: Mac Mini Early 2009 and Applecare


Strimkind
May 2nd, 2010, 02:49 PM
I just starting thinking today that my 1 year warranty is about to expire soon on my Mac Mini. I have not had a single problem with my mini since I bought it refurbished almost a year ago.

Should I spend 200$ for the extended warranty? Should I buy it on ebay for less? Or should I leave it?

broad
May 2nd, 2010, 07:22 PM
mini APP is $179

if even a hard drive dies on it over the course of the 2 years it will have paid for itself with money to spare

for me its a no brainer, especially when its so inexpensive

spudmac
May 2nd, 2010, 07:30 PM
for me its a no brainer, especially when its so inexpensive

I concur. I bought the same machine last fall and will be definitely buying the Applecare before the one year is up.

screature
May 3rd, 2010, 12:51 PM
I have had 3 Minis now, never any problems with any of them. You will most likely want to upgrade before the Apple Care has expired. Save your money and when the time comes put it towards the new Mini.

In general extended warranties are a bad idea for the consumer. Remember Apple makes money from Apple Care and how they do that is by selling more policies than they have to pay out on. Apple knows the odds are in their favour. Personally I prefer to go with the "house" odds on this one. ;)

screature
May 3rd, 2010, 12:55 PM
mini APP is $179

...for me its a no brainer, especially when its so inexpensive

So inexpensive?? My most recent Mini refurb was $549... at $179 for Apple Care that is 32% the cost of the Mini. :eek: That is expensive insurance anyway you slice it. But hey, if it makes you sleep better at night... ;)

ic3guy
May 3rd, 2010, 12:59 PM
This question comes back up over and over again. There are pros and cons for both. Depends on a few factors as well.

I personally believe that the 1 year standard warranty is good enough. If something is going to go wrong, it will in the first year. That is unless you treat your hardware roughly... :). Save your money for the next purchase.

eMacMan
May 3rd, 2010, 01:08 PM
On the mini I would save my money especially as it hass been problem free. As previously mentioned AppleCare has you 30% of the way to a new replacement.

HD and optical drives are the most likely to fail. HD is somewhat user replaceable. Optical can be replaced with an external.

ldphoto
May 3rd, 2010, 01:31 PM
HDD is fairly easily user-replaceable, and less than half the cost of AppleCare to replace. I don't think I would ever get AppleCare on a desktop machine, the failure rates are really low, which probably explains why there are so few refurb minis available.

Luc

broad
May 3rd, 2010, 01:46 PM
In general extended warranties are a bad idea for the consumer. Remember Apple makes money from Apple Care and how they do that is by selling more policies that they have to pay out on. Apple knows the odds are in their favour. Personally I prefer to go with the "house" odds on this one.


depending on the users level of technical proficiency, getting even a dead hard drive replaced between the start of year 2 and the end of year 3 could cost a good chunk more than the applecare.

diagnosis ~$65, labour ~$90 drive ~$80=$230, ballpark.

the other thing i should mention is that just because you, yourself, screature haven't had any issues with your 3 minis, doesn't mean that other people don't have issues with theirs. AASPs and Apple retail stores exist for a reason...computers break down. you have been lucky, that doesn't mean everyone is so lucky.

ps-in gambling the house odds are odds which favour the casino..in the case you describe that would be apple, not you.

Delroy666
May 3rd, 2010, 02:49 PM
My vote is for "buy it on eBay for less". Looks like it's about $80 there. I've bought Applecare for all my Mac stuff from eBay and never had a problem getting warranty repairs honoured.

screature
May 3rd, 2010, 02:49 PM
...ps-in gambling the house odds are odds which favour the casino..in the case you describe that would be apple, not you.

You didn't get the point. :rolleyes: I know Apple is the house odds and that is why I don't buy Apple care, becuase I prefer the house odds.

One again, Apple knows the odds are in their favour and that the computer will not require service in those extended years. As I said they make a bet that they will payout less than the cost (revenue) of policies they sell, that is how they make their profit. Like I said if it makes you sleep better at night, go for it. It isn't good value or a good bet though, that is the point.

WCraig
May 3rd, 2010, 02:55 PM
...Should I spend 200$ for the extended warranty? ...
If you don't have a good backup strategy in place, DO IT NOW. Hard drives fail. Trouble is you never know if it is going to be today or 5 years from now.

