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Old Feb 22, 2013, 06:56 AM   #1
Peterson8765
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Just bought my first Mac

Hello all! I just bought my first Mac last night for $280, an early 2009 Mac mini. It came with the original box, manuals, restore discs, cables, and iLife 11, iWork 09, and office installed but no discs included. Here are the specs:
2GHz Core 2 Duo
4GB 1067MHz DDR3 RAM
nVidia 9400m graphics
120gb hard drive
Snow leopard 10.6.8


Do you guys think this was a good deal for $280? I also have a couple other questions. I really want to upgrade this machine to mountain lion which I think will do fine with 4GB of RAM, do you think I should upgrade? And if I do a clean install how I do back up iLife, iWorks, Office with no original discs to install later? Thank you!
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 07:36 AM   #2
Dufus Del Dia
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That seems like an OK price for what you gots.

You should be able to get an external disk drive, and do a Time Machine Backup to it. Then, scratch-install your Mountain Lion. The install procedure will ask you if you want to restore your Users and Applications from a Backup Disk. Say Yes, and point it towards your Time Machine Backup, and Boom, you're in.

-Dufus Del Dia

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peterson8765 View Post
Hello all! I just bought my first Mac last night for $280, an early 2009 Mac mini. It came with the original box, manuals, restore discs, cables, and iLife 11, iWork 09, and office installed but no discs included. Here are the specs:
2GHz Core 2 Duo
4GB 1067MHz DDR3 RAM
nVidia 9400m graphics
120gb hard drive
Snow leopard 10.6.8


Do you guys think this was a good deal for $280? I also have a couple other questions. I really want to upgrade this machine to mountain lion which I think will do fine with 4GB of RAM, do you think I should upgrade? And if I do a clean install how I do back up iLife, iWorks, Office with no original discs to install later? Thank you!
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 07:42 AM   #3
benwiggy
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You can install Mountain Lion without doing a clean install. The Default installation replaces the OS and keeps all your data, settings and apps in place. (Though of course, you should have a backup.)
However, it's always wise to do a clean install when you purchase a Mac, as you don't know whether the seller has put malware on there, either deliberately or unwittingly.

Your Mini can take a maximum of 8Gb RAM, so you might want to look into upgrading the RAM. 4Gb should be enough for general usage, but you can never have too much money or RAM.

If you haven't got installer disks for Snow Leopard (the Mini came with Leopard), iLife 11 (the Mini was bundled with iLife 09), iWork and Office, then technically, your ownership of that software may be on shaky legal ground. If the seller has kept the disks, then he is still the owner/licensee.

iWork, iLife and Mountain Lion are very cheap on the Mac App Store. If your use of Office is occasional, you may find that you don't need it as iWork can replace it. Alternatively, there are freeware and shareware implementations of Office suite software, like NeoOffice.
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 09:48 AM   #4
Fishrrman
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Sounds to me like you got a very nice deal.

Since you don't have the original discs, you probably should make some kind of backup or archive of the apps that came included with the Mini.

Do you happen to have a spare SATA drive around? If so, you can get a USB/SATA "docking station", pop the drive in, initialize it, and then use CarbonCopyCloner to do the backup. I would recommend CCC over Time Machine -- much more useful.
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 09:52 AM   #5
benwiggy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishrrman View Post
I would recommend CCC over Time Machine -- much more useful.
They are different tools for different tasks. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 11:09 AM   #6
Omnius
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It's probably on the higher end of the spectrum for cost given the lower end cpu but it's within the reasonable price range for the 2009 mac minis.

If you're going to mountain lion, get more ram.
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 01:21 PM   #7
elolaugesen
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re new machine congratulations

for a first time user of Mac you seem to have a good deal.

just remember it is a four year old model.

New software and new ideas(apps) will expect new faster cpu's, better graphics etc etc than your 2009 model
My other half have a macbook with the same specs and she loves it.......(first machines ever that I cannot touch)

I think you got a great new machine to try it all out enjoy....

Cheers elo

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Old Feb 22, 2013, 01:28 PM   #8
Consultant
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After clean install you need to update to latest 10.6 version to get "App Store" app.

I would backup here, and use the computer for awhile to test out all the stuff you do normally.

