Brand new Mac Mini is unusually slow

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by LOLZpersonok, Dec 15, 2018.

  1. LOLZpersonok macrumors 6502a

    LOLZpersonok

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2012
    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    #1
    A little while back, I got a brand new 2014 model Mac Mini. Base model with the 1.4GHz Core i5, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive. It runs macOS 10.14.2 Mojave.

    Once everything was set up, I noticed that it was really unresponsive when trying to use elements of the user interface. If I clicked the Apple logo in the top left corner of the screen, it'd usually take at least a second to open, sometimes up to 10 seconds. Same thing with the Dock, the application would only start opening up to 10 seconds after clicking an icon. Selecting, moving and opening objects on the desktop is similarly slow and unresponsive. Right-click contextual menus take several seconds to open.

    The computer isn't slow running my applications. Google Chrome works well and is responsive, Brackets and Xcode are totally usable and rarely unresponsive, and video editing in DaVinci Resolve works much better than I expected. Exceptions to this are the built-in Apple applications, such as Safari and Mail, which are excruciatingly slow to use.

    It's just getting everything going and UI navigation that's the problem. It's bad enough that I don't want to go switching between applications or doing anything that requires clicking icons in the user interface. I recently reinstalled everything from scratch as I read somewhere that trying to copy files from another computer during setup (which I tried doing when I first got it) could result in a slow computer, and even though this new installation is a little bit faster and more responsive, it's still too unresponsive.

    I know it's got a mechanical hard drive and so opening programs won't be as fast as an SSD, but it's slower than I'd expect from a hard drive. It's also the slow and unresponsive user interface. I've got a Core 2 Duo MacBook from 2009 that runs macOS 10.11 El Capitan - it's perfectly responsive, as clicking user interface objects results in an immediate action.

    I have no idea what to do. Maybe it has something to do with running macOS Mojave on this hardware, maybe it's something else. Does anyone have any ideas?
     
  2. DomKud macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2018
    #2
    It's an i5 with only 4GB of RAM. What did you expect? lol

    Oh and yes, Mojave seems to be slower for my computer too. I am using the 2014 mac mini but mines an i7 with 16GB of RAM. So although I notice the major difference in comparison to High Sierra, it still functions. I am hoping a software update will fix it soon!
     
  3. chabig macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2002
    #3
    It’s not the RAM. It’s the mechanical hard drive. There are many threads about it already. I have one myself. I bought a Samsung T5 USB SSD and run it from that. The internal drive sits unused. Night and day difference!
     
  4. LOLZpersonok thread starter macrumors 6502a

    LOLZpersonok

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2012
    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    #4
    I can hardly believe the RAM, hard drive or slower i5 are enough to make using macOS unbearably slow. It's way slower than I expected it to be.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 15, 2018 ---
    You think the hard drive is the reason the user interface is exceptionally slow and unresponsive? I find that a little strange, but perhaps I will try getting an SSD.
     
  5. chabig macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2002
    #5
    Yes absolutely! I am not guessing about this. I am speaking from personal experience with the same machine. It’s unbelievable how much of a difference it makes. You can get a 500GB Samsung T5 for about a hundred dollars. You’ll think you bought a new machine.
     
  6. keysofanxiety macrumors G3

    keysofanxiety

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #6
    100% it’s the drive. Anything beyond 10.9 runs really poorly on a mechanical drive.

    It’s ridiculous Apple still sell models with HDDs only, after all they boast about great customer experiences. Even a paltry 24GB/500GB Fusion Drive would make a massive difference to real-world performance.

    Anyhow, rant over. Definitely the drive, run an SSD externally.
     
  7. revmacian macrumors 6502a

    revmacian

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2018
    Location:
    USA
    #7
    Try replacing the HDD with an SSD, the HDD is a bottleneck on that machine.
     
  8. LOLZpersonok thread starter macrumors 6502a

    LOLZpersonok

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2012
    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    #8
    I have a 2009 MacBook with a 500GB hard drive. Mac OS X 10.11 runs flawlessly on it.
     
