Mac Mini 2009 model 3.1 - what upgrades ?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Jambalaya, Jun 21, 2013.

  1. Jambalaya, Jun 21, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2013

    Jambalaya macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 21, 2013
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    UK
    #1
    I have a late 2009 Mac Mini 3.1 in original basic spec 2gb memory and 160gb HD. It's been upgraded to OS 10.7.5. It is used as basic desktop machine connected to TV for online streaming / web browsing / email / word processing and music / photo storage and is host machine for iPad and iPhone. Apple spec page below

    http://support.apple.com/kb/SP577?viewlocale=en_US

    It's currently creaking with nearly full disk (130 of 160) and frequent spinning disk delays.

    How much memory can I put I it, device says 4gb max but I see references here about 8gb upgrades to 2009 mac minis ?

    What is best option for HD ? Going for say 500gb internal or an external device with iTunes library and photos on external drive - appreciate that's slower but not having to setup new bootable disk may be an advantage. When upgrading HD what's easiest and most cost effective way to copying across OS and files. I have a "free agent" 640gb drive currently being used as a time machine backup and movie storage, can I copy hd to that before booting new drive or will I need an external dock to prepare the new hd to be bootable ?

    Should I consider an SSD ? Quite a bit more expensive and my machine has old/slow processor

    I plan to upgrade machine to new mac mini at some stage likely in 2014 to wait for new chip so upgrades to 2009 machine should take this into account.

    Thanks in advance, I've been through older threads which have been useful.
     
  2. mdgm macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2010
    #2
    You can upgrade to 8GB RAM (2x 4GB). Many Macs support more RAM than Apple officially supported.

    If you go with a SSD get a SATA II (3Gb/s one) for this model.
     
  3. blanka macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    #3
    I put in a 55 buck WD Scorpio Black 750Gb and the RAM from my Mini 2011 (4Gb). It is almost twice as fast as the built in drive, a relative easy upgrade and giving lots of storage. The RAM is 1333Mhz, but I had it laying around and it works great.
     
  4. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #4
    yeah you can go with the 750gb scorpio black or the only 1tb 7200 rpm hdd


    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136835 wd 750gb

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822145875 hgst 1tb

    this is a bare drive sale.

    here is a full kit

    http://www.jr.com/hgst/pe/HIT_0S03563/

    pm me if you need to know how to install it..


    and 2x 4gb ram = 8gb

    make sure you did the 2009 efi update for ram 1.2 is the number


    http://support.apple.com/kb/DL888



    full list of efi updates

    http://support.apple.com/downloads/#mac mini 2009 efi
     
  5. Jambalaya thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 21, 2013
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    UK
    #5
    Thanks to all.

    I have found the right memory kit 2x4GB CORSAIR and the WD 750gb drive on an online seller in France where I am located currently.

    @philipma1957 do you mean full kit to include a USB external housing so that you can copy over the HD prior to installation ? I cannot PM you as I am a forum newbee, my email is in my profile, if you'd be so kind as to send over a little "how to"
     
  6. geeji macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2012
    #6
    1) 8GB upgrade works on Mac Mini 2009 but is sometimes quirky :
    First check you have the latest efi firmware on your Mac Mini 2009 (normally already done on LATE Mac Mini 2009).
    Then, in case of problem, check this thread, especially the 1 March 2012 post by Carl V, and install your memory in 2 steps :
    FYI, here are the DIMMs I bought in France.

    2) You can get a cheap 1TB 7200RPM drive.
    Use CCC to copy the current internal disk to the new one in an external USB enclosure, then exchange the disks.
     
  7. Jambalaya thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    UK
    #7
    @geeji - thanks, I do have the firmware upgrade and thanks for the other links and advice
     
  8. Jambalaya, Jun 29, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2013

    Jambalaya thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #8
    Update:

    Memory in and working, excellent.

    Harddrive issue - on start up shows a folder with a blinking question mark. Do I just re-open the Mini and ensure it's connected properly, what to look for ?

    Does the new drive have to have a specific name, like Macintosh HD as per original (possibly a daft question) ?

    I formatted the new drive and made a bootable clone with SuperDuper, I checked a boot when connected externally, all good. Put new drive in but have the problem above. I have been able to boot machine via original drive connected externally, the new drive was "unreadable"


    EDIT: I have checked with Disk Utility and it can identify the disk (ie it knows capacity, type etc) but it says the file system is unrecognisable
     
  9. Omnius macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2012
    #9
    sounds like your cloned disk isnt set correctly. Just do a fresh install and transfer data over.
     
  10. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #10
    yeah your external should boot then use it to format the internal. once the internal has the right format to a fresh install via the net.(lion or mountain lion)..

    once you boot with the internal and the fresh install then use migration utility
     

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  11. Jambalaya, Jun 29, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2013

    Jambalaya thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    Thanks @Omnius and @Phillipma - will try that

    EDIT Update: Many thanks all working now.
     
  12. MeValonicAcid macrumors member

    MeValonicAcid

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2008
    Location:
    Belgium
    #12
    Does the MacMini 3.1 run on a single Mem Module of 4GB?

    An additional question on this 'old' forum topic:
    Does the MacMini 3.1 (2009) run on a single Memory Module of 4GB?
    If so, does this have an impact on performance compared to 2x2GB?

    Thanks for your reply!
    MVa
     
  13. Acronyc macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2011
    #13
    I have this mini and it has two slots, each of which eikk take 4GB. Adding RAM and an SSD really gave it more life so I reccomend it if you cab.
     
  14. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Location:
    Inside
    #14
    All Intell based Mac Minis with replaceable memory have two ram slots. The Mac Mini 3,1 can take up to 8GB with a single 4GB stick in each ram slot.
     
  15. MeValonicAcid macrumors member

    MeValonicAcid

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2008
    Location:
    Belgium
    #15
    Nice, anyone some experience in using only 1 RAM slot?
    (Otherwise I have to find me another 4GB :) )
     
  16. jlxz macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2013
    #16
    I read somewhere that if you use just one RAM slot, dual channel functionality won't activate.
    I have that model as main desktop with two 4GB sticks working flawlessly
     
  17. MeValonicAcid macrumors member

    MeValonicAcid

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2008
    Location:
    Belgium
    #17
    Good to know, Thanks!
     

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