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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

Let's Talk Mac Mini


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nathanrh

 
Member Since: Nov 13, 2012
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Alright Apple, you got me. I've decided to throw in the towel on owning a PC and switch over, for good.

I'm currently rocking a cheap Dell laptop with Win7, but could really use a power upgrade. I'm looking specifically at the new baseline Mac Mini model. I would most likely upgrade the RAM myself to either 8 or 16 to save a little cash, and I've already got all the necessary peripherals. That being said, I was hoping you guys could elaborate a little on the Mini's capabilities...

I definitely will not be doing any gaming, and I wouldn't even classify myself as a power user. The heaviest programs I would ever be running are Abelton/Logic and Photoshop- how smoothly will the Mini handle that? (not together, obviously).

Will it be a night and day difference switching from my Dell's Intel Mobile Core 2 Duo T6400 to the Mini's 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5?

I really appreciate any input, thanks team.

How do you like your Mini?
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Raz0rEdge

 
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Welcome to Mac-Forums

If you already have all the peripherals, the Mac Mini is a great option to go with. The newest versions of the Mac Mini rival the power of the iMacs from just a generation ago. The i5-based machines are powerful enough to run the applications you mentioned simultaneously as long as you upgrade the base memory from 4GB to either 8 or 16.

Also, do the upgrade yourself, it's easy and will definitely save you money over what Apple charges for them..

Compared to a Core2Duo machine running Windows, the Mac Mini with the i5 and OS X will be significantly faster..

I made the transitions to the Mac with a Mac Mini and had a 2006 1.8 GHz machine that was quite good, but being a power user, it was lacking in power and thus has been replaced with my i7 iMac..

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ChrisMan287

 
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Go with the quad-core i7 if you can afford it and definitely upgrade the RAM yourself. It should be just fine.
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nathanrh

 
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Is the quad core really necessary for me though? I'm a pretty average user and won't be doing anything to stress out my system too terribly much. Games and video editing are almost completely out of the question
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Raz0rEdge

 
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The $599 i5 version is capable of doing what you want, and the $799 i7 version would only be to future-proof yourself should you suddenly need to run an application that would benefit from running on a quad-core CPU with extra memory..

Since the CPU is not an up-gradable portion of the Mac Mini, you really are stuck with what you get for the life of the Mac Mini. So my advice usually is to buy the MOST you can afford even if it isn't something you'll use immediately..

You can never anticipate the needs of future versions of OS X or Photoshop or Logic or any other application..

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Deckyon

 
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I have to be honest, as an owner of a MacMini just one iteration back. I don't have the latest one just released, I got mine back in March.

High-end gaming, yes, it will be slow at average resolutions. This is not due to the processor or memory, but the video card. Will it run them, yes. However you will need to run them at lower resolutions. The games I am talking about are the newest and most progressive.

Video editing will be possible. I would not recommend extreme resolution or long runtimes. You can do it, but it will be slower (again due to the video card) and take slightly longer to render finished products.

I have my MacMini hooked up to my main HDTV and it is running iTunes 100% of the time and is my media server. It works wonderfully and streams like a champ. I got the highest end with all the upgrades I could (better processor, more ram) as I wanted it to stream to multiple devices at once. I also use it to maintain my photo library now via Aperture and shared library file. I do my editing on my MBP.

Photoshop and Logic are more memory intensive than video card intensive. Get as much memory as you can and those will be fine.

If you have all the peripherals already, it is a great machine that takes up very little space. this is a machine I recommend to a number of people who are average computer users who do not require the full power of a gaming rig.

The memory upgrade you can do on your own easy enough, as long as you follow the guidelines of buying the correct memory in pairs. If you would have to pay someone to do it for you, go on and just get the upgrades when you buy it instead.

Couple other things.
1. Get an external drive for Time Machine only. I recommend one that is 2x larger than the internal drive. This allows for growth. I have a 1 TB drive to back up my 500GB system drive.
2. Get an external drive for you media (iTunes, photos, videos) as this will allow you more room to grow without worrying about filling up your system drive. Also, it is cheaper to do this than upgrade the internal drive at the point of sale. I use a 4 TB drive that is almost 50% full.

MBP 17" 2011, 2.3GHz Intel Quad-Core i7, 8GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 6750M 1GB RAM
MacMini 2011, 2.7GHz Intel Dual-Core i7, 8GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 6630M 256MB RAM
iPhone 5S 64GB, iPad Gen3 32GB WiFi, iPod Nano Gen6 8GB, Apple TV 3 & 2
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neilf

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deckyon View Post
I have to be honest, as an owner of a MacMini just one iteration back. I don't have the latest one just released, I got mine back in March.

High-end gaming, yes, it will be slow at average resolutions. This is not due to the processor or memory, but the video card. Will it run them, yes. However you will need to run them at lower resolutions. The games I am talking about are the newest and most progressive.

Video editing will be possible. I would not recommend extreme resolution or long runtimes. You can do it, but it will be slower (again due to the video card) and take slightly longer to render finished products.

