My mac Mini is becoming really slow - what to do?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Jim L, May 8, 2015.

  1. Jim L macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2011
    Location:
    The Piedmont, NC
    #1
    Hi guys.

    I have a Mini that will be 3 years old this August. It is the late 2012 one with 8 GB memory and a 500 HD.

    Everything on it has been really good until recently. I have it connected to my A/V receiver and it is basically a media consumption machine with Plex and Itunes on it. I have set up a power schedule on it to be on ~8 hrs per day and sleep the rest of the time. I only connect via BT keyboard and trackpad or via Screen sharing on my other Macs.

    The symptoms are general slowness -- lots of beachballs when launching apps and sometimes very slow to manually wake it up and log in. Once in a while I have so much trouble waking it I have to force restart it with the power button. I am running the latest version of Yosemite and I keep garbage like Java and Flash off it. The HD has very little on it because I keep media (pics, movies, etc) on 2 Lacie drives with thunderbolt or USB3 cords.

    • What can I do to make it speedy again?
    • Also, have I hurt it by letting it stay on too many hours per day?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. hagr182 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2010
    #2
    Try repairing your HDD permissions, also,
    How much space do you have left on your HDD?
     
  3. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2014
    #3
    Try a PRAM reset and repairing permissions in Disk Utility.
     
  4. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

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    Brasil
    #4
    ssd.
     
  5. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #5
    Buy an SSD.
     
  6. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2014
    #6
    While I'm all for replacing a slow hard drive with an SSD, the some of the symptoms the OP described aren't normal even for an HDD. I suggest the OP try what I suggested first before getting an SSD.

    If what I suggested fails to correct the problem then it may be a failing hard drive, in which case by all means get an SSD to replace it.
     
  7. Jim L thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jul 16, 2011
    Location:
    The Piedmont, NC
    #7
    Thanks all you guys!

    I have been thinking of sending my Mini to OWC to get the SSD put in before this started happening. I will try all the suggestions before I do so.

    I just didn't want to waste the money on an SSD if the whole computer was dying.

    Thanks!
     
  8. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #8
    Why not just buy a better and more decent SSD from Amazon (like the Samsung 850 Evo or the Crucial MX100/200?)

    The OWC ones are crap because they use SandForce controllers.
     
  9. Jim L thread starter macrumors regular

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    #10
    Wonder why you think the OWC SSDs are no good. :confused: I have one in my 2011 iMac and it has been great for 2.5 years using it.

    I know that Samsung makes some great drives, I saw the reviews on their SSDs when I was shopping for one, but thought that OWC would be better because they cater to Mac owners.
     
  10. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #11
    OWC ones use a SandForce controller, which are absolutely crap when dealing with incompressible data (which means it won't work with FileVault nicely at all).

    Samsung ones are way better (especially the Pro variants). I've been using 840 Pros in my early-2011 15" and a late-2012 2.6GHz quad core Mac Mini, and it's bloody fast and reliable.
     
  11. illusionx macrumors 6502

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    Jul 4, 2014
    Location:
    Brossard, QC
    #12
    You might want to check out of you have enough ram. Not likely the cause, but it's worth launching activity monitor and check out the memory pressure and see if there is any swap used just to be sure.
     
  12. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #13
    8gb of RAM should be enough, but you need an SSD.

    You DON'T have to send the Mini away for this.

    The fastest, easiest and cheapest way is to do it yourself.

    Buy the SSD of your choice (check amazon or newegg).

    Pick up a decent USB3 enclosure.
    Here's one to consider:
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003VKTJGW...UTF8&colid=R75PP4I2A0BE&coliid=I3DOKZ31SP7539
    (I bought this myself, works fine)

    Put the drive into the enclosure (involves several screws and a screwdriver), and connect it to the Mini's USB port.

    Initialize the drive with Disk Utility.

    At this point, either install a clean copy of the OS onto the drive, or use Migration Assistant to move things over to it.

    Yes, it will involve having the small external enclosure attached to the Mini (rather than the drive being inside).
    But you will enjoy speeds that are the near-equal of an internally-mounted drive.

    I've been booting and running my own late-2012 Mini for more than two years this way, still runs as fast and clean as the day I first set it up...
     
  13. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

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    Location:
    Brasil
    #14
    The tricky part is installing the SSD inside the Mini. Actually you just need the right tools and stay calm to review the steps every time something seems tight in its place. You won't like breaking temperature sensor cables or slots.

    The best approach for beginners is just using an external thunderbolt enclosure - or a good USB 3 enclosure which supports UASP (not mandatory, but it will make your SSD work at higher speeds).
     
  14. gixxerfool macrumors 6502a

    gixxerfool

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    #15
    This.

    Just did a similar setup myself. I even set up the fusion drive as well. No need to open the machine.
     
  15. Jim L thread starter macrumors regular

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    #16
    Thanks! :) I was thinking I had to put the drive inside like on my iMac, but since the mini just sits on a shelf with several other drives attached, I can let it do the same with the SSD.

    Since I don't need to open up the mini (something I was afraid to do, even though I opened my iMac and installed the SSD myself) I don't have to go the OWC route to have it installed. And that saves some more money.

    A couple of questions though...

    • Will the SSD drive need to have an external power plug or can it just run on its own with the USB?
    • Also, where do you think is the best place to order my SSD?
     
