Mac Mini 2009... at last !

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by PeterJP, Jun 27, 2012.

  1. PeterJP macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Location:
    Leuven, Belgium
    #1
    Hi,

    I finally received my Mac Mini early 2009. It's the 2.26GHz version, 160GB hard drive, upgraded to 4GB memory. As a sort of trip down the memory lane, I'll be comparing it to my current big PC setup that has an Opteron 185, Radeon 5450, 2GB memory and 150GB Raptor + 1.5GB Samsung drives running Windows 7. BTW, this is my first Mac. The only hands-on experience with Macs I can remember goes back to a Mac SE somewhere around the end of the 1980s. I remember being very impressed with Hypercard :)

    Boot-up is faster on the Mac, although the advantage of the Raptor drive quickly comes out when opening apps. Storage is obviously much too limited at the moment to use the Mac as a main computer. I'll have to fix that: I'm considering a Samsung 830 256GB SSD + a 1GB drive. With a mounting solution and an external enclosure for the SuperDrive, this should set me back around €350 and give me a great upgrade in both speed and capacity. The Samsung SSD is SATA 6G but it's also the cheapest 256GB on the market right now.

    From some benchmarks, I gathered that the Mac's processor should be around 20% faster, but the GPU should be quite a bit slower. That's not noticeable at all at the moment. I won't be playing games and the heaviest processing I'll be doing repeatedly is possibly some photo conversions (RAW, web publishing) for very limited amounts of photos. Despite the faster CPU and hotter GPU, the Mac is much, much more silent than my custom-built PC. The heatsink in there was for an older processor and some fans have their work cut out to keep things cool. That's what you get with a PC of 8 years old that has been upgraded in nearly every way. The Mac has the definite edge here. Also, it takes up about the space of a small stack of CDs instead of major leg room under my desk :D

    I am struggling a bit with keyboard and mouse behaviour in some cases. For example, the € sign seems to be hidden under ctrl-alt-2 instead of a more standard alt-5. Also, moving around in text takes some getting used to (alt-arrows to skip words instead of ctrl, command-c/x/p for copy/paste instead of ctrl, ...). I'll be reading up on a few things, like Apple's Mac 101, to get used to it quicker.

    I'm longing for a Mac portable, so this Mac Mini is (in my case) a very cheap way to get used to a Mac before making the jump completely. Depending on what happens in my freelancing activity in the next few weeks, I could find myself with an MBA 11" or holding out for the rumoured 13" Retina MBP.


    Peter.
     
  2. The-Pro macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Location:
    Germany
    #2
    The 2009 MacMini's are excellent!! Enough power for the majority of users.

    Apparently despite the 2009 mac mini having a 3-0Gb/s SATA bus HDD's and SSD's are for some reason limited to 1.5Gb/s. So your Samsung 830 would be running at a quarter of its speed.
    Anyone feel free to correct me, this is what I heard and read elsewhere.
     
  3. Mandrake! macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2012
    #3
    I have this same computer, a 2009 2.26Ghz Mac Mini, and I am happy to say that HDD's at least do run at 3Gb/s. :) SSD's would probably do the same. The optical drive is limited to 1.5Gb/s, but this is true of my recently built Hackintosh as well.
     
  4. wabbit42 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2012
    #4
    The same model I have :). It's done me well for two years as of yesterday, but son I'll be upgrading to a MBP for some extra power, and my 160GB HDD is somewhat saturated :cool:.
     
  5. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #5
    Sounds more like the late 2009 version, because of the 160GB drive. I've got two of them, bought as refurbs, that I use as entertainment center servers. Been running 2-2.5 years now without ever a problem. Still have 2GB RAM and Snow Leopard.

    I also have a late 2009 mini with Snow Leopard server running 24/7 (as a server, naturally!) that only had one problem -- a hard drive failure. But I'd say that they have been very reliable, also quiet and cool running.
     
