Is the mac mini supposed to be this SLOW?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by mrzeve, Feb 15, 2005.

  1. mrzeve macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2005
    Hello all,

    I just switched and I have to say, Im absolutely hating it.

    I bought the mac mini (80gb hd stock version/1.42ghz/256mb ram/no bluetooth or wireless installed) and I have to say Ive never experienced something so slow since my 300mhz home built windows machine with 32mb of ram.

    Anytime I try doing a small task I get the spinning multicolor disc cursos.

    Anyway, Its been like this since day one. I have only the following applications open round clock (I close them and reopen them sometimes when the computers really hauling butt)

    Adium X

    The following are open rarely, from time to time
    iCal (open every night to wake me up in the morning, then shut off)

    Thats it really. Nothing more.

    I opened utility monitor (I think thats what it was called) when I was having the trouble and viewed the ram and the 256 wasnt even fully used.

    I understand this is a laptop hardrive inside the mini, but comeon people I have a windows laptop on my lap right now, and its NOT even comparable. It feels like Im using the fastest computer on earth right now. My mini is OFF because I can not bare with it right now.

    I ran the disk test that came with the mini, and everything turned up fine.

    I repaired permissions before and after every software update.

    Im really tearing my hair out guys. Please, reassure me that Im nuts.

    .......anyone wana buy a mini :rolleyes:
  2. dotdotdot macrumors 68020

    Jan 23, 2005
    Well, I can say that at the Apple store, they use 512 MB RAM and its quick and responsive - the eMacs on display with 256 MB RAM are never even touched, they are so slow... maybe a memory upgrade would be better?
  3. Logik macrumors 6502a

    Apr 24, 2004
    how much ram does that laptop have? i'm betting at least 512 right? you honestly think 256 is gonna cut it? no... go upgrade the ram to at least 512.. my powerbook never swaps to the hard drive unless i'm doing video editing in imovie or idvd work and i have 768mb of ram.. works flawlessly and it's only a 1.33ghz G4. so it's either the ram or there's somethin messed up with that mini. my guess is you need more ram

    konfab uses uh... between 4-7mb of ram PER widget being run.. plus the common stuff between konfab... so depending on the widgets, you could have quite a bit of ram used up there.. adium x.. i don't use it so it's probably about 10mb if not a bit more... you can see where this is going
  4. clayj macrumors 604


    Jan 14, 2005
    visiting from downstream
    Konfabulator is a HUGE memory hog... combined with the fact that you only have 256 MB of RAM, I'm not surprised you're seeing beach balls. My Mac mini did the same thing until I upgraded the RAM to 1 GB... this has made a world of difference.

    My recommendation: Upgrade the RAM to 512 MB or, if you can, 1 GB... this will make for a much smoother computing experience.
  5. stevey500 macrumors 6502

    Sep 8, 2004
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    I have a gig of ram in my g4 800mhz and it is quick... and very comparable to my P4 1.4ghz PC w/512mb RDram

    Even though I have ran out of ram with 1 gig... but not very often at all..
  6. mrzeve thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2005
    Yes but like I've said, I keep the utility monitor open and it very rarely uses all of the available memory. On the left hand side of it it usually says 72mb free, but then theres something next to it that says about 9mb free. Its weird.

    And like I said regarding Konfabulator, I have it open very rarely.


    Did it really make that much of a difference? What changed besides the beach balls in your overall computing experience? And do you think just a bump to 512 would make that much of a difference to me, or would I have to go to ahead and get a 1gb stick (Im afraid this budget machine is gonna end up being a large expense)
  7. Logik macrumors 6502a

    Apr 24, 2004
    OS X has an excellent caching engine. meaning it will take whatever ram you have available and use it to the best of it's abilities.. it's really good at what it does. however, if you don't have enough ram to feed its' hunger then it can't do its job... give it 512mb... you can get a 512mb stick for what... $65?

    EDIT: btw.. you can keep the 256 in it.. giving you 768mb.. that's should be more than sufficient for what you're doing.. if you want to go 256mb for a total of 512mb (just remember upgrading again will require taking one stick out) then the total cost is like $40 tops
  8. clayj macrumors 604


    Jan 14, 2005
    visiting from downstream
    Well, I think I may have seen a beach ball twice in the past two weeks, and the programs seem to run more smoothly. A bump to 512 MB should suffice... I figured as long as I was upgrading, I should jump to the max (any problems I run into now can't be solved through further RAM upgrades, in other words... it's no longer something to worry about). But I've heard good things about going to 512 MB... it would certainly save you about $100. I'm part of the "get way more than you need" school of computing, though.
  9. clayj macrumors 604


    Jan 14, 2005
    visiting from downstream
    Actually, you can't. Only one RAM slot in the Mac mini. You can sell the old 256 MB stick and get about $25 for it, though.
  10. Logik macrumors 6502a

    Apr 24, 2004
    really? well dang... guess i will buy a powermac for sure then... no mac mini for me..

    sorry my bad.. blow the wallet and get the 1gig then.. $130-140
  11. cmvsm macrumors 6502a


    Nov 12, 2004
    Yeah, you need more RAM in a major way. OS X is gobbling up what little you have just to run it, nevermind these other applications you have running. Get at least 512K or 1GB if you can afford it. You'll thank yourself a million times over.