  16. steve217 macrumors regular

    steve217

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    Nov 11, 2011
    Location:
    NC
    #17
    I've been pushing the Inatek UASP enclosure. $18 on Amazon and it needs no additional cables.

    SSD - Newegg, Amazon. The usual suspects.
     
  17. illusionx macrumors 6502

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    Jul 4, 2014
    Location:
    Brossard, QC
    #18
    Newegg/Amazon. Check what's the best price for the same drive.

    I would go with a Crucial BX200 or an MX200.
    On the same price range, Samsung 850EVO.

    Then you get yourself a good enclosure, I would go with a Thunderbolt enclosure since you have that on your 2012, but USB3.0 would do fine

    Btw, depending where the original HDD is located (upper or lower bay) just slides in place. It's not rocket science.
    If it's on the lower bay, you could just replace the 500gb or if it's on the upper bay, then you can get the lower bay cable kit from ifixit to add the SSD in. There is no need to fully disassemble the mini. Anyways this is just a suggestions.

    like I said earlier, it's worth taking a shot at your memory pressure on activity monitor and also if there is any swap used when beachballing occurs.
     
  18. gixxerfool macrumors 6502a

    gixxerfool

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    Jun 7, 2008
    #19
    I got my Ram, enclosure and SSD from Amazon for around $200 shipped.
     
  19. Fishrrman macrumors G3

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #20
    OP asked above:
    [[ Will the SSD drive need to have an external power plug or can it just run on its own with the USB?
    Also, where do you think is the best place to order my SSD? ]]


    If you buy a small 2.5" enclosure, it will run off the "USB bus power" and you don't need a power supply.

    I'd look to amazon or newegg for sourcing the drive and enclosure.

    Again, I'd recommend the Oyen enclosure I linked to in post 13 above.

    I tried one of the Inateck enclosures, and it seemed a little flaky to me -- kept mounting/dismounting/mounting/dismounting/mounting/dismounting -- on and on.
    (Aside -- I have a fried who also uses one, and he has no problems).

    For a drive, I like Crucial and Intel.
    I've seen too many reported problems of late from folks using Samsung.

    You DON'T have to buy a high-capacity SSD. Too expensive.
    I'd suggest sticking with 240gb or maybe 480gb if you feel like spending the money.

    Suggestion:
    Once you get the SSD set up to your liking, you might consider using either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper to "clone" the contents of the external SSD booter to the internal HDD at regular intervals.

    The reason for doing this is that you will then have an IMMEDIATELY BOOTABLE "second copy" of your most important stuff instantly accessible at all times.

    If for any reason you have a problem with the SSD or enclosure at some point in the future, you will not "lose everything", but you'll be able to "go right back to" the old HDD and "keep going" (at slower speeds, of course).

    However, you might still consider ANOTHER external drive (could be HDD) on which to create "an external backup" as well (which you would then keep in another area of the house, or even at a location other than the house). The idea with this is -- if you have a house fire, if somebody breaks in and steals the computer -- you will still have a backup you can use to get re-established with a replacement Mac...
     
  20. Jim L thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2011
    Location:
    The Piedmont, NC
    #21
    Ordered my SSD!

    Thanks everyone for their input here!

    First off, I looked at the current drive usage and free space. Only 54 GB out of 500 GB was used, so capacity is not a problem but it is just the slowness of the spinning 5400 rpm HD.

    I ordered the Samsung 850 EVO 250 GB SSD from Amazon and it should be here Friday. :)

    I did not order the enclosure since I plan to first try to put it inside my mac Mini. I already have a complete set of TORX screwdrivers and spudgers from my past surgeries on my iMac. (It was an ordeal because I had to replace the cable that required removing the main logic board.)

    I also have a licensed copy of SuperDuper to clone the old drive and I have a SATA-to-USB cable so I can clone it externally.

    The only thing I don't know at this point is whether my original HD is in the UPPER or LOWER bay. (I google all the how to videos and info. I checked in Disk Utility and clicked on the physical disk icon and it did not show Upper or Lower bay in at the bottom of the screen.) I guess I'll be able to tell once I open it up?? :confused:

    Is there a possibility my Mini could have the HD in the UPPER bay which is the difficult one? I don't want to remove the main logic board. I bought this Mini at Best buy, if that makes a difference.
     
  21. jbarley macrumors 68030

    jbarley

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2006
    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    #22
    Try checking in"About This Mac" under "Hardware -> Sata".
    This is what I see...
     

    Attached Files:

  22. Jim L thread starter macrumors regular

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    #23
    Thanks so much man!

    I went into that and mine said LOWER! :)
     
  23. illusionx macrumors 6502

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    Jul 4, 2014
    Location:
    Brossard, QC
    #24
    Congrats, your drive swap will be as simple ad taking the bottom cover out, remove the grill, unplug the antenna and the drive out.
     
  24. jev425 macrumors 6502

    jev425

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2014
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington
    #25
    I have been debating installing a ssd inside my mac mini. Now that I see this I want to go the external ssd route. So that I am not confused I can buy an ssd, put it in a external case, plug it into usb/thunderbolt, and run it as the "startup" drive with the mac os on it just like if it were installed inside of the mac mini?
     

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