Spending $100 on an external drive and running Time Machine is a far better investment than AppleCare. Go further and send backups offsite regularly and you'll be golden no matter what happens to the Mini.

Craig

SnowX
May 4th, 2010, 01:39 PM
I agree with WCraig, invest in a backup solution rather than AppleCare.

The only instance where I would consider AppleCare (but probably wouldn't purchase it) would be if I had a MacBook/iMac, in case I got screen issues.

monokitty
May 4th, 2010, 02:01 PM
I got APP for my Early 2009 Mac mini - it really depends on your situation. I plan on keeping this machine 4 years in total, and in that time frame, as much as possible, am entirely uninterested in paying out of pocket for repairs, should the need arise.

i-rui
May 4th, 2010, 02:15 PM
IMO applecare is a great idea on macbooks, and macbook pros.

Probably a good idea on an imac

Less of an issue on mac minis and mac pros.

I put my recent mac pro purchase on my mastercard which extends the warranty by a year. Probably a good idea for all new computer purchases.

broad
May 4th, 2010, 02:55 PM
I agree with WCraig, invest in a backup solution rather than AppleCare.


this is incredibly narrow minded. backups are great, but what if the MLB dies. what good does your backup do you at that point? you are faced either with getting a new mini or a new MLB, which probably cost pretty much the same. now you are going to spend $650 plus tax whereas if you had spent the $179 on the APP you'd be golden.

krs
May 4th, 2010, 03:38 PM
diagnosis ~$65, labour ~$90 drive ~$80=$230, ballpark.


Boy - you're generous with your estimates.
The 160 GB hard drive that's in the basic 2009 Mini is less than $50.-
beDirecT.ca (http://www.bedirect.ca/english/index.php?NoCategory=112440&SProdNb=0126-0047)

Andrew Pratt
May 4th, 2010, 03:45 PM
Personally I buy my mac gear with my credit card that doubles the warranty to two years. That's plenty long enough and if something does go wrong after that I can either upgrade or replace the part on my own. For a mini its easy to swap out the drives and that's the most likely source of failure if something hasn't broken by now.

krs
May 4th, 2010, 03:50 PM
this is incredibly narrow minded. backups are great, but what if the MLB dies. what good does your backup do you at that point? you are faced either with getting a new mini or a new MLB, which probably cost pretty much the same. now you are going to spend $650 plus tax whereas if you had spent the $179 on the APP you'd be golden.

What is MLB? Google comes up with Major League Baseball.
I guess you mean motherboard..........?

In any case - the price of Applecare for the Mini is too high compared to the replacement cost especially if you get an additional year warranty through your CC company.
Applecare is good for laptops and I always get it for them.
Bought three MacBookPros in the last 2 1/2 years and each one of them has gone in under Applecare.
My old 1.42 GHz Mini I think is about 5 years old and has never had an issue.
I just splurged and got a 1 Gig RAM chip for $27.- to make it a bit more responsive.

The new Mini came with 2 GB of RAM which should be good for now - I was pleased to read I can upgrade it to 8 GB if ever required - plus a 7200 RPM drive when I upgrade in a few years.

broad
May 4th, 2010, 04:36 PM
The 160 GB hard drive that's in the basic 2009 Mini is less than $50.-


that is assuming that you buy the drive and install it yourself, or at the least source and supply the drive in which case some shops might charge more for labour. you also have to factor shipping into that lower cost.

i am also assuming that not many people are going to keep the same size drive in a situation where a drive fails. almost everyone i have ever known in that situation goes up a size or two, as drive prices drop over time it gets to be somewhat pointless to *not* upgrade. if you were given the option to keep the same size drive for $60 or double it for $15 more, most people are probably going to go the bigger route

the point im trying to make is that most people do not scour the internet looking for ways to save $10 on a hard drive. their computer breaks, they need it fixed, they take it to a store to get fixed. the users of this forum, most of whom have the technical wherewithal to figure out what drive they need and shop around for it, probably make up less than 10% of the computing public. the average person doesn't even know whether the drive in their machine is IDE or SATA, and therefore depends on the help supplied the staff at a computer store, all of which drives up prices as the business has to rent space, pay people etc etc etc.

