Mac mini 2009?

ivnj

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Dec 8, 2006
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Have a 2014 and its great. But found a used 2009 on ebay cheap good shape. Want to run my dads old vectorworks 2008 which only supports snow leopard. I am too cheap to upgrade. I will up the ram and the rest later. But worried about the os for now. No os is installed. Will see on saturday when it arrives what I got. I think its a late 2009. But it definitely a 2009. Its got both mini dvi and mini display port. Earlier versions did not. So it must be 2009. Everymac dot com says late 2009 came with 10.6 and early 2009 cam with 10.5.6. But some sites say late 2009 came with 10.6.2 or 3. If its early I am good. But ifits late 2009 my retail snow disks might not work. Do I need to ebay the grey cds / dvds or will retail snow disks work?
 

treekram

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The OS disk that came with my late 2009 Mini says 10.6.2. I see on the everymac site that it says the late 2009 Mini came with 10.6 (10A432 - initial build) but that doesn't seem right. The history of Snow Leopard (10.6 = Aug 28, 2009; 10.6.1 = Sept 10, 2009; 10.6.2 = Nov. 9, 2009) and the late Mini (Oct 20, 2009) suggests that 10.6.2 is more likely correct. If your retail Snow Leopard disk says 10.6 (which mine does), there's a good chance it won't work - you probably need at least 10.6.3. I do see that Apple also produced retail versions of 10.6.3 (with a green sticker) so if you have that, it should work.
 

iluvmacs99

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Apr 9, 2019
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I thought both Early and Late 2009 Minis offer identical connectivity; ports etc.. They only differ in processor, drive and ram configuration. I know the 2009 will run Snow Leopard as my sister has one and is running Snow Leopard.
 

Boyd01

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Have a 2014 and its great. But found a used 2009 on ebay cheap good shape. Want to run my dads old vectorworks 2008 which only supports snow leopard.
Not sure where you got that idea, but I run VectorWorks 2008 on Mountain Lion (10.8.5) with no problems. I used it very extensively before I retired http://www.boydostroff.com But today, I just can't justify the outrageous upgrade cost ($1500?) for my minimal usage. So I left Mountain Lion on the internal SSD of my 2012 quad Mini for the times I still need VectorWorks and my other expensive legacy software (normally I boot the Mini into Sierra from an external SSD).

Personally.... I wouldn't take a 2009 mini as a gift. I have a 2008 MacBook Pro with a 2.4 ghz core 2 duo. It runs VectorWorks 2008 fine - and was my main computer before I retired in 2011. No interested in going back to Core2Duo anymore though. :D

FWIW, Vectorworks 2008 ran really well on my 2011 MacBook Air, and it ran on my 2013 MacBook Air but had some issues (IIRC, the cursor disappeared). I think the problem is the Intel HD5000 graphics chip in the 2013 computer, because the 2011 MBA and 2012 Mini both have the older HD 4000. This is not operating system related, all those machines were running Mountain Lion.

IIRC, VectorWorks 2008 wouldn't run on Mavericks. Not sure if I ever tried with Yosemite. I think that 10.8.5 is the last version it will work with.
 
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ivnj

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Back in the day I called and they said it wont even run snow leopard. And on their forums from 2009 they said officially it wont either. But according to this it says 10.6.8.

https://forum.vectorworks.net/index.php?/articles.html/articles/vectorworks-legacy-operating-system-compatibility-list-r713/

But it say 10.7 and above not supported. Some VW forums users said 10.7 works. But officially it does not.
[doublepost=1562344995][/doublepost]And my dad is still using a g5 imac isight 2.1 with only 1gb ram. And he has a 2006 mac book pro with 1.5gb ram running VW2008 architect also. And we have VW12.5 also. So a 2009 mini is more than enough. We got him a new mac book pro in summer 2018 for everyday stuff. But for old VW architect 2008 a 2009 mini is plenty.
 

Boyd01

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Well I don't know what issues other people are having. But I can tell you it runs for me on 10.8.5. Obviously, a program from 2008 is no longer "supported" though. ;)

But if you're happy with an old Core2Duo machine with 10.6, then that should be fine too. Personally, I don't have the patience to use computers that old anymore.
 

ivnj

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Well I don't know what issues other people are having. But I can tell you it runs for me on 10.8.5. Obviously, a program from 2008 is no longer "supported" though. ;)

But if you're happy with an old Core2Duo machine with 10.6, then that should be fine too. Personally, I don't have the patience to use computers that old anymore.
I don't either. But if an old imag g5 2.1ghz 1gb ram is enough for VW2008. Or a core duo (not even 2 duo) just regular duo with 1.5gb ram is good enough. Then a 2009 mini with 2.26 ghz core 2 duo and 2gb ram is good enough isnt it? And I can always add more ram. It goes up to 8gb according everymac if that is correct.

