think it would be worth it, especially considering that I will add a not that cheap 4k monitor to it.

    Unlike you, I do not avoid Windows machines and I do really like Windows 10. That is why I may end up buying a Mac but only if it is really worth it in terms of hardware. I am not buying it for the software.

    On another note, is it worth to wait for Coffee Lake? I read some reviews and it seems pretty impressive. Even the cheap six-core i5-8400 seems to be on the same level as a quad-core i7-7700 or so.
     
  17. Trusteft macrumors 6502a

    Trusteft

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    #18
    I have long stopped following every tech advancement. I have been into computers since the early 80s. Now I just want to use them.
    There is always something better, faster, cheaper around the corner.
     
  18. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68040

    skaertus

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    #19
    True. But I also heard that the jump from quad-core to six cores is the most significant upgrade in over a decade.
     
  19. ziggy29 macrumors 6502

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    Oregon North Coast
    #20
    If the apps can use them.

    That's one of the knocks on Ryzen already -- the extra cores are nice, but if applications aren't written to use them, they won't help too much. I suppose Intel getting into that game with mainstream processors would likely spur more optimization for more than quad core systems.
     
  20. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68040

    skaertus

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    #21
    I have not used AMD processors in years, more than a decade. They have disappointed me with performance lower than Intel processors, even though they were advertised by AMD as being superior.

    Is Ryzen any different? It may not matter if it has more cores if each of them is weak.

    As for apps using several cores, I think Office and web browsers should use them quite well, no?
     
  21. ziggy29 macrumors 6502

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    Oregon North Coast
    #22
    I'm not going to get into religious Intel vs. AMD flamewars. My only point was that extra cores are only useful if applications are designed to use them.
     
  22. Trusteft macrumors 6502a

    Trusteft

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2014
    #23
    Well, my experience with more than 4 cores comes with Windows machines only. I have a 8 core system. Overall you might see a performance improvement depending on what you are doing. Not just if the specific applications take advantage of them, as the OS will take care of overall performance if you have more cores and run many programs. Still, that is under Windows 8.1 I don't know how efficiently macOS uses more cores as unfortunately I only have one 2012 mac mini. I don't have anything to compare it with in the mac world.
    At least nothing recent.

    My point was that if you wait for the next upgraded hardware, you will never buy it as there is always something else coming next. If you need hardware now and you know you don't need something very powerful, I think it is wiser to buy hardware now, than wait for a potential specific hardware coming out next year or more.
    But, that's just me.
     
  23. Cloudsurfer macrumors 65816

    Cloudsurfer

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    Location:
    Netherlands
    #24
    If you have no preference for Mac or Windows, I would simply look elsewhere. Spec wise, there are far better offerings.

    But user experience is not always about specs. Outdated or not, it's still a Mac with all the benefits that it offers. I use my 2014 to edit 4K in Final Cut Pro and it's such a wonderful experience, even on such a seemingly underpowered box, that I wouldn't want to trade it in for anything else.
     

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23 October 3, 2017