Some questions about buying the latest Mac Minis
Hi, everyone. I could use some advice.
Here's my situation:
I have a 24" IMac that I bought in 2007. It's running Yosemite and has 4GB of RAM.
This past week, I had kernel panics for five straight days. I'd never had them before and I hadn't made any major changes to my Mac. At the time, I didn't know that kernel panics could be software-related. I thought the iMac was finally dying so I panicked and I decided to buy a new computer. I'm currently unemployed so I wanted to spend as little as possible, but also get something that would be a reasonable upgrade.
So I ordered a refurbished Mac Mini from the Apple online store. It's the model with a 2.8hz i5 processor, a 1TB Fusion drive and 8GB of RAM. It cost $850 + $80 tax. I also had to buy an external monitor, and some cables, which I did from Amazon for about $300 more.
The computer and monitor have arrived, but I haven't opened the boxes because I'm thinking that I might send them back. One reason is that I haven't had a kernel panic for a few days, so I'm not feeling as desperate -- though I want to wait a little longer to see if the kernel panics happen again.
The other reason -- and the main reason -- I might send the equipment back is that I have a nagging feeling that buying a computer with only 8GB of RAM, instead of 16GB, is a mistake. I just think a computer with 16GB will meet my future needs better than one with only 8GB -- but I could be wrong, because I might never need more than 8GB.
In terms of my current memory usage: I usually have a bunch of apps running. According to Activity Monitor, right now I am using 3.42GB of memory including 1.12GB of Swap space (not sure if that means the hard drive is being used as virtual memory). So maybe only 8GB will work for me, but I'm not sure. I also think the graphics card on the Mini may use some RAM.
I decided to see how much it would cost to buy a Mac Mini with a 2.6 Ghz processor, 16GB of RAM and 1 TB Fusion drive -- so the processor would be slower than the Mini I bought, but the computer would have more RAM. Because the computer is not refurbished, it would cost $1099 plus tax, which I'm guessing would be another $100, so $1200 total. So it would be about $280 more than the Mini I already bought. I'm not sure I can afford the extra $280, but, again, I worry that a computer with only 8GB of RAM is a bad investment.
Although, I suppose, if I keep the Mac I ordered, that I could just run less programs at a time to make sure the 8GB is enough.
So my questions are: What would you do in my situation? What are the performance differences between the 2.8Ghz with 8GB of RAM vs the 2.6Ghz model with 16GB RAM? Also, if the graphics card uses regular RAM, does that mean I would actually have less than 8GB?