Would a Mac Mini With SSD be a good buy?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Ace2617, Oct 22, 2016.

  1. Ace2617 macrumors regular


    Mar 16, 2016
    Hey everyone,

    I posted here once a while ago in search of advice on a Mac Mini. I think it was a 2009 model. It was highly upgraded (large SSD, maxed out RAM, etc) but obviously was a C2D.

    I put it off for a while, but now I feel like I'd like to get a Mac Mini once again. I know that new Mac Mini's don't offer good value, but if I snag a used one (either 2012 or 2014) with at least 8 gigs of RAM and an SSD, would it be usable? I know a lot of people are turned off by the Mac Mini nowadays, but I'm trying to gauge if it'd be a good secondary machine for me.

    Right now, I plug my rMBP into an external monitor when I want a "desktop" experience. Instead, I'd like to get a Mac Mini so I have another Mac and can just let my MacBook be a laptop. I'd mainly use the Mac Mini for work (I'm a writer) so tons of research, plenty of word/pages docs, and then when I'm not working on it just the normal entertainment stuff, some YouTube and Netflix.

    Would getting a 2-4 year old Mac Mini with an SSD be a good decision? Thanks in advance for any advice/suggestions.
  2. Floris macrumors 68020


    Sep 7, 2007
    There is a risk a new mac mini is released in a week from now during the event.
    Worth the wait I guess.
  3. Ace2617 thread starter macrumors regular


    Mar 16, 2016
    Oh I hadn't thought of that. Was kind of expecting that to be a MacBook(s) only update. Good point. I will wait it out, if there is a new Mini and it seems great, I'd probably get that instead. At the very least, if there is a new one, I'd decide if I like it before moving forward to buy a used one. Thanks.
  4. Floris macrumors 68020


    Sep 7, 2007
    Even if you don't go for the new mac mini, the current one might become a bit cheaper. And maybe more refurbished ones might show up
  5. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816


    Feb 16, 2010
    Dayton, Ohio
    Actually, I'm using a 2010 Mini with a regular hard drive for my standard office-type work (I'm typing this post on it right now). Sure, without an SSD, it takes a little while to boot and to load applications. However, I keep it running 24/7 (so I almost never have to boot it) and I leave my apps open forever (so I never have to reload them). :) With sufficient RAM, my applications never have to touch the disk, and therefore run extremely fast.

    I've loved the Minis for a long time for their convenience, power, and quiet running. But with the 2014 update, Apple has made these devices extremely inflexible: without the ability to upgrade RAM, and with the internal drives locked down with security screws, it is extremely hard to optimize the device for changing needs. :(

    In short, I would go with a 2012 model if you want a decent little machine that can serve a variety of roles. An SSD is a nice addition, but I don't count it as necessary. I like the fact that you can get one with a limited amount of RAM, and add to it later if you find you need more...
  6. DonCarlos macrumors regular


    Dec 14, 2009
    Las Vegas
    "In short, I would go with a 2012 model".....

    I would have to agree...you can upgrade both the memory and SSD, it is a much better model than the current one.
  7. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    I would not recommend that anyone buy ANY used Mini other than a late-2012 or late-2014 model.

    Primary reason: USB3. Plug in an external SSD and have a responsive little box. No fuss, no muss.

    Also, better graphics (not "great", but "better").
  8. Ace2617 thread starter macrumors regular


    Mar 16, 2016
    Thanks everyone for the responses. Sounds like, if I go the used route, the 2012 is the way to go. If a new Mac Mini is released, I'd have to consider it but I still feel like used is probably the best way to go, unless a new MM is just extraordinary. Once again thanks for all the help.
  9. Boyd01 macrumors 601


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    I've got a 2012 base mini and a 2014 base mini. Both cost $500 new. For $65 and a few minutes time, I upgraded the 2012 to 16gb but the 2014 will always be a 4gb machine due to soldered RAM. The 2012 has a geekbench rating of 6773 and the 2014 is only 5923. Guess which one I like best? ;)

    Having said that, depending on when it was purchased, a used 2012 mini could be between 2 to 4 years old, so that needs to be factored into the price IMO. A 4 year old computer is not going to last as long as a new one that you buy today. But the problem with the new ones is that you need to buy the 2.6 ghz model to get performance better than the bottom of the line 2012. And you also have to buy the maximum amount of RAM you will ever need, at Apple's high price.