I even had a 1.66 core duo mini back in the day and 2gb was enough. Eventually I ebayed it when I got a new mini. But for the snow it was plenty fast.

And everymac says my g5 imac is only 128mb ddr video card if correct. And my core duo macbook pro is 256mb gddr3 video card. And 2009 mini is also 256mb video card. So 2009 mini is good enough isnt it?
 

Boyd01

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I guess mine was actually a 2007 MBP, this looks like the specs.

https://everymac.com/systems/apple/macbook_pro/specs/macbook-pro-core-2-duo-2.4-15-santa-rosa-specs.html

It originally had 2gb but I upgraded to 4gb. Vectorworks 2008 ran very nicely on that computer and I used it extensively. I also had a PowerMac G5 system back then but the laptop was noticeably faster. One day I went to turn on the G5 and it wouldn't power up at all. Messed around with it a bit but eventually just trashed it. Wasn't worth fixing when the MBP was so much faster.

I had a core2duo 24" iMac at the office, I think it was a 3ghz CPU with 4gb RAM, no problem with VectorWorks 2008 there either. That machine was just a bit faster than my MBP. I also ran legacy Final Cut Pro on these machines and it worked well.

I don't think I ever upgraded the MBP beyond 10.5.x. It still works but the battery is completely dead and overall it just looks and feels like a slow, beat-up old laptop. But it served me well professionally. So yes, if the only thing you want the machine for is VW2008, I'm sure machines of that vintage will be fine. But it can also be a pain to keep them running as old parts start to fail. I still have my PowerBook G4 and a G4 tower up in the attic. They worked fine until a couple years ago, when they both died without warning.
 

ivnj

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Dec 8, 2006
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I guess mine was actually a 2007 MBP, this looks like the specs.

https://everymac.com/systems/apple/macbook_pro/specs/macbook-pro-core-2-duo-2.4-15-santa-rosa-specs.html

It originally had 2gb but I upgraded to 4gb. Vectorworks 2008 ran very nicely on that computer and I used it extensively. I also had a PowerMac G5 system back then but the laptop was noticeably faster. One day I went to turn on the G5 and it wouldn't power up at all. Messed around with it a bit but eventually just trashed it. Wasn't worth fixing when the MBP was so much faster.

I had a core2duo 24" iMac at the office, I think it was a 3ghz CPU with 4gb RAM, no problem with VectorWorks 2008 there either. That machine was just a bit faster than my MBP. I also ran legacy Final Cut Pro on these machines and it worked well.

I don't think I ever upgraded the MBP beyond 10.5.x. It still works but the battery is completely dead and overall it just looks and feels like a slow, beat-up old laptop. But it served me well professionally. So yes, if the only thing you want the machine for is VW2008, I'm sure machines of that vintage will be fine. But it can also be a pain to keep them running as old parts start to fail. I still have my PowerBook G4 and a G4 tower up in the attic. They worked fine until a couple years ago, when they both died without warning.
Well I appreciate the all the advice. But I just checked tracking and it says arriving late. So probably Monday. So I will investigate more on Monday or whenever the mini arrives. In the mean time thanks for all the help everyone.
 

ivnj

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Dec 8, 2006
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I guess mine was actually a 2007 MBP, this looks like the specs.

https://everymac.com/systems/apple/macbook_pro/specs/macbook-pro-core-2-duo-2.4-15-santa-rosa-specs.html

It originally had 2gb but I upgraded to 4gb. Vectorworks 2008 ran very nicely on that computer and I used it extensively. I also had a PowerMac G5 system back then but the laptop was noticeably faster. One day I went to turn on the G5 and it wouldn't power up at all. Messed around with it a bit but eventually just trashed it. Wasn't worth fixing when the MBP was so much faster.

I had a core2duo 24" iMac at the office, I think it was a 3ghz CPU with 4gb RAM, no problem with VectorWorks 2008 there either. That machine was just a bit faster than my MBP. I also ran legacy Final Cut Pro on these machines and it worked well.

