Core 2 Duo Mac Minis and Lion

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by paul3000, Sep 4, 2011.

  1. paul3000 macrumors member

    Sep 4, 2011

    I'm interested in purchasing an older mac mini, probably a 1.83 or 2.0 ghz Core 2 Duo. Anyone have one that they have been using Lion with? I'm not planning on doing too much with the mini, surfing, watching movies. However I don't really want to waste money on something that doesn't run too well.

    Any input would be helpful,

  2. treestar macrumors 6502

    Feb 28, 2010
    I have an old C2D MacBook that runs fine with Lion.
  3. mdgm macrumors 6502a

    Nov 2, 2010
    I wouldn't bother with anything older than the 2009 C2D 2Ghz model. The 2009 can be upgraded to 8GB RAM whereas the Mac Mini 1.83Ghz/2Ghz of the generation before can be upgraded to have 4GB RAM (but only 3.3GB will be addressable, with about 300MB reserved for graphics, I think giving 3GB you can use).

    Running Mac OS X Lion, 2GB RAM is the bare minimum requirement (a second hand Mac Mini may not even come with this), but most users will find that having at least 4GB RAM will be a lot better.

    I have two 09 Mac Minis running Lion. I've been having a few issues, but I think a clean install (or perhaps 10.7.2) will hopefully solve those issues.

    RAM is easy to upgrade on the 2010 and 2011 models. It's harder to upgrade the RAM on the older models (but upgrading pretty much anything else is easier on the older models), but with a putty knife and a few other tools it can be done. Take a look at and/or for instructions
  4. KScottMyers macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2009
    Orlando, FL
    When you consider that the new minis start at $599 and how the performance blows away the older versions - the difference in cost for a used older one just doesn't seem worth it.

    Get a new one.
  5. paul3000 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 4, 2011
    Thanks so much for all the quick responses. The problem is I've been looking at an older Mac Mini because I'd figure the price would be fairly cheap now that the new ones have Core i5s is them. However 1.83ghz Core 2 Duo systems are going for about 300 and anything newer is from 400-500 or so. I've been checking craiglist many times a day and I feel like everything on eBay is way overpriced. I'm having a hard time reasoning with 300 because I'd have to put some money in for ram, and possibly an SSD to bump the speed up some. But when a new one is only 599 with a good sized hard drive, ability to put a second hard drive in and a better processor. It just seems better to save some more cash and buy a new one.
  6. mdgm macrumors 6502a

    Nov 2, 2010
    I would agree that buying a new Mac Mini would be the best way to go.
  7. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
  8. mdgm macrumors 6502a

    Nov 2, 2010
    And then if you need more RAM than 8GB (2x4GB) in a few years or so you can do another RAM upgrade to 16GB (2x8GB) once that's much more affordable.

    Considering the age of the 2007 Mac Mini and that Apple's website says that it can take up to 2GB RAM (the bare minimum for Lion) despite the fact it can take more, in my view it's unlikely to be supported by the successor to Mac OS X Lion. Apple has a history of doubling the RAM requirement with a new version of Mac OS X. So Mac OS X 10.8 will likely require a bare minimum of 4GB RAM which is more than what the 2007 Mini can address.
  9. Mr.C macrumors 601

    Apr 3, 2011
    London, UK.
    I wouldn't say they are over priced. Apple products tend to hold there value. I'm planning on selling my late 2009 Mini for around £300 or approximately $485.
  10. paul3000 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 4, 2011
    Yeah Mac stuff does seem to hold it's value much better than other PCs but it just doesn't seem reasonable to spend a bunch of money on some Mac Minis which are 4 years old.
  11. Mr.C macrumors 601

    Apr 3, 2011
    London, UK.
    It all depends what you want to use it for. Apple hardware is generally more reliable as is the OS.
  12. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    I have an Early 2009 Mac mini that I run as a server. It seems to do well with Lion Server, taking care of all of the tasks I used to run on an Xserve.

    It's plugged into my TV, so it does allow me to play movies and surf the web, and it runs smoothly. Its sporting the 2.0GHz C2D with 4GB of RAM and a 320GB 7200RPM drive. Runs great.
  13. paul3000 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 4, 2011
    So I ended up finding a good deal on an Early 2009 Mac Mini. I haven't upgraded to Lion yet but it runs well. I'm gonna put in 8gb ram and possibly upgrade to an SSD.

