Mac Mini (Late 2014) creepin' slow!

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by irock101, Sep 14, 2016.

  1. irock101 macrumors 6502


    Jul 26, 2011

    I got a MacMini (late 2014) with the following specs:

    Mac Mini (Late 2014)
    1.4 GhZ Intel Core i5
    4 GB DDR3
    Intel HD Graphics 5000 1536MB
    1TB HD (NOT ssd)
    El Capitan

    The whole purpose is to act as a media server. I run a torrent client, VLC player, better zip and Chrome on it. Nothing very labour intensive but the thing is creeping slow. Connecting via Finder in my home network, it's somewhat useable but when using it in combination with the TV in the living room, it sometimes takes ages to unzip some files or start a movie. I haven't bothered to try and watch a 4k movie as I don't think the MacMini can handle it but 1080p plays just fine.

    Afaik I can't replace the HD with an SSD drive or upgrade the ram on this model. Did a P-Ram reset and all those kinds of things but nothing helps.

    Any idea how I can make some use out of it?
  2. Cycling Asia macrumors regular

    Mar 19, 2016
    The hdd in the Mac minis are dog slow. I get better performance from a usb 3 drive.

    The slowness of zip extraction could be due to the zip files index is located at the end of the file and as such the entire file needs to be read before unzipped. Perhaps one of the "streamable" compression methods could suite. My preference is the "tar gzip" combination as I have come from the world of Linux.

    Also with your media files, it could be a choice of encoding methods. For example, if they are MP4 files, is the MOOV atom relocated to the start of the file? ( this is similar to the zip file index mentioned earlier ). By default this is appended to the end of the file. If it is in the default location, the entire video file needs to be downloaded (or read) before playback can start.

    anyway I hope you get the issues resolved as I have had no issues serving media from my entry level 2014 mini.

    Good luck
  3. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816


    Feb 16, 2010
    Dayton, Ohio
    Actually, that's quite a bit more than just a media server. ;)

    Hmm. Actually, depending on how you use them, a torrent client can easily consume all of your available network bandwidth; VLC can eat up a whole lot of CPU, especially if you are trying to play a video that uses a codec that isn't supported by your GPU; unzip utilities can also use a lot of CPU; and when I want to test my machine's RAM, I normally just go to Chrome and open up some heavy websites in a few tabs. Poof, all RAM consumed immediately. ;)

    I'm always surprised at what folks think are "easy" tasks for a computer to perform.

    If you've got a moment, you might try running "Activity Monitor" (found in the Utilities directory inside the Applications directory) to get an idea of exactly what your computer is doing. If there's an app using all the CPU cycles or taking up all available RAM, you'll be able to see it there.

    Aha! If we're just talking about start time, I suspect that your Mini is allowing your hard drives to spin down when they are not in use. (This saves power and potentially increases HD lifespan.) You can turn off this option by opening System Preferences (which should be the second menu item in the Apple menu at the top left of the screen), and selecting the "Energy Saver" icon. When that panel comes up, uncheck the "Put hard disks to sleep when possible" option.
  4. BrettApple macrumors 65816


    Apr 3, 2010
    Heart of the midwest
    The base Mac Mini can actually be quite quick. We have one at work that I swapped a 250GB SSD into and it runs great, pretty much a MacBook Air in a box. And yes you CAN upgrade the stock HDD to an SSD. It's just a normal 2.5" SATA drive.

    You will need a TR6 Torx driver though (iFixit has them) and you should be good to go. I've upgraded 9 2014 Mac Mini's to SSDs so far since we bought a bunch for our campus. It won't make the CPU faster or add more RAM but it makes them infinitely more useable and easier to live with.

    Bonus: instructions.
  5. steve217 macrumors regular


    Nov 11, 2011
    BrettApple gives good advice.

    However, if you are uncomfortable cracking open your Mac Mini, though, check the many threads on this forum about running the computer from a USB external drive.

    You'll get virtually the same performance as an internal drive without the drama of the surgery.
  6. irock101 thread starter macrumors 6502


    Jul 26, 2011
    Thanks for the info! Wasn't aware I can replace the HD. Will start with that.
    Any suggestions for a 500gb - 1TB SSD drive?
  7. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    IF you don't mind having a small enclosure on your desk near the Mini, the "fastest, easiest" way to speed it up is to plug in an EXTERNAL USB3 SSD, and then set that up to be your "external booter".

    Will run nearly as fast as would an internally-mounted SSD, and you don't risk breaking anything while opening up the Mini.

    You might consider a "plug it in and go" USB3 SSD like this:

    Leave the internal HDD "in place".
    Use it for additional storage, backup, etc.

    On mine, I keep a fully-bootable cloned partition of my (external) boot SSD. Thus, I always have an immediately-accessible "second boot source" on my desktop at all times.
  8. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    You can have two drives. Add a fast SSD (internally or externally) for booting and applications, while keeping the existing slow HDD for media storage.

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