    What are typical used prices on privately sold 2012 models? Was looking at macsales.com recently, since they have a 90 day warranty, and the cheapest 2.5ghz 2012 4gb/500gb model in "very good condition" costs $549. Seems pretty pricey to me, considering that i paid $500 for the same thing new, with a one year Apple warranty…

    Now if you want a SSD, that will cost even more, especially the factory installed version. And I have read so many threads about people damaging their mini with user-installed SSD's that I am rather put-off by the idea.
  10. Micky Do, Oct 23, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2016

    Micky Do macrumors 68000

    Micky Do

    Aug 31, 2012
    An island in the Andaman Sea.
    Wait to see what updates to the Mac Mini may, or may not, be announced this week. Then make a choice based on your budget and requirements; 2016 (if there is one) 2014 or 2012.

    Both the 2012 and the 2014 can be had with SSD installed as a custom order, or retrofitted in place of the HDD.

    The 2012 is good if you want the RAM "upgrade experience". It came with 4 GB, and up to 16 GB can be installed. If you need/desire quad core CPU performance it is the only option.

    The 2014 is good if you can do without the RAM "upgrade experience". It comes with 4 GB for the base model and 8 GB off the shelf for the mid and upper tier models. User RAM upgrades are not possible, but all can be custom ordered with up to 16 GB RAM. Performance for duo core models is slightly improved over the 2012 equivalents. There are improvements in connectivity, if that matters.

    Bear in mind that support for the 2012 will be dropped a couple of years before the 2014. Machines are regarded as vintage by Apple five years after manufacture has ceased. Seven years after manufacture has ceased they are regarded as obsolete….. Which is not to say that they do not have useful days or years ahead of them. Just that repairs will no longer be guaranteed, and replacement is probably more cost effective anyway.


    My early 2009 Mini is now into its eighth year of use, still on the original HDD, but with an additional 4 GB of RAM installed. I reckon I'll get another year or two out of it.
  11. Easttime macrumors 6502a

    Jun 17, 2015
    I just got a 2014 Mini with 8 gb RAM and a Fusion drive. It was the cheapest option while waiting for the updates after my perfectly adequate mid 2011 iMac died. I was worried given all the negative postings, but I'm amazed at this little thing. It's giving me fully functional desktop service, driving two big monitors, one at 2560 resolution. Better than the 2011 iMac. Unlocks with my Apple Watch, speedy wake from sleep, fast USB 3, running Sierra and MS Office just fine. My plan had been to sell it and buy a new iMac after the October announcement, but I've decided to keep it for the foreseeable future. I like the flexibility it provides too. And the ports up front (I turned it around then tucked it under the monitor stand).
  12. nebo1ss macrumors 68030

    Jun 2, 2010
    Agreed. I bought a used Quad core 2012 Mac Mini server a couple of years ago with two 1 TB disk drives. It runs 24/7 and does a great job. Best Mac Mini ever.
  13. tibas92013 macrumors 6502

    Jun 2, 2013
    Costa Rica
    In the year 2013 I bought a Refurbished MM(Late 2012), 2.5GHZ, 4GB Ram, 500GB HD and last year I purchased another Refurbished MM(Late 2014), 2.8GHz, 8GB Ram, 256SSD from the Apple On-line Store.

    I would not now purchase any type of Computer with only a HDD as the SSD version is a much more enjoyable computer experience. Of note, I am a light user in using my devices in surfing the web, light correspondence, etc. and both of these MM's has met all my Computer-type needs.

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