Base Spec Mini?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by dragon2611, Nov 9, 2015.

  1. dragon2611 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2004
    #1
    Just wondering what the base spec Mini is like for day to day use, main concern is that 4GB ram would be to limiting?

    It wouldn't be my only mac as I have a 2015 base spec 13" pro (Upgraded from a 2011 air which only had 4gb ram and it did run low on memory at times).

    Thing is the laptop I tend to do some light gaming on and occasionally need to run a Virtual machine where as I already have an I7/16gb pc desktop I can do that kind of stuff on, the Mini would just be for browsing/ listening to music, skype.etc

    Windows 10 is kind of irritating me in places so was tempting to get another Mac instead as whilst I did run linux for a while on the PC the app compatblity for commercial apps is a bit rubbish (I.e skype is still on 4.3x and I use that a lot.)

    Edit:

    Also Am I right in thinking OSX can run of an external drive? Might stick a 120GB ssd in a USB3 caddy to speed things up (USB3 Is fast enough for several hundred MB/s and doing that avoids voiding warranty taking the mac apart)
     
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #2
    Base spec Mini will run pretty poorly mainly due to the 5400RPM drive rather than the RAM limiting it.

    You can definitely run OS X off an external drive, or install it to an external drive by holding Cmd+R on startup to get to OS X Utilities, formatting drive through Disk Utility, and clicking 'Install OS X' to the external drive. If you need to boot into the external drive, hold 'Alt' on startup and boot into that.

    The SanDisk Extreme is a great drive at a great price and runs very quickly like an SSD, so it may be a cheaper option compared to the external 120GB SSD in a USB caddy - though the 120GB SSD would run a little quicker.
     
  3. dragon2611 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 19, 2004
    #3

    A proper SSD would probably better endure the number of write erase cycles that running an OS from it on a regular basis would cause, Looking at about £35 - £40 for a cheap 120GB SSD (probably the sandisk or kingston) and £5 - 8 for the caddy.
     
  4. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #4
    Yeah matey, either or will be fine. Just thinking in terms of portability with that gentle recommendation about the USB thumb drive, but you're absolutely right that the 120GB SSD and a SATA>USB3 caddy will be a little better if you're not going to move the drive often. :)
     
  5. Fishrrman macrumors G3

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #5
    I wouldn't buy ANY Mac for ANY usage today UNLESS it had a minimum of 8gb of RAM...
     
  6. dragon2611 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 19, 2004
    #6
    To late...

    Also had the fun of dealing with Pcworld (They had £50 off otherwise I wouldn't have bothered going there).

    Other than the slowdowns when it's waiting for the spinning rust (Hdd) the thing seems reasonably snappy, I've shrunk the boot partition to just over 100GB to make it easier to copy it to the SSD when it arrives (Annoyingly I think the SSD will arrive tomorrow but the Caddy probably won't as it's presumably coming from a different warehouse)
     
  7. robotica, Nov 9, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2015

    robotica macrumors 6502a

    robotica

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2007
    Location:
    Edinburgh
    #7
    Hello

    Thanks for posting all this info -
    Would you be able to keep this thread updated with your experience of this Mac mini?

    I am thinking of buying the same one as its so cheap. Would be great if you could update this with your opinion after a few days :)

    Was it £349 in Pc world? It's about that on Amazon.
     
  8. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #8
    Good choice!

    There are great deals here (germany) for the mini, too.
    It's usually sold for 399€!

    That's an excellent deal and if you slap in an ssd it makes an awesome home computer.
     
  9. c8rlo, Nov 9, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2015

    c8rlo macrumors 6502

    c8rlo

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2015
    Location:
    FL
    #9
    if you're talking about the newest MM, it should run fine w/ the 4GB ram to do what you mentioned. still i would maybe upgrade to an SSD, furthermore the RAM is now soldered and can only configured at the initial time of system purchase.
     
  10. myrtlebee macrumors 68000

    myrtlebee

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2011
    Location:
    Baltimore-Washington Metro Area
    #10
    Bought one during the summer after reading lots of horror stories and warnings. Completely blown out of proportion. Very happy with my purchase, especially for the price I got it at MicroCenter.
     
  11. aajeevlin macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 25, 2010
    #11
    What do is your specs? Just curious.
     
  12. myrtlebee macrumors 68000

    myrtlebee

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    #12
    2014 base model.
     
  13. aajeevlin macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 25, 2010
    #13
    I see. Personally, I think these machines are fine. My biggest concern is that how long can they hold out before you have to upgrade them. But since you can't upgrade them, you are looking at a new machine.
     
  14. Celerondon macrumors 6502a

    Celerondon

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    Oct 17, 2013
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    #14
    You said it aajeevlin, these machines are fine. The other stuff is just our computer enthusiast hype. :rolleyes:

    We seldom have to upgrade computers. Rather some of us choose to upgrade our computers. Unlike some machines, computers retain the ability to perform their intended tasks throughout their functional lifespan. Despite our feelings, they don't really turn into useless piles of outmoded parts when new models are released.