My old 1.42 GHz Mini I think is about 5 years old and has never had an issue.


you seem to suffer from the same NIMBY syndrome as screature. just because you haven't had a mini break down, it doesn't mean they don't. while they don't break down at the same rate laptops do, they still *do* break. if you don't believe me ask lars, or anyone else who works in the mac service industry. oh wait whats that? lars has a mini himself, and applecare on it! i wonder why?

saying "i have had 1 mini and never had an issue therefore applecare isn't necessary" is like saying "i haven't been to columbus, OH so therefore it doesn't exist." just because you haven't experienced something yourself it doesn't mean that tens of thousands of other people haven't...

your *personal* experiences, limited as they are, can't really be held up as any sort of factual information to base an informed opinion on.

krs
May 4th, 2010, 05:29 PM
that is assuming that you buy the drive and install it yourself,

Not at all, that's why I only commented on the price of the drive.
I would be pretty upset if a shop charged me more for the part - after all, they buy it at cost same as the retailer.


i am also assuming that not many people are going to keep the same size drive in a situation where a drive fails. almost everyone i have ever known in that situation goes up a size or two, as drive prices drop over time it gets to be somewhat pointless to *not* upgrade. if you were given the option to keep the same size drive for $60 or double it for $15 more, most people are probably going to go the bigger route

Exactly - I would put in a 320 GB 7200 drive or something like that.
But that is a big vote against Applecare in that situation. If the drive becomes defective and you have Applecare, what do you think Apple replaces it with? The same 5400 160 GB drive that was in there before.


the point im trying to make is that most people do not scour the internet looking for ways to save $10 on a hard drive.


If the difference was only $10.- I wouldn't even have commented. You pricing just struck me as being unrealistic because I just recently bought a 320 GB 2.5" drive.
Took me all of 30 seconds to find this one using pricebat.


......their computer breaks, they need it fixed, they take it to a store to get fixed. the users of this forum, most of whom have the technical wherewithal to figure out what drive they need and shop around for it, probably make up less than 10% of the computing public. the average person doesn't even know whether the drive in their machine is IDE or SATA, and therefore depends on the help supplied the staff at a computer store,

But that's not the audience here at ehMac


you seem to suffer from the same NIMBY syndrome as screature. just because you haven't had a mini break down, it doesn't mean they don't. while they don't break down at the same rate laptops do, they still *do* break. if you don't believe me ask lars, or anyone else who works in the mac service industry. oh wait whats that? lars has a mini himself, and applecare on it! i wonder why?

Lars can probably get Applecare much cheaper than the average Apple customer.


saying "i have had 1 mini and never had an issue therefore applecare isn't necessary"


I never said that.
My point was that Applecare pricing for the Mini (at over 30% of the replacement cost) for a two-year warranty extension, or only one year if you use the right credit card, is ridiculous. 5% of replacement cost per year would be more like it for a desktop.


your *personal* experiences, limited as they are, can't really be held up as any sort of factual information to base an informed opinion on.
That and the experience of thousands of other Mac MIni customers.
What do you think the failure rate of the Mac Mini is?

WCraig
May 4th, 2010, 05:32 PM
... you seem to suffer from the same NIMBY syndrome as screature. just because you haven't had a mini break down, it doesn't mean they don't. [...]

your *personal* experiences, limited as they are, can't really be held up as any sort of factual information to base an informed opinion on.

OK, so how much WOULD you pay for Applecare? 40% of the value of the machine? 50%? More? Where is the tipping point?

To some of us, after a year of service, the probability of a loss (other than the hard drive) is pretty low. Replacing a hard drive in a Mini isn't that hard--I've done it. At $179, it seems blisteringly obvious to me that Applecare is an abysmal investment in this case. In general, extended warranties are a waste of money but some people value the peace of mind on big ticket purchases. Few of us consider the Mini a big ticket item.

OTOH, if the OP doesn't have a solid backup strategy in place, that is an excellent use of the funds. The stuff on the hard drive in my Mini (email, family pictures, other documents) is worth a lot and $100 or so for a dedicated backup drive makes sense. Maybe you don't have anything you want to keep.

And really, your last point about personal experience being no basis for an informed position is pretty funny given that you're using YOUR experience as the basis for YOUR opinion!!

Craig

krs
May 4th, 2010, 06:56 PM
One comment I meant to make but forgot because I was in a rush earlier (had an appointment to keep) was the fact that if the hard drive fails and is replaced under Applecare. I would expect Apple to get the hardware for free from the hard drive manufacturer under warranty. So their cost for that scenario is only the labour portion.