I don't think I ever upgraded the MBP beyond 10.5.x. It still works but the battery is completely dead and overall it just looks and feels like a slow, beat-up old laptop. But it served me well professionally. So yes, if the only thing you want the machine for is VW2008, I'm sure machines of that vintage will be fine. But it can also be a pain to keep them running as old parts start to fail. I still have my PowerBook G4 and a G4 tower up in the attic. They worked fine until a couple years ago, when they both died without warning.
Yes my dad also had a powerbook g4 1ghz ti with bad logic board. Got sometimes all over the screen. Apple hardware test said bad vram which is soldered in and too much to replace whole logic board. So I ebayed it for 300 dollars. Not bad. But Mac minis are pretty reliable. My old core duo mini (not 2 duo) ran for 5 years before I sold it on eBay. March 2007 - June 2012. And it probably lasted another 2 or 3 years to the guy who I sold it to on eBay. Well he was happy at least. He said it arrived and was in great working condition. No immediate complaints. And my 2011 mini I got in June 2012 on sale (I did not know new ones were right around the corner) lasted until late august of 2018. Traded it in to best buy. Got only 88 but not bad for 6 year old mini. Lasted 6 years. So not bad. iMacs might not last long because the screen is guaranteed to last who knows how many hours. So minis are pretty stable.
 

msh

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Jun 13, 2009
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When you get the software straightened out consider replacing the fan. That is the only hardware problem I ever had with my '09 mini (besides the DVD drive failing). iFixit has one and instructions on how to replace. My '09 mini is still in use as a WIN7 internet/email machine.
 

ivnj

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To answer your original question - your retail Snow Leopard disc will work fine on any 2009 Mac Mini. The retail disc contains Snow Leopard 10.6.3 and you'll update to 10.6.8 after installation by downloading DL1399.
Uh no. I have 6.0 not 6.3. I have the original family pack. Not green sticker release with 6.3. So that wont work.
 

ivnj

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Just checked the tracking and its here. Definitely coming tomorrow. So I will report back then.
 

FreakinEurekan

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Uh no. I have 6.0 not 6.3. I have the original family pack. Not green sticker release with 6.3. So that wont work.
Okay, it's possible you'd need a new retail disc then - https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MC573Z/A/ is 10.6.3. But, you can certainly give it a shot with your 10.6.0 disc, if it installs - even if some items aren't working - DL1399 should add any missing drivers.
 
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ivnj

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It finally came in the mail today about 2 hours ago. I lucked out. It has 8GB ram installed and 1TB HD. Only the HD was dead. SMART failed. Even erasing failed so its truly dead.

But I had a 10.6 loaded on a usb enclosure with a 120gb SSD to test on my fathers MacBook Pro 2006. It was slow but loaded on mini. So I guess 2009 mini takes 10.6 retail. Or maybe its a early and not late mini. But how do I verify its a early or late mini?

And by 2009 sata was standard? Or was 2009 mini ide based? And if it is sata based will it work if I slip in a 120 or 240GB SSD? As long as its sata it does not matter if its SSD or mechanical HD?
 

ivnj

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According to apple serial number is not found on trade in website. Probably too old. But powerbookmedic dot com says its a late 2009.
 

treekram

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It finally came in the mail today about 2 hours ago. I lucked out. It has 8GB ram installed and 1TB HD. Only the HD was dead. SMART failed. Even erasing failed so its truly dead.

But I had a 10.6 loaded on a usb enclosure with a 120gb SSD to test on my fathers MacBook Pro 2006. It was slow but loaded on mini. So I guess 2009 mini takes 10.6 retail. Or maybe its a early and not late mini. But how do I verify its a early or late mini?

And by 2009 sata was standard? Or was 2009 mini ide based? And if it is sata based will it work if I slip in a 120 or 240GB SSD? As long as its sata it does not matter if its SSD or mechanical HD?
If the computer is on, if you select "About This Mac" (press on the Apple logo in the very to left corner), it should say what Mac it is. If the computer is off, turn it upside-down and toward the ports (at least on my late 2009 Mini), in small writing (I can't read it without a magnifying glass but that may be age), it will have an "EMC No." - for early 2009, it will be 2264, for late 2009, it will be 2336.

