Why is my PC faster than my Mac Mini?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by tshrimp, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2012
    I am new to Mac, and am really liking my new little system so far. I paired it with a nice IPS monitor, and upgraded to 8GB of ram.

    I wanted to get some pointers form the Mac experts here as my Samsung Laptop feels faster than my Mac Mini. I know some people will give me grief for making this statement, but it is a risk I am willing to take in order to make sure my mini is running as fast as it can.

    Here is the hardware of my laptop:

    CPU - i5 1st gen
    GPU - Nvidia 310M
    HD - 500GB 5400 rpm
    RAM - 4GB DDR3
    OS - Windows 7 and have tried Snow Leopard.

    My Mac mini

    CPU- i5 2.3
    GPU - HD3000
    HD - 500GB 5400 rpm
    RAM - 8GB DDR3 (PSD38G1333SK)
    OS - Lion

    As you can see even my laptop running Snow Leopard seems faster. Don't get me wrong the Mini is plenty fast, but is there any recommendations on things I can do to speed up the system aside from an SSD?

    Thanks for any help.


    I guess I should mention that once the app is open things seem more equal. The speed difference is actually in opening the App itself even if it is the 2nd time as at this point I would assume it is in RAM.
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
  3. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2012
    Great. Just what I was looking for. I will give some of those things a try. thanks
  4. macrumors regular

    Sep 3, 2009
    Munich, Germany
    Snow Leopard is less resource hungry than Lion, so that makes a difference, too.
  5. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2012
    Ahhh. I didn't realize that. Will Mountain Lion be more efficient than Lion?
  6. macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Good question. Who knows?
    I liked snow better then lion and frankly did not need the osx to change that quickly.

    Up until last last year I only owned macs.

    When lion came out I picked up windows 7.

    windows 7, snow and lion.

    all have good points and and bad points.

    Lion is a move towards mobile devices.

    Snow was a really good stand alone system. Or a home network system.

    windows 7 has some good points. One it is stable and has not changed much over the last 3 or 4 years. Not everyone wants a new operating system every 18 months.

    Apple has had so much success with mobile gear they are pushing hard to join the operating systems as one with the home pc's
  7. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2012
    Thanks for the input. Kind of worried that Apple is moving toward mobile type of OS. One of the reasons I got a mac was because the Win8 Public beta showed windows going in that direction. Win8 is a great tablet OS, but not so much for the PC. If Apple goes this way I might have to try and downgrade to snow leopard and stick with Win7 on my current Windows based computers. I have no issues with Lion, but the Launch Pad thing is crazzzzzy big. I should not have to scroll to 2 pages with so few of apps installed. I usually just have Finder launch directly to applications.

    I know I could look this up, but other than full screen what did Lion add to the mix?

    Also are there any pre-installed apps that are in Lion that would be good to remove that might speed up the system?
  8. macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    the best upgrade in your case would be an ssd. look at the thread on seagate thunderbolt adapters that i wrote.
  9. macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    The problem with threads like these is "seems faster" is not explicit nor is it quantifiable. What exactly seems faster?
  10. macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2012
    They aren't. What they are doing is trying to make it easier for non-mac users who purchase an iOS device to move to OS X on a Mac from Windows on a PC by making some GUI elements and paradigms common to both. This drive Apples market share in the market for computers.

    There is a lot of speculation about Apple merging iOS and OS X. This ignores the fact that iOS was in a sense derived from the Mac OS X kernel. What precisely is the benefit of merging the two OSs? at the technical level none, a huge effort for almost no benefit, at the GUI design level clearly some.

    The whole problem with windows has always been that they try to make one OS work on everything from a phone to a massive server.
  11. macrumors 68040


    Jun 15, 2004
    The difference could be because all 5400RPM drives aren't equal.
    THere are both one platter and two platter 500GBs and the one platter ones are quite a bit faster.

    As for launching apps it's all about HD speed.

    I have a 4GHz desktop machine with both SSD and HDD (7200RPM Carviar Black's)
    ANd I have a 1.7Ghz MBA with SSD.

    If i launch an app from the desktop HDD it's way slower than on the MBA.
    When I launch on the desktop SSD it's about the same, but the desktop is way faster once the app is open.

    Also your laptop has a better graphics card and if it's the i5-500 series (like 540M or 560M) the speed difference to the new i5 2.3Ghz is very little
  12. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2012
    That info was in my original post. "I guess I should mention that once the app is open things seem more equal. The speed difference is actually in opening the App itself even if it is the 2nd time as at this point I would assume it is in RAM."

    And I did say "seams", but when I put each system side by side and launch a browser at the same time. The laptop opens 2-3 time faster.
  13. macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
  14. macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    If the launch speed of applications worries you, then, as others have suggested, a SSD will be the best thing.

    The reasons why you're seeing the differences could be attributed to a slower hard drive.
  15. lilsoccakid74, Apr 13, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2012

    macrumors 6502

    Apr 13, 2010
    I would go with 8gb ram and an SSD, or check out the Seagate Momentous Hybrid.

    I had 4gb ram on my 2009 mini, and thought that was more than I would ever need. When I got my new mini I was able to get 8gb for 40 bucks so figured why not buy it just to be more future-proof. I was surprised to see that with 8gb available, it was using 3gb for OS and basic safari,itunes,etc. For the price of ram these days, just go for it and forget about it.

    I am in the process of picking up a 64-128gb SATAIII SSD for the OS, and using the stock 500gb 5400rpm in the second slot to handle all my media.

    The hybrid delivers speeds faster than most 7200rpm drives, but wont feel the same as a "true SSD experience". It has a small SSD storage which it uses on your most commonly used applications,paired with a larger 7200rpm drive. They come in 4gb/500gb and 8gb/750gb models.

    Hope this helps!
  16. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2012
    I will have to look for an SSD then. I added one to my desktop a while back and it is one of the best upgrades you can do for a system. I thought this would be the answer I might get, but was hoping for something easy that didn't cost me more $$$. It seem, however, that the SATA cable for this thing is expensive. (like $40).

    Can anyone recommend a 120GB SSD that worked in their mini and a cheap place to get the sata.

    Thanks for the responses.
  17. macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
  18. macrumors member

    Feb 24, 2010
    If you dare you can try the old unixbench to compare memory and processor speed, but not the graphic equipment. I do this test sometimes, when I try or buy new computers.

    The operating system does not matter. You can try it with Linux and have almost the same result with unix. Just try to have the least number of running application.

    If you start some kind of Linux live distribution (from cd rom, from example), you can try the benchmark both your computer using the same operating system. It's easier to run the test with Ubuntu because you don't have to install anything. With OSx you have to install Xcode, first.

    Here is the link to the benchmark: http://code.google.com/p/byte-unixbench/
  19. macrumors member

    Feb 24, 2010
    A faster drive is a good starting point, but remember that different operating systems deal with memory in different ways. Some of them keep information or programs cached in files, to speed up even the first loading (windows do it, if I remember well). Other store part of program and module into an initial ram (Linux). This is called prefetch and probably OSx does the same thing.

    If you like to try, download Ubuntu and burn it on a couple of CDs. Use them to start both you computer and see what happens doing the same things.

    With Linux booted, you can use the disk management tool to benchmark your hard disk. You could install the program "hardinfo" (sudo apt-get install hardinfo) and let it run all the tests for you, from hard drive to graphic card).
  20. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2012
    Great recommendation. Thanks.

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