Are Mac Minis prone to errors?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by ozone, Sep 8, 2016.

  1. ozone macrumors 6502

    ozone

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #1
    I'm on my second Mac Mini (late 2012 model), and lately, it freezes or just shuts down. Not often, but enough times that it's an obvious error or problem of some sort. Once, the image was flickering on and off, and no, it wasn't due to a bad video connection.

    Interestingly, similar freezes and problems happened to an older Mac Mini (about 2010 model) which I thought was attributed to bad RAM. I installed new RAM and it seemed fine for a while, but after a few weeks, it again randomly froze or shut down.

    My plan is to pull the HD from my more recent Mac Mini, install an SSD, and then do a fresh install of OSX.

    So, my question is... is this a good idea, or are Mac Mini's prone to some sort of problem and I shouldn't bother?
     
  2. komatsu macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2010
    #2
    Every Mac (Mini or otherwise) will slow down as "OS Rot" sets in.

    Assuming there are no overheating problems, an SSD and fresh install of OS X should work wonders.
     
  3. grcar Suspended

    grcar

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2014
    #3
    Minis and almost all macs are designed for appearance rather than ruggedness (except the first generation mac pro in the huge desk-side aluminum case). The small cases necessitate inadequate heat sinks. Additionally the thermal paste used to seat the sinks breaks down over time. I do not know how heavily you run your machines, but my guess is they are overheating and shutting down to protect themselves.
     
  4. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    #4
    Wow. What the heck are you guys doing with your computers? The last time I had a problem with a Mac Mini, it was a PowerPC version that I bought refurbished.

    I've currently got two Minis running, a 2007 model and a 2010 model. I run both of them 24/7. I never have problems with them; admittedly, though, I generally don't run anything that really taxes the CPU on the 2007 model. Up until recently, I pushed the CPU on the 2010 model pretty hard, but again, I've never had a freeze or a shut down. (Ok, I will admit that more than once I have run dodgy software that took over the screen and then proceeded to die, requiring me to reboot the device.

    I can't speak for everyone who owns a Mini, but I really doubt that Apple is selling lemons here. Macs are, by and large, fairly well engineered, and should not be having the kinds of problems you folks are describing...

    (And what the heck is "OS Rot"? Never heard of that before. I've been running OS X 10.6 on my 2007 Mini for, well, half a decade or so now with no appreciable slowdown. And no, I've never reinstalled it. When should I be seeing some effect?)
     
  5. ozone thread starter macrumors 6502

    ozone

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #5
    My first aluminum Mac Mini gave me error messages, and when I managed to figure out it was referring to, it was supposedly bad RAM. I had upgraded its RAM with memory from OWC, so given the company's Apple reputation, I was surprised. I picked up new memory from Best Buy, did a fresh OS install, and it was fine... for a while... and then the same shut down/freeze happened a couple times. I figured I'd better give up.

    Sort of by chance, the local Staples had a really good promotion on a newer, current aluminum Mac Mini and bundled it with probably one of the last Mac displays, so I bought it. It ran fine for a couple of years, but in the last year, I noticed a significant slow down. Booting up is painfully slow, programs were slow to open or slow to respond, and then the shut downs or freezes started up.

    My guess is that things are just getting corrupted OS wise... but hey, these are Macs, not Windows machines from the last two decades, so I was surprised that I had issues with two Mac minis in a row.

    I want to try to see if I can get this Mac Mini up and running as before. Plus I had maxed out the RAM at 16GB, so it seems a bit of a waste to not try. The SSD was on sale at Best Buy and if the Mac Mini truly doesn't work, at least I can use it somewhere else or convert it to an external drive.

    To be honest, I really wish Mac would put out again a mid-level computer: not as small as the Mini, and not as expensive as the Mac Pro. Something that isn't fanatically, aesthetically slim or tiny so that I wouldn't have to worry about overheating or have no room to expand, but something that isn't so big or expensive as to be ridiculous sitting on my desk.
     
