Best/fastest macOS for 1.4gHz 2014 mac mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by RedRaven571, Jan 9, 2018.

  1. RedRaven571 macrumors 65816

    RedRaven571

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2009
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    #1
    Hey Everyone!

    The title pretty much says it all. I bought a used 2014 mac mini, the basic configuration 1.4gHz core i5, 500GB HDD and 4GB RAM. It came to me with High Sierra and I wiped the HDD and did a clean install of High Sierra. I will be using this as an entertainment center in the family room but am looking to make it as speedy as possible (until, someday, I will update the HDD to a SSD), so, will an older OS X run more quickly on this machine? According to the spec sheet online for its serial number, it looks like it was built in the latter half of 2016 (apparently, it still has original Apple warranty until May 2018, as well).

    So, opinions on what OS to eek out the most speed?
     
  2. leon771 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2011
    Location:
    Australia
    #2
    Without an SSD this model of mini is painfully slow no matter what OS is on it.
     
  3. opeter macrumors 65816

    opeter

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Location:
    Slovenia, EU
    #3
    As leon771 wrote: swap the HDD for an SSD and than you can install whatever you want.

    For 4 GB RAM, maybe El Capitan (because this version doesn't have the crap called Siri and such things). Off course you can shut it down, but why would it take your precious storage space?

    Anyway some say, that High Sierra is even faster, than the old MacOS systems. But not sure for so little memory.
     
  4. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #4
    Leon771 is right in post 2 above.
    If you want it to run faster, your only realistic choice is to equip it with an SSD.

    Put one inside if you wish -- but be careful not to break anything while doing so.

    Fastest, cheapest, easiest way to boost that speed -- add an external USB3 SSD and set it up to be an external booter.
    Something like this would do the job and do it right:
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00ZTRY532?tag=delt-20
     
  5. RedRaven571 thread starter macrumors 65816

    RedRaven571

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2009
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    #5
    So, I wiped it clean and installed El Cap and, it may be just a bit quicker, but not leaps and bounds. I'm going to run this way for a bit and, if I change my mind, I can always update to High Sierra.

    Thanks for your input, and I may have to try the external SSD and see how it goes. Online, some folks have talked about a external Thunderbolt SSD but, I'm trying to do this as economically as possible. As I said, it doesn't have to be blazingly fast for my purpose, I just don't want it to be frustratingly slow. I think my problem is I've replaced the HDD in my MBP with SSD and I'm spoiled....
     
  6. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #6
    I have the same base 2014 Mini and use it for an iTunes server. It is still running el Capitan which is what it came with. It ain't no speed demon. ;) I agree, this is just a very slow machine and I doubt that a different version of MacOS will help much.

    You don't need a thunderbolt SSD, a USB 3 SSD will work just fine and should make a very noticeable difference. But depending on how you use the Mini, the 4gb RAM will also be an issue.
     
  7. dogslobber macrumors 68030

    dogslobber

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2014
    Location:
    Apple Campus, Cupertino CA
    #7
    I wouldn’t use a spinner with anything newer than Mavericks.
     
  8. Fishrrman, Jan 15, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018

    Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #8
    "I wouldn’t use a spinner with anything newer than Mavericks."

    Actually, it was Mavericks that introduced the "new paradigm" in memory management (where all free RAM is now appropriated by the OS at bootup). This puts a lot more work onto the hard drive.

    10.8 Mountain Lion was the last OS to "do it the old way" (RAM only loaded by OS when needed).

    10.8 was -the last- version of the OS I'd recommend for a platter-based HDD.
     
  9. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #9
    That's interesting. The 2014 Mini running El Capitan that I described above replaced a 2012 base model Mini running Mountain Lion. The 2012 really felt faster and didn't "beachball" for 20 seconds every time I started an app. Have always wondered whether El Capitan could have been part of the problem.

    Can you run 10.8 on a 2014 Mini?
     
  10. opeter macrumors 65816

    opeter

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Location:
    Slovenia, EU

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