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  1. #1
    2018 Mini 3.2 i7/128GB vs. 3.0 i5/256GB?


    Hi there, both these units, Apple certified refurbished, cost $929 each (8GB RAM on each). GB multi-thread scores show the i7 is about 20% faster, but I understand PCIe-based SSD are faster than any external storage options. But an additional 128GB storage on the i5 isn't really very much extra. I'm guessing the fastest external storage options will still be much cheaper than what Apple charges for additional storage; are there external options that approach or match the speed of PCIe-based SSD? For longevity, it seems best to go with the i7, in this case? I work primarily with lots of image files (Photoshop) and no gaming.

    Thanks so much!

  2. #2
    If you are doing image processing with large files, the 8GB is going to be a severely limiting factor. You can make do with less storage built-in by going with a TB-based external storage (also SSD) that will yield you pretty good performance. I believe the Mini's RAM is upgradable, and if so, I'd upgrade to the max supported and go with the i7.
    --
    Regards
    ...Ashwin


  3. #3
    Thanks, Ashwin! Oh for sure, I'd upgrade later on the 8 GB RAM (since the Minis can be); I was just concerned with 128 GB vs. 256 GB--some phones these days come with over 128 GB, and so I wonder if OS and applications could some day become so large to make it miniscule. But again the 128 GB unit would have the i7 processor, and there's always the option of external storage. I guess it's a question of longevity: Faster processor or slightly larger built-in storage? And by longevity, I'm hoping for 8-10 years.

    Thanks again. I appreciate it greatly.

  4. #4
    The general advice I give people is to buy the MOST PC you can buy for your budget (that means, fastest CPU, most RAM and biggest storage). The OS will take about 10-15GB of that 128. That leaves the rest for your applications and files you are actively working with. If you are diligent about making sure to use the external drive for most of your data, you can go far with the 128GB just by using it purely for OS and applications.

    You should definitely get 5 years out of that Mac, and my guess is that a software incompatibility will likely force an upgrade well before the hardware limitations might.
    --
    Regards
    ...Ashwin


  5. #5
    Thank you so much, Raz0rEdge. Super helpful, and insightful to make the point about software incompatibility forcing an upgrade before hardware limitations! I hadn't thought of it, but it's especially relevant because my mid-2011 iMac had its last compatible OS with High Sierra; with this Mac, I opted for the fastest i7 available (and adding RAM later to the maximum 16), and it proved wise and I think has definitely contributed to its longevity--it still feels completely usable, which I wasn't expecting before facing software incompatibility.

    Thanks again!!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Oh sorry, I meant Ashwin--I mistakenly thought it was a different member replying. Thanks!!

  6. #6
    Same boat here with my 2009 iMac (top of the line when I bought it). It's running 10.13 High Sierra and is about 2-3 versions higher than the base requirement for most apps (10.10 Yosemite being the base). So that means that I'm good for another 3-5 releases of macOS at which point either High Sierra or Mojave will become the base requirement and by then the machine will be like 13-15 years old and then it's DEFINITELY time for an upgrade.

    Now, it's also possible to lock the apps down to whatever version works right now and live with that, but the thing that will potentially force your hand on an upgrade will be something like a need for an iTunes update if you want to sync your iPhone XXX or whatever the versions will be called in the future. That will require iTunes 18 or 20 or something and that version of iTunes will require macOS Mojave+4 which your machine can't run and now you can'y sync your brand spanking new phone. While it might not be this exact combination, it's going to be something like this.
    --
    Regards
    ...Ashwin


  7. #7
    I would have gone with the double the storage rather than the faster processor on my Mini.
    Even though I do some photoshop, it's by far not the application I use the most.

    But one can also argue that storage can always be increased externally whereas one is stuck with whichever processor one chooses.

  8. #8
    Ashwin: Wow, 2009! That sounds amazing to me. I hear you on the iPhone/iTunes requirement (I'm really old-school and always try to have the least fancy iPhone possible (I'm using an SE right now), so I think/hope I'll be safe. High Sierra is the last compatible update for my '11. Sorry if this is a dumb question, but are security risks the biggest drawback when it comes to having a computer whose OS you can no longer upgrade? And how long should one live with that?

    krs: I can understand! It does feel small. But it's true--you really are stuck with the processor. And my experience with my current iMac just makes me think having the fastest processor possible contributes the most to longevity (considering you begin with upgradable RAM/storage).

  9. #9

    ferrarr's Avatar
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    Your Mac's Specs
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam's View Post
    Ashwin: Wow, 2009! That sounds amazing to me. I hear you on the iPhone/iTunes requirement (I'm really old-school and always try to have the least fancy iPhone possible (I'm using an SE right now), so I think/hope I'll be safe. High Sierra is the last compatible update for my '11. Sorry if this is a dumb question, but are security risks the biggest drawback when it comes to having a computer whose OS you can no longer upgrade? And how long should one live with that?

    krs: I can understand! It does feel small. But it's true--you really are stuck with the processor. And my experience with my current iMac just makes me think having the fastest processor possible contributes the most to longevity (considering you begin with upgradable RAM/storage).
    The only reason the OS “could be” a security risk is if you use it online. If the PC (macOS/winOS/other) is not online, then there is no issue. Well, except for direct access, but that would be true in the PC was online as well.


    Bob -

    Sent from my iPad using Mac-Forums
    -- Bob --
    Please backup. Everything has a life cycle, unexpected and warning free. Nothing will last as long as you want it to.

  10. #10
    Having a machine running an older version of an OS and connected to the Internet doesn't inherently put you at risk as long as you are diligent about your use. That means being extra careful as you download/install apps to ensure it's from reputable places (ideally the App Store) and ensuring that you have the appropriate extensions installed on your browser and also running apps like MalwareBytes on some routine to get rid of anything that has something snuck past you.

    Do these things and you are going to be safe.
    --
    Regards
    ...Ashwin


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