Mac Mini Advise

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by waynepixel, Feb 14, 2005.

  1. waynepixel macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2003
    #1
    So I got a new mac mini with 1GB RAM and 40GB hard-disk, And that is the problem, the 40GB Hard-Disk is really letting down the rest of the system. I seem to still be getting a lot of page outs with the setup.

    So I was thinking of getting a bigger hard-disk, but I am not to sure what to get. I was thinking about getting a Lacie FireWire HD and use that as the main boot drive. Or would it be better to get a bigger 100GB internal 2.5.

    Any advise idea's.
     
  2. clayj macrumors 604

    clayj

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2005
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    visiting from downstream
    #2
    I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that any external drive you may use is going to be slower than an internal drive... not because the access speed of the drive is faster or slower, but because of the bottleneck of going through the Firewire port.

    If you do upgrade the internal HD, make sure you get a drive with higher RPM, since that's the main speed factor. My Mac mini has an 80 GB 4200 RPM drive with 1 GB RAM, and it runs OK most of the time... but I don't do a lot of HD-intensive stuff on it.
     
  3. waynepixel thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2003
    #3
    Never heard that before. Do you have any links.
     
  4. Blackheart macrumors 6502a

    Blackheart

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2004
    Location:
    Seattle
    #4
    IIRC, Ultra ATA (what the mac mini has in it) has a bus transfer rate of 133MBtyes/second, however, firewire400 has a transfer rate of only 50MBtyes/second (nominally) so you won't get the same performance as you would with a larger internal drive.
     
  5. waynepixel thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 9, 2003
    #5
    I see. Good point.
     
  6. Bear macrumors G3

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    Jul 23, 2002
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    Sol III - Terra
    #6
    Except you also need to look at the transfer rate of the actual disk you are getting - remember 133MBytes/sec is the bus speed and not the data transfer rate the disk can sustain.

    Not many drives do more than 50MB/sec yet. As time goes on, this will change.
     
  7. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    Dec 21, 2002
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    Yahooville S.C.
    #7
    try http://eshop.macsales.com they got a bunch of upgrades and info.
     
  8. Blackheart macrumors 6502a

    Blackheart

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    Mar 13, 2004
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    Seattle
    #8
    Unless, of course... you're using one of these :D
     
  9. waynepixel thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 9, 2003
  10. Blackheart macrumors 6502a

    Blackheart

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    Mar 13, 2004
    Location:
    Seattle
    #10
  11. BillHarrison macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2003
    #11
    I am surprised 1gb of ram is not helping you much. I am still running the stock 256mb in my mini and performance is "Acceptable" (not fabulous, but not terrible).

    I feel with 1gb this thing should be fine, as the only occasional stumbles I get are due to page outs when having several apps open and switching between them.

    If you feel the need for additional speed, you may just need a faster mac. You can upgrade the internal hd, the Hitachi 60gb 7k rpm 8mb buffer has been a popular choice so far, and to my knowledge is the fastest 2.5" drive available. Most likely this will be faster than any firewire drive you can add, plus its internal. However, they are not cheap, and you can get a much larger firewire drive for less money.

    The benches I have seen show booting from and running on a firewire drive is slightly (10-15%) faster than the internal stock drive. However, the internal 7k drives are showing a much higher benchmark.

    If you are truly taxing your mini that hard though, you may just want to consider that you need a faster machine, and sell the mini, right now the market is hot, the shipping waits are long, and you can probably get every dime you have in it back. Upgrade to a better all around machine, as it seems your needs are just taxing the mini.

    Bill
     
  12. BillHarrison macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2003
    #12
    Oh, and one more note... you just say that your getting alot of pageouts... are you seeing slowdown as well? Just getting pageouts is going to be normal, because regardless how much memory you have, os x is still going to page out some memory that it deems is very low priority. Page in's can be important, because this is the memory that is actually being read back for the mac to use, meaning it should have stayed in ram if possible.

    Bill
     
  13. Jo-Kun macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2003
    Location:
    Antwerp-Belgium
    #13
    that won't work on a mini, and by what I've read the 16mb buffer types with slower rpm SATA can achieve the same as the raptor with more rpm.... hmmm a raptor with 16MB 'drooling' hihi

    but we're getting offtopic now...

    so with these laptopdrives: get more rpm... or if theyhave them, more buffer... and let MacOS not controll the drives I mean: don't allow them to sleep/spin down... because that setting makes the speed also drop because your drive has to spin down and then get back on and looses time... its in energy saving...
     
  14. _pb_boi macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2004
    #14
    To be fair, I think blackheart realised that wouldn't work on a Mini ;)

    andy.
     
  15. john1123 macrumors regular

    john1123

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    Jan 26, 2005
    Location:
    Down Under
    #15
    just to elaborate on that.. my ibook's 60GB 4200PRM HD has an average transfer rate of about 10MB/s :( while my Seagate 40GB 7200RPM HD on my peecee used to have an average of around 25 ~ 30MB/s.

