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Mini or iMac? 2011 or 2012?
Posted by: rz
Date: June 13, 2018 07:49AM
Looking to replace my son's 2009 mini. It's currently hooked up to a 23" Dell monitor. He's 10, and uses it for homework and playing Minecraft and Roblox.

Was originally looking to replace it with a 2012 mini. I'd like to be able to upgrade RAM and install an SSD. 2012 was first mini to support USB 3, although I'm wondering how important that really is. 2011 model has thunderbolt, and I suppose I can get some kind of adapter if necessary. I currently have no machines with thunderbolt, so I'm not too familiar with it.

I'd like to stay under $500 if possible, and have seen a few 2012s on CL in that range or less, but all of them are like a two hour drive away. But there are a few 2011s in the $300-400 range that are local.

Yesterday I started looking at iMacs, and saw a couple of 2011 27" models in the $500 range. He'd love the big screen. Saw a couple of 2012 27-inchers, and they're a little bit pricier. Not sure which version is easier to open... I know the 2012 model has the thinner bezel. Would likely add RAM and SSD.

So what's the general consensus? Mini or iMac? 2011 or 2012?
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Re: Mini or iMac? 2011 or 2012?
Posted by: TheTominator
Date: June 13, 2018 08:03AM
2012 Apple Mac mini with 8GB Memory | 500GB hard drive: $499 with free shipping

You shouldn't need to add RAM in the short term so there is savings on your budget already. You may feel the need to add a SSD. There is a second internal bay available for that.

If you plan on having a SSD (with the additional expense and somewhat troublesome installation) to replace your HD, you might as well get it straight away to save money and trouble.
2012 Apple Mac mini with 8GB Ram | 128GB SSD for $529.
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Re: Mini or iMac? 2011 or 2012?
Posted by: rz
Date: June 13, 2018 09:01AM
Ok, I guess those are options. Anybody else?
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Re: Mini or iMac? 2011 or 2012?
Posted by: clay
Date: June 13, 2018 09:09AM
2012, if only for USB 3.
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Re: Mini or iMac? 2011 or 2012?
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: June 13, 2018 09:28AM
For its planned use, I don't know that USB 3 is a real consideration.

A 27" iMac would be a snap to add RAM, you could run an external SSD easily. A shade slower than mounting it internally, but much easier.

2012 iMac: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M, 675MX, or 680MX, 512 MB (660M) 1 GB (675MX) 2 GB (680MX) GDDR5

2012 mini: Intel HD Graphics 4000, Up to 1 GB DDR3 shared with main memory.

I wouldn't consider opening an iMac, but that's me. If you can swing the ching, the iMac's better graphics would get my vote, and it does have USB3.




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Re: Mini or iMac? 2011 or 2012?
Posted by: btfc
Date: June 13, 2018 09:44AM
I'd get at least a 2012 model for USB3 and foward compatability.

However, allow me to introduce a possible plan b:

Refurbished 2014 Mac Mini 2.6GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5, 1TB, 8GB, $589 refurb from Apple Store.

[www.apple.com]

SSD from OWC: (as an example)

[eshop.macsales.com]


installation:

[www.ifixit.com]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/13/2018 09:49AM by btfc.
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Re: Mini or iMac? 2011 or 2012?
Posted by: Gareth
Date: June 13, 2018 11:20AM
I'd definitely get something with USB 3.0, even if you don't have an immediate need for it. It's a huge difference over USB 2.0. You can easily use USB 3.0 to boot from an SSD if you don't feel like opening the computer.

The thin bezel iMacs, while not impossible to open, probably isn't for someone who isn't used to opening various computers. It also requires a new adhesive set every time you open it so plan on $12-20 for that and an adhesive cutter.
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Re: Mini or iMac? 2011 or 2012?
Posted by: jdc
Date: June 13, 2018 12:04PM
Gareth touched on one big thing USB 3 gives you -- the ability to run a SSD externally with 99% of the same speed as running internally.

SSD and a $10 case is far easier than opening any newer mac.



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Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: Mini or iMac? 2011 or 2012?
Posted by: rz
Date: June 13, 2018 12:15PM
Ok, thanks. I'll compare the mini that The Tominator recommended against what I can find locally. Might be better to just pay for the SSD already being installed.
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Re: Mini or iMac? 2011 or 2012?
Posted by: artie67
Date: June 13, 2018 01:31PM
Here's one on eBay for $300 including shipping. Stock 4G/500.
[www.ebay.com]
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Re: Mini or iMac? 2011 or 2012?
Posted by: Robert M
Date: June 13, 2018 01:44PM
rz,

Considering the intended use, I wouldn't be so worried about installing an SSD in it. Get a 2012 model with at least 8GB of RAM and get an external USB 3 SSD to use as its boot drive. A USB 3.0 box will cost from between $10 and $20 and there are _always_ deals on 2.5" SSDs. Always. An external USB 3 SSD makes a fine boot drive. Definitely more than sufficient for the average person. Dare I say overkill for the intended usage of this particular mini.

