Getting refurbished 2011 Mini next week and have questions.......

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by bsharrah, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. bsharrah macrumors member

    Nov 9, 2012
    Never owned a Mac because I don't have a huge need for a computer, so I just couldn't justify the expense. Most of what I do can be done on my iPad.

    Decided to buy a refurb 2011 base model mini from Apple which arrives next week. From what I read, it comes with Lion and eligible for upgrade to ML. I know nothing about either so I am wondering how the upgrade works and do I want it? I only ask because, coming from a PC background, the next best thing isn't always the next best thing (still using XP and happy with it).

    Regarding upgrades, I intend to upgrade the RAM right away from 2GB to at least 8GB, if not 16. Although not right away, I would like to replace the stock hard drive with an SSD, possibly 128 but more likely 256. I have been reading other threads which seem to focus on adding it as a secondary drive using per-ordered kits. This is not what I want to do and am confused as too how much in those threads really apply to what I am trying to do. I only wish to replace the drive. I do not need a lot of hard drive space. I have had the same PC for the last 5 years and am still below 80GB. Can someone point me to any information as to what I need to do to accomplish this? Either an old thread here (searched and couldn't find one) or maybe a tutorial elsewhere? Being completely new to Mac, I am interested in learning about the hardware install, as well as installing the OS onto the new drive.

    Thanks everyone. Any information would be appreciated.
  2. Malte. macrumors member

    Nov 4, 2012
    Check out for awsome tutorials on hardware!
    I dont see a reason to not upgrade to ML.. It's like 15$ i think.
  3. curlymynci macrumors newbie

    Dec 2, 2012
    I've also just got my mid-2011 mini and am pondering getting Mountain Lion. I'll definitely upgrade but am not sure whether to go through the clean install process or put ML over the top of Lion. Will a clean install make much difference at this stage? Or is now actually the ideal time to do it?
  4. MJL macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2011
    @ OP: Just get a good quality 128 Gb SSD and put 8Gb RAM in it. Personally I run 24/5 Windows 7 and weekends OS X. For OS X I have reverted to Lion.

    I have a 2010 mac mini server and last week added the base 2011 Mac mini. Thought about adding a second drive but did not. In order to add a second drive you have to take the whole mini apart. If just replacing the HDD with a SSD then get a 7mm SSD (e.g. the Samsung 830) because you can just manage to slide out the 9mm thick HDD without moving the logic board and just manage to get a 7mm SSD back in place. (getting a 9mm back in without moving the logic board is very hard - often the pins at the back of the HDD /SSD do not get engaged properly in the rubber grommets at the back.)

    In worst case you slide the logic board about half a centimeter out. Do get the logic removal tool if you do this, makes life a lot easier and it is not expensive.

    I hardly notice a difference between Sata II and SATA III performance and am still wary of Sata III.

    If I had been able to get my hands on a Samsung 470 locally then I would have preferred that instead of the 830. Other good choices are the Intel X25M-G2, Apple Toshiba (pulled from notebooks when new), Crucial M4. The latter three have all proven to be rock stable but are older SSD's. Sometimes these models appear on eBay. Just watch out for the prices and make sure they are new or pulled. I would go for the cheapest of the above selection.

    Some of the reasons to go for just a replacement of the HDD and not adding are:
    - no need to totally take the machine apart: there have been enough reports of people damaging the small sockets that are connecting IR etc. Less connectors means less chance on damage
    - The 2011 and 2012 models have more heat build up than the 2010 model. The 2011 mid model with GPU can get real hot and you do not want to add more heat producing items into the equation.

    Once you go to a SSD you'll never go back - the 2010 and the base 2011 Mac mini's are silent and almost inaudible. You'll wonder how you ever put up with all that fan and HDD noise.
  5. calvol macrumors 6502a

    Feb 3, 2011
    I just bought a 2011 refurb and qualified for the free ML upgrade by sending Apple a receipt of the purchase. Saved $19, what the heck.
  6. ramram55 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2012
    The upgrade is free from apple, it is downloadable from itune store, there is a time frame for that, also make a bootable osx stick out of it, google how to make a bootable osx for instruction.
    Also go with samsung 830 it is sata 3 will be super fast, you can go with just one ssd, later on you can add second drive if you want.
  7. bsharrah thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 9, 2012
    Thanks for the advice. I am now confused about memory upgrade. Crucial recommends 16gb and I thought I read on these forums that others installed 16gd, but I am looking at the Apple site and reading the users manual, and both state only a total of 8gb is supported.
  8. KrisLord macrumors 65816

    Sep 12, 2008
    Northumberland, UK
    From reading other threads on here I think the discrepancy is that apple never sold the 2011 model with a build your own option of 16GB, so all documentation refers to 8GB max.
  9. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    exactly correct.
  10. bsharrah thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 9, 2012
    Makes sense. Would I see any real difference between 8 and 16?
  11. PaulKemp macrumors 6502

    Jun 2, 2009
    Depends of what you do. Lets say you want to bug around with apps like VMWare Fusion to test out other OSs.

    I think its a good idea to get maxed out ram now, and then you dont have to upgrade it ever again.
  12. Mr. Retrofire macrumors 601

    Mr. Retrofire

    Mar 2, 2010
    Lion is Apples Windows Vista, so ML (Mountain Lion) is much better than Lion.
  13. MJL macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2011
  14. Giuly, Dec 2, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2012

    Giuly macrumors 68040


    Personally, I'd rather go with 16GB of RAM, now that technology enables us to do so at feasible prices. Also, upper-tier MBPs ship with 16GB of RAM, which makes it a no-brainer. (Yes, the 2011 does support it, the 2010 tops out at 8GB)

    As far as SSDs go, the OWC Mercury Electra 6G outperforms all those Samsungs, Crucials and Intels out there, and can be held for roughly the same price, while being tailored specifically to the Mac.
  15. Mr. Retrofire macrumors 601

    Mr. Retrofire

    Mar 2, 2010
  16. vpro macrumors 65816


    Jun 8, 2012
    they are denying me i think..

    i'm gonna wait till the morning to see if i really got denied, cos i got a refurb last week and came in today, i went through the application for free mt.lion but got denied. they said the system on my receipt wasn't qualified hahahahaa but it states all over their refurb items that in fact they are eligible, so i don't know what i am doing wrong? what receipt do they want? the one in my apple account or the one they send as email confirmation of order?

    no one seems to know when i call either hahahaha !

    what is happening to apple, now that they became a "brand name" they have been come so 'blonde' ha !

    . . thanks ..
  17. calvol macrumors 6502a

    Feb 3, 2011
    I kept getting denied using a .pdf of the email sales receipt (ebay purchase). So I took a picture of it using my cell phone that showed just the Mini, date of sale and sales price, and I photoshopped a Best Buy label onto it. Finally, it was accepted. It was a 1MB jpeg file. You might try than angle.

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