    If you are still not much ya want for it..? :D
  12. Blackheart macrumors 6502a


    Mar 13, 2004
    Incorrect, the mac mini only has one memory slot, any AEM memory sticks will be the TOTAL memory (i.e. if you buy a 512MB stick, the 256MB leaves). Also, I wouldn't recommend a self-installation unless the user feels very comfortable with doing an upgrade in such a small machine.

    EDIT: Wow, that one was jumped on quick! ;) That's the MR team for ya!
  13. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    Yup. $90 will bring you to 512MB. $180 will get you to 1GB.

    You don't need to close apps - they get paged out automatically. Your problem is that you need more than 256MB. Activity Monitor will never show that you're using 256MB, since the OS is swapping stuff out to disk before reaching the physical max (it's a bad thing to have zero available bytes in RAM). Going to 512MB will make more of a noticeable difference than going from 512MB to 1GB.
  14. pigbat macrumors regular

    Jan 18, 2005
    It will probably always appear as though there is memory available. It is busy swapping stuff out to disk to keep some memory free. Do the memory upgrade, you won't regret it.
  15. Nermal Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    New Zealand
    In my opinion, selling computers with only 256 MB is the absolute worst thing that Apple is currently doing. They should move to 512 MB across the entire line (and maybe 1 GB on the more expensive Power Macs).
  16. EskimoJoe macrumors newbie

    Feb 14, 2005
    Mac OS in UNIX

    I don't know much about Macs, but considering the complexity of this Operating system, I would agree that the issue must be memory related. I am running a 1.33 Ghz G4 Ibook, and it seems to run fine. I had them put 512mb in it right off the bat. Unless you want to run OS9, then you could probably get away with 256mb. I think Apple should put 512mb minimum in this OS X systems. Windows XP crawls on 256MB as well, if you run anything substantial. Hard drive swapping really slows down a system.
  17. mrzeve thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2005
    Never been on a forum and gotten so many replies. Thought this was a dream or something.

    Anyone have any idea how much the Apple Genius Bar would charge be for a ram installation, that could play a factor in how much memory I purchase.
  18. SteveC macrumors 6502

    Jul 7, 2003
    This is an easy one. :) In fact, this is so easy it is funny. :D

    Here's your answer:


    Scroll down........... ;)

    It's the RAM.

    Not a doubt in the world. :)

    Running a computer with 256 MB of RAM is now "the ABSOLUTE bare minimum, or less." My opinion is that 512 MB is the minimum now. 640 is better, 768 is nice, and 1 GB is super great.

    Put a 512 MB or 1 GB stick of RAM in your mini and it'll FLY. :) My friend has a 1.25 mini with 512 MB of RAM and it's faster than his 2.4 PC with 768.
  19. SteveC macrumors 6502

    Jul 7, 2003
    I'm not sure how much the Genius Bar will charge, but you may want to buy the RAM from crucial or somewhere cheaper than Apple because Apple charges way too much for their RAM. ;) Unless money is not an issue....

    One other option: Has anyone concluded (yet) if Apple will install non-Apple RAM? Even if they charge a fee, will they do it? Say, you buy 512 or 1 gig from somewhere and go into an Apple store with your mini and the RAM and ask them install it.
  20. daveL macrumors 68020


    Jun 18, 2003
    I bet you can do it yourself. Just read carefully and take your time. You'll save $$ and learn something to boot! Do you have any hardware (PC is OK) savvy friends that might help? My wife's iMac G5 has 1 GB, which I installed, but she needs to run Virtual PC every now and then, otherwise 512 MB would have been fine. Nothing, these days, runs well in 256 MB, except maybe a well tuned Linux distro.
  21. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    Quite right! By selling macs with 256 standard apple gives the impression that 256 is an ok amount, and it absolutely is not. The imac G3 400 I got 5 years ago came with 128 and I upgraded to 256. 256 was an ok, not extravagant, amount at that time. Now, it just doesn't work.
  22. thecow macrumors 6502

    Nov 24, 2003
    Timonium MD
    So yours, with 768mb of ram, never uses virtual ram? I have that much too and according to the activity monitor I have over 4Gb of hd space allocated to vram! Is this normal? Here's a list of the stuff that I had open:
    The order of the columns is Process ID, Process Name, User, %CPU, # Threads, Real RAM, Virtual RAM

    Attached Files:

  23. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    No, the nature of OS X is that it will always have a lot of Virtual Memory allocated, far more than the RAM you have (mine's at 9GB now). However, OS X's paging scheme is very efficient - but it needs more than 256MB of real memory to work with. 512 MB is pretty good. 1GB is more than enough for almost all users.

    There's no reason to be concerned about Virtual Memory usage. Page swapping, though, is an issue, and usually vastly more of a problem at 256MB than at 512MB.
  24. agentmouthwash macrumors regular


    Aug 15, 2003
    get more ram get more ram get more ram get more ram get more ram get more ram get more ram get more ram.

    it will solve all your problems. OSX needs a minimum of 512mb.
  25. uaaerospace macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2005
    Your computer will never use ALL of your installed RAM. Mine always has at least 5MB free (free, not inactive), no matter how many programs I have running. When it says 9mb free, you are for sure out of RAM. I have 356 in my older 400MHz G3, and I don't get the beachball that often..only when opening a program. 512 should be great for you with a mini. Just keep in mind that I have never seen the free memory go to zero, no matter how much stuff I have running at once, so don't look for it to be 0. ~Josh

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