Would anyone be as so kind as to help me with a purchase?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by testudoaubreii, Feb 4, 2018.

  1. testudoaubreii macrumors regular

    Apr 14, 2014

    I am in need of a new macOS device for school (motion graphics) and work (web and graphic design). I know that I need a fairly powerful machine, but I cannot buy new.

    I am looking at two devices. One is a 2011 Mac mini/i7 2,7/8GB/256GB SSD/AMD Radeon HD 6630M at $450. I am sure that I can upgrade the RAM.

    The second is a 2016 13" MacBook Pro Retina w/i5/8GB/256GB at $750.

    There are two totally different devices. I guess I am really just wondering if the 6 year old Mac Mini is still relevant today. A portable device would be nice, but not absolutely necessary and I really do like the sound of a Mac Mini. Hell, I could probably just bring it to school with me and hook it up to a monitor.

    Thank you in advance for your help!
  2. BenTrovato macrumors 68030


    Jun 29, 2012
    My 2012 mac mini is spectacular but only good for low resolution screens. I can’t hook it up to 4K so no retina quality. It’s good for a TV device but not an everyday worker. Plus Apple is probably loooking to drop support for anything older than 7 years, so it’s coming close.

    I would go for the laptop. It’s a nicer machine, better display, eligible for AppleCare.....
  3. testudoaubreii thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 14, 2014
    Thank you very much for your response.

    I would have the mini hooked up to a 1080p monitor. I do like the idea of a portable device, though. I guess I am just looking at the CPU power difference.
  4. Boyd01 macrumors 601


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    The fact that the 2011 Mini doesn't have USB 3.0 would be a deal killer for me. If you can find a 2012 quad, that would be much better but you aren't likely to get that for $450.
  5. testudoaubreii thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 14, 2014
    You are correct. I actually just found a 2012 for $632.
  6. sublunar macrumors 6502a

    Jun 23, 2007
    The 2011 Mini is obsolete, and the AMD graphics are weak and limited with the 256Mb graphics memory compared to more modern integrated graphics and also subject to failure. That said, the Thunderbolt port on the Mini can provide a USB3 port if required using an adaptor or be connected to a dock. You'd need a keyboard, mouse and screen for the Mini despite having access to school resources how long will that be the case for?

    A 2012 mini would be an improvement and will give you native USB3 ports if you need them.

    The 2016 laptop model is presumably without touchbar (ie the 15w MBA style CPU). I don't think there'll be much difference between 8Gb and 16Gb of RAM unless you're doing loads of high density stuff. It's nothing like the jump between 4Gb and 8Gb. If you're looking at the CPU difference the MacBook might not be the best for sustained video exporting but would probably be much the same as the 2011 Mini for day to day web work.
  7. testudoaubreii thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 14, 2014
    Thank you very much for you informative response.

    I am now looking at a 2012 Mac Mini w/i7/8GB/2 x 256GB SSDs for $632.
  8. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    I'm a Mini fan, but the 2017 MBPro is "the better" of the two choices you listed above.
  9. Ubele macrumors 6502a

    Mar 20, 2008
    I have both a late 2012 Mac mini i7/2.3 GHz/16GB RAM/2.12TB Fusion drive and a 2015 13" MBP i5/2.5GHz/8GB RAM/256GB SSD. For the programs I use (MS Office, Adobe CC, various photo-editing programs, web browsing), I don't notice a practical difference in speed. For video rendering (which I don't do a lot of), the mini is faster. I came close to selling it, but I decided to keep it as a backup computer and to rip my DVD collection in the background while I do my work on my MBP.

    One thing I like about the mini are the number of ports, as I have quite a few peripherals. I bought a vertical HengeDock and a USB 3.0 hub for my MBP, though, which accomplishes the same thing.

    If I were in your position, I'd go for the 2016 MBP, for three reasons: One, it's four years newer and will have a longer useful lifespan. Two, I love the portability of my MBP. I can use it while sitting on the couch, or hooked up to an external monitor in my home office. Three, I recently got a 28" Samsung 4K monitor from Costco for $300. As with the jump to Retina displays on the iPhone, iPad, and MBP, it's hard to go back to standard resolution monitors. Everything is so much sharper. I tried the monitor with my mini, but it looks soft at any non-native resolution. That said, I was happy with 1080P monitors for many years.

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8 February 4, 2018