Brand new Mini is incredibly slow :(

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Catalepsia, Apr 1, 2016.

  1. Catalepsia macrumors newbie


    Jul 12, 2012
    I have very light computing needs and haven't even owned a computer in a couple years. I get by on my iPad and iPhone and occasionally use my PC at work for personal tasks. I decided to get a desktop because I hated my last few budget Windows laptops and wanted a keyboard & mouse experience at home.

    I DID research my options but got overwhelmed and thought the newest Mini ought to be sufficient, and I knew it wasn't upgradeable but the 2012 models were more expensive and with a 0% financing offer I caved and bought the newest base model Mini from Amazon. Because I knew I didn't need much and should be future-proofed, I thought! (Aside from upgrade ability but I was naive and trusting.)

    I opened the new Mini for setup, plug it into my TV temporarily since my new 24" Sceptre monitor hadn't arrived yet. OS was delightful compared to PC, it made me feel like I was in the driver's seat instead of coercing a Windows machine to do my bidding. I can't recall if it prompted me to install El Capitan or if I was just excited and did that almost immediately.

    I played with it maybe an hour that day and then set it aside until my monitor arrived. Four days it was powered off and sitting.

    Hook everything up on my desk finally, and it is so incredibly slow it's nearly unusable. Mail, Safari, and even Settings take 15-30 seconds to open and Mail and Safari are always 'not responding' when I right-click them.

    I've been trying to gently work with it for 3 days. I've restarted numerous times. I'm not familiar with Macs at all. I did look into restoring Yosemite but Time Machine has never backed up. I'd honestly feel bad returning it to Amazon but I'm thinking I could get an older Mac laptop to hook up to peripherals, that might have better specs and performance and portability to boot.

    Help! I feel like the biggest sucker ever. I strongly considered a refurbed iMac and have now possibly invested more than that ~$750 (for 2012 models) in the Mini and various peripherals. Thanks for reading, and please share any non-judgmental advice!
  2. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    If you got the absolute bottom model then yes, it's going to be sluggish with any load on it. Between the slow spinning drive, the 4gb of memory, and the slow processor, there's only so much it can do.

    First step in any performance analysis is to get some real data on where the problem may be. That means running Activity Monitor while performing your normal tasks. Things to look at are memory pressure and CPU load. We know the drive is super slow so the only thing to monitor there is how much data you're trying to shove across.

    If the memory pressure is into the yellow or red then that is the most serious problem. It's going to thrash moving program and data between memory and the hard drive.

    Going forward, never buy any computer that doesn't have a SSD or at least a decent Fusion drive.
  3. Catalepsia thread starter macrumors newbie


    Jul 12, 2012
    Thanks for the reply!

    I opened Activity Monitor and it seems to be running fine...starting iTunes and Safari only used 2.5 gigs of RAM. Today it seems pretty stable at least, it scared me when the most basic functions were crashing and this thing is literally fresh out of the box.

    What would you do in this situation? I'm not editing movies or curing cancer, just poking around online and watching Youtube and writing. If I return this machine to Amazon and up my budget to $750, used, what's the best bang for my buck? It's confusing for an outsider to make sense of the ratio each element has on performance. If I'm going to spend more than I initially wanted I might as well get a laptop even though I will use it with a desktop setup 90% of the time.
  4. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    OP wrote:
    "What would you do in this situation? I'm not editing movies or curing cancer, just poking around online and watching Youtube and writing. If I return this machine to Amazon and up my budget to $750, used, what's the best bang for my buck?"

    If you still have the option of return, my advice is to return the current Mini -IMMEDIATELY- while you still can.

    You've just learned why I always post this advice to buyers of the Mini:
    DO NOT buy ANY Mini with only a platter-based drive in it.
    Buy ONLY a Mini that has a "fusion" drive or an SSD inside.

    ... And this is what you need to do.

    Return the Mini you have, and get one of the these two models:
    1. "Mid-range" model with a 1tb fusion drive upgrade
    2. "Top-level" Mini (which comes with a 1tb fusion drive standard).

    It's going to cost you a little more than $750, however.
    Expect to pay $850 +.

    There is also a "third option" you can use.
    Actually, it may save you some money.
    Do this:
    From amazon, get one of these:

    I would recommend the 240gb size as the best option for about $100.

    Then, set it up to function as an "external booter".

    You won't get performance quite as good as you would with an internal fusion drive or SSD, BUT -- you WILL see a SIGNIFICANT improvement in performance that will transform the slow Mini you have now into a very usable machine.

    There's nothing wrong with "booting externally". That's what I do now.
    Very easy to set up and run this way.
  5. BittenApple macrumors 6502a


    Nov 29, 2008
  6. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    Troubleshooting in order:
    • run :apple: diagnostics
    • repair disk permissions
    • reset pram
    • reset smc
    • reinstall OS
    • exchange the hdd for an ssd
    It sounds like your mini has issues that go beyond low specs.

    In any case you should swap the hdd for an ssd.

    Good luck :)
  7. LiveM macrumors 65816


    Oct 30, 2015
    What's wrong with it is that it's even an option from Apple. Shame on them.

    It's the 5400rpm hard drive. Return and get the middle model with 256GB SSD. No need to up the RAM from the default 8TB but by all means go for the max 16GB.
  8. inscrewtable macrumors 68000


    Oct 9, 2010
    trouble with a Fusion drive is 1, it's tiny, and 2, if the HDD goes down then it brings everything down. It would be better to keep the one you have but add a second internal SSD, 500GB for $200, everything will open relatively instantaneously. You can use the HDD as a bootable clone.
  9. Larry-K, Apr 3, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2016

    Larry-K macrumors 68000

    Jun 28, 2011
    Welcome to the embarrassment that is Apple's Base Mini. I remember Phil Schiller running off the stage at it's introduction, touting its $100 less expensive price, as he ran from the scrutiny that would reveal the shoddy specs and soldered construction.

    Of course Apple offers upgrades, at the usual Apple 200% markup, making the Mini a "Maxi" profit center. If you're tech savvy, and you don't mind performing a little Mini Surgery, buy a 2012, add 16GB of RAM and a 500GB SSD, you'll still be close to your $750 budget and the difference in performance will amaze you. Apple would love you to spend close to $2K for roughly the same experience.

    Take the 5400rpm drive skeet shooting, that's about all they're good for.

    It's unfortunate that Apple's introductory model offers such a parsimonious welcome to the new Mac User, it's a short-sighted approach to spreading the Apple experience to former PC users, that management should be ashamed of, while they're cashing in their millions in stock options.
  10. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Disgraceful how Apple make such a ludicrous profit markup and offer a terribly performing computer like this. Every damn product these days seems to be sculpted in a way to upsell you to the higher model — if they've even been updated at all, of course.

    Sadly the only chance something about this would change is if people vote with their wallets, and then maybe Tim Bean Counter would consider giving people a bit of value for money. But again, people are stuck in the ecosystem, so it's not as simple as that.

    How much profit does a company need to make before they start putting the cash back into the products?
  11. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    There's nothing wrong with the base mini. Once it's indexed it's fine for what it's made for. If you want more just plug a USB 3 ssd in clone the hdd and watch it fly.
  12. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    inscrewtable wrote:
    "trouble with a Fusion drive is 1, it's tiny,"

    No, this is wrong.

    The 1tb "fusion drive" Mini has a 128gb SSD portion and a 1tb HDD portion.

    Only the 2015 iMacs have the "tiny" 24gb SSD portion on their 1tb fusion drives.

    The 1tb fusion drive Mini is a -VERY- capable and quick performer.

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11 April 1, 2016