Robert



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/13/2018 06:33PM by Robert M.
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Re: Mini or iMac? 2011 or 2012?
Posted by: hal
Date: June 13, 2018 01:49PM
I'm about to post one on on ebay - 2012 2.5ghz 16GB Crucial mac specific RAM, new 2TB Seagate solid state hybrid drive for $599. The RAM has a lifetime warranty, the SSHD is covered through DEC-2022. If interested - PM me

DO NOT!!!!!!!!

Buy a 2011 2.5GHZ or 2.7GHz i7 - these have independent video cards that are dying like flies these days. But the other 2011 and 2012 minis are solid little computers.
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Re: Mini or iMac? 2011 or 2012?
Posted by: AllGold
Date: June 13, 2018 01:56PM
Quote
hal
DO NOT!!!!!!!! Buy a 2011 2.5GHZ or 2.7GHz i7 - these have independent video cards that are dying like flies these days. But the other 2011 and 2012 minis are solid little computers.

So the problem is the Radeon HD 6630M in those specific models?



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Re: Mini or iMac? 2011 or 2012?
Posted by: hal
Date: June 13, 2018 02:32PM
Quote
AllGold
Quote
hal
DO NOT!!!!!!!! Buy a 2011 2.5GHZ or 2.7GHz i7 - these have independent video cards that are dying like flies these days. But the other 2011 and 2012 minis are solid little computers.

So the problem is the Radeon HD 6630M in those specific models?

yes, those things are dying just like the 2011 MBPs
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Re: Mini or iMac? 2011 or 2012?
Posted by: jdc
Date: June 13, 2018 03:59PM
Anyone own one of the 1.4 Ghz models? Thoughts?



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Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: Mini or iMac? 2011 or 2012?
Posted by: hal
Date: June 13, 2018 04:11PM
Quote
jdc
Anyone own one of the 1.4 Ghz models? Thoughts?

I've set up a few of these. The 500GB drive is death - I installed faster drives (2TB HDD or SSHD) and they work MUCH better. They are fine for absolutely basic work, but doesn't like 30 web pages open or heavy lifting of any kind. If you're gonna check email, facebook, youtube and write papers for school, this is FINE.

I did see a single unit with 16GB of ram - it performed very well with an upgraded drive.
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Re: Mini or iMac? 2011 or 2012?
Posted by: jdc
Date: June 13, 2018 04:24PM
Thanks. I need to upgrade everyone in the house (2007, 2008, 2009 iMacs), trying to decide if I go mini or iMac. I would prefer iMacs. Way less clutter and no ugly all black 3rd party screens. But the oldest wants a 13" MBP.

Id really like them to have SSDs or fusion drives. Or at least USB 3 for external SSDs.

Prob closer to xmas, but still researching...



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Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: Mini or iMac? 2011 or 2012?
Posted by: Bill in NC
Date: June 13, 2018 05:38PM
Quote
jdc
Gareth touched on one big thing USB 3 gives you -- the ability to run a SSD externally with 99% of the same speed as running internally.

SSD and a $10 case is far easier than opening any newer mac.

+1000

No need to pry open a Mini or iMac if they have USB 3.0
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Re: Mini or iMac? 2011 or 2012?
Posted by: hal
Date: June 13, 2018 06:25PM
Quote
jdc
Thanks. I need to upgrade everyone in the house (2007, 2008, 2009 iMacs), trying to decide if I go mini or iMac. I would prefer iMacs. Way less clutter and no ugly all black 3rd party screens. But the oldest wants a 13" MBP.

Id really like them to have SSDs or fusion drives. Or at least USB 3 for external SSDs.

Prob closer to xmas, but still researching...

The small 2011 imacs are SO CHEAP! I think those were the last models that were ~easy to open up. I would research those models too.
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Re: Mini or iMac? 2011 or 2012?
Posted by: rz
Date: June 13, 2018 07:54PM
I have no problem opening a mini to add an SSD... I did it for my brother-in-law a few months ago. Unless I can find a better deal, the OWC machine looks good.
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Re: Mini or iMac? 2011 or 2012?
Posted by: jdc
Date: June 13, 2018 09:35PM
Quote
hal
The small 2011 imacs are SO CHEAP! I think those were the last models that were ~easy to open up. I would research those models too.

Yeah, think I saw some for $250. Wish there was a cheap Tbolt to USB 3 adapter, then I could just run external USB 3 SSDs.

I have the SSDs, just need to get them connected to the iMac.

Its still early, maybe I can find some 2012s for $250 near xmas.



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Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: Mini or iMac? 2011 or 2012?
Posted by: hal
Date: June 13, 2018 10:30PM
why do the non-work imacs need USB3?
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Re: Mini or iMac? 2011 or 2012?
Posted by: jdc
Date: June 14, 2018 02:39PM
Quote
hal
why do the non-work imacs need USB3?

To add an SSD externally.

Rather than opening up. Worried they will need the silly temp sensor as well. Which I just found out is $17.50... used to be $40.

So maybe 2011 might be OK... =)



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Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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