I have my MacMini hooked up to my main HDTV and it is running iTunes 100% of the time and is my media server. It works wonderfully and streams like a champ. I got the highest end with all the upgrades I could (better processor, more ram) as I wanted it to stream to multiple devices at once. I also use it to maintain my photo library now via Aperture and shared library file. I do my editing on my MBP.

Photoshop and Logic are more memory intensive than video card intensive. Get as much memory as you can and those will be fine.

If you have all the peripherals already, it is a great machine that takes up very little space. this is a machine I recommend to a number of people who are average computer users who do not require the full power of a gaming rig.

The memory upgrade you can do on your own easy enough, as long as you follow the guidelines of buying the correct memory in pairs. If you would have to pay someone to do it for you, go on and just get the upgrades when you buy it instead.

Couple other things.
1. Get an external drive for Time Machine only. I recommend one that is 2x larger than the internal drive. This allows for growth. I have a 1 TB drive to back up my 500GB system drive.
2. Get an external drive for you media (iTunes, photos, videos) as this will allow you more room to grow without worrying about filling up your system drive. Also, it is cheaper to do this than upgrade the internal drive at the point of sale. I use a 4 TB drive that is almost
50% full.
Maybe I have this wrong, but I didn't think you could upgrade the RAM in the new Mini!
It's configurable, yes, but otherwise I think you are stuck with what you buy.
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Deckyon

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neilf View Post
Maybe I have this wrong, but I didn't think you could upgrade the RAM in the new Mini!
It's configurable, yes, but otherwise I think you are stuck with what you buy.
This I don't know. Would be a question for either Apple or looking at the manual from Apple in their support section of their website. I know I can upgrade the memory in mine by myself.

MBP 17" 2011, 2.3GHz Intel Quad-Core i7, 8GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 6750M 1GB RAM
MacMini 2011, 2.7GHz Intel Dual-Core i7, 8GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 6630M 256MB RAM
iPhone 5S 64GB, iPad Gen3 32GB WiFi, iPod Nano Gen6 8GB, Apple TV 3 & 2
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nathanrh

 
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Great advice! Yeah, I'll leave the occasional gaming to the Xbox, I was never a fan of playing computer games anyway.

I've got a 1 TB external drive currently, but I'm using it strictly as a backup. My current machine only has a 300 GB HDD and I'm only occupying about 2/3 of it and I've had this computer for about 4 years now. So I'm not really concerned about running out of space with only 500 GB. I'm still leaning more towards the dual core though, as much as I would love a little more security from obsolescence, I think it will do just fine. And if it does start to lag behind the times, I'll have a reason to buy a new computer! haha

This little guy is looking more and more attractive by the minute.
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nathanrh

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deckyon View Post
This I don't know. Would be a question for either Apple or looking at the manual from Apple in their support section of their website. I know I can upgrade the memory in mine by myself.
You definitely can, but that's about all you can do. There are videos of it all over YouTube Mac Mini 2012 16GB RAM Upgrade - YouTube
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Deckyon

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanrh View Post
I'm still leaning more towards the dual core though, as much as I would love a little more security from obsolescence, I think it will do just fine.
I really would recommend getting the better processor. You will notice the difference when using the more high end apps like Photoshop and Logic. You can make up the difference by getting the lower ram at the POS. You cant change the processor after the fact.

And yes, it is a great little machine. The thing is a workhorse.

MBP 17" 2011, 2.3GHz Intel Quad-Core i7, 8GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 6750M 1GB RAM
MacMini 2011, 2.7GHz Intel Dual-Core i7, 8GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 6630M 256MB RAM
iPhone 5S 64GB, iPad Gen3 32GB WiFi, iPod Nano Gen6 8GB, Apple TV 3 & 2
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neilf

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanrh View Post
You definitely can, but that's about all you can do. There are videos of it all over YouTube Mac Mini 2012 16GB RAM Upgrade - YouTube
I was only trying to be helpful.
If you are looking for a NEW mini, I suggest that you check out Apple's web site.
From what I can tell, the only computer they sell now which has user access to upgrade the RAM, is the 27 inch iMac.
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laughjimbo

 
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I bought my base model mac mini back in June and I love it, I installed 8gb RAM and a crucial 256gb SSD and it is a totally different machine, the SSD if you can afford to get one is a great upgrade. Boots in around 12 seconds and everything loads pretty much instantly!!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laughjimbo View Post
I bought my base model mac mini back in June and I love it, I installed 8gb RAM and a crucial 256gb SSD and it is a totally different machine, the SSD if you can afford to get one is a great upgrade. Boots in around 12 seconds and everything loads pretty much instantly!!
I got a SSD put into my work laptop running Windows and before that everything would take forever to do, but with the SSD everything is s speedy. Applications and documents load in a flash..it's quite amazing..

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Upgrading the RAM in the 2011/2012 Mac Minis is a two-minute job, including shutting down and restarting the computer. The inside of the bottom plate even has illustrations on how to do it. Go for 16GB. Also, as mentioned above, get the quad-core i7 if you can afford it. If not, the dual-core i5 is quite impressive for the price.

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