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Old Nov 23, 2012, 07:37 PM   #1
MultiFinder17
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2009 mini today

Just wanted to share my story briefly with you all.

I bought the base model Mac mini in March of 2009 (2.0GHz C2D, 1GB RAM, 120GB HDD, Nvidia 9400M) the day that my local Apple Store got the updated ones in stock. I was upgrading from a computer that had lasted me many good years, a Power Mac G4/500DP. I bought a 4GB RAM kit from Newegg at the same time, and rocked out with it in that configuration for a good while.

Around a year on, the original HDD was getting a bit cramped, so I decided that it was high time for an upgrade. I found a decent deal on a 320GB 7200RPM drive and stuck that in there, swapping out the original 120GB drive. This really pepped the little thing up!

A few months later, I found that I was hitting far too much swap far too often, so I looked into upping the RAM. I knew that a firmware update recently had upped the RAM capacity to 8GB, and to my delight, 8GB of RAM for it was insanely cheap. I jumped on that and was overjoyed with the results. It was like having a new computer again.

Fast forward to the present day. I have been toying with the idea of buying a new desktop to replace my nearly 4-year-old mini for a few months now. I keep tons of stuff going at any given time, and the little guy was lagging behind a bit. For Black Friday, CompUSA had a deal on an OCZ Vertex 3 120GB SSD for $50. I decided to give it a go, figuring that it was only $50 and could be used in another computer if something didn't work out. Mother of God. It's like having a new computer yet again! I took out the optical drive land put the 320GB HDD in its place, giving me speed and plenty of storage in the tiny little box. With this, I can easily see myself keeping this little machine for another year or two with no real issues!

Moral of the story - if you're thinking about a mini, but worried about its longevity or upgradability, don't be! This mini is, hands down, the most reliable computer that I have ever owned. I leave it on 24/7 as a light duty web server, so it's been on for nearly four years now with no issues whatsoever. The mini is a truly wonderful, versatile computer that can be whatever you need it to be.

BTW, so far as drive speeds go, the original stock drive got a 37 in Xbench, the replacement 320GB drive scored a 57, and the new SSD scores a 311
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Old Nov 23, 2012, 07:59 PM   #2
Dduval
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Awesome story, congrats!
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Old Nov 23, 2012, 09:14 PM   #3
rgarjr
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Used to have the same exact model as my TV box. Machines are sure durable.
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Old Nov 23, 2012, 09:21 PM   #4
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I did the samething with my 2009 (sig). It plays Diablo III quite well (granted, on lowest settings).

Just acquired my 2010 Mac mini, about to put 8G ram in it and next week sometime, I'll be ordering a 256G SSD drive for it. It's going to be solid.
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Old Nov 23, 2012, 11:48 PM   #5
karatekidk
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Multi, I'm glad I read your post. I've owned a late 2009 mini (2.53ghz C2D, stock 320GB HDD, 4GB ram) and am thinking about getting a 7200rpm/500GB HDD and 8GB ram for it. Hopefully I can make a switch to SSD after a year or two when they get a bit cheaper.
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Old Nov 23, 2012, 11:59 PM   #6
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Thumbs up

I'm still using a white MacBook (2006) as my main computer and with the RAM and hardrive upgrade it stills working fine. Photoshop CS6, Lightroom, and other application are alright. Worth the price I paid six years ago.

This month I got a 2012 Mini, however, I will put an SSD on this MacBook soon.
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Old Nov 24, 2012, 01:17 AM   #7
tom vilsack
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I did the same with a macbook 2006...it's unreal the difference a ssd hd makes.
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Old Nov 24, 2012, 10:07 AM   #8
MultiFinder17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karatekidk View Post
Multi, I'm glad I read your post. I've owned a late 2009 mini (2.53ghz C2D, stock 320GB HDD, 4GB ram) and am thinking about getting a 7200rpm/500GB HDD and 8GB ram for it. Hopefully I can make a switch to SSD after a year or two when they get a bit cheaper.
Do it and you won't regret it. That's the config that mine was in for the past year and a half, and it was a wonderful machine. BTW, this is the drive that I had in my mini, which is still in there alongside the SSD. It is a wonderful drive - no issues, runs cool, and most importantly, it's silent. They offer it in a 500GB version as well.

If you're interested in the world of SSDs, keep an eye out on Cyber Monday! I picked up this 120GB SSD for $50 yesterday, so decent deals are out there.
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Old Nov 24, 2012, 10:21 AM   #9
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BTW, if you were curious, here's a picture of what's going on inside the little guy these days.

The SSD is in the lower bay, while the HDD is taking up the upper optical bay. The HDD may look free, but it is actually gently pressed between the top of the mini when it's all together and the cable below it, making it fairly secure. I don't move my mini much at all, so it's not going to be an issue.

The cable was made using a couple of different ones from CompUSA, a large pair of metal shears, a soldering gun, and some aggressive sanding. The data end that meets the drive looks a bit ugly if you see it in person, but it works perfectly.

The card is in there to provide air routing that the flat underside of the optical drive formerly provided. I ran it for a while without that in it; the fan ran much harder and the temperatures of the Northbridge and RAM (the two major internal components not directly in the path of the fan) were reported much higher. After I put that thick paper in there, courtesy of Apple when I bought my last laptop, I found that the internal temperatures instantly dropped to back where they normally were, and the fan ran much slower and quietly.

Just a few things to keep an eye out for should you do this yourself
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Last edited by MultiFinder17; Nov 24, 2012 at 10:26 AM.
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Old Nov 24, 2012, 11:13 AM   #10
karatekidk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MultiFinder17 View Post
BTW, if you were curious, here's a picture of what's going on inside the little guy these days.

The SSD is in the lower bay, while the HDD is taking up the upper optical bay. The HDD may look free, but it is actually gently pressed between the top of the mini when it's all together and the cable below it, making it fairly secure. I don't move my mini much at all, so it's not going to be an issue.

The cable was made using a couple of different ones from CompUSA, a large pair of metal shears, a soldering gun, and some aggressive sanding. The data end that meets the drive looks a bit ugly if you see it in person, but it works perfectly.

The card is in there to provide air routing that the flat underside of the optical drive formerly provided. I ran it for a while without that in it; the fan ran much harder and the temperatures of the Northbridge and RAM (the two major internal components not directly in the path of the fan) were reported much higher. After I put that thick paper in there, courtesy of Apple when I bought my last laptop, I found that the internal temperatures instantly dropped to back where they normally were, and the fan ran much slower and quietly.

Just a few things to keep an eye out for should you do this yourself
Thanks! That's helpful to hear what you did exactly and see the photos!
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