Is there a Mac for me?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Sagnet, Nov 3, 2014.

  1. Sagnet macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2009
    #1
    I'm typing this on my trusted Early 2009 Mac Mini. Top specced at the time, with 4GB RAM and a 2.26 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo. I don't have to tell you that it has become awfully slow these days, and I am in need for a new computer. I was one of those who were anticipating this year's update of the Mac Mini, and I was ready to buy a high end one. Unfortunately, I was let down as so many others.

    At the moment I am borrowing a MacBook Pro from work. Retina screen, 2.3 GHz four kernel i7, 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD. A beautiful portable computer. But I don't know for sure how long I can keep it, and I want a computer of my own. This computer will sit at my desktop, and I'm looking at something that's even more powerful than the MacBook. Something that would hold it's own against a custom PC that I could have built for $1200-1300. I already have the screen and the other peripherals that I need. So I don't need the iMac's screen, and I can't afford (or need) the Mac Pro.

    So where does that leave me? Buying a Mini that's not as powerful as the laptop is not very tempting. The Mac Pro is too expensive. That leaves me with the iMac. Maybe this is the time for me to build my first PC?
     
  2. cinealta macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2012
    #2
    Do you want to run OSX with features like Continuity and Hand Off (eg in Yosemite)? It's not the hardware alone. It's OSX vs Metro (Windows 8).
     
  3. Micky Do macrumors 68000

    Micky Do

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    Aug 31, 2012
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    #3
    Have you considered that you might just be in need of a bit more RAM and an SSD to replace the HDD in your 2009 Mini?
     
  4. Sagnet thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2009
    #4
    Yes, I would really like to continue using OS X both at work and at home. But I'm not longer sure if I'm willing to pay the premium for hardware that I don't need (iMac), or for hardware that doesn't meet my requirements (Mac Mini).

    ----------

    Yes, I have. Upgrading to an SSD might be an option, but unfortunately this Mac Mini only has room for 4GB of RAM.
     
  5. gooser macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 4, 2013
    #5
    when your computer was new i believe apple reported that your maximum ram was 4gb however now i believe that it will support twice that much with possibly a firmware upgrade. what os are you running?
     
  6. Sagnet thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 5, 2009
    #6
    I just upgraded to Yosemite. The system information says that there's only room for 2 x 2GB.
     
  7. mcnallym macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 28, 2008
    #7
    Take your 2 x 2Gb RAM Sticks and replace them with 2 x 4Gb Sticks.

    I too have an early 2009 mini and am running 8Gb in the form of 2 x 4Gb sticks perfectly fine.

    Just make sure that run all the Updates available including EFI updates for your mini first.
     
  8. Sagnet thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 5, 2009
    #8
    How do you perceive the performance of your Mini? Even with 8GB RAM and an SSD, it would still be rather slow compared to today's standard.
     
  9. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2001
    Location:
    Denmark
    #9
    An SSD will make a world of a difference. You don't mention what you use the computer for, but I'll take a good guess and say that an SSD will fix most of your problems.
     
  10. Micky Do, Nov 4, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2014

    Micky Do macrumors 68000

    Micky Do

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    Aug 31, 2012
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    #10
    People in the know that I know have said that a swap from HDD to SSD will give you you the most noticeable improvement for day to day use. The 2009 Mini is good to go with Yosemite.

    I haven't done it for my 2009 base model Mini year, but will do so in a few months, when Yosemite is fully sorted with a few updates. I'll get a shop to do the SSD and Yosemite upgrade as I have neither the facilities to sort the hardware nor the Internet speed to do the OS upgrade. Pay the shop to do it and it is all sorted and the work is guaranteed for three months where I am….. piece of mind.

    As someone suggested, just swap the 2 GB RAM sticks out for 4 GB ones, and it will be fine.

    When my Mini was getting sluggish a couple of years ago I asked the shop to upgrade it to 4 GB of RAM fro the original 1 GB, and install Mountain Lion. It came back with 4 GB plus the original 1 GB (so a total of 5 GB). It was transformed, like a new one, and has been going well since. Now that i am doing more photography I reckon I'll go for another 4 GB when I get the SSD upgrade done.

    I reckon my 2009 Mini has a few more years left in it yet. About all I am missing out on is the higher speed USB3 and Thunderbolt ports, but for me they are not a requirement at this stage. I just replaced a nearly 10 year old 15 inch monitor with the last 22 inch monitor with a DVI connection that the shop had….. got it for $92.00! The new ones seem to be 24 inch and have HDMI.
     
  11. gooser macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 4, 2013
    #11
    early next year i am going to buy a 2009 model to use in my office. due to my running some ppc apps on it i will be running 10.6 on it.

    not exactly comparing apples to apples but last year i bought a 2009 macbook around the same specs as your mini. it came with mavericks, 4g of ram and a 500gb hybrid drive. i "upgraded" it to 10.6.8 and now the thing just flies.
     
  12. mr.steevo macrumors 65816

    mr.steevo

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2004
    #12
    My base 2012 Mini was slow with 4GB of RAM. I pulled out one of the modules and stuck in an 8GB and now with 10GB total RAM the computer feels fine. An SSD would help for sure but RAM is a quick and easy fix.
     
