(Mac Mini 2010) Do I need more RAM or am I expecting too much out of a low-end Mac?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by alexreich, Apr 14, 2011.

  1. alexreich, Apr 14, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2011

    alexreich macrumors 6502a


    Jan 26, 2011
    I've had this machine for about 6 months now and I love it. It normally runs quite well, but tends to slow down dramatically or freeze when I use applications such as HandBrake, CleanApp, Disk Utility, etc. It also seems like apps take forever to launch at certain times. I started running Activity Monitor in my dock over the last week or two, and I've noticed a large chuck of RAM is being used at a pretty constant rate. (As a side note, when Handbrake or Disk Utility are running, my CPU's are maxed out.)

    The apps that I have open up automatically at start up (and are normally running at all times) are:
    Finder (duh)
    Scroll Reverser (in preparation for Mac OS Lion)
    Twitter for Mac
    Activity Monitor

    I also use GarageBand to record my band practices, and Pages to do schoolwork quite often.

    Now my questions to you guys are:
    Do I need to add more RAM to this machine to enhance performance?

    Is the 2.4 Core 2 Duo not good enough to suffice my needs?

    Am I expecting too much out of a Mac Mini? (If so, what Mac would you reccomend? I'm on a $1,200 budget)

    Thanks for your time guys! :apple:

    Attached Files:

  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    If the Activity Monitor readings you show are typical of your normal use, you're just beginning to max out your RAM. Having said that, I would generally recommend 4GB of RAM for most users. You're not asking too much of your Mac mini, and you need more RAM more than you need a faster processor.
  3. alexreich thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 26, 2011
    Thanks for the reply! So you're saying that increasing to 4GB RAM would increase overall speed of my computer and make it less sluggish?
  4. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    Definitely add memory. That should improve your performance a good bit when you are starting to hit the memory wall. Handbrake will suck up all available CPU, but will accommodate for you using other processes. Disk utility will slow it down considerably, as it uses quite a bit of CPU and also accesses the HDD a lot, which will slow everything down. Generally, you shouldn't need to do too much with disk utility unless you are burning things.
  5. alexreich thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 26, 2011
    Ahh, so HandBrake uses all available CPU, but gives it away as other applications need it? I had no idea. I normally quit all apps I have running just to run HandBrake and rip a DVD. It seemed like no matter what I did, HandBrake maxed out the CPU. Thanks for your assistance as well!

    Now that I'm convinced that I need more RAM, should I get 4GB or go the full distance and max it out at 8GB?
  6. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    I doubt you would need 8GB, personally 4GB is plenty for me, but I believe the price for 8GB is really good, so if you think you'll need that eventually, you may as well go for it.

    As for Handbrake, I was watching my processes and wondering how I could do anything with Handbrake running, but it actually does give it away as necessary. I have the same CPU in my computer as well, and it handles everything I throw at it just fine.
  7. Mactrillionaire macrumors regular

    Oct 16, 2010
    The best thing you can do for the Mac mini is to flip out the 5400rpm hard disk for solid state disk. Be careful, however, as you need to verify if the hard disk is user serviceable (it is on older models except for the latest one). If you can't do that then upgrading the RAM is the only way to get more out of the system. In my opinion, you'll have to mount a RAM disk in Disk Utility for it to even be worth the trouble.
  8. dcoulson macrumors member

    Aug 21, 2010
    8Gb RAM is only $80 these days. You might as well just go all out and not worry about it again. :)
  9. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    this is simple but very true. as for dropping in a good hdd or ssd they will help but are more difficult to do.


    1 4gb stick is 38.99 free shipping

    cleanup5 is a 50 dollar off code. so if you are lite cash 33.99 for a 4gb stick it will work with one of your 1gb sticks gives you 5gb ram and keeps your cost under 34 bucks. or grab 2 sticks for 72.98
  10. alexreich thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 26, 2011
    Where is it only $80 for 8GB?!