  6. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    #6
    I'm surprised too. I've upgraded the RAM on both my Minis with memory from OWC, and have had no problems, so I guess I'm one of those folks who credit OWC for good quality. :)

    Staples is another of my favorite companies. :)

    Well, to my mind, one of the advantages of buying an Apple is that it's fairly easy to take the device to an Apple store and have someone look at it. But yeah, that could cost you some money, if the Applecare has lapsed.

    It's kinda hard to guess at what might be going wrong, if the machine is just randomly freezing up. :( I could ask some of the standard questions: are you running the CPU very high, or keeping the machine in a spot that gets very warm, or perhaps not giving the machine sufficient airflow? Are you running any iffy software (that might be coded poorly)? Has this machine suffered any drops or other impacts, or been through a power surge? (I've had electronic equipment damaged when a nearby lightning strike affected everything in my house that wasn't plugged into a surge supressor.)

    I think almost everyone in this forum would like to see that. :) The iMac is not for everybody; some folks don't need a monitor tied to their computer. And given the lack of upgradability, the ever-lower-power CPU and GPU options, and the high price, there's less and less reason to want an iMac...
     
  7. grcar Suspended

    grcar

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2014
    #7
    Exactly. There is no such degradation of the unix kernel underlying mac os. But you can get "web browser rot" because modern web sites are increasingly complex and an older system might not have the latest javascript engine. I know this is not quite what you describe, but you can reset the browser to clean up the accumulated cookies etc.
     
  8. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #8
    In agreement with jpietrzak8 in reply 4 above.

    My late-2012 Mini has run beautifully since I first booted it in January 2013.
    And I boot and run from external drives, using the internal drive only for backup and file storage.

    It has never "slowed down" and runs faster than new, because (as mentioned above) I boot from externally-connected (USB3) SSDs.

    By the way, no problems with the "TRIM issue" at all -- it has NEVER impacted anything.
    Biggest kerfuffle in the world of Mac-dom... ;)

    Aside:
    I'm wondering if many of the problems above are "RAM related"…?
     
  9. chrfr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    #9
    That's nonsense. There is no such thing.
     
  10. dogslobber macrumors 68020

    dogslobber

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2014
    Location:
    Apple Campus, Cupertino CA
    #10
    Credit to OWC for managing to build a reality distortion field around their hyped and overpriced products. I stick to newegg myself.
     
  11. rshrugged macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2015
    #11
    Did you try running in safe mode? Any improvement? Restart normally; any improvement?
    Maybe you have some conflicting software. Run EtreCheck and post the results. Maybe someone will see a possible cause.
     
  12. LorenK macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    Location:
    Illinois
    #12
    How do you have your mini, flat or upright? I fried mine when I kept it flat in a cabinet and the heat fried the motherboard. Fortunately, I had AppleCare and it was replaced, but now I have it vertical in a stand, and I haven't had a problem since.
     
  13. ITguy2016 Suspended

    Joined:
    May 25, 2016
    #13
    I have two 2012 dual core 2.5GHz Mini's (stock configuration) running 24/7 as server systems. Both are running Ubuntu Linux and neither has given me any problems.
     
  14. fischersd macrumors 601

    fischersd

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2014
    Location:
    Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
    #14
    Not a single issue with my 2012 mini that I bought when it first came out. (since upgraded the RAM and disk to SSD, keeping the original disk for iTunes and other things I don't care about fast access on).

    I do wonder @ozone if the issues you're having aren't environmental? Dirty power (get yourself a really GOOD UPS), making sure wherever you have it there's adequate ventilation (not locked in a cabinet with no air flow, for example), no chance for electromagnetic interference (knew a guy who had to move to have electronics...crazy bugger had a small house dangerously close to a municipal transformer station) :) Not a dusty environment? (dust can actually be a great conductor - cause all kinds of mischief). Just a few examples.
     
  15. craig1024 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    #15
    I had the exact same freezing and shutting down it took me about 4 months to realise it was the hard drive failing so i put in an SSD a year ago and have had no issues since.
     
  16. ozone thread starter macrumors 6502

    ozone

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #16
    Just to update... I bought an SSD to install - I'll probably do it today or at least, this week sometime. I'll vacuum out the Mini while I'm at it.