  13. magbarn macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #13
    A 2009 with a decent ssd and 8gb of ram will be faster in day to day use than all but the most expensive 2014 mini with fusion drive. Yes, ssds make the biggest difference. Once you go ssd you can never go back lol.

    PS the 2009 have a picky Nvidia sata controller. Make sure you get one that gets along with it. The worst drives are sand force drives...
     
  14. barkmonster macrumors 68020

    barkmonster

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2001
    Location:
    Lancashire
    #14
    I second the sandforce warnings. My Vertex 2 was intended as a tie over till prices went down because I had it in an old G4 via a SATA PCI card previously. The Crucial M500 SSDs look a good bet because they run at full SATA 3Gb/s speed on the 2009 Mac Mini and are quite a bit cheaper than a few of the higher end SATA 6Gb/s SSDs.

    What I would recommend is that you're careful opening it. I bought an iSessimo just for that purpose, it had "Made in Italy" on it when I assumed it was a US import and it was defective, bending out of shape on it's first use and springing out the Mac Mini so hard it scratched the previously pristine casing.
     
  15. ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

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    Sep 5, 2013
    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    #15
    + to above. I've got 8/SSD (crucial) in my 2010. Better than changing processors.Upgrade the 09 to buy more time to the next mini refresh or get the desktop equivalent of that mb, the retina iMac. SSD is the new Ghz and retina is the new SSD.
     
  16. reco2011 macrumors 6502a

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    May 25, 2014
    #16
    What are your requirements?
     
  17. dogslobber macrumors 68020

    dogslobber

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    Oct 19, 2014
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    Apple Campus, Cupertino CA
    #17
    Any SSD with the OS on it will showed marked improvement for a Mac Mini over the pedestrian spinner. Your marginal value of the more posh SSDs is much less than the jump to SSD in the first instance so shop economically.

    If this is a 2009 Mini then getting a paint scraper and using it to pry the Mini open is easiest. I've done this 100+ times using the scraper tool.
     
  18. cornerexit macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2014
    #18
    I'd source a leftover 2012 (late) mini. There are some quad i7's left at Best Buy stores but you need to hurry. I know there are 3-4 left here locally. $749, will come with 4gb but you can upgrade it to 16 gigs of ram and swap a ssd into it.
     
  19. salmacis3 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2009
    #19
    I also have an early 2009 mac mini. It came with 1GB RAM, but I upgraded it to 4GB, straight away. I've just replaced the internal drive with a 256GB SSD, and put Maverick on it.

    Is it worth opening up again to upgrade the memory to 8GB? Will it really make much of a difference? It's currently attached to the TV, so is used as a media centre, light browsing, iPlayer, and ripping my DVDs.
     
  20. barkmonster macrumors 68020

    barkmonster

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2001
    Location:
    Lancashire
    #20
    I agree. It makes a huge difference regardless of it running at SATA 1.5Gb/s speeds. It's night and day different between the stock HDD and running it of an SSD but the point I was making is, if you want the maximum performance out of the onboard 3Gb/s SATA controller with an SSD, you need to avoid Sandforce SSDs like the plague.

    I'm aware of the paint scraper way of opening the Mac Mini but based on the iFixit YouTube video for my particular Mac, I ordered the Newertech toolkit, an iSessimo and an anti-static wrist strap assuming the tool would function exactly as it did in their video, not bend out of shape and destroy my casing.
     
  21. corvus32 macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 4, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #21
    I have Windows 8.1 Update 1 on my PC, and never use Metro. It boots directly to the desktop, and feels like Win7 minus the traditional start menu.
     
  22. mojolicious macrumors 68000

    mojolicious

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2014
    Location:
    Sarf London
    #22
    I've got a Mid 2010 MacBook with is a very similar spec to your mini, and it's *lovely* with an SSD and 8GB of memory. If I were you I'd be tempted to upgrade your existing mini and sit tight until we know what the next generation of mini brings us (not that I'm especially hopeful on that subject!).
     
  23. corvus32 macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 4, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #23
    The price to performance ratio of a self-built PC (or compact PC like the Asus ROG G20) blows away anything Apple has to offer.
     
  24. melendezest macrumors 68000

    melendezest

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2010
    Location:
    Where you can wear boardshorts in Winter
    #24
    Like many have said, an SSD and RAM upgrade will seem huge. If you have room for 2 SSDs (OWC has a kit for this) in your Mini, you could RAID 0 it and be way, way fast. I have a similar setup on my 17 MBP and it screams.

    That said, if you need more power or flexibility, build your own PC. Thunderbolt may be absent, however, so if you rely on it you may want to look into what the switch to USB 3 devices would entail for you.

    Personally, I'm preparing for a transition away from my all-Apple ecosystem, since they simply do not produce products I can tinker with and upgrade anymore.

    Furthermore I do not like iOS 7/8 or Yosemite; the design is highly off-putting for me and I cannot install older software on their new hardware!! This is a deal breaker for me.

    I also prefer Windows Metro to what Apple has done, but will wait for Win 10 to make the transition, as Windows 8 is too... quirky for me still.

    So the question really is whether or not you are willing to continue to invest in Apple's appliance-only, hyper-rigid environment going forward. If that works for you, then by all means!:D
     
  25. dogslobber macrumors 68020

    dogslobber

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    Oct 19, 2014
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    #25
    Except it can't run OS X without jiggery hackery.
     

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