Is a new Mac mini a good buy?

Hi All,

My youngest son, who is into coding, is off to college this Fall, and we are thinking of giving him my 2015 MBP to use. It is well decked out.

My question is I was thinking of replacing that MBP, for me, with a MacMini. I have all the needed parts (keyboard, etc) here at home, and I just don’t use my MBP as a laptop any more.

Instead, I take my iPad Pro.

So would the MacMini, the new ones, be a good alternative for me? (It does have much less memory—my MBP has 1TB, and the MacMini I could afford only has 256 GB)

Any thoughts greatly appreciated.



I generally like the Mac Minis quite a bit. How much of that 1TB space were you using before? Could much of your storage fit in an external drive?

I’ll say I convinced my father-in-law to get the i5 512GB over the base, and he’s glad he spent the extra couple hundred now.

Thanks Cornchip…

After 4 years on the MBP I am only using a wee bit over 600 GB of the 1 TB. Much of that is iCloud.

Money is tight, ($800 would be really our top) so it looks like the 256 model, if I can easily access my external drives.


mac storage use

It just seems that another 256GB for $400 is quite expensive??

why not get a used or apple refurbished or older model mini?

I just checked at Best Buy and they have a new one in an open box at a good discount. Looks like a good way to go.

Apple did not have any refurbished ones.

To chime in on the Mac mini as a machine, I can say that I recently purchased the i5 stock model (512GB of storage and 8GB of RAM), and I have been really happy with it. Granted, my needs (word processing, web browsing, occasional OCRing of PDFs) don’t come anywhere close to pushing its limits. I am sure that I could have gotten away with the i3 model, but I wanted some headroom for the next few years.

Maybe that’s one thing to consider: will a Mac mini meet your needs not just now (which it sounds like it might), but for the next few years, depending how long you envision keeping it?

I’m seeing a bunch at

Ha! I just checked that page this morning…they must have just put them up!

Thank you…

Good thought Carl…thank you…

1 Like

I have a 2018 Mac Mini. For what I use it for - Office stuff, music, video conferencing etc it is brilliant. I run it with two Dell 24 inch screens. I bought with 1Tb storage but don’t use it. I tend to buy the highest spec I can get and then keep for several years.

This might be a good solution for you. A Sabrent USB 1T external.
When you get up into the Thunderbolt3 NVME drives, they are almost as much as what Apple charges for the upgrade. E.g. $350 for this drive, vs $400 from Apple.

Another possibility is connecting two of the SanDisk drives and using RAID to combine their storage and speed things up. Here are some benchmarks I did:

Drive Seq Read Seq Write Random Read Random Write
SanDisk Extreme SSD 356 475 33 62
Raid0 of two Extreme SSDs 619 841 31 93
Sabrent Rocket NVME 2T TB3 1492 1190 169 153
1 Like

As somebody who upgraded their aging iMac to a 3TB, I’m sort of in the same boat. I will ultimately need to refresh my computer to accommodate the most current OS - but to upgrade the heck out of a mac mini would be too expensive.
My solution as I see it, is to get the mac mini with the specs I want (minus the hard drive size), and then buy an external hard drive (many with Cloud access). Large files can be moved to the external (ie: movies) and still accessed for the most part via Plex and/or the external hd’s cloud.

Actually Apple Macminis refurb were all gone, but I found several 2014s with around 1tb of storage, for around $500-600.

If it’s in good shape, do you think a 2014 would be a good step now? I can’t afford a new Mac mini so I’m just trying to piece it together with a used one…

I would be concerned about how long Apple would continue to support the 2014 mini with new versions of the OS. It is on the Big Sur compatibility list, but no guarantee that it will stay there in future releases.

Also, read the fine print carefully. Unlike the 2018 mini, which is all SSD, the 2014 model was available with 1tb Fusion Drive and a 1TB 5400 RPM hard drive (really bad). You probably don’t want either of those options.

Gotcha there Chris…and appreciate that.

I’m looking right now on BackMarket, and they have the following:

  • Color : Silver
  • Storage : 1000 GB
  • Storage Type : HDD
  • Rotation Speed (in RPM) : 5400
  • Memory : 8 GB
  • RAM Frequence (MHz) : 1600
  • Model : Mac Mini
  • Processor speed : 2.6 GHz
  • Processor brand : Intel
  • Processor type : Core i5
  • Graphic Card Type : Iris 5100
  • OS : Mac OS X
  • Bluetooth : Yes

Money is so tight, just trying to get through…if I could squeeze a 2018 I will…but…

I don’t know much about the mini’s but how easy are those to upgrade? Also, what do y’all expect life expectancy is on them? If those are from 2014… that’s already 6 years old…

The exact same thoughts I had last night about 2:37 am…

I feel like its a “stretch for as much as you can today…so you don’t curse/kick yourself tomorrow…”

That’s the spinning hard drive I was talking about. You really do not want that as your primary boot drive. If you can’t swing a 2018 at least look for a 2014 with an SSD, even if it’s a small one (then slap a spinning USB hard drive on it for your data if you need to).

Thanks for that…appreciated…