Mac Mini 2.3ghz, i5 : SSD or RAM or logic board problem ?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by 1stdaz, Aug 9, 2013.

  1. 1stdaz macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2012

    I bought a mac Mini 2.3ghz with an HDD of 500go 11 months ago. I changed the RAM from 2go to 8go (kingston DDR3) and I added a SSD crucial 256go (M4-CT256M4SSD2) myself at the same time, a few days after buying the CPU.

    Here's my problem : since I installed the SSD and the RAM, I've had difficulties with my system ; the beachball appears every time I download big files (more than 3go) and play with more than 3 applications ; and the genius effect started today to slow down (only with Safari so far). I don't know much about computers, so I really don't know if the lagging (beach balls) is caused by the RAM, the SSD or a logic board default for example. What do you think ? DO you think I messed something up when I installed the SSD ? or is it only the SSD that is starting to die ? I would buy another SSD if somebody could tell me that's the problem ; but is it possible to know it without going to the repair shop ?

    Your help would be much appreciated, as always.

    Thank you very much.
  2. opinio macrumors 65816

    Mar 23, 2013
    Try checking the ram first because it is easily accesable. Because you have two 4gb sodimms, try it on one dimm only and see if it is one of the dimms. Then try it on the other. One of them could be faulty. If both tests still give you the same problem then it is unlikely to be the ram, unless you are super unlucky and have the same fault in each dimm. Also it could be the seating of the ram so you could try uninstalling and re installing it first.

    Reset your SMC as well. Generally you just leave the mini unplugged from all power and peripherals for 15 seconds. Reset your pram while your at it. Google the sequence.

    Also try setting up another user account and see if the same problem exists. If you don't have the problem in a new user account then it is likely to be OS X or the user account, or possibly a conflicting app.
  3. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
  4. 1stdaz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2012
    Thank you for your help.

    It didn't do anything though. I tried the ram test program : nothing happened, no error.

    I tried to leave out one 4gb soddim, which worked, I think, since I didn't see any beach ball (20 minutes try out). Same thing with the second soddim. Bottom line : the memory seems fine (but how can I be sure of that ?).

    Today I even tried to format and install again Mountain Lion, and everything got worse : the beachball appears as often than before, if not more often. Also, I'm not sure, but it seems to be worse whenever I plug my external drive (brand new Lacie 3tb). Could it be related to the PRAM or SMC ?

    Do you think it's the SSD ?

  5. 1stdaz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2012
    Also, when I do a disk verification of my SSD, the infamous beachball appears every time...
  6. MJL macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2011
    You do not mention on how much data you are writing each day to your SSD, if you are putting the computer regularly into hibernation or if you have TRIM enabled. Nor did you mention when you reinstalled if you re-partitioned the drive or just re-installed on the existing partition without wiping the data properly.

    Since you appear to be downloading lots of data and that you mention that you do not know much about computers I assume (dangerous thing to do) that TRIM is not enabled and that you may even use hibernation.

    With much data download, no TRIM or hibernating all the time then your SSD can get slow over time. That is where I would investigate first.
  7. 1stdaz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2012
    Between 1 to 12gb of writing everyday. And I stock the files on the second drive of my mac Mini (the original 500gb HDD) or on external disks.

    I never use the hibernation mode (only sleeping mode).

    TRIM is enabled, since the first day.

    I did erase the whole partition of the drive before I installed ML the first and the second time (that is today).

    So what do you think ?

    Thanks for your help.
  8. MJL macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2011
    Don't know what other work you are doing so lets assume you're writing 10Gb / day (how did you work that one out?). For 11 months that would amount to 3.3 Tb of writing. Although quite a bit a SSD should be able to last a lot longer than that - I believe the M4 has cells that are rated for 3000 write cycles which means 256 Gb x 3000 = something like 750 Tb. I know the 128 Gb Toshiba (an older generation) that I have got is rated for writing 5 years 20 Gb / day so would expect more life left in your SSD.

    What you can do is free up some 20 Gb or so on the 500 Gb HDD, shrink the partition and then use Timemachine to restore OS X in the empty space. If you run that and there is no beach balling then it will have to be the SSD.
  9. 1stdaz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2012
    MJL, I did what you suggested me to do. I partitioned my HD and installed OS X on one of them. Since then, the beachball hasn't come back (yet), which means that the problem was the SSD, not the RAM. Now I wonder if I should strip the SSD out of the MM and risk breaking it, or if I just leave it there and use it as a stocking drive. Also I don't know if Crucial has a good service...

    Anyway, thank you for your help. Much appreciated.
  10. surroundfan, Aug 11, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2013
  11. 1stdaz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2012
    Thanks, but the problem is the SSD itself. I enabled the TRIM on the first day.
  12. MJL macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2011
    I doubt it will come back with a standard HDD although overall the drive performance is slower.

    I am very fond of Toshiba SSD: initially I bought pulled Toshiba SSD's that came out of the MacBook and have not had a failure. Toshiba has now entered the consumer market with their Q-series and I have one waiting to go into a new Mac mini. FWIW Toshiba is the inventor of the flash memory and has long catered for OEM (Lenovo, Toshiba laptops and Apple amongst others) which means strict requirements by the vendors on reliability etc. Performance may not be the highest but I never noticed a measurable difference between AHCI enabled or not whereas with Samsung I need to enable AHCI to get a decent performance. I got burned by the Intel 320 SSD (after having had a few 80 Gb X24M-G2 which were bullet proof) and am now staying away from Intel. Not overly impressed with a Samsung 830 either - it seems to "hang" a few seconds or so once or twice every week.
  13. calvol macrumors 6502a

    Feb 3, 2011
    +1 on Toshiba SSD's, have one in my 2010 13" Air, and it's been rock solid.

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