Mac 2009 Mini Hard Drive Choices

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by sharon888, Mar 3, 2014.

  1. sharon888 macrumors newbie

    Sep 18, 2011
    My 2009 Mac Mini has gotten very slow since installing Mavericks. Lots of beachballing. Even when just opening a finder windows. Perhaps a new hard drive would help? I was looking at this hybrid drive (the budget choice):

    or an SSD (the pricier choice):

    Would I see an improvement in performance? I know the performance improvement would be limited by the Mini's older hardware.

    Thanks for your help.
  2. damon32382 macrumors newbie

    Mar 2, 2014
    A SSD will definitely help speed up your Mini. I wouldn't waste your time with that Seagate Momentus. It's just a mix of a standard and slow conventional hard drive, like the one you have in there now, and a smaller portion of a SSD. Why not just have a real SSD and have everything be fast? Also, instead of the Crucial SSD, I'd look in to a Samsung Evo, or a Intel 530. Personally, I think Intel makes the most reliable SSD's, have the best support and warranty, and are rated to last 1,000,000 hours. Yes, that's about 37!!
  3. Micky Do, Mar 4, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2014

    Micky Do macrumors 68000

    Micky Do

    Aug 31, 2012
    An island in the Andaman Sea.
    More RAM may be all you need.

    Early 2009 Minis came out with 1 GB for the base model and 2 GB for the higher model. Late 2009 models came with 2 GB as standard.

    Mavericks requires a minimum of 2 GB, but is reckoned to run better with at least 4 GB.
  4. And macrumors 6502


    Feb 23, 2009
    92 ft above sea level, UK
    I would say that unless RAM is the issue, something else is afoot. I have 2009 mini with 4GB RAM and stock drive (5400rpm) - it is pretty responsive when opening finder windows, though opening apps takes a while and beach balling occurs at moments of RAM pressure.
  5. Jambalaya, Mar 4, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2014

    Jambalaya macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2013
    Last June I upgraded my 2009 mini from stock 2gb RAM/160 HDD to 8/750 and it was not surprisingly transformed. The original spec was struggling and disk was full, this was prior to Mavericks. I started a thread for advice, although its 9 months old now it should still be relevant link here

    I looked at SSD but as I wanted 500gb min pricing was high. I put in a Western Digitial Black 750gb HDD running at 7200 rpm and have been very happy with performance, cost was roughly 25% of the 500gb SSD, on blackmagic speed test I get around 110 read and write.

    As suggested above we need to know RAM and HDD specs and how full the HDD is. The Acivity monitor shows memory pressure graph (don't worry so much about usage in Mavericks as its often at max). It may be RAM upgrade is more important to you, I suspect spending money on ram and HDD could be better than just an SSD.
  6. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    As the previous poster, I went for a Scorpio Black 750GB as well. But I use it as HTPC so I wanted some serious storage too. I also put in the left-over RAM from my 2011 Mini, 2x2 1333mhz. It became a complete different machine for 60€. Booting is like 20 seconds, which is OK for me.

    Remember this Mini has Sata 3GB/s ports, so if you go SSD, get the cheapest as it will already max out the SATA bus.

    Actually I think the Momentus XT is quite nice for these old SATA3 machines. 8GB of SSD combined with 1000GB of 7200rpm disk. There is no other way to fit this much this fast storage in a 2009 mini.
  7. marclondon macrumors regular

    Aug 14, 2009
    Absolutely. I have a mid-2009 Mini and about two years ago put 8GB ram and a 256GB Crucial SSD in and it's more than capable still. In fact Mavericks, which I put on last week after testing my apps on an external drive first, runs better than Mountain Lion.

    SSDs are much cheaper now - here in the UK we can pick up a 256GB for about £85. It's more than enough capacity if you use externals for other stuff.

  8. sharon888 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 18, 2011
    Thanks for all of your replies.

    My RAM is 4 GB 1067 MHz DDR3
    My hard drive is 320 GB Hitachi HTS543232L9SA02 Media

    I have 95 gigs free on my hard drive.
  9. BigRed1 macrumors 6502

    Dec 13, 2011
    I got the toshiba sshd kit from owc, which also had the spudger and screw drivers needed and an external case included. I think it was 109 or so. I also upgraded from 2gb of ram to 8 at the same time. All of my beach balls are gone. I often am using right around 6gb of ram in mavericks. I suggest replacing one of your modules with a 4gh chip for a total of 6 and swapping out the hard drive at the same time. It could all be done for less than $150.
  10. sharon888 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 18, 2011
    More RAM would probably be a good idea. Chrome has become very slow since the upgrade to Mavericks. I can't even use it on my Macbook Air, which also has 4 megs of RAM. The fan runs constantly. I use Safari, but I find it difficult to see the small black letters and icons on a dark gray background across the top of the browser. I'm sure it's very stylish, but the usability leaves a lot to be desired. I guess the Air would benefit from more RAM as well. So maybe more RAM would help even more than a new hard drive. But it would be best to do both. It's funny that Apple lists the 2 megs of RAM as the minimum need to run Mavericks. I can barely get it to run with 4 and I'm pretty much just running Mail and Chrome.
  11. Jambalaya macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2013
    @Sharon download black magic speed test and see what numbers you are getting from the disk. Unless the disk is failing, and it doesn't sound like it, then 8gb RAM is the place to start. Next up a 256gb SSD with your current disk in an external caddy or go for it with a 500gb SSD although it doesn't sound like you need the storage.

    FYI my girlfriend's 2011 MBP with 4gb RAM and a half full HDD doesn't run that well so will be doing the ram first and maybe SSD upgrade as I've suggested above. That's my 2 cents.
  12. sharon888 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 18, 2011
    I will get more memory first and see what happens. Hopefully it will give my Mini a new lease on life.


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