Upgrade Mac Mini 2007 or Buy another newer used?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by blucoke, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. blucoke, Jan 30, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2013

    macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2013
    #1
    I have a 2007 Mac Mini 1.83Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo with the defualt 2x512MB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM (full specs here), need some of you Mac tech experts' opinion/advice on the followings:

    1. Should I upgrade the RAM to 2x2GB + HHD or just get another newer used Mac Mini?

    2. If upgrade, what brand & specific make/model of memory are the best choices out there & at what price range is normal to pay?

    3. If buy another newer used Mac Mini, which year/make would you recommend & what are the pros/cons?

    I use Mac Mini as my secondary daily reliable usage home computer - mostly for browsing, media center, editing software (i.e. Photoshop, Fireworks & maybe looking into installing a few more of web design related software when I get the money to buy more). This Mini is on DVI & USB 2.0 connections, it's been running slow (with the rainbow pinwheel keeps showing up & running forever) & is still using OS X 10.5.8, so I'm not sure if it's worth that extra $$ to replace it w/a newer used Mini or just spend a little upgrading the RAM + the newest OS X available now? I'm always running low on hard drive storage, so I have a budget set aside for a HHD or SSD either way - I'll be doing this for sure whether I upgrade or buy another used Mini.

    UPDATE: If I buy a newer used Mini, I'd prefer to get one that still has disc slot/combo drive built into it - just easier when loading music CD & DVD movies as well as making a customized playlist onto a CD or burning backup date/software discs w/o more external hookup via USB to an optical drive. I think the 2009 ones are the lastest that still has a disc slot/combo drive built in... any suggestion which model/make of the 2009 or other years of Mini to get? Thanks!

    Any or part advice/suggestion would be appreciated! =)
     
  2. macrumors 601

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    #2
    If you have $500
    Get a refurb Mac mini 2012 from apple
     
  3. macrumors 68030

    FreakinEurekan

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    #3
    I had the same model, except I'd upgraded it to 4GB and installed OS X 10.7 Lion on it. It was an excellent computer & still handled basic browsing, as well as managing my iTunes library with home sharing to my Apple TVs. I have a NAS so hard drive space was not an issue.

    I had OWC do the RAM upgrade, they had an installation service where they shipped out an empty box, I put the Mini in it and shipped it back, then they returned the upgraded Mini to me. That vintage Mini is tricky to disassemble without a specific jig so I didn't mind paying the fee for professional installation.

    Really the only thing it did not do well was video (e.g. full-screen YouTube was pretty jerky). Also I wanted to combine my PC and my Mac into a single machine using VMWare so I upgraded to a 2012 Mini.

    RAM updated (DIY) from OWC will cost about $58. You can buy Snow Leopard for $19.99 then upgrade from that to Lion for another $19.99, so total upgrade cost of about $100. That might hold you for a while, and is pretty good bang for the buck.
     
  4. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2011
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    #4
    I have two early 2009 minis and they've been running fantastic. One serves as my media server at home and has been on nearly constantly since I got it used in September 2011. I was so happy with its performance that I got another one last month for only $150 for use at the office (I don't do anything too intensive). Added 4GB RAM I had from an old laptop and it has been running flawlessly. I've never had any other minis, but in my experience the early 2009 minis are really great, stable little machines. Plus you should be able to find them at reasonable prices given they are nearly four years old.
     
  5. macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    #5
  6. macrumors 65816

    MultiFinder17

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    Tampa, Florida
    #6
    If you're looking for a solid used mini, you can't go wrong with the 2009 minis. Mine has been going strong since I bought it new in March of 2009, and has been in constant use as my primary desktop. It's a great, solid, reliable little machine!
     
  7. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2012
    #7
    I'd upgrade the RAM/HDD/OSX and it should last a few more years.

    $50-60 should be about right for a 4GB RAM upgrade. These should work, or other websites should have them
    http://www.amazon.com/Crucial-PC2-5...1359600607&sr=8-3&keywords=667+mhz+ddr2+sdram

    A new HDD should speed things up as well. When I took apart my 2007 macbook the disk was read/writing around 30MB/s, where a new one should be around 100. Keep in mind if your Mini is connected to SATA I, then you should max out at 150 MB/s, so you won't be able to tap into the full speed potential of an SSD.

    OSX 10.6 is a great upgrade as well, it seems to remain popular and very stable. Spending the money on a newer mini is a great option as well, because assuming you move up a few years, the newer one will include a larger hard drive and more recent OS included anyways.
     
  8. blucoke, Jan 30, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2013

    thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2013
    #8
    Thanks so much for the advices, I forgot to mention in my original post that if I opt to buy a newer Mini, I'd prefer one with disc slot/combo drive still built in (so I'm guessing the latest avail is 2009), more questions to whomever can answer these:

    Acronyc: What specific make/model of the early 2009 Mini is yours? Where did you find them for $150 a piece? If it only costs that much, sounds like I'm better off just buy another one & sell mine.