    The only HDs that use more than the 50MB/s provided by firewire are 10,000+RPM HD like the raptors.

    but thats just my opinion
     
  16. cluthz macrumors 68040

    cluthz

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2004
    Location:
    Norway
    #16
    Unless you buy a 16MB cache 7200 RPM laptop drive an external fw drive will crush it..

    xbench gives you this numbers:

    TOSHIBA MK6025GAS (4200 rpm laptop hd)
    Disk Test 59.54
    Sequential 71.70
    Uncached Write 72.21 30.10 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 53.13 21.76 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 153.52 24.30 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 60.23 24.34 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Random 50.91
    Uncached Write 41.27 0.62 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 50.72 11.44 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 56.37 0.37 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 59.21 12.18 MB/sec [256K blocks]



    Lacie D2 extreme 250GB (7200 rpm firewire)
    Disk Test 98.38
    Sequential 83.96
    Uncached Write 83.53 34.82 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 83.40 34.15 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 79.69 12.62 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 89.82 36.29 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Random 118.78
    Uncached Write 152.54 2.29 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 150.85 34.02 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 100.37 0.66 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 94.99 19.55 MB/sec [256K blocks]



    As you see, a external FW disk (7200rpm) is nearly twice as fast as the internal 4200rpm...
     
  17. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #17
    Well, seeing as the product doesn't exist... you can install it in your fantasy Mini and it will be as fast as you want it to be. ;)

    Here's the listing of Seagate Momentus models that do exist - 5400 RPM 8 Mb cache is the highest (Momentus 5400.2).
    http://www.seagate.com/products/discfamily/momentus/listing/0,,150^150^0,00.html

    The seller simply made the product number and specifications up. :mad: Dolts. One vote for striking this seller off the list of vendors who have a clue.

    Thanks
    Trevor
    CanadaRAM.com
     
  18. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #18
    True: when you are running XBench. Can't get much work done in XBench however.

    In the real world test I conducted averaged across several passes:

    1.8 Gb Finder Duplicate (Application Support:GarageBand folder)
    --------------------------------------------------------------
    Mini 1.25 internal 5400 RPM - 3:32
    Mini 1.25 7200 RPM Firewire 400 - 3:06
    G4 Dual 1.25 internal 7200 RPM - 3.30
    G4 Dual 1.25 7200 RPM Firewire 400 - 3:28

    1.8 Gb Finder Copy
    --------------------
    Mini 1.25 internal 5400 RPM to Firewire 400 7200 RPM - 1:36
    Firewire 400 7200 RPM to Mini 1.25 internal 5400 RPM - 1:33
    Mini 1.25 internal 5400 RPM to USB2.0 7200 RPM - 2:26
    USB2.0 7200 RPM to Mini 1.25 internal 5400 RPM - 2:29

    G4 Dual 1.25 internal 7200 RPM to Firewire 400 7200 RPM - 1:29
    G4 Dual 1.25 internal 7200 RPM to 2nd internal 7200 RPM - 1:44
    G4 Dual 1.25 internal 7200 RPM to another partition on same disk - 3:31

    You can measure a difference between the 5400 RPM and the 7200 RPM internal drives on the two machines - but just barely (<5%), suggesting that even if there were a 7200 RPM readily available for the Mini, the benefit would be marginal. The 7200 RPM 8 Mb cache Firewire 400 drive does not crush the Mini's 2.5" 5400 RPM drive. I haven't received my other Mini, so I haven't tested the 4200 RPM drive. The Mini seems to handle the Firewire bus better than the G4.

    The USB2.0 (theoretical 480 Mbs) bus is considerably slower than the FireWire 400 (theoretical 400 Mbs) with the identical mechanism.

    Thanks
    Trevor
     
  19. Blackheart macrumors 6502a

    Blackheart

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2004
    Location:
    Seattle
    #19
    Yup! ;)

    I have it in my own rig. :D
     
  20. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #20
    Question: how do you know its the hard drive that is letting down the side?

    Excessive page-outs means that you are running more and bigger programs than your 1 Gb RAM will handle. Although the speed implications of page outs are dependant on the speed of the hard drive, the difference between your 5400 RPM and a 7200 RPM internal will be minimal Wild guess? 95% of the speed drop is due to there being page-outs at all, 5% due to the difference in the speed of the drive 54 vs 72 in handling the page-outs (see my other post).

    The problem isn't the drive, its the fact that you are still getting page-outs. Whatever you are running is BIG, and given the Mini's 1 Gb RAM limitation, perhaps the Mini is the wrong machine for those particular projects.

    Should you still get an external Firewire? Yes, but for a different reason than you might think. If you leave your OS and scratch drive space on the internal, and put your data on the external, you will gain speed because the OS and virtual memory space will NOT be contending for the use of the same drive read/write head as the data is. See the difference between doing a Duplicate on one drive, and doing a Copy of the same file to a different drive.

    This is because up to 80% of drive transfer time is latency - moving the head to the right spot and then waiting for the data to rotate around to the head. If your data drive can be seeking the next bit of data while the OS drive is still finishing up its last operation, you will get speed improvement.

    Thanks
    Trevor
    CanadaRAM.com
     

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