The form factor is
cute sleek and practical. It’s like owning an original VW bug. You can pop the hood on the mac mini and upgrade the memory and hard-drive. Imagine that. You can’t upgrade the new Apple silicon Mac mini and some of the older Mac minis you can’t upgrade the memory. Do your research if not buying a 2012.
I own an M1 MacBook Air, but enjoy the Mac Mini more than my main desktop. Having all those extra ports makes it practical.
Now you need to have realistic expectations. Great for the internet, music, light graphics work and iMovie type creation. You can’t run something like DaVinci Resolve.
Some of the software I run on my Mac Mini:
Now you basically have two options on running software on these old Mac Mini’s. Linux and a slightly hacked version of MacOS Catalina from DosDude. There are other more complicated options to run Monterey or Ventura, but in my experience, Catalina runs the best. Kubuntu runs fast and looks good as well.
Once you have Catalina installed, you can install older versions of iMovie, pages and keynote from the App store. Once logged into the App store, click on your name and install older versions of software from there (works for me).
Don’t pay more than 100 dollars for a used 2012 Mac Mini. You will definitely need to upgrade the hard-drive to a SSD and need at least 8 GB of memory. Usually with patients, you can find one on eBay already upgraded and ready to go for less than 100 dollars.
The best 2012 Mac mini to buy is the 2.3/2.6 GHz quad-core i7. Twice as fast as the i5 model. Both an i5 and i7 will work, but the i7 is definitely better in terms of speed.