16GB and/or Intel SSD Drive in Mid 2010 Mac Mini?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by zama36, Nov 3, 2016.

  1. zama36 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2007
    #1
    Like most I was bummed out that Apple didn't announce new Mac Minis or any other machines last week.

    I looked into the possibility of building my own Hackintosh but the cost and support issue makes me leery.

    That being said I'm back at my mid 2010 Mac Mini wondering if it couldn't just be upgraded. I use the Mini for Time Machine backups, home automation and entertainment (iTunes, Netflix, etc.). I have never seen the CPU go over 50% however I have seen the beachball a lot lately with Sierra and the new version of iTunes. Wondering if it is just a memory or hard disk access issue or both.

    I have the Mini maxed out at the support 8GB RAM but saw that Other World Computing is selling 16GB kits for this model. Has anyone bumped their Mini to 16GB?

    Also, since the hard disk is 6 years old I wouldn't be surprised if it were to fail sometime soon. Has anyone installed an Intel SSD drive in a Mini? Did you experience any issues?

    Thanks.
     
  2. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    #2
    I've got the exact same Mini (2010, 8GB RAM), although I haven't yet upgraded to Sierra or to the latest iTunes. (I suppose it might be a good idea for me to hold off for now... ;) )

    But could you perhaps open up the Activity Monitor utility and take a peek at what it says? It should be able to tell you if the slowdown is due to the CPU being fully consumed, or the RAM being used up, or some issue with the hard drive. Narrowing the issue down to one of these three items makes it easier to solve. :)
     
  3. California macrumors 68040

    California

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2004
    #3
    Bump it up to 16gbs, yes I've done it about ten times on different 2010 machines. It makes a difference. Then add an SSD. You can always remove the ram and sell it later and you can put the SSD in your next machine.

    Just go slow opening it up.
     
  4. Kaida macrumors regular

    Kaida

    Joined:
    May 28, 2016
    Location:
    Singapore
    #4
    If you already have 8gb ram, then the SSD will be a better upgrade for your mini. I noticed some other brands of SSD is only able to work as SATA 1 on older machines, but big brands like Intel, Samsung and Crucial should be able to work as SATA 2
    2 to 4GB significant perf increase
    4 to 8GB pretty good perf increase
    8 to 16GB not so much
     
  5. wol macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2005
    #5
    A couple of months ago I upgraded the HD of a Mid 2010 Mac mini (2.4 GHz, 8GB, running macOS 10.12) to a Samsung EVO 850 SSD (1TB). The negotiated link speed is 1.5 gigabit (which is half the 3 gigabit link speed the same disk negotiated inside a Mid 2011 Mac mini). The upgrade made the Mid 2010 Mac mini considerably more responsive, and beach ball "interludes" became noticeably shorter or disappeared: read/write access is about 4 to 5 times faster than with the original 500 GB 5400 RPM HD according to the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test ... :)

    For exchanging the HD I followed the IFIXIT guide and used their "Mac Mini Logic Board Removal Tool" (which came with their "Mac Mini Dual Hard Drive Kit" I had used to add a 2nd HD to the 2011 Mac mini)

    Other tweaks I applied before (when the Mid 2010 Mac mini was still running older OSX versions) were to limit Spotlight search to a few relevant folders, and to disable GUI animations as far as possible - see, e.g. http://lifehacker.com/speed-up-an-old-mac-by-disabling-these-animations-1745282066
     
  6. California macrumors 68040

    California

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2004
    #6
    I think there is an update or something? Pretty sure you should be getting 3gigabit link speed. Google around.
     
  7. antz359 macrumors newbie

    antz359

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2014
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #7
    Hi
    I have a Samsung 840 it's link speed is 3Gb, I also have 16Gb RAM, now I have a excellent MM which will keep me going for quite some time. Not updated to Sierra yet, not sure I will.
     
  8. CmdrLaForge macrumors 601

    CmdrLaForge

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    Feb 26, 2003
    Location:
    around the world
    #8
    The ssd makes a huge difference. The ram not so much.
     
  9. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    #9
    The RAM makes a huge difference. The SSD not so much.
     
  10. California macrumors 68040

    California

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2004
    #10
    The link speed is on the computer's side, not the SSD. Pretty sure link speed is 3 gigabits on this Mac Mini. Check the specs, OP and I think there is an EFI update or something that makes sure you're getting top speed possible from computer.
     
  11. Midgetinabikini macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2006
    #11
    I would go for SSD if your HDD is 5400rpm, if it's 7200 or whatever, go for ram.
     