I don't think any new drivers were required for the late 2009 vs. early 2009 Mini. So the OS should work but usually Apple will put a restriction on what OS's will work with a specific model so I would guess you have an early 2009 but let us know if it is a late 2009 - that would be interesting to know.

Yes, the 2009 Mini's have internal SATA ports - it is SATA2 (3gb/sec vs. 6gb/sec for SATA3). The 2009 Mini's use the NVidia MCP79 SATA chipset and will have issues with certain SSD's - it depends on the SSD model. You can do a search on the web for your SSD model and "nvidia MCP79" and see if the results show people having problems. If you have questions on a specific SSD model, post it. Usually if it has the problem the SSD will only run at SATA1 speed, but some SSD's (mainly older ones not much used any more) will not work reliably.
 

ivnj

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I bravely opened her up and replaced the 1tb with a used crucial m500 25ogb ssd. Or maybe 240gb I forget. I got her new but was used in my moms pc for maybe 2 years. But still plenty of life left in her. Except the antennas came off when replacing the hd. But I connected it back to the motherboard correctly I think. I found an ifixit page saying black wire at the end so I did. And white wire but I have no white wire. It grey and maroon. But based on length tjere was only one right combinatoon. I think its correct. AT least I did not break her. If I did it incorrectly then what? Wifi just will not connect? Or bluetooth will not discover anything? I am never doing that again. Fan and all seemed ok. So no replacing that. But rest went ok. At least I did not break her. It turned on and chimed and I got video. I am so proud of my self.
 

ivnj

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Its all good so proud. Wifi is connecting and pages are loading. And bluetooth found my old MS sculpt mouse. So it was all connected properly looks like. And hd works. So thanks for all the help.

Now are there any programs on mac that tell me the health of my ssd or how much life is left. I used some long time ago but I don't remember health apart of like disk drill for example. Or hours more specifically. Or there is no way my ssd could be that used if it was new even if its three years old.
 

treekram

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Its all good so proud. Wifi is connecting and pages are loading. And bluetooth found my old MS sculpt mouse. So it was all connected properly looks like. And hd works. So thanks for all the help.

Now are there any programs on mac that tell me the health of my ssd or how much life is left. I used some long time ago but I don't remember health apart of like disk drill for example. Or hours more specifically. Or there is no way my ssd could be that used if it was new even if its three years old.
The Crucial M500 is a good choice for the 2009 Mini. The problem with SSD health programs (IMO) from the example output reported on these forums is that they tend to over-warn. The best program to use is the one that the manufacturer provides which reports on the SSD health status. Unfortunately, most of these (including Crucial) don't run on macOS. If you get a program that reports SMART attributes, look for the reallocated sector count (05) and used reserved block count (B3). You can also look for an attribute which counts the erase block count against the expected maximum count although SSD's have been known to last way beyond the expected count in some SSD's.
 

ivnj

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The Crucial M500 is a good choice for the 2009 Mini. The problem with SSD health programs (IMO) from the example output reported on these forums is that they tend to over-warn. The best program to use is the one that the manufacturer provides which reports on the SSD health status. Unfortunately, most of these (including Crucial) don't run on macOS. If you get a program that reports SMART attributes, look for the reallocated sector count (05) and used reserved block count (B3). You can also look for an attribute which counts the erase block count against the expected maximum count although SSD's have been known to last way beyond the expected count in some SSD's.

Or Apple disk utility reports smart doesn't it? Anyhow after installing a ssd and wiping it clean with afresh 10.6 and update to 10.6.8 its blazing fast. It boots in only 22 seconds from the internal hd.
 

treekram

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Or Apple disk utility reports smart doesn't it? Anyhow after installing a ssd and wiping it clean with afresh 10.6 and update to 10.6.8 its blazing fast. It boots in only 22 seconds from the internal hd.
I wouldn't rely on the 10.6.X Disk Utility SMART status because the OS at that point very likely made no provision for SSD's and unlike the SMART status apps, the Disk Utility typically waits until something obviously bad has happened before reporting a failing or failed drive. Even with a HDD, 10.6.8 on my 2009 Mini booted quickly.
 

ivnj

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I wouldn't rely on the 10.6.X Disk Utility SMART status because the OS at that point very likely made no provision for SSD's and unlike the SMART status apps, the Disk Utility typically waits until something obviously bad has happened before reporting a failing or failed drive. Even with a HDD, 10.6.8 on my 2009 Mini booted quickly.
Yes but this is super fast.