    How much does it cost me for Apple to install it?
  11. dcoulson macrumors member

    Aug 21, 2010

    Looks like it's actually $70 right now.

    You just need to pop the base off the 2010 Mini, remove the old memory and install the new stuff. It'll take five minutes if you do it yourself.
  12. troymdaniels macrumors newbie

    Jul 12, 2010

    Is this decent RAM? On impulse I ordered it because I've been waiting for a sale. I was going to order 2x2GB Kingston sticks for 49 but saw this post and pulled the trigger. I'm a noob to upgrading but having read the forums figured it was a worthwhile upgrade to the mini (which I keep hesitating to order).
  13. dcoulson macrumors member

    Aug 21, 2010
    Works fine for me - I have it in both my Mac Mini and MacBook Pro.
  14. ZombieZakk macrumors 6502

    Feb 23, 2011
    go with 4 gb of ram for certain.

    The computer should be fine with those main apps open handbrake is an intensive app so that is normal and disk utility should not be open unless your using it so its normal to see poor performance while using those apps.

    will you benefit from a newer gen processor in handbrake yes and other apps but a simple ram upgrade will help and you can try an ssd or a 7200rpm drive if you dont already have one.
  15. cocacolakid macrumors 65816


    Dec 18, 2010
    If you have a 2010 unibody mini, replacing RAM is simple. You turn it off, turn it upside down, and twist the black cover to open. The RAM is right there. You take it out, pop in the new RAM, and put the black cover back on. It really does take only 5 minutes and requires no tools.
  16. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    it is good ram and the install is easy see video

  17. steadysignal macrumors 6502a


    Dec 21, 2010
    i would just go with the max - its cheap, and easy to install.
  18. And macrumors 6502


    Feb 23, 2009
    92 ft above sea level, UK
    Stop using Safari, use Chrome, the amount of RAM it needs is substantially less. That will help. Given the tasks you se the machine for extra RAM would be nice, but you should be able to cope. (You said money was tight...)
  19. gwsat macrumors 68000


    Apr 12, 2008
    I agree that maxing out your RAM is a good idea these days. RAM is cheap and with 8GB of RAM you will have all eventualities covered. I upgraded my 2010 Mini to 8GB recently and the installation was ridiculously easy. No tools are required and there is even an illustrated guide of how to do it in the manual that came with the machine.

    I changed to Chrome from Safari over a year ago because I became tired of how long it took Safari to load after a reboot and because Chrome handles tabs beautifully, far better than Safari did.
  20. MTShipp macrumors 6502a

    Mar 25, 2009
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    I have 2 Mac Minis. I have the early 2009 with 4 GB of RAM and the late 2010 with 8 GB of RAM. Both of them equally work very well as they are. I am currently running LION on the 8 GB model and do see better performance on it than when I ran LION on the 4 GB model. So for now, I run LION on one and SL on the other.
  21. drew.bowser macrumors regular

    Sep 23, 2008

    Update the hard drive if your machine is lagging. The jump from the 5400rpm drive (stock mac mini 2010) to a 7200 rpm drive is amazing! SSD would be even better.

    as for the RAM - 2gb to 4gb will speed things up a bit... 4gb to 8gb wont be as noticeable.

    I upgraded my 2010 mini with both of those and the hard drive speed was more noticeable.
  22. mistamidget macrumors newbie

    Jan 18, 2011
    I put 8GB in my Mini and think it is much better.
    I run mircosoft xp in a Vbox for Winamp to play music because iTunes just doesn't work well compared to Winamp so jump between xp and Mac OS constantly.
    The extra memory makes a huge difference here.
    I also put a 500GB Seagate XT Hybrid in and, wow, everything is very much faster.
    So as for "low end" Mac I think my system is way better than the clone system I replaced it with (and I get Mac OS in the bargain)
    All that only cost $A250 more.
  23. DustinT macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2011
    The hybrids are a good idea if you need a better performing system drive. I suspect they will become more common as time passes.

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