    Thanks for all the posts!
  14. paul3000 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 4, 2011
    I guess I have one more question. With the Mac Mini is there a pretty big difference jumping to an SSD? I was thinking about something like the Seagate Momentus, but I don't really need a lot of room. But it looks like Kingston 64gb SSDs have been occasionally going on sale with rebate for about 50 bucks. Let me know what you think.

  15. AppleMactablet macrumors regular


    Jan 25, 2010
    I got a 2009 mac mini running lion-works great-320gb HDD/2gb Ram everything included with box for sale-I plan to put on ebay or you can have first dibs
  16. MultiFinder17 macrumors 68000


    Jan 8, 2008
    Tampa, Florida
    There's just as much a difference in the mini as you'd see in any other Mac. That said, the minis come with pokey HDDs, so yes, you'd see a good jump in using an SSD. Personally, I have an early 2009 2.0GHz mini with 8GB of RAM and a 7200RPM HDD in it, and it is an extremely snappy machine. I use it heavily as a developer, and it has yet to let me down after more than two years now :)
  17. paul3000 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 4, 2011
    I guess that has me thinking I will upgrade the HD but wonder if going from a 7200rpm HD to an SSD would be worth it since I'd be losing HD space. I would be fine with a 64GB ssd but if it's not that much of a speed increase I guess I'd be fine with a mechanical hd.
  18. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    Just make sure that it is Core 2 Duo and not Core Duo. The very first generation of Intel MacBook, iMac, and Mac Mini used Core Duo processors, and they can't run Lion. Anything with Core 2 Duo is fine.
  19. MJL macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2011
    TRIM on Intel SSD

    When I loaded Lion on my mid 2010 Mac Mini it recognised my Intel X25M G2 80 Gb SSD as a SSD. Unfortunately it mentioned that TRIM is not enabled / supported.

    Just make sure that you get a SSD that has good garbage collection.
  20. paul3000 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 4, 2011
    I guess I'm on the fence now regarding an SSD. Part of me is wondering if I should look into a Seagate Momentus Hybrid drive, or just get a 7200rpm drive. My only worry is does upgrading the drive end up generating too much heat? I know when I was downloading a lot of data and installing programs the stock mini is heating up. It would be nice if whatever hard drive I upgrade to generates less heat. Suggestions?
  21. Tucom macrumors 65816


    Jul 29, 2006
    I've got a 2007 Core 2 Duo with only 3GB of RAM and Lion *FLYS*

    A significant speed improvement overall vs. Snow Leopard (which was now slouch), but apps open faster, boots way faster, more responsive over all, and I've had like 10 apps open at once with no slowdown.

    If you've got the cash the smarter choice would be to go for the newer 8GB RAM minis, the newer the better, but even for older machines Lion is an overall upgrade, by far, IMO :D
  22. MJL macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2011
    Mac's appear notorious for letting the machine warm up before using the fan (apparently Steve Jobs hates noise). A SSD generates less heat and if I was going to use Lion then I would look at a SSD with a Sandforce controller and go for the SATA II interface (not the SATA III - imho still too many compatibility issues reported). Although not the cheapest OWC has a very good reputation and would be my first pick in your situation.

    A 7200 rpm will produce more heat and I've read reports that the Seagate hybrid is not worth the extra expense.
  23. tbayrgs macrumors 603


    Jul 5, 2009
    I have your exact machine and upgraded it to 8 GB RAM, installed an OWC Mercury Pro 3G SSD (120 GB) and the speed increase was immediately noticeable (from the SSD install, that is). Boot time is very quick and last test I ran showed write speeds of about 205-210 MB/s and read speeds around 250 MB/s for the SSD. Also, didn't do a specific comparison but if I recall correction, it now seems to run 5-10 degrees F cooler, at least at idle. To be honest, for what I use that Mini for, SSD is probably overkill but just couldn't resist :D.
  24. paul3000 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 4, 2011
    Thanks again for all the insight and advice. I like what I'm reading about OWC drives but they are a little pricey. Is OCZ a bad company? I know their SATAII drives are about 250/160 read/write but that's all I'd pretty much be able to get in the mac mini anyway correct? Plus I see them going on sale for about 100-120 vs. 200 for a 120gb OWC. I've certainly read a mixed amount of reviews about the OCZ drives, but I plan on copying my current HD over to the new drive before installing, so I should be able to see issues before I take apart the mac mini. So will I be ok going the cheaper route? (probably also changing over Lion before I install 8gb ram and the SSD).

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