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Old Nov 4, 2012, 06:19 PM   #1
Pinksteady
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Question Best Upgrade from 2010 2.4GHz C2D Mac Mini?

As the title suggests, my HTPC hooked up to my TV is a 2010 Mac Mini - 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo, 4GB RAM, nVidia GeForce 320M 256MB.

It mainly runs Plex which works fine, with no slowdown on video although sometimes this can happen if it starts doing things in the background. I'm generally happy with that but in an ideal world I'd like a better one to address the following problems:
  • Very slow running other day to day apps (Chrome takes forever to load)
  • Cannot stream AirPlay videos to it smoothly (using AirServer) while Plex is running
  • Cannot smoothly run Plex on one user account and log in to a second using the multiple account logon feature of screen sharing

Currently if I want to stream a video to it via AirPlay I have to load up Rowmote or screen sharing and quit Plex, which is a pain. It doesn't seem to have enough oomph (don't know if CPU or GPU) to do both simultaneously.

What sort of upgrade would I need? I'd love to be able to play games on it but that's not a major requirement. I'm looking at the 2012 2.5GHz Core i5 model, but if feels odd upgrading just for what looks like a smallish CPU upgrade (and GPU?). I could sell my old one of course but I'd still need to put a couple hundred pounds in so it would need to be a decent upgrade.

This is probably window shopping, but would do you folks reckon would be a good upgrade?

P.S. What about the quad-core version? Quite a lot more expensive and just seems like overkill for my needs...
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Old Nov 4, 2012, 06:21 PM   #2
macleod644
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I mean u could always just get the new Mac mini which IMO is pretty impressive. Then there's the Mac Pro if u got the $$. How much u tryna spend?
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Old Nov 4, 2012, 06:25 PM   #3
Pinksteady
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Originally Posted by macleod644 View Post
I mean u could always just get the new Mac mini which IMO is pretty impressive. Then there's the Mac Pro if u got the $$. How much u tryna spend?
This sits under my TV so not interested in the Pro. I could sell my Mac Mini for about 350 ($560) if lucky and so I'd need to put in another 150-200 ($240-$320).

If the base model would fix the problems I mentioned, that would be ideal, as I don't NEED to upgrade, but would be nice! Hard to justify too much investment in something that basically isn't broken!
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Old Nov 4, 2012, 08:02 PM   #4
StevenT42
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I went from a 2010 C2D mini with 8 gigs of RAM to the system in my signature. The speed difference is night and day.

If you ever plan to transcode high-definition video (using HandBrake), I would definitely go with the quad core i7.
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Old Nov 4, 2012, 08:47 PM   #5
Primejimbo
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I have the same one and no issues. I use it to rip movies all the time, stream movies to my Apple TV and it only has 2GB of RAM also.

What OS are you running? I'm still on SL on mine.
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Old Nov 4, 2012, 09:03 PM   #6
Yebubbleman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinksteady View Post
As the title suggests, my HTPC hooked up to my TV is a 2010 Mac Mini - 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo, 4GB RAM, nVidia GeForce 320M 256MB.

It mainly runs Plex which works fine, with no slowdown on video although sometimes this can happen if it starts doing things in the background. I'm generally happy with that but in an ideal world I'd like a better one to address the following problems:
  • Very slow running other day to day apps (Chrome takes forever to load)
  • Cannot stream AirPlay videos to it smoothly (using AirServer) while Plex is running
  • Cannot smoothly run Plex on one user account and log in to a second using the multiple account logon feature of screen sharing

Currently if I want to stream a video to it via AirPlay I have to load up Rowmote or screen sharing and quit Plex, which is a pain. It doesn't seem to have enough oomph (don't know if CPU or GPU) to do both simultaneously.

What sort of upgrade would I need? I'd love to be able to play games on it but that's not a major requirement. I'm looking at the 2012 2.5GHz Core i5 model, but if feels odd upgrading just for what looks like a smallish CPU upgrade (and GPU?). I could sell my old one of course but I'd still need to put a couple hundred pounds in so it would need to be a decent upgrade.

This is probably window shopping, but would do you folks reckon would be a good upgrade?

P.S. What about the quad-core version? Quite a lot more expensive and just seems like overkill for my needs...
Have you not considered a RAM upgrade and maybe swapping your 320GB hard drive for an SSD of similar capacity? That'll make it feel substantially faster at a fraction of the cost of a new Mac. That said, you might be able to sell your Mac mini and use the money towards a 2011 model or even one of the new 2012 models and not be spending all THAT much when all is said and done. But yeah, throw in a RAM and/or hard drive upgrade before you completely dismiss a machine that's barely three years old. Also of note, your hard drive is a 5400RPM drive; even a bump to a 7200RPM drive ought to make a difference if you're not able to spring for the full SSD treatment.

Though if after that, you're dead-set on replacing your computer, I wouldn't get the low-end version, but rather the higher-end version (2.3GHz Quad-core Core i7 vs. 2.6GHz really doesn't matter all that much given that they have the same cache, but if you have the extra $100 to blow, why not) with a Fusion drive; though definitely max out your RAM this time and do it with after-market RAM so you don't spend more than you need to.
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 04:53 AM   #7
Pinksteady
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Have you not considered a RAM upgrade and maybe swapping your 320GB hard drive for an SSD of similar capacity?
Thanks for the tip, its a good one. I've ordered a 8GB kit for 30 which is a no-brainer upgrade really. SSDs are a bit pricier so I'll see how I get on with the RAM.

----------

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Originally Posted by Primejimbo View Post
What OS are you running? I'm still on SL on mine.
I'm running Mountain Lion
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 09:13 AM   #8
kappaknight
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I've also found that running the Plex Media Client slows down the computer drastically. Whenever I need to do something on my 2009 mini, I turn Plex off. You can leave the Plex server on if other people are streaming from it, but the Plex client does slow the computer down a lot with older minis.
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 09:51 AM   #9
Pinksteady
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I've also found that running the Plex Media Client slows down the computer drastically. Whenever I need to do something on my 2009 mini, I turn Plex off. You can leave the Plex server on if other people are streaming from it, but the Plex client does slow the computer down a lot with older minis.
Don't suppose you know what it is about the Plex client that slows the computer down? Is it memory utilisation, CPU, graphics, disk, something else?
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 05:01 PM   #10
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Well, I think I've found out why my Mac Mini is running slow!!!
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 06:09 PM   #11
mdgm
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Originally Posted by Pinksteady View Post
Well, I think I've found out why my Mac Mini is running slow!!!
Looks like it. More RAM would help. Also if you install a SSD if you do run out of RAM, with a faster disk the resulting slowdown isn't going to to be as bad as it would be if you have a hard disk installed.
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 06:12 PM   #12
Pinksteady
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Looks like it. More RAM would help. Also if you install a SSD if you do run out of RAM, with a faster disk the resulting slowdown isn't going to to be as bad as it would be if you have a hard disk installed.
I've got the RAM on order, now toying with SSD, either as a replacement to the current disk or as an additional drive instead of the CD (probably the former).

Its a bit expensive though and the girlfriend wants a holiday...
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 08:34 PM   #13
kappaknight
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Originally Posted by Pinksteady View Post
Don't suppose you know what it is about the Plex client that slows the computer down? Is it memory utilisation, CPU, graphics, disk, something else?
Can't say for certain. The clients runs great on my MBP, even remotely - but it does run slower when it's on the same machine as the Plex server, or maybe that's just a coincidence since that mini is also older.

Closing it does produce a drastic different in speed though - from typing to scrolling in Safari, etc.
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