Best OS for old Mac Mini

tobefirst

macrumors 601
Original poster
Jan 24, 2005
4,066
1,166
St. Louis, MO
I inherited an old Mac Mini...It's a 2.4 Core 2 Duo model with, I think, 4GB of RAM. Right now it has Snow Leopard on it. I'm planning on using it as a mainly a file server and possibly light web machine...not much more. What would be the best OS to update it to? I'd like to get it as current as possible without sacrificing speed. Eventually I may drop in a cheap SSD and add some RAM. Thoughts?
 

Razzerman

macrumors 6502
Sep 11, 2007
275
172
I've just updated my old 2009 mac mini to El Capitan (latest os it can run). It has 8gb ram and an ssd- works just fine and dandy for everyday stuff :)
 
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keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
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@keysofanxiety, but how about before then?
Keep it on SL. Lion was a dog when it came to memory management and it wrote to the disk loads on 4GB RAM.

You could upgrade to 10.9 Mavericks as that's the best on a spinning drive, but it's still a step down on performance compared to SL and I'm not sure how modern the browser is, or its support for updated 3rd party browsers.

Personally I'd just hold off in the interim and then do a fresh install of 10.13 when you've got more RAM installed & an SSD.
 
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retta283

macrumors 65816
Jun 8, 2018
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Kingman, AZ
Mavericks is still supported by Firefox it seems. I would also keep it on SL until you get an SSD, 4GB of RAM will be usable with more modern OSes. Won't be the best, but you'll get by with it. I'd still recommend adding more RAM though.
 
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Sammy's

macrumors member
Nov 13, 2018
82
7
I've just updated my old 2009 mac mini to El Capitan (latest os it can run). It has 8gb ram and an ssd- works just fine and dandy for everyday stuff :)
Same here. I put in an SSD and maxed out the ram with the 8gb kit from OWC and I'm pleasantly surprised at how well it has been running!
 
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