1. wamsille's Avatar
    I bought an iPhone 5S Wednesday evening on impulse after my HTC One repeatedly had issues making calls which took my grouchy demeanor to an all-time high. For the first time in 10 years I paid an ETF to kill off my primary line with AT&T and add a new number and two-year contract to get an iPhone. Aside from the shock I am actually liking the iPhone, I'm finding that I want more of the Apple experience.

    I have been looking into the mac mini - not because I couldn't afford a big boy mac but because I don't want to get something , spend that kind of money and hate it. I see that they are about $600 new with reasonable specs - better than my current desktop running Ubuntu. But I also see units $100 - $400 less on Craigslist.

    How much should a used mini cost?

    What specs should I consider?

    Should I just try out a mac in the store and ask a Genius (hate that term) and see if I would even like going all Apple?
    JoyfulHeart35 likes this.
    11-15-2013 09:42 AM
  2. Algus's Avatar
    Assuming we're talking about the Late 2012 model

    Core i5 - solid processor that is a capable multi-tasker and can handle most basic use (web browsing, media, office work, and multitasking those three) and gaming fairly well.
    4 GB RAM - surprisingly decent amount of RAM that will only really hurt you when you get to gaming, more due to the integrated GPU..
    Intel HD 4000 - a nice performer that will run current games fairly well, even at 1080p resolution. You won't be topping out graphics settings but you'll be playing the games. Borderlands 2 is very smooth for me at 1080p though I have most bell and whistles turned off.
    500 GB 5400 RPM drive - OS X loads surprisingly quick from this dinosaur drive. In fact, I didn't really have problems with it at all until I booted Windows via Bootcamp for gaming.

    the HD 4000 only reserves 384 MB RAM for video and you'll have to max out the RAM (16 GB) to pull 768 MB. It is specced for 1GB so I am disappointed that the firmware doesn't allow for you to dedicate a set amount of RAM to video. Note that all of this is a nonissue if you are just planning for media entertainment (movies, music, etc) and don't plan to game on the machine. You're really not selling yourself short with this model either but if you have to buy all new attachments, you might be better off with the iMac 21.5'' The Mac Mini is really only a great deal if you are bringing your own attachments with you. I got it to hook up to my 24'' 1080p Samsung LED and it is GORGEOUS on this monitor.

    OS X
    It will be hard for me to go back to something other than this. It is based on Unix which means the CLI and file structure may be familiar to you if you are coming from Ubuntu but it doesn't have the headaches that can come from trying to get Linux working on your hardware. Boot Camp is an elegant solution for loading up Windows if you need it for certain software (games in my case)

    If you can get a Late 2012 model for $500 or less, you will be getting a VERY good deal. I would definitely make sure to try and get the new unit though. You can top out RAM in all of them but unless you need just a basic desktop, you might as well prolong the life of yours as long as you can. One thing to watch out for are the rumors of the pending Haswell refresh of the mini. That should drive the cost of the Ivy Bridge model down. The Haswell won't be bringing a lot to the plate besides the Iris GPU so unless you're into gaming, the Ivy will still be a good purchase.
    11-15-2013 10:00 AM
  3. iEd's Avatar
    I bought an iPhone 5S Wednesday evening on impulse after my HTC One repeatedly had issues making calls which took my grouchy demeanor to an all-time high. For the first time in 10 years I paid an ETF to kill off my primary line with AT&T and add a new number and two-year contract to get an iPhone. Aside from the shock I am actually liking the iPhone, I'm finding that I want more of the Apple experience.

    I have been looking into the mac mini - not because I couldn't afford a big boy mac but because I don't want to get something , spend that kind of money and hate it. I see that they are about $600 new with reasonable specs - better than my current desktop running Ubuntu. But I also see units $100 - $400 less on Craigslist.

    How much should a used mini cost?

    What specs should I consider?

    Should I just try out a mac in the store and ask a Genius (hate that term) and see if I would even like going all Apple?
    Congrats on the iPhone Wamsille and welcome to iMore.
    Yea go to a Apple store and play around with a Mac Mini and see if you are feeling it. With a Mac and a iPhone it's a perfect sync.


    #Naked Tuesday
    JoyfulHeart35 likes this.
    11-15-2013 10:32 AM
  4. SeanHRCC's Avatar
    I wouldn't buy a Mini any older than 2010 if you want it to be relevant to the newer OS and still be able to swap out internal parts (RAM, HDD/SSD, etc). The best thing about the Mac Mini is the versatility, with HDMi out, I have mine running on my main living room TV (it's also controlling my home theater setup). It's small enough to enclose out of sight, the bluetooth mouse and keyboard from Apple work flawlessly with it, and I have mine running an SSD for the OS and it's lightning quick and has two 2TB hard drives just running movies and TV shows and what not and backing up the DVR recordings.
    11-15-2013 10:40 AM
  5. warcraftWidow's Avatar
    Aside from the shock I am actually liking the iPhone, I'm finding that I want more of the Apple experience.
    As many of us here will attest, an iPhone is a "gateway drug" to many other Apple products to come.
    As stated above, the Mac mini is a great little computer and a cheap intro to the OSX universe especially if you already have all your own peripherals and monitors. I actually run mine headless and it acts as a media server for my two Apple TVs.
    Fausty82 and taz323 like this.
    11-15-2013 11:37 AM
  6. wamsille's Avatar
    i thought about making the trip to the Apple Store on my lunch, since the last time I stepped foot in one was about 2-3 years ago. I'm worried that my first trip post-iPhone purchase would be like my first trip to MicroCenter - a near full-day experience.

