9 Replies Latest reply: Nov 4, 2012 11:24 AM by Larry McJunkin
Larry McJunkin Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)

I currently have a late 2011 MacBook Air 11-inch fully maxed out with RAM and a 256 SSD that I only use as my home computer to drive a 24-inch LED Cinema Display and it's only had the lid open about ten times since I bought it.  I'm thinking about selling the MacBook Air and purchasing the $599 Mac Mini as my home computer and the new fourth generation iPad to take on the few trips we make annually plus use around the house.  It just seems the iPad would be easier to use while watching TV, etc. if I'm tied to my email, Words with Friends, etc.  I could use my iPhone for this...but the display is simply too small.

 

However, I'm a bit concerned I might notice a decrease in performance moving from the MacBook Air (1.8 Ghz i7 processor, 256 SSD) to the lower-end Mac Mini with the physical 5400 RPM hard drive and a 2.5 Ghz i5 processor.  All I use the home computer for is email, web surfing, Microsoft Office, Pages and Numbers, etc....nothing that really demands heavy processing, as I'm retired.  Considering my style of usage, I am also thinking I might not notice much of a difference, but wanted some second opinions.  Thanks for any thoughts on this.


MacBook Air, OS X Mountain Lion, 256GB + 24-inch LED Cinema Display
  • RRFS Level 5 Level 5 (4,490 points)

    The basic Mac Mini is a very capable machine. If you aren't processing videos or photos the thing you would notice most is the performance of the HD in the Mini vs the SSD in your MBA. Once you acheive startup and launch your Application you probably would not notice and difference between the two.

  • Larry McJunkin Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)

    By processing, I assume you mean editing, as in PhotoShop, etc.  I do have a lot of photos in iPhoto that I touch up with its inherent editing tools when I import from my iPhone...but that's all.  So you're saying I'll notice only a slightly longer startup time?  That's probably irrelavent to me as I leave my machine on 24/7 and only restart when necessary...or I should say occasionally...perhaps once every couple of weeks.

  • RRFS Level 5 Level 5 (4,490 points)

    Considering that you don't use the portability of the MBA you will find the MacMini has more ways to hook it up. It still has audio in/out, USB 3.0 (x4) , FireWire 800 ThunderBolt, Ethernet, HDMI, SDHX card reader. You also have the option to upgrade the RAM yourself. If you're not worried about a few seconds of waiting every once in a while you should be very happy with the Mini.

  • Larry McJunkin Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)

    One last question.  Again, given my usage would it be beneficial in any way to get the $799 version of the Mac Mini?  I really don't need the 1T storage at all...in fact, the 256 GB SSD on the MBA is 60% unused.  But if the 2.3 i7 will provide me any noticeable speed over the 2.5 i5 I'll do it.  I just hate to spend an extra $200 when everything I do is mostly online, in a cloud, etc. and I process almost nothing on my computer.

  • RRFS Level 5 Level 5 (4,490 points)

    I think I would save the extra $ and if you find that your system is slow (you start seeing page-outs in Activity monitor) get more aftermarket RAM.

  • Larry McJunkin Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)

    I went down this afternoon and purchased the Mac Mini with the i5 as I concur with you...why spend the extra $200 if it's not really going to help me.  While I do "perceive" it's a tiny bit slower, I think after I acclimate to it I'll be just fine.  I've already checked page-outs and have had none at all...but then again I've not done anything with it yet.  I actually think the slowness I'm noticing is more caching of places I frequent online and the first time I visit it just takes longer.  I'll mark this as solved but will add anything I discover later on.  Thanks for your help!

  • RRFS Level 5 Level 5 (4,490 points)

    Hope you enjoy the new Mini. Mine will be arriving on the 7th of Nov. Chomping at the it right now.

  • Larry McJunkin Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)

    I'm starting to get second thoughts as I install all the purchased apps from the Mac App Store.  They're taking FOREVER...and I'm on a 35 Mbps connection that I just tested at that speed.  Took 20 minutes to download and install Numbers and Pages was just a few minutes better.  Painfully slow and it's not the internet connection.

     

    I wonder if this is the physical hard drive vs. the SSD drive on my MBA making this take so long.  I remember when I installed both apps just a month ago on the MBA and each took about two minutes max to install.  Would the 2.5 Ghz i7 Mac Mini be any better at this?  I wouldn't think so, but...

  • Larry McJunkin Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)

    Just a few thoughts you might like to know.  I finally took back the mini and opted to keep the MacBook Air with 256 SSD drive.  Some of the reasons probably won't affect you, but here they are in case they do.

     

    - 5400 RPM drive slow as molasses when compared to the SSD drive.  Benefit is a larger drive with the mini.

     

    - 2.5 i5 dual core processor "seemed" slower than the 1.8 dual core i7 in the MBA.

     

    - Primary places I noticed a speed difference was when booting (not that big a deal) and on opening apps, preference pane, finder...anything.  This became intolerable to me after the speed of the MBA.  If you're coming from an older machine you'll probably see an increase in speed.

     

    I'll save my pennies and eventually get the i7 mini with the 256 SSD drive...maybe they'll have one larger one of these days.