Time to get a new(er) mini?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by nhcowboy1, Feb 21, 2008.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Location:
    NH
    #1
    I have a 1.5 GHz G4 mini with 1.0 GB ram.

    The three apps I usually have open on it are safari, word and eudora (for email). It seems like things aren't going quite as quickly as they're supposed to. Switching between the open apps, I'm starting to notice that the mini really seems to be slowing down. It hasn't gotten to the point of crashing, but it does have moments when it just . . . takes . . . forever . . . to do something simple like return to a previous browser page or open an email. Rebooting doesn't seem to improve things.

    It seemed so zippy when I first got it - but that was compared to the G3 that I had before!

    Is it time to get a newer one? And, if so, how new to I have to go before I'll see a noticeable difference? I'm not doing music or graphics or even anything that requires a huge amount of space - it's just basically those three programs. If I upgrade to a 1.66 CD, will that be enough of a change to be worth doing? Or should I be looking at a 1.83 instead? Obviously, cost is an issue - but I'm also not doing anything that warrants getting a really powerful machine.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks!
     
  2. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2007
    #2
    What version of Mac OSX are you running? One idea you could try is to erase the hard drive and reinstall Mac OSX and your applications. If you choose that route, save your documents to a CD/DVD, or USB thumb stick before you choose that route. Often times this speeds up things dramatically as your computer becomes "de-cluttered".

    One thing I like about Mac OSX is how easy it is to even perform a clean install on a Mac machine.
     
  3. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Location:
    NH
    #3
    Oh, right, forgot to mention that, didn't I? OS X 10.4.11.

    Okay . . . . hadn't thought of that. Makes sense. Uhhh . . . how do I do it? And what folders do I need to save to keep my preferences and such intact? Thanks!
     
  4. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Location:
    NH
    #4
    But about getting a newer machine . . . would it be worth it to upgrade to a 1.66? Would there be a noticeable difference in performance?
     
  5. macrumors 65816

    dukeblue91

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2004
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    #5
    Yes there would be a huge difference in speed.
    I also would recommend to max out the ram on what ever Mini you get.
     
  6. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2008
    #6
    Yes RAM is the issue, far more than CPU speed, according to my experience. My ”old” mac mini (Intel 1,83MHz double CPU+512 RAM ) was giving me the ”spinning beachball” every now and then even though the CPU activity monitoring (Menumeters) was showing a very light use of both processors.
    The virtual memory was jumping up to 1,5 GB after the launch and use of a few basic apps (iTunes+Mail+Firefox+iCal) and i had to quit them all or re-log to get back to 512 of VM. Painful…

    Now i upgraded to a 2,0GHz but with 2GB of RAM, and the difference is just amazing.
     
  7. macrumors 603

    netdog

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #7
    Wait for Santa Rosa...

    • Up to 4GB of RAM
    • x3100 Graphics
     
  8. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2007
    #8
    The wait for that is agonizing. I don't think we'll ever see it. :(
     
  9. Ugg
    macrumors 68000

    Ugg

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2003
    Location:
    Penryn
    #9
    If your hard drive is full, that might be part of the problem. I found that with my 1.5 ghz PB, I needed at least 10 gigs free. Anything less than that would slow it down noticeably.
     
  10. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2008
    #10
    Well, I have no clue whether my opinion can stand in front of a developper who knows probably better about geek topics, but i believe you can run any mac without noticeable slow down with a couple of GB’s, but only if you never EVER filled up your disk. Filling up and then getting back space by deleting only some of the files (even if it’s the bigger ones unless they were bigger than 1/2 GB) will result in a disk where the virtual memory gets fragmented as soon as it tries to get 512MB slices of the cake (usually it increases 1st from 64 to 128 then to 256 and 512 and straight to 1GB, 1,5GB, then i believe there would be another 512MB leap to 2GB (i personnally have never seen this happening), then probably swallows another full GB in one bite, if you keep launching apps or using some of the more greedy ones.

    Don’t believe what is shown in the Activity Monitor about VM, it does not make sense to me, right now it says VM=56.74GB when my HD is just 56.56, and only about 30 are free!

    The memory menu of MenuMeters lets you see how fast the apps and system are eating up your free space with VM. It’s donationware.
     
  11. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    #11
    I don't know what price range you are looking at but the new Mini's are very very inexpensive compared to all of Apple's other computers. But a refurbished one would probably be best for you.
     
  12. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Location:
    NH
    #12
    Well, I've got 67+ gb free (of 80 gb), so I'm guessing that's not the problem.

    But I was surprised when I upgraded the ram from 512 mg to 1.0 gb - I didn't notice any difference in speed at all. That seemed strange to me . . . I would have thought there'd be a noticeable difference.

    I guess erasing the hard drive is an option. I've now done it with a laptop I have, so I know how to do it. (And I've learned such a helpful lesson: Do NOT erase the hard drive on an older machine unless you can find the install discs for the OS that you want it to be running! Going from OSX 10.3 to OS 9.2 with the push of a button is SOOOOO discouraging!)

    Anyway, I can work on this one and see if I can improve its performance at all, but I've seen 1.66 CD machines selling for the same price that I paid for this one a few months back - so I'm thinking I should just trade up. Or maybe I should just wait a few more months and get the 1.83 at that price . . . .
     

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