    Che Castro & philipma1957: Is there any specific benefits (like super nice bonus & perks) spending ~$500 getting a 2011 or 2012 model that you are recommending? What is the approx. market price for my 2007 if I were to sell it & where to sell it is the best/safest?
     
  9. macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    #9
    once you mention that you want a built in dvd I would look for this machine


    it still pops up once in a great while


    http://store.apple.com/us/product/FC270LL/A


    I got one in dec. this is the newest model with a dvd player built in. I use mine with a tv as a

    eyetv/dvr/dvd player. it can surf the net and runs snow leopard pretty well.




    they sell well on ebay


    http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trksid=p5197.m570.l1313&_nkw=2010+mac+mini&_sacat=0&_from=R40
     
  10. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2012
    #10
    The 2007's are great. The ram upgrades are very cheap. You can upgrade the cpu for cheap and buy a SSD. Running lion with 4 GB RAM (3.1 addressable), 2.0 ghz cpu, and a 256GB SSD, mine was ridiculously snappy. It was probably one of my favorite machines right up until the logic board failed. And since its death, I found the parts sell great on e-bay. This model and its parts are still quite demanded because of the upgrade-ability.
     
  11. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2009
    Location:
    Idaho
    #11
    I've had a late 2009 mini for two years and it has been very reliable. They are easy to work on so bumping up the ram is easy as is adding a faster HD. I mostly use it as a HTPC and it never fails me.
     
  12. macrumors regular

    1934hotrod

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2013
    Location:
    Woodstock
    #12
    Nothing wrong with buying used, got one running my weather station, on 24/7. Need to clean the dust bunnies from the intake now and then but, that's easy. Computers are change out more for the newer version and hyped advantages of speed that quickly goes by the wayside in a day or two.


    Greg
     
  13. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #13
    "Thanks so much for the advices, I forgot to mention in my original post that if I opt to buy a newer Mini, I'd prefer one with disc slot/combo drive still built in…"

    My advice is that you drop this "requirement".

    Instead, buy a late-model Mini, even though it doesn't have a built in DVD drive -- and then spend $30 and buy an external, 3rd-party DVD/CD burner. It will work as well as the internal DVD drive. If you insist on having an internal drive, it's going to "hold you back" from other improvements.

    The suggestion made to you in post #5 was very, very good.

    Or you could keep an eye out in the Apple online refurb store for a refurbished 2012 Mini -- this might be the best choice of all.
     
  14. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2012
    #14
    Just to give you an idea of cost.

    You can upgrade your CPU in the 2007 mac mini to the following faster Core 2 Duos

    2.0 ghz - T7200 - These sometimes sell on ebay for for as low as $19 but can be purchased from reasonably decent online retailers for $30. You can find this cpu all virtually everywhere.

    2.16ghz - T7400 - These are harder to find. I was researching finding one and the cheapest I found was $60 when I was hunting.

    2.33ghz - T7600 - You can find these sometimes for as low as $75 but more commonly they sell for $90 - $100

    You can get 2x2GB of that model's ram for about $40 or $35 on sale on newegg. You can usually get it for ~$20-$30 on ebay.

    Solid State Drives are getting cheaper and cheaper. a 256gb SSD with laptop transfer kit can sell for pretty cheap. Of course, size is really up to you on this.

    You can basically ebay up a huge upgrade on the cpu and ram for a very small investment.

    There is also some real savings for those that find an imac, mac mini or macbook on ebay with the same internal components, but with the upgraded parts you want. Find one with a broken logic board, power supply or display(if applicable). You may end up with the parts you need for much cheaper.
     
  15. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2010
    Location:
    Detroit
    #15
    The late 2009's are great. I maxed one out a year or so ago. Nice to work on and I prefer the old look. Bang for your buck though, it's better to get a newer one.
     
  16. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2010
    Location:
    Detroit
    #16
    The late 2009's are great. I maxed one out a year or so ago. Nice to work on and I prefer the old look. Bang for your buck though, it's better to get a newer one.
     
  17. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2011
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    #17
    Both of my minis are early 2009 models with 2.0GHz Core 2 Duo processors and the Geforce 9400 with 256MB of shared video RAM. The one I use at home has 3GB of RAM and I purchased it back in September 2011 for about $300. The one I'm using at the office has 5GB of RAM and I purchased it in December 2012 for about $150. I got the second one so cheap because the internal DVD drive isn't working.

    The biggest reason I got the 2009 model over the 2007 is the Geforce 9400. The 2007 models have an Intel GMA with a max of 64MB of shared RAM, and I would imagine this would be pretty limiting if you are doing anything graphically extensive. I had one in a 2005 Vaio and it was pretty terrible at anything remotely graphically taxing. I do need to do some minor photo editing and encoding on these machines so I wanted to stay away from the Intel GMA at all costs, hence the 2009 model.

    As others have mentioned though, I think that you might get more for your money by trying to get a newer model, say a mid 2011. This was the model I was looking for to use at work, but I couldn't pass up the 2009 mini I found for only $150. If you can get a deal like that definitely go for it as the 2009 models are still fantastic. If not, maybe try to find a reasonably priced 2011 model.
     

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