    Good to know about the 2010 or later rule of thumb; most of what I'm seeing on Craigslist locally (St. Louis) has been 2009!!! (late 2009 but still) Not sure if that has any bearing on the performance I would expect. The only game I play with any major consistency is Urban Terror, which is a cross-platform shooter for Linux/Mac/Win. Oh, the other was Sauerbraten but my current mini tower handles these titles just fine. I don't do serious gaming and at most I would be surfing the internet or letting my kids do their homework. (School has the kids set up with Google Accounts, homework is saved to Google Drive)

    I might end up buying a mini's bigger brother with the proceeds of a settlement from a lawsuit.

    Edit:

    Thanks for the replies and warm welcomes.
    11-15-2013 12:01 PM
  7. SeanHRCC's Avatar
    Just to put this out there, if this is going to be one of your main computers, I would suggest you get a Macbook Pro and buy an adaptor for a TV or larger computer monitor...this would give you the versatility of the laptop to take it where you want, and also, give you the same exact experience you're going to get with the Mac Mini (because the Macbook Pro is capable of the exact same functionality). Pricing may be a hair more for one (I would highly suggest going with an early 2011 or later because of the processor specs), but even with a 2010 model, you're getting the same thing the Mac Mini is offering (as far as specs and internals).

    All the function, none of the "stuck" feeling of a desktop setup.
    11-15-2013 12:55 PM
  8. taz323's Avatar
    Welcome to IMore, you're gonna have fun here.
    11-15-2013 01:16 PM
  9. Dark_Blu's Avatar
    I spent $450 on a used Mac Pro 1,1 from a local store that has their price list on Craig's list. Well worth the money to me, but then, I already had a Macbook Pro 2008, iPhone, and iPad. It depends on what you're willing to spend, what your needs are, and what you will actually do with it. I'm a musician, so I needed a Mac Pro workstation that was compatible with my audio interface and recording software. It doesn't run the latest OS (Mavericks), but I don't need it to. Macs are durable and outlast PC's. They do cost more, and you get what you pay for, in my opinion.
    11-15-2013 04:38 PM
  10. warcraftWidow's Avatar
    i thought about making the trip to the Apple Store on my lunch, since the last time I stepped foot in one was about 2-3 years ago. I'm worried that my first trip post-iPhone purchase would be like my first trip to MicroCenter - a near full-day experience.

    Good to know about the 2010 or later rule of thumb; most of what I'm seeing on Craigslist locally (St. Louis) has been 2009!!! (late 2009 but still) Not sure if that has any bearing on the performance I would expect. The only game I play with any major consistency is Urban Terror, which is a cross-platform shooter for Linux/Mac/Win. Oh, the other was Sauerbraten but my current mini tower handles these titles just fine. I don't do serious gaming and at most I would be surfing the internet or letting my kids do their homework. (School has the kids set up with Google Accounts, homework is saved to Google Drive)

    I might end up buying a mini's bigger brother with the proceeds of a settlement from a lawsuit.

    Edit:

    Thanks for the replies and warm welcomes.
    Someone just posted a MBP to the Marketplace forum
    11-15-2013 05:04 PM
  11. jmr1015's Avatar
    Never hurts to put the word out to friends and family since the Christmas shopping season is just around the corner. I received my MacBook Pro as a gift. The Retina MacBook Pro 13" is $200 off for Black Friday at Best Buy.
    11-15-2013 06:14 PM
  12. Algus's Avatar
    If gaming isn't a concern, you'll be fine with the baseline specs on a Mac Mini. Only issue may be storage space but external drives can fix you there and you don't need as high performance for loading media so you're covered there as well.

    The newer units don't include an optical drive but the Apple SuperDrive is a solid CD/DVD burner that is relatively competitive in price vs. other USB drives

    Sent from my Galaxy Note 3 using Tapatalk 4
    11-15-2013 06:57 PM
  13. jmr1015's Avatar
    If you're willing to spend $500 on Craigslist for a used 2009 Mini, you can spend $500 and buy a Certified Refurbished Mac Mini from Apple, usually much newer than 2009, and that comes with a warranty.

    Refurbished Mac mini 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 - Apple Store (U.S.)
    wamsille likes this.
    11-15-2013 07:01 PM

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