And another point - someone mentioned earlier that if the DVD drive fails one can use an external one - isn't the same thing true for the hard drive? I have been booting off and running with an external on the PowerMac G4 and also the G4 Mini, I would expect that to still be possible with the Intel Mini.
So as long as you have a back up and the motherboard didn't fail you should be good to go.

screature
May 4th, 2010, 07:06 PM
your *personal* experiences, limited as they are, can't really be held up as any sort of factual information to base an informed opinion on.

And yours are? You post no statistics to back anything up. At least krs and I have expressed actual anecdotal evidence. You make no acknowledgement as to how expensive Apple Care actually is relative to the purchase price and just continue your banter.

If you want Apple Care get it... Apple seems to understand that the odds you will ever use it are in their favour. You want "security" at the expense of... well... expense, go for it.

With my 3 Minis I have saved myself almost $600 by not buying Apple Care. That doesn't mean anything to you... too bad, it means a hell of a lot to me. :D

Just Google "extended warranties are they worth it". See what kind of hits you get. Financially, generally speaking, they are not. If the "peace of mind" is "worth" it to you and you have the money go for it. But it isn't (as I have said many times :rolleyes:) a good bet, the odds are in the manufacturers/sellers favour (Apple), that is why they sell it to you. To make money. Period.

screature
May 4th, 2010, 07:41 PM
Here at least is something (albeit old... but the only data I could find) that may satisfy broad's desire to have something other than anecdotal experience to go by. Macintosh Reliability (http://www.macintouch.com/reliability/) by MacInTouch.

14235

A 3% failure rate. :eek: That means for my bet of $179 there is a 3% chance I will need to use Apple Care. Like I said, I will take the house odds (Apple's) and NOT buy Apple Care. But hey, for those who have the money (and no intention of upgrading in that three year period) go for it. Then you are 100% sure you are covered in those 3 years. Personally I will take the 97% odds and save my money.

krs
May 4th, 2010, 07:54 PM
If one googles one will find that specifically the Mac Mini has outstanding reliability.
The numbers found in this somewhat informal study shows a failure rate of only 3% for the PowerPC version.
Macintosh Reliability (http://www.macintouch.com/reliability/)
There is really no reason to believe that the Intel version of the Mini would be any less reliable.

PS: Screature was posting while I was still typing.

mattcass
May 4th, 2010, 11:06 PM
IMO applecare is a great idea on macbooks, and macbook pros.
I put my recent mac pro purchase on my mastercard which extends the warranty by a year. Probably a good idea for all new computer purchases.

This is the way to go. I put everything on my CC and get a full year added onto any warranty that is 4 years or less (1 year becomes 2, 4 becomes 5, 5 stays at 5). The insuring company 100% matches the manufacturer's warranty. Plus it's all free! So that $179 would only be for a year of warranty - totally not worth it.

My opinion is that anything that's seriously going to go wrong with a computer will probably happen in the first year anyway. My Early 2009 Mini was dead two weeks out of the box. It was replaced with a unit that was and continues to be flawless.

Strimkind
May 5th, 2010, 11:07 AM
You guys make some very good points both for and against applecare. Personally I have only had 1 other mac that I purchased new and it was an iBook that loved to eat Hard Drives for breakfast. Luckily I had purchased AppleCare for it so I did not have to pay for any of the costs.
I know the Mini's can be a bit of a pain to work on but I know it is no where near as bad as the iBook.

I will definitely have to give this more thought using the arguments posted here. I had thought that 180$ was a little out of line for a computer that cost me less than 600$.

For anyone asking, yes I do have a partial backup plan. I backup my photos onto an external Hard drive and take it offsite in addition to backing up photo's to an external hard drive always connected to my computer.

broad
May 5th, 2010, 11:30 AM
There is really no reason to believe that the Intel version of the Mini would be any less reliable.


when you say something so ridiculous it sort of invalidates every other post you have ever made. the numbers you are quoting are from 2004? do you know what the 2004 minis have in common with the 2010 minis?

the name and their physical appearance, as seen from 5 feet away.

anywho..im not going to waste any more time trying to convince you. you have had great luck with your own mini, thats fantastic. god bless. if yours hasn't broken then hey..no ones ever will!

krs
May 5th, 2010, 12:44 PM
do you know what the 2004 minis have in common with the 2010 minis?

