Fusion Drive Worth It In Mac Mini?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Kadelic, Jan 28, 2015.

  1. Kadelic

    Kadelic Genius
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    I'm looking at getting a Mac Mini in the next week. For the past few years I've been using my 15" MBP almost exclusively as a desktop in the docked clamshell set up. The only times I use it as a laptop are when I go on a trip or spend more than a day or two away from home. I'd use it a lot more as a laptop if it weren't for the PITA involved in docking/undocking it. Call me lazy. Say I'm old fashioned, say I'm over the hill.

    The MBP has been having some GPU Panic issues that requiring servicing, so I thought I'd get a Mini to take over as my main machine, and then have the laptop set free once it's repaired. The Mini will drop right in with my current monitor, Apple keyboard and Magic Trackpad, and with Time Machine the experience will be practically seamless.

    My question is, is the $300 difference from the 2.6GHz 1TB HDD version to the 2.8GHz 1TB Fusion Drive going to going to be/feel justified? Both have 8GB RAM and the same graphics card, so that's a wash. The .2GHz difference in processor power seems negligible to a layman like me, and both chips are dual core i5. If you wish, look here for the full rundown.

    I think I'll be answering my own question in the next paragraph, but I am hoping this community will weigh in and egg me on or turn me toward the $300 savings. Whether I listen or not is beside the point. ;) I'm getting so excited for a new Mac, I have to talk to somebody about it, and who better than all my friends at eiC? :)

    With the Fusion Drive, 128GB is SSD and the rest is HDD, if i understand correctly. 128GB seems like plenty to handle the OS and any of the files and apps I'd use on a regular basis, so for all intents and purposes I'd be running on SSD and using HDD for storage. I think that's the way to go, unless anyone has can talk me out of it. I'd hate to go low and regret it later.

    I know the Mini's were just refreshed in October, so I'm not jumping the gun too bad as far as that goes. Have there been any problems with the Fusion Drives that anyone is aware of?

    EDIT: I just saw a refurb of the 2.8GHz w/Fusion Drive available for $150 less than retail. Please let that be there when I'm ready!
     
  2. chris

    chris Administrator
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    This is a tough one. I also have a tethered MacBook Pro as my main machine. It's a very sloppy setup. When I disconnect, it's six cables lying on my desk. That said, it's a beast and has served me well transitioning from a Mac Pro. I too have considered the Mac mini. I was looking at Apple's site and a few reviews on the Fusion Drive. 128GB isn't a big drive, at all. SSD does make a big difference. If you can squeeze your apps and OS on that, it will be worth it.

    Apparently, the 2012 model showed up on Apple's site this week, which is odd. It's out of stock, but they do sell it refurbished for $589. I bring this up because you could think about getting a deal on that one, which allows for adding an SSD and boosting the RAM to 16GB. The new Mac mini does not have user-replacable RAM and I also don't think you can do anything about the hard drive.

    $589 Refurbished core-i7
    $120 16GB RAM
    $314 512 OCZ Vertex 4 SSD

    That's about the same price as Apple's high end model. Of course, you'd have to weigh any advantages to going with the newer model. Here's a review that might put the changes in context. The newer model does seem to best the 2012 model in a number of graphics categories. The lack of user expansion would bother me. But I could also say it's tough to spend $1000 on a 2 year old machine.

    Now that I think about it, those specs look familiar to my MacBook Pro. ( ;
     
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  3. Kadelic

    Kadelic Genius
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    That review is sobering and certainly something to consider. Thank you.

    128GB is only the flash part of the Fusion Drive, there's 1TB of total storage built in, right? Or am I missing something? I'm not looking for a powerhouse, just something that will serve as a decent personal computer for a while, and apparently far fewer years than Macs used to be able to be depended on. I would go for an iMac but I've already got a monitor, etc. I should probably bite the bullet and go without a computer while my MBP gets repaired, but where will I be if it bites the dust a year from now? The only winner is the one who takes your money, and I have to give it to some one, don't I?
     
  4. Kadelic

    Kadelic Genius
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    is it time to go Window shopping then?
     
  5. Kadelic

    Kadelic Genius
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    That bit about Window shopping was just a joke, by the way, and in poor taste. Apologies for the breach of etiquette. :D

    That 2012 model you linked to, along with your other suggestions, are intriguing, but I wonder how long it will be out of stock.

    No matter how I slice it, the current Mac Mini will be an upgrade to my current system. I did get the faster RPM HDD when I ordered my MBP, but the 128GB SSD should be able to handle all of my most used apps.

    Thanks again for your input.
     
  6. hselburn

    hselburn New Member

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    It's fine as long as you don't use Logic Pro X. It doesn't get along with fusion drives


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  7. Kadelic

    Kadelic Genius
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    No worries there. I have Logic Express but haven't used it in over a year. Thanks for the tip.
     

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