  9. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 603

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2001
    Location:
    Denmark
    #9
    10.000% the HDD.

    I run a 2013 quad core iMac with 16GB RAM at work, and I get these beach balls on a VERY regular basis whenever I use Finder, certain applications, Safari, etc., basically whenever it has to access the harddrive. My 2011 iMac at home with an SSD and 8GB RAM has none of these problems.

    It is a disgrace that Apple still ships machines with only HDD's.
     
  10. LOLZpersonok thread starter macrumors 6502a

    LOLZpersonok

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2012
    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    #10
    Well, with the amount of money I've got now and my current lack of employment, it's going to have to wait. I've also got to buy the screwdriver set.
     
  11. chabig macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2002
    #11
    Understood about the money. No tools are needed to plug in a USB drive.
     
  12. LOLZpersonok thread starter macrumors 6502a

    LOLZpersonok

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2012
    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    #12
    I'd rather just go with the internal setup. Much cleaner and neater that way (as if my desk were clean and neat). That'll void my warranty though, wouldn't it?
     
  13. revmacian macrumors 6502a

    revmacian

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2018
    Location:
    USA
    #13
    I would recommend going with an external SSD for the system and use the internal HDD for storage/backups.
     
  14. Heat_Fan89 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2016
    #14
    I found Mojave to be a turd running it with my 2012 MM and 8GB of RAM. At times it made my 2012 MM super slow as well although not to the point you've said. I dropped back to Sierra 10.12.6 and it's all good. Something about APFS and spindle drives. It would literally take around 5 minutes to boot my MM to the desktop with Mojave. With Sierra it takes around 30-45 secs.

    I one time had an OS get squirrelly on me where my MM fans would kick on and clicking on anything on the screen was painfully slow. It was at that time just the OS nothing else installed. I had to reinstall the OS and it fixed the problem permanently. You could try a Mojave reinstall or try installing either Sierra or High Sierra to see if the system response improves.
     
  15. chabig macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2002
    #15
    That’s what I do. It’s the best bang for the buck, OP.
     
  16. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #16
    The OP wrote:
    "I can hardly believe the RAM, hard drive or slower i5 are enough to make using macOS unbearably slow. It's way slower than I expected it to be."

    Well, you'd better START believing such things, because that's the way it is.

    The hard truth is that you bought a very "underpowered" Mac.
    It should have been 8gb of RAM and at least a fusion drive (not a platter-based hard drive).
    The RAM cannot be changed. It's soldered in, so "it is what it is".

    The platter-based hard drive is the primary reason for "the slowness".
    You need to replace it with a better drive -- an SSD.

    Do that, and you will become VERY PLEASED with the performance improvements.

    The "fastest, easiest, cheapest, safest" way to get the speed of an SSD is to buy an EXTERNAL USB3 SSD, plug it in, and set it up to be the boot drive.

    Something like a Samsung t5 or a Sandisk Extreme will do the job.
    If you can't afford the 500gb size, get 250gb -- it will still "do the job".

    Put the OS, apps, and your "basic" accounts on the SSD.
    Leave "large libraries" of things on the internal drive.
    By "large libraries", I mean movies, music, and photos.
    Keep the SSD "lean and clean", and it will boot and run fast.
     
  17. LOLZpersonok thread starter macrumors 6502a

    LOLZpersonok

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2012
    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    #17
    It's weird that you put it that way.

    I didn't have high expectations but it kind of surprised me with its lack of performance, even relative for a 5400RPM hard drive. I'm not sure if I've been explaining myself properly, but performance was far less than what I would expect from that lowly 5400RPM hard drive, or the hardware in general.

    Regardless, maybe it caught wind of what I was up to because now it's not particularly slow anymore (#sarcasm). Though, it's not like I bought the machine expecting it to be capable of exporting an hour of 100MB/s 4K footage in less than 2.3 seconds. I knew what I wanted and what I wanted it for (YouTube, Netflix, Internet stuff while I play games on my main PC). I was just surprised at how poorly it was running, making Safari and Mail totally unusable. (Like I said, it's suddenly performing way better as of the past few hours).