  12. dogslobber macrumors 68030

    dogslobber

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2014
    Location:
    Apple Campus, Cupertino CA
    #12
    I crowbarred a 64gb SSD into the 2010 Mini when it first appeared. That was when the logic board removal tools was two screwdrivers used in synchronized fashion. Anyway, even back in 2010 this thing flew and replacing the pedestrian spinner really made the Mini responsive. I sold the machine after a while for a nice markup.
     
  13. AllieNeko macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    #13
    Why post such horribly inaccurate stuff? The person whose post you swapped is absolutely correct. Moving to an SSD will eliminate the beachball issue and cause the system to perform dramatically faster.

    Going from 8GB to 16GB of RAM will make no noticeable difference with the workload they've stated. None.
     
  14. California macrumors 68040

    California

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2004
    #14
    There is a slight difference. But the SSD is more important.

    For me, I like to max out my machines, so the 16gbs of ram in the mini was very important, and I did it in the first few months of owning the 2010. (The 13" MBP 2010 is identical to the mac mini in specs and ability to take 16gbs of ram, and I owned a couple of those, too.)

    The SSD is most important but the 16gbs also does see improvement over 8 gigs. I just like knowing my machines are maxed out. You can always sell your upgrades.
     
  15. jpietrzak8, Nov 15, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2016

    jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    #15
    EDIT: Removed angry screed. Gotta remember not to post while grumpy.

    But still. I don't have an SSD. I also never see beachballs. I know how to use my computer effectively, and that includes not having it spend all its time running off of the HD/SSD. Load all your data into RAM, avoid restarting the machine / restarting the apps, and everything works better...
     
  16. AllieNeko macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    #16
    Sounds nice in theory, but as you noted you don't have an SSD. Try one. Everything just becomes buttery smooth and instant. Programs pop open, restarts (which sometimes are unavoidable) are nearly instant. Files load quick and everything performs very, very well. In this person's case, media files will start instantly, etc.

    I'm not saying 16 GB of RAM is useless, not at all. I regularly order machines with 16 GB of RAM for my users at work, for those who will make use of it. Look at what the OP is looking to do, they won't fill 8 GB often. If they fill it ever, mostly it'll be data that can be swapped to the SSD just as easily with no perceptible performance difference compared to having it in RAM.

    Honestly, do yourself a favour and go buy an SSD. If you have a hard drive, your computer IS storage constrained. Try it... you'll be blown away and unable to go back to a hard drive.
     
  17. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #17
    AllieNeko is 100% correct above.

    SSD trumps RAM …. EVERY time.
     
  18. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    #18
    Let me repeat: I don't see beachballs. SSDs reduce the amount of time spent in beachball mode; but I spend zero time in beachball mode.

    I restart my machines on average once a month. As such, I restart my apps approximately as often.

    When I load files, I load them in the background. I continue to work as they load. Once they are loaded, they are in RAM; performance difference between HD and SSD is zero if you never touch either the HD or the SSD.

    As for media: if you're spending your time streaming from your long-term storage device, you're wasting most of the value of the SSD. While an SSD can initially reach a file much more quickly than an HD can, there's no difference in streaming media between the two, because even an HD transfers data far, far more quickly than is needed for any audio or video file.

    The best-case for using an SSD is when you are dealing with many small, randomly-accessed files. Streaming media involves large files that are accessed serially, and thus is a perfect role for HD usage.

    I have some machines (laptops) with SSDs. I do understand their value (especially on a machine that you have to turn on and off constantly!). But there's absolutely nothing wrong with HDs, either, especially if you understand how to use them; and if you're mostly interested in streaming media, an HD (which provides enormous quantities of storage at low prices) is perfect for your needs. Other than the time it takes to initially load a file, you'll never notice any difference.
     
  19. ActionableMango macrumors G3

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #19
    I doubt you are exceeding 8GB RAM for your specified use, which is very very light. But you can check in Activity Monitor to be sure. Switching to an SSD will definitely help your whole system feel peppy. Of course opening a Mini is not trivially easy and there is risk of breaking wires and sensors. If I were in there anyway for SSD or RAM, I'd actually do both at the same time anyway just so I wouldn't have to do it all again later.

    However, Beachballs can be caused by a lot of things, including software problems too. A fresh reinstall of OS X might be in order after 6 years.

    You might consider doing all three. I.E. upgrade your RAM, install a new drive, and install OS X fresh on the new drive.
     

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