  6. PeterJP thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Location:
    Leuven, Belgium
    #6
    Hi Talmy,

    You're right, of course: it's a late 2009. You're using them as entertainment servers: does that include a TV tuner ? As I said, I'm looking into replacing my big desktop PC with this Mac mini. The PC has a simple PCI TV tuner (for analog cable) that works great with Windows Media Center. Ideally, I'd like to replace that with a DVB-S2 + CI tuner. I read about EyeTV and the Sat tuner that corresponds to what I want, but I'm not certain about EPG options. They mention tvtv, which seems to be paying. I want to move away from digital cable TV because the TV companies here in Belgium charge lots and lots for just about anything. If I then have to switch to a system where I have to pay for the EPG data, it makes no sense.

    BTW, if there would be a better subforum for this question, just tell me.


    Peter.
     
  7. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #7
    No analog cable here. I do have an Elgato Video Capture unit which allows saving programs. I capture lots of movies that way. I use Plex or Safari to stream from the Internet, and Plex to view our video/audio/photo collections.

    I've been considering "cutting the cord" for TV. We get our news 100% Internet, don't watch any sports. Probably less than 10% of our viewing is TV programs on cable.

    I'll probably be bringing the minis up to 4GB and installing Mountain Lion (skipping Lion). There are some features of the Lions that I really want (such as full screen apps and not being locked out of any current apps I might want to run occasionally).

    Probably "Apple TV and Home Theater", but I'm not a member of the Forum Police.
     
  8. zhenlek macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2012
    #8
    Mac mini 2006

    I got my self a mac mini 2006...I did upgraded the RAM to 2gb...and it works fine too :)
     
  9. PeterJP thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Location:
    Leuven, Belgium
    #9
    Audio trouble & YouTube stopping

    Hi,

    I decided to take the next step in switching away from my PC HTPC to the Mac mini, but I was sorely disappointed.

    1) Audio doesn't work. Opening the details in About this Mac, it seems like the computer doesn't find its audio device. What can I do about this ?

    2) Running YouTube, the video stops after a few seconds of playback. Clicking on the nav bar, it resumes for a bit, then stops again. Could this be linked to the first problem ? If yes, then solving the audio problem will solve YouTube. If not, what's going on ? The problem occurs with stupid little videos just as well as with HD. It is worse in Safari (no video starts at all) than in Chrome (plays for a bit, then stops). Obviously, I can't tell if the audio continues or not :D

    Thanks,


    Peter.
     
  10. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #10
  11. PeterJP thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Location:
    Leuven, Belgium
    #11
    Hi Philipma,

    Hmm, a bit of a hassle though I should manage.

    I thought SATA III SSDs should be backward compatible and thus work ? SATA II SSDs actually cost more these days and I won't be able to reuse it if ever I would like to in a newer PC. Any reports of Samsung 830s or other SATA III SSDs not working in this Mac mini that you can point me to ?

    Thanks,


    Peter.
     
  12. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #12
    there are many reports of sata III not working at sata II speed in your machine

    not sure about the samsung 830 but this is one of at least 3 that i can recall about sata III running at sata I speeds.



    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1396348


    to be honest. it may work if it does not the sata I speeds are good for all but clones to an external ssd.
     
  13. PeterJP thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Location:
    Leuven, Belgium
    #13
    Exactly. A quick peek inside and it turned out the audio cable was disconnected on the audio daughter board. YouTube doesn' t block anymore so that turned out to be related to the audio problem, as I expected. Works great now, with VLC, I can also view my Windows 7 Media Center TV recordings.

    Slowly working my way towards replacing the main PC with this one. TV tuner is still a consideration, but I'll read up on it. Because my current job will most likely involve travel in the near future, I'm lusting extensively for an MBA, which would turn me from all-PC to all-Mac in a few weeks' time. I wouldn't specifically call myself a convert (yet). I've worked with plenty of OSses and UIs over the last nearly 30 years. Apple's hardware is quite lustworthy and the OS + apps allow me to do everything I need to do, which makes Apple a worthy consideration over the standard Windows + silly plasticky laptop that's way too big to lug around or home-built desktop PC that is clearly showing its age.

    Philipma, thanks for your quick & very correct advice !


    Peter.
     
  14. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #14
    You are welcome. If you only knew how many times I opened and closed that style of mini! Hint 1000 plus.
     

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