    I'm thinking about environmental factors: it just sits on my desk - no obstructions but maybe the air space is a bit "dead"? I would not think it would be any worse than any other Mac Mini sitting on a desk. The vertical configuration, however, seems to be more promising for air flow as well as being a bit more space efficient.

    One thing to keep in mind is that I've had other computers (both Windows and Macs) on this same desk and in the same room, and there no environmental issues. Most other past crashes were due to hard drive failures.

    I had the computer running for about 36 hours without an issue, and then late last night, in the middle of an email, it just crashed and the screen went black, followed by the error screen. It restarted alright, but I'm wondering if swapping the drive will fix the problem or not. I didn't have much running other than a web browser, Outlook, and may be Preview - nothing particularly intense.
     
  17. chrfr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    #17
    This definitely sounds like a hardware problem of some sort. I have several of these, both at home and at work and they run for weeks on end without an issue.
     
  18. fischersd macrumors 601

    fischersd

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2014
    Location:
    Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
    #18
    +1 for it sounding like a hardware problem.

    @ozone - this is curious "Most other past crashes were due to hard drive failures." Just how many hard drive failures have they had and how old were the drives? That's pretty odd/rare. Honestly, if you're having "dirty" power issues, you should also be seeing your fair share of system boards failing (and other electronics, while not as prone to failures as computers, you should see some correlation). Anyone living in an apartment building will have really, REALLY dirty power. You're on a shared grid with thousands of appliances providing feedback.

    Heh. Also a little worried about the comment: "I'll vacuum out the Mini while I'm at it." - you have enough dust/dirt in there to start a planter? ;) :D

    If you do take all of the internals out of the shell, I'd just take a can of compressed air to it outside (likely do a better job than your vacuum trying to get in there).
     
  19. SpinalTap macrumors regular

    SpinalTap

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Location:
    Bournville, UK
    #19
    Since 2005, I've owned 4 x Mac Mini's: I've not experienced any significant problem with any of them.
     
  20. thomasdzubin macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2009
    Location:
    Canada
    #20
    Same thing here. I've got one of the original 2005 Minis and also a newer 2012 model and never had any problems and they sit on my desk running 24x7
     
  21. gertruded, Sep 12, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2016

    gertruded macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2007
    Location:
    Northwestern Illinois
    #21
    Same thing here. I have a 2006 core duo running 24/7 and a late 2009 as one of my desk top machines. No problems, EXCEPT, I have had sudden shut downs due to a problem with the power cord plugin to the mini. The 2009 has a poor fit and the machine can shut down if the cord is bumped. I also had some trouble with the plugin at the brick.


    These minis are wonderful machines and I wish I could purchase a new one, but Apple has crippled the machines and failed to update them too much to be useful for my purposes.
     
  22. ozone thread starter macrumors 6502

    ozone

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #22
    I should have clarified... past crashes due to HD failure were with Windows desktops. I've had multiple Macs and other than the inevitable slow down/deterioration with age, I've had very few issues, including the very first Mac Mini I had back in 2007. It's just these two past aluminum Mac Minis that I have had at home (2011 model, 2013 model) that these crashes have happened.

    My desk is a bit dusty, but it's just basically a downstairs office. It's not a particularly dirty environment.
     
  23. fischersd macrumors 601

    fischersd

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2014
    Location:
    Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
    #23
    Heh "a bit dusty" is subjective. If there is a lot of dust, I wouldn't leave anything running down there (I have mine on 24/7/365 - only power down when there's power outages or a really bad lightning storm). Yes, I have some pretty serious UPS's covering my stuff, but I'd rather not have to deal with insurance claims. :)
     
  24. ozone thread starter macrumors 6502

    ozone

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #24
    Most of the time, my computers are shut off during the day and night if I'm not actively using them. I sometimes leaving them running for a day or two if I'm busy for the weekend.
     
  25. Larry-K macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2011
    #25
    Mine are remarkably trouble-free, seems unlikely for 2 to have the same issue.

    Do you have clean power?
     

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