From App Store you can then get Mountain Lion. If you just update with it, your apps such as iWork and settings will be retained. See if the performance is similar to 10.6.
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 02:57 PM   #9
pine88
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Apart from price, why get such a creaky old model? The new mini's CPU's are 30% faster minimum CPU wise for the base model and the iGPU is just as good as that 9400M. I wouldn't pay more than $220 for that, all of that hardware has been substantially replaced.
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 03:24 PM   #10
jchase2057
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pine88 View Post
Apart from price, why get such a creaky old model? The new mini's CPU's are 30% faster minimum CPU wise for the base model and the iGPU is just as good as that 9400M. I wouldn't pay more than $220 for that, all of that hardware has been substantially replaced.
Sometimes price is all the sway something needs. Plus it is his first mac. Why spend 600 when you may not like it? And 280 is a lot less than 600.
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 04:33 PM   #11
pine88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jchase2057 View Post
Sometimes price is all the sway something needs. Plus it is his first mac. Why spend 600 when you may not like it? And 280 is a lot less than 600.
You won't like it if performance suffers because you bought a way out of date model in the first place. Take the HDD at least - not only is it an older 120GB model but its certainly getting on in age.
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 05:05 PM   #12
jchase2057
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pine88 View Post
You won't like it if performance suffers because you bought a way out of date model in the first place. Take the HDD at least - not only is it an older 120GB model but its certainly getting on in age.
A 2009 is plenty for most peoples use. He may end up needing more power, but if he is like 90% of people he will be just fine. I have plenty of coworkers with the same machine that do much heavier work than most. Hard drives can be replaced rather easily by anyone with patience and a youtube video.
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Old Feb 23, 2013, 01:00 AM   #13
Micky Do
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peterson8765 View Post
Hello all! I just bought my first Mac last night for $280, an early 2009 Mac mini. It came with the original box, manuals, restore discs, cables, and iLife 11, iWork 09, and office installed but no discs included. Here are the specs:
2GHz Core 2 Duo
4GB 1067MHz DDR3 RAM
nVidia 9400m graphics
120gb hard drive
Snow leopard 10.6.8


Do you guys think this was a good deal for $280? I also have a couple other questions. I really want to upgrade this machine to mountain lion which I think will do fine with 4GB of RAM, do you think I should upgrade? And if I do a clean install how I do back up iLife, iWorks, Office with no original discs to install later? Thank you!
I have the same base model early 2009 Mini, with the same apps installed, but it only had the original 1 GB of RAM. Last August I had the shop add 4 GB of RAM (now 5 GB in all) and install Mountain Lion (without a credit card, I don't have an App Store a/c). All my files were already backed up using Time Machine. The transition went smoothly and seamlessly, without having to call on the back up.

It was like getting a new computer, that should be good for several more years. If the HDD gets dicky, i'll replace it.

I seldom use Office, which is quite slow to open; iWorkis good for me.

Pages is straight forward to use, and fine for most of my needs, and converts reasonably well to Word if necessarily when I export a file.

I find Numbers easy to use too, but conversion to Excel can be a bit of a hassle, often requiring some reformatting. Fortunately it is rare that I need to convert.

Incidentally, years ago Word and Excel were available as Mac apps, before they were available as for Windows.
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Old Feb 23, 2013, 08:55 AM   #14
Fishrrman
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"They are different tools for different tasks. Each has its advantages and disadvantages."

For the average or newer user, having an instantly-bootable backup with files stored in POFF (plain ol' finder format), instantly mountable, outweighs any "advantages" that Time Machine might offer.

Most people having a "moment of extreme need" with their Macs are in an "I can't boot" situation. At that time, having another drive which boots, no fuss, no muss, is a lifesaver...
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Old Feb 24, 2013, 02:29 AM   #15
And
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peterson8765 View Post
Do you guys think this was a good deal for $280? I also have a couple other questions. I really want to upgrade this machine to mountain lion which I think will do fine with 4GB of RAM, do you think I should upgrade? And if I do a clean install how I do back up iLife, iWorks, Office with no original discs to install later? Thank you!
This is the exact same machine with the same spec that I use as my daily desktop. I think it you should be fine with 4gb for daily tasks, unless you have specialised needs. It feels a bit long in the tooth sometimes, for me it is the hd speed which holds it back, but that is replaceable if you can be bothered with the pain of getting into the case! I would say you got an ok deal, but as you have already bought it, it doesn't matter too much does it? ;-) good purchase as a first mac, happy computing!
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Old Feb 25, 2013, 01:04 AM   #16
Acronyc
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I have two of these machines. One (with 3GB of RAM) I've had as a media server at home for 1.5 years and has been on almost constantly without any problems. The other one I recently got very cheap ($150) for use at the office, added 4GB of RAM (up to 5GB now) and it is running perfectly. Both of these minis are running Mountain Lion without any issues. They might be older machines and definitely can't compare to the new minis, but they are still really great, stable computers for basic tasks.
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