Mac Mini upgrade on a budget

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Jacques Cornell
Jacques Cornell Forum Pro • Posts: 13,132
Re: More info please.

rb61 wrote:

Jacques Cornell wrote:

rb61 wrote:

I have a Mid 2011 Mac Mini

I would like to find something used that could increase speed by approximately 50% for image editing programs.

Time for something newer and I expect 10 years is over its life expectancy.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I'm confused. Do you want a newer Mac, or some kind of upgrade to the one you have? What is your budget? And, what hardware do you have now for storing & backing up your photos?

In my view, by far the most bang for your buck these days is a new M1 Mac mini. If money is tight, the $699 base model with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD will amaze you as long as you're not flogging huge layered files in Photoshop. Add a $100 1TB external SSD to store your photos and a 2TB hard drive to back it up and Time Machine your boot drive.

FWIW, my new $999 M1 MacBook Air with 8GB RAM & 256GB SSD is faster than my fire-breathing 8-core 3.3GHz 2013 Mac Pro with 64GB RAM and D500 GPU.

Would this be a significant upgrade? Local CraigsList

This Mac Mini is from 2012 has an 2.6 GHz Intel i7 with four cores, It has the the maximum RAM of 16 GB and a 500 GB very fast Solid State Disk.


If your current mini is booting from a spinning-platter hard drive, the Craigslist mini's SSD alone will be a real breath of fresh air for you, delivering much faster boot and app launch. The additional CPU cores will double your speed on some operations with some apps and make no difference at all on others. I don't know whether or how well Afinity leverages additional cores.

Do you currently keep two copies of your photos on separate drives? Perhaps your main archive on the mini and a backup on your external drive? If not, I strongly urge you to budget for a backup drive. You could use a 2TB drive to backup the 1TB external and also hold a Time Machine backup of your mini's drive. In 20 years as a Mac-using pro photographer, I have had three drives die, and each time a backup saved my bacon. You do not want to be the guy wailing "All my photos are GONE!" because you didn't spend $80 on a backup drive.

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