Mac Mini 2009 (Late)

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by NinjaCoder, Aug 13, 2013.

  1. NinjaCoder macrumors newbie

    Aug 13, 2013
    I have a mac mini from late 2009.
    It has the original 2gb of DDR3 RAM (2x 1gb sticks) and a 160gb 5400 RPM hard drive.

    I had windows 7 on it for the past several years and lately it was running slow. By slow I mean opening tabs and going to Hulu and such was slow.
    So I put in the Mac OS CD in and repartitioned the drive to mac extended and reinstalled Mac OSX. It is still slow.

    I searched my house for RAM and Hard drives since those are common upgrades I did in the last year or 2 for 3 laptops. Unfortunately I couldn't find ram and the Hard Drive I found was also a 5400 RPM drive (Western Digital 320gb). I put that in just in case the old 160gb was slowly dieing. However I don't really think it is that because I am not seeing the spinning beach ball of death...

    What I want is someone else with a Mac Mini from 2009 to run some speed test and tell me their results so I can run it to see if my Mac Mini is slow or my expectations are just bad.

    It would also be good to know if I should spend $63 on 2x4gb (apparently thats supposed to work even though apple says 2x2gb is max) at Newegg on G.SKILL F3-8500CL7D-8GBSQ...

    Or should I be buying an SSD or 7200RPM drive?

    Or should I just skip upgrades and buy a new computer...
  2. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
    While old, that machine still has plenty of life in it for your uses. I suggest getting the 8GB of ram, then possibly the SSD upgrade. The 2GB of ram could be the limiting factor in your case.
  3. NinjaCoder thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 13, 2013
    It is also running pretty hot. How can I make sure the fan is working well?
    Should I feel air flow out the back?
  4. GreatDrok macrumors 6502a


    May 1, 2006
    New Zealand
    Sounds like it may be stuffed full of dust - crack it open (iFixit has instructions) and clean it. The other possibility is that the thermal paste needs redoing. It shouldn't be all that slow as I have one running ML and it is decently usable although I have 4GB of RAM. It can take up to 16GB (expensive) but 8GB is much better value and I agree that an SSD would also be a good step up. The Core 2 Duo is still a decently strong CPU and the next version of OS X is also supported so still life in the old girl.
  5. surroundfan macrumors 6502

    Nov 22, 2005
    Melbourne, Australia
    2009-era Mac minis are still fine. I only recently sold my early 2009 one, which I'd upgraded to 8GB and a 750GB 7200RPM HDD a while back.

    Have you installed the iStat Pro widget? That'll tell you fan speeds and temperatures.

    I too would suggest cracking your machine open (literally, with a putty knife) and:
    1. Blowing the dust out from around the fan.
    2. Installing 8GB of RAM (the original 2GB is not enough in this day and age).
    3. Possibly installing an SSD (note the Nvidia chipset does not get the full 3gbps link speed with some SSDs).

    Once you've done those three things, you'll have a computer that performs decently well
  6. geeji macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2012
    I can do it, but you have to specify what you want me to run as benchmark program. Different programs give very different results.
    My Mac Mini is a 2.66GHz (BTO) Core 2 Duo, with NVIDIA GeForce 9400, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB 7200RPM disk; I run Mac OS X 10.6.8.
  7. Micky Do macrumors 68000

    Micky Do

    Aug 31, 2012
    An island in the Andaman Sea.
    Give it a mid-life tune up

    Give the 2009 Mini a "mid-life" tune up and it should be good to go for a few more years.

    I have the early 2009, base model Mini, which came with 1 GB of RAM and a 120 GB HDD. I installed Snow Leopard soon after it came out, and all the upgrades as they were released. By this time last year it was running painfully slow.

    When Mountain Lion was released late last year, I popped the Mini into the shop where they installed an extra 4GB of RAM (now 5 GB) and the updated OSX. The checked the HDD, and reckoned it was good for a bit yet, so no upgrade there. It was like getting a new computer.

    I don't have a credit card, and have a rather slow, supposedly 3G mobile broadband Internet connection, that seldom achieves more than a few hundred Kb/sec, so doing the upgrades myself was not on. All up it cost about $US 130..... money well spent.

    I reckon my 2009 should do me for a few more years yet..... maybe with an upgrade to Mavericks, a new HDD and an increase to 8 GB of RAM sometime next year.
  8. fa8362 macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
  9. Acronyc macrumors 6502a

    Jan 24, 2011
    The 2009 minis are fantastic little machines. I have two of them, both 2GHz models. One has a 1TB HDD, 3GB of RAM, and is on nearly 24/7 as my media server at home. The other has a 64GB SSD and 5GB RAM that I use as my daily driver at work.

    When I got my mini for work, it just had the stock 120GB HDD and 1GB of RAM. I first upped the RAM to 5GB, which made a big difference, but applications still took some time to load. A few months later I added the SSD, and now it is a perfect, fast little machine. It's been used at work 8-12 hours a day for 9 months now without a problem. Starts up in a few seconds, loads apps quickly, and handles everything I need perfectly (nothing too graphically or CPU demanding).

    The RAM and SSD will definitely help, and it will feel like a different machine. Totally worth the money. I have no regrets upgrading my work mini (my home mini runs a little slower with less RAM and no SSD, but that's fine), and considering I got my work mini for $150, it's been one of the better computer purchases I've made. Hoping to get a few more years out of the little guy.
  10. geeji macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2012
    FYI, my Mac Mini 2.66GHz (BTO) Core 2 Duo, w/ NVIDIA GeForce 9400, 8GB RAM, 1TB 7200RPM disk and OS X 10.6.8 has a Geekbench 2.4.3 score of : 3750 (32 bits).
    That's the second to best 32 bits score plotted at Primate Labs.

    Note that different versions of Geekbench are not really comparable, and that it measures mostly CPU power, largely ignoring memory capacity and disk speed.
  11. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    I put in the left over RAM from a Mini 2011 (yes, 1333mhz ram works fine in a 2009 mini, and often cheaper to get nowadays), and upgraded to a scorpio black 750Gb. Nice and affordable boost to this machine.
    As it has 3Gb SATA, the latest SSD's don't offer that much more than a good HD.
  12. scottsjack macrumors 68000

    Aug 25, 2010
    More mini love here.

    I bought a refurb late 2009 2.66Ghz as soon as it was available. The machine has been great. One nice thing about Apple's (rapidly disappearing) user-upgradeable machines is that their life can be extended with new hardware.

    Like others here mine is running 8GB RAM and a WD 7,200RPM 750GB HDD. Neither of those were even available when I bought my mini. The machine runs great on Mountain Lion.

    My Mac Pro is going to Apple tomorrow for repair so the mini is back in service. Photography and video are a wee bit slow but cruising the Net and writing this reply feel just the same on either machine.

    At one time I had Windows 7 only on it. As with my other Macs W7 ran even faster than Mac OS.
  13. slomo86 macrumors member


    Jul 30, 2008
    I got a Early 2009 2GHz Core 2 Duo, maxed out the RAM to 8GB, and slapped a OTZ Vertex 4 120GB SSD into it, 4TB external hooked up through firewire and have it hooked up to my 60in TV and surround sound system through fiber. I never watch TV when I am at home, I am always on the Mini and it works like a champ even playing HD video... though it does have a slight lag when I watch 1080p but its hardly noticeable.

    I even have late 2007 1.8 GHz Mini with 4GB RAM and a 120GB OWC Mercury Electra 6G SSD and it plays 720P with no problems, 1080p is a different story! With a standard hard drive it struggled big time with 720p video.

    I will never go back to a standard HD for a system drive ever again!

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