2014 Base Mac mini SSD upgrade worth it?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by FlyingTexan, Mar 24, 2017.

  1. FlyingTexan macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2015
    #1
    I have the base mac mini. It's a little sluggish at times. I pretty much leave it on 24/7 and use it for all of my media watching. Lately it seems like it's slowed down a little and I'm seeing the spinning wheel much more.

    Firstly is the OS X software become more bloated and heavier on the system? I use it from the couch on my 4k for internet and streaming. Opening up applications and waiting on it to actually do things is an issue.

    Is a SSD upgrade really worth it? To be honest I don't really care which OS I use so long as it's easy and scales good on a 4k TV. Debating upgrading this thing or if that $300 or whatever would just be better pocketed and spent towards a new system.
     
  2. now i see it macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2002
    #2
    SSD will definitely be WAY faster. You could get a 128/ 250 GB SSD & install it in an enclosure and install the OS on to it. It will still be waaaaay faster than the internal 5400 rpm spinner.
    You can still keep your media on the internal HD.

    If you move on to another computer in the future, you can take the SSD w you.
     
  3. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #3
    I also have a base 2014 that runs iTunes 24/7 with home sharing for two AppleTV's, a quad Mini and a MacBook Air. It's connected to a 24" screen and I watch movies on it sometimes, also connected to my home stereo with speakers in different rooms. I think this model is just a dog, I would not want to use for general things like the web or e-mail.

    I'm sure the SSD would help a few things like boot time, but not sure that it will really cure the things that bother you. It takes something ridiculous like 15 seconds just to open System Preferences for example. That has nothing to do with the speed of the hard drive. ;) Only having 4gb doesn't help either, but you can't do anything about that.

    Personally I would not spend any money upgrading the base model, IMO it would be better spent towards the purchase of a faster machine. Mine is fine for an iTunes server though, it just sits there and runs iTunes. A SSD would not make any difference for that, all my media is on a fast 4TB USB 3.0 hard drive.

    Also, I would not want to mess around opening up the 2014 mini, evidently it is even more difficult than older models. And just a couple days ago we had yet another thread where somebody damaged their 2012 mini while installing a disk. One possible upgrade would be an external USB 3.0 SSD though. I setup my daughter with a base 2012 mini with a 500gb Samsung T3 USB SSD and it's very fast, around 400MB/sec write speed. Of course an internal will be even faster on the 2014, but not sure if it would be noticeable for everyday use.
     
  4. FlyingTexan thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2015
    #4
    Thanks for the replies. You hit the nail on the head Boyd about how long it takes to open up preferences, etc. I've been debating building my own system and might go that route. I'm not sure what I could do for the difference in cost. I love the design and how there's no noise from it. I only use the WIFI and HDMI port. I have it plugged into my receiver then my TV. It can play files fine but general usage is a little sucky.

    Do you think there's different OS options I should look at to make it snappier? You don't think a SSD would increae the times of opening programs etc?
     
  5. jpietrzak8, Mar 24, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2017

    jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    #5
    Well, either Windows or Linux might be able to run the Mini a little more efficiently. ;) But no, there are no other OS X options for the 2014 Mini; you can only choose from Yosemite, El Capitan, or Sierra, all of which are similar in overall performance.

    Oh, an SSD will speed up loading applications! But yeah, that's pretty much all it will do for you, unless you choose an application that is tied closely to the long-term-storage device.

    Admittedly, with only 4 GB of RAM, you are likely to run out fairly frequently. In that case, if you choose to soldier on while forcing the machine to swap memory out to long-term storage, you will benefit from having an SSD. It'd be a pretty sad way to use a computer, though...
     
  6. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #6
    If you want to go that route, then an internal SSD would be best as you will probably see transfer rates around 700MB/sec (this is what my 2013 MBA gets), so that should speed up swapping. But then you have the whole gamble of opening something that wasn't intended to be opened.

    The most I would do is get a fast external SSD, at least you could easily move that to another machine in the future. But in the end, if you want better performance, get a faster computer. The base 2012 with 16gb feels much faster than the 4gb base 2014 mini, but prices are a bit high on those, and I suppose the graphics card could be an issue if you are using 4k monitors.
     
  7. now i see it macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2002
    #7
    Just about everything on macOS nowadays accesses the HD. System Preferences is definitely one of them.

    Recently I did a test on my 2.4 ghz 2010 Mac Mini, (which has a slower processor than the 1.4Ghz 2014 according to geekbench scores) with a SSD and the stock 5400 rpm HD.

    Every single thing you do that interacts with the OS is way way way faster with the SSD... Including System Preferences.

    Before with the spinner HD, System Preferences used to take way too long to load. It was horrible. Booting up was horrible too. Now with the SSD installed it snaps open with no irritating lag. Startup time has been cut by more than half.

    For the most part, laggy system performance on recent machines is almost always caused by a slow HD.
     
  8. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #8
    And to be clear, it should be a USB3 enclosure.
     
  9. spooklog macrumors member

    spooklog

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2015
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #9
    Try the SSD, it will make opening programs so much faster. But being able to move the SSD to whatever computer you have is a terrific advantage as well. Other World Computing sells a 240 GB SSD upgrade kit (for a 2012 mini) for about $120. How can you go wrong?
     
  10. tibas92013, Mar 26, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2017

    tibas92013 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2013
    Location:
    Costa Rica
    #10

    I have both a Refurbished MM(Late 2012) 2.5GHz,16GB Ram,500GB HD and a Refurbished MM(Late 2014) 2.8GHz,8GB Ram, 256 SSD that were bought from the Apple On-Line Store.

    I can't rave enough regarding how fast the MM(Late 2014) boots-up and opens Apps in comparison to my other MM.

    Both of these devices have served me well but I now would not buy any Computer with a HD installed. I was thinking of having the HD replaced with a SSD in the MM(Late 2012) but this would cost me around $350.00 at an Apple Dealer here in Costa Rica. Also, I use this MM as mainly a backup to my other MM(Late 2014).
     
  11. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #11
    One way you could go wrong is that the OP is talking about a 2014 mini. ;) I have not opened one up, but I gather it is more difficult than the 2012. And either way you could go very wrong if you damage your computer by opening it up. Lots of threads here from people who though they could do it but had problems. There's a current thread where someone installed an internal drive and after putting it back together, the fan runs continuously at high speed for example. :confused:
     

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