    Also, these 2014 minis are upgradeable. Despite the soldered RAM fiasco, the storage on a 2014 is more flexible than that of any prior mini. :cool:
     
  15. dragon2611 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2004
    #15
    Right SSD and the Caddy I arrived today, was about £35 for the SSD (Sandisk ultra2) and £11 for the Caddy (could have got one cheaper but was able to amazon prime this one to get it quickly ;-) )

    I'd already resized my OSX partition to 105GB using disk utility when I got the Mini yesterday (Disk utility will let you do it even with OSX running)

    All I did was plug the SSD into one of the USB3 ports boot into recovery (CMD +R) and use disk utility to create a single partition on the SSD.

    Once done I used the "Restore" option in Disk utility to copy the OSX partition to the SSD, I then erased the internal HDD since it didn't have anything on it I needed and repartitioned that as a Single partition so I could use it for storing data.

    Before exiting recovery I set the external drive as the startup disk.

    Appears to be working fine, OSX seems not to care that it's running off a USB3 attached drive and the slowdown's/pauses that I had waiting for the HDD to keep up are gone :)

    Edit:

    Also seemingly no problems enabling filevault2 on the SSD or encrypting the Internal drive either.
     
  16. Celerondon, Nov 10, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2015

    Celerondon macrumors 6502a

    Celerondon

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    Oct 17, 2013
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    Southern Cal
    #16
    Great dragon2611, you just pulled off a quick upgrade with no drama. Your warranty is intact and your new mini has never been "under the knife"! :apple:

    I hope that robotica is still watching. Dragon2611 just pulled off a textbook SSD upgrade for minimum cost and with minimum risk. :cool:
     
  17. dragon2611 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 19, 2004
    #17
    Seems to get about 130MB/s write and 251MB/s read according to Blackmagic, not sure if that's being slowed down by file-vault encryption or not.

    No where near the 500/550 that Sandisk claim on the packaging and no idea what it would do if it was connected internally, Tried the force trim command not sure if it Did enable (because it's an external drive)

    Not that I really care tbh, the Sequential read/write speeds on SSD's are largely academic for desktop/laptop use in most use cases. It's the Vast improvement in random IO that an SSD gives that makes the actual difference in performance that most people see when upgrading to SSD.

    Besides Didn't buy that particular model of SSD for it's claimed read/write performance anyway I bought it because it was one of the cheapest options from a known decent brand.
     
  18. rshrugged macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 11, 2015
    #18
    Does copying this way (or can you) include the recovery partition?
     
  19. dragon2611 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 19, 2004
    #19
    I don't see any "recovery" partition as such, I didn't think that was stored on the HDD/SSD on a modern MAC but rather on a flash chip in the logic board which contains just enough to get the mac to go online and load the full recovery from apple's servers.

    Edit:

    Looks like it's hidden/shows up as another drive in Disk utility so it probably doesn't
     
  20. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #20
    Thanks for sharing :)

    I am planning to do the same, but I am looking for a reasonably priced thunderbolt enclosure.
    External thunderbolt gives trim support. Also usb3 puts strain on the cpu.
     
  21. robotica macrumors 6502a

    robotica

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    Edinburgh
    #21
    I am indeed :D
     
  22. dragon2611 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 19, 2004
    #22
    Shout out if you find one, I did have a quick look but we were talking 8x the price of a USB3 one easily, also CPU didn't appear loaded when speed testing the SSD and that's even with filevault on.
     
  23. rshrugged macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 11, 2015
    #23
    Thanks. And, thanks for posting your experiences. I'm considering doing something similar.
     
  24. Micky Do macrumors 68000

    Micky Do

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    Aug 31, 2012
    Location:
    An island in the Andaman Sea.
    #24

    True….. And there have been several posters on various threads expressing satisfaction with an off the shelf 1.4 GHz Mini with 4 GB RAM and a 500 GB for their needs.

    As to longevity….. My first Mac Mini, the base model 2005 original, came with just 0.25 GB RAM. I had to have it up graded to 0.5 GB when I first got on-line with a "mobile broadband" dongle a couple of years later. My next Mini, the base model 2009 which I am still using, came with 1 GB RAM. I had an extra 4 GB added when I upgraded to Mountain Lion, which requires at least 2 GB RAM, as do Mavericks and El Capitan.

    My guess is that the days of exponentially increasing RAM requirements to run an OS, App or hardware are past, and that 4 GB will be adequate for basic use for some time ahead, thus obviating the need for upgradeable RAM.

    The need for more RAM and / or other hardware is more likely come from what a computer is used for. Stumping up an extra 40% for the second tier off the shelf Mini in the current range gets double the RAM (handy for some use, but not essential for all) double the HDD plus some other perks, but is it really going to increase its longevity?

    If in a few years you find your needs are for more grunt, storage or whatever, are you likely to be better served with a computer using current tech? Or that more expensive model you bought several years ago on the premise that it might have greater longevity?
     
  25. aajeevlin macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    #25
    Very well put, I think I will pull the trigger on the next one regardless (okay okay with "some" reservation). I'm also still rocking my 2009 Mini, upgraded from 2, 4, and eventually to 8. It's a bit slow, but it's smooth as far as I consider. It's a good machine, I'd say is my favor machine. Good discussion guys, let see what Apple decides to dish out in the next update.
     

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