    I guess I could liken it to running Windows Vista on an early Pentium III as an example of how slow it was. I didn't expect the hard drive to be nearly as fast as the SSDs Apple uses (I've only recently put an SSD as the main drive in my main PC so I've been putting up with slower hard drives for a long time), but bloody hell, the hard drive may as well have been behaving like a floppy drive.

    An SSD upgrade will be considered for the future, but for now I'll just have to tolerate the low speed of a hard drive. Replacing the internal drive will void my warranty, right?

    Please don't take me as being rude, sarcastic or mean. I'm not trying to be.
     
  18. Jorbanead macrumors regular

    Jorbanead

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2018
    #18
    One thing I haven’t seen posted here is that Mac OS does background tasks (like indexing files) after you’ve initially installed a new OS or booted a new machine. So the first day or two you may experience a little slower machine while it finishes these background tasks.

    However, I agree with everyone else that an SSD will really improve your performance!
     
  19. LOLZpersonok thread starter macrumors 6502a

    LOLZpersonok

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2012
    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    #19
    Before I reinstalled, it was a constant slowness. It never improved during the few weeks I had it. So now that I've cleanly reinstalled macOS Mojave and the computer has seemingly gotten its head together, maybe that's what was going on.
     
  20. mcnallym macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    #20
    There are plenty of threads here about the mm2014 1.4 entry system with 4gb and the hdd and basically how crippled it is, even before Mojave came out.

    Only seen a handful of people that happy with it and they use it simply as an iTunes server and literally nothing else, so boots up and sits there just sharing iTunes library out.

    On the 2014 model then personally wouldn’t buy less then the middle model with the i5 and 8gb ram, even for that.

    Personally went with a new i3/8gb/128gb ssd as my replacement for a 2009 2.0ghz / 8gb / 60gb ssd system. Cost was roughly what would have paid for i5 dual / 8gb / 256gb ssd 2014, so personally happy with the entry 2018 mm.
     
  21. ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2013
    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    #21
    It sounds like fresh installation optimization was to blame for the extra slowness. Activity monitor can usually show show that happening. But when you’re ready, these guys will be running many discounts over the next 18 months

    https://www.crucial.com/usa/en/holiday-promo

    (Two already under $50)
     
  22. LOLZpersonok thread starter macrumors 6502a

    LOLZpersonok

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2012
    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    #22
    This is a very old post, but it seems that installing an SSD actually did solve the problem (or at least having a completely clean installation of macOS solved most of it), as now the computer runs at the same level as my MacBook Pro. I installed a Samsung 860 (can't remember if it's Evo or Pro or something else) and now, it's very responsive and it even seems to run faster, which I wouldn't have expected.
     
  23. retta283 macrumors 6502a

    retta283

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2018
    Location:
    Kingman, AZ
    #23
    I wouldn't be worried too much about reviving this thread, you're the thread starter, and it's just a follow-up.

    SSDs make a huge difference with modern versions of macOS. And to make matters worse it's a 5400rpm drive, which is fairly slow. 7200rpm drives (like what was in the iMacs pre 2012) are not too bad, but an SSD will be better.
     
  24. LOLZpersonok thread starter macrumors 6502a

    LOLZpersonok

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2012
    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    #24
    What mystified me about the original drive is that programs ran slow, not just that they were slow to open or access the drive. It was like I was trying to run macOS 10.14 on a netbook from 2007. It wasn't the performance I expected from a slow hard drive, it was way worse. I was already aware of the hard drive's slow 5400RPM speed (like those they still use in cheap, crappy laptops), but still. It's difficult to explain.
     
  25. EightyTwenty macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2015
    #25
    The 2014 Mini was the worst computer I have ever used in my life. I have been using computers since the early 1990s. The 2014 Mini was, hands down, THE worst.
     

Share This Page

25 December 15, 2018