Exactly!
The MTBF of today's hard drive and optical drive is better than six years ago, the MTBF of components is generally the same, so the failure rate of today's Mini will be less than the Mini from 2004.

The only thing that could make it worse would a design problem like the video chip in the MacBook pro. But for those issues Apple extends the warranty anyway even without Applecare.

Apple is really laughing all the way to the bank with Applecare for the Mini at $179.00.
With a 3% failure rate, it's not even worth fixing any defective ones, just throw it out and hand the customer a new one.
Rough calculation goes like this:
1000 customers bought Mini Applecare at $179.- each for a total of $179 000.-
3% failure rate means 30 Minis come back to be fixed under Applecare.
Cost to replace with new rather than repair - 30 times $500.- cost each (being generous with the cost number) or $15 000.-
Plus operational overhead for the paperwork etc. but regardless, a fantastic business model.

Anyone know what the FutureShop warranty cost would be for a $600.- Mini - not that I would recommend that, but it has to be a lot less than $179.00

SnowX
May 5th, 2010, 01:13 PM
this is incredibly narrow minded. backups are great, but what if the MLB dies.

Narrow minded? I don't have AppleCare, however my backup is fire/theft/hurricane/etc proof. In my opinion, safeguarding data is way more important than getting my Mini fixed for free. I guess it all depends on what the OP is looking for...

BTW: Why so aggressive? Geez, relax!

monokitty
May 5th, 2010, 01:16 PM
We can all argue and bicker all we want about whether or not the AppleCare Protection Plan is worth it for a Mac mini, or any other Mac for that matter. But let's face it and be honest - this endless bickering is pointless to every extreme. If you think it's worth it, great - buy it. If you don't, then don't buy it. Simple. We all have our opinions and clearly no one will convince you and walk you out of your own opinion on the matter.

As 'broad' already pointed out, many people do not want the hassle of an out of warranty repair, and this alone makes the price of admission to AppleCare worth it. They simply want to drop the computer off, have it repaired, pay nothing, and come pick it back up. Many people have no interest in sourcing third-party parts (hard drive...), going out and buying it, bringing it into a shop, paying labor, and so on and so forth. If you are one of these people - and many are, even if perhaps not on ehMac - the AppleCare Protection Plan is worth every dime. For these people, "the percentage of failure" means nothing. They simply enjoy the peace of mind and if something DOES go wrong, they want a hassle-free repair to take place.

Also, let's not forget that the AppleCare Protection Plan offers 3 years of phone support - this alone is worth a lot to many people. Perhaps not those who browse ehMac free of charge for their support, but the unlimited phone support is worth it for some people who will take full advantage of it.

I am an Apple technician, and yes, I see Mac minis with hardware failures that extend well beyond failed hard drives. Mind you, the Mac mini is the least frequent Mac I see on my bench, second to the Mac Pro, which I see even less frequently. However, a broken optical drive or logic board OOW on a Mac mini easily exceeds the $179 APP price point.

Bottom line: Everyone who does and doesn't buy AppleCare has their reasons and so let's leave it at that, shall we? :)

screature
May 5th, 2010, 01:37 PM
Exactly!
The MTBF of today's hard drive and optical drive is better than six years ago, the MTBF of components is generally the same, so the failure rate of today's Mini will be less than the Mini from 2004.

The only thing that could make it worse would a design problem like the video chip in the MacBook pro. But for those issues Apple extends the warranty anyway even without Applecare.

Apple is really laughing all the way to the bank with Applecare for the Mini at $179.00.
With a 3% failure rate, it's not even worth fixing any defective ones, just throw it out and hand the customer a new one.
Rough calculation goes like this:
1000 customers bought Mini Applecare at $179.- each for a total of $179 000.-
3% failure rate means 30 Minis come back to be fixed under Applecare.
Cost to replace with new rather than repair - 30 times $500.- cost each (being generous with the cost number) or $15 000.-
Plus operational overhead for the paperwork etc. but regardless, a fantastic business model.

Anyone know what the FutureShop warranty cost would be for a $600.- Mini - not that I would recommend that, but it has to be a lot less than $179.00

+1 Exactly! :clap: