Need help with older Mac mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by ardchoille50, Mar 29, 2016.

  1. ardchoille50, Mar 29, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2016

    ardchoille50 macrumors 68020

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    Feb 6, 2014
    #1
    I have the chance to buy a Mac Mini Mid 2010 from OWC for $399.00.
    2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor

    System Configuration:
    Memory: 4GB (2 x 2GB) PC8500 1066MHZ DDR3
    Storage: 320GB 5400RPM HDD
    Optical Drive: 8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    Video: NVIDIA GeForce 320M
    Pre-Loaded Software: Apple OS X 10.6.8

    I know Apple OS X 10.6.8 can't do Handoff and has some other restrictions. But, I'm wanting to know how well iCloud and iTunes are integrated into it. I will likely upgrade to Mountain Lion and stop there as I love the UI/theme. Mavericks lost a lot of that beauty, Yosemite and El Capitan are too "flat" for my taste and I'd rather not use any of the newer OS X versions.

    Will I still be able to sync Safari bookmarks and keychain?
    Will iCloud documents be available? Some of my iPhone apps save to iCloud and I'd like to be able to sync across this machine and my iPhone 6.

    Any other advice about this machine?

    Thank you in advance.
     
  2. Jambalaya, Mar 30, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2016

    Jambalaya macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    Firstly you can update the os to latest El Capitan. Some features like desktop mirroring/extension to Apple TV of Handoff may not work but that's due to hardware issues - my 2009 Mini won't do mirroring and never tried handoff. All the iCloud/iTunes featured will work fine. My answer is based on going to El Capitan, I appretiate what you are saying about design but I for one would always want to have the best software possible, ie the latest. I don't know whether those cloid features are supported as far back as Mountain Lion - possibly not

    I think machine will be great for you in particular if you upgrade to an ssd which is pretty easy to do. 4GB is a bit low but will work reasonably well especially with an ssd. I put a 7200rpm WD Black spinning harddrive in my Mini as at the time as 500+ ssd was expensive.
     
  3. r6mile macrumors 6502

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    London, UK
    #3
    $399 seems a bit steep for a 6 year old Mini, especially considering the new Mac Minis start at $499, don't you think?
     
  4. Jambalaya macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    This is a very good point. If the used Mini has a keyboard and mouse (I like my magic mouse very much) the price difference is wider but if the OWC is just the Mini base unit I would buy a new one and see what gift card/discounts you can find. IMHO you can get away with 4gb ram (ie base spec) especially if you upgrade to an ssd sometime (which I think you can still do easily)
     
  5. ardchoille50 thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #5
    Yes, r6mile does make a very good point. However, I would rather stick with my Linux box than move to El Capitan. I have to stare at the machine all day and I need a UI that is worth staring at.. El Capitan and Yosemite are, in my opinion, the epitome of ugly. How difficult is it to install Mountain Lion or Mavericks on a new Mac Mini?
     
  6. jpietrzak8 macrumors 6502a

    jpietrzak8

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    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    #6
    Mountain Lion should be easy, if it is still available -- I haven't checked in a while. In fact, let me check... Ok, yeah, Apple is still offering it. You can buy it off their online store (it's $20.00). Here's a link:

    http://www.apple.com/shop/product/D6377Z/A/os-x-mountain-lion

    Mavericks is more interesting. Now that Apple has gone to "free OS updates," it only offers the latest free update by default. You may need to do some fancy gymnastics (or ask someone at an Apple store) to do that.

    BTW, I should warn you that OS X continues to increase resource demands with every release. I'm writing this from a 2010 Mini myself (with El Capitan), and I've upgraded it to 8GB of RAM to continue to run multiple apps comfortably. Sticking with Mountain Lion (or below!) should make 4GB more manageable, if you're not planning on upgrading RAM any time soon.

    Another note: I'm personally a fan of the Geforce 320M integrated GPU. It isn't a gaming GPU, but I've thrown all sorts of stuff at it, and it can handle more than you might expect. Also drives dual monitors perfectly. Does a whole lot for such an old, low-end part. :)
     
  7. r6mile macrumors 6502

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    #7
    My main concern about an old Mini is not only the reliability (a 6-year old computer is more likely to fail than a new one, and as a 'vintage' Apple computer it is no longer supported), but also the C2D processor which is showing its age. In my household we own a 2010 Macbook (with the same CPU as the Mac Mini you are looking at), and a 2010 iMac (with a 3.06Ghz i3 CPU), both with an SSD, and even for things like watching Youtube videos the difference is quite noticeable. The 2010 iMac feels about as speedy as my 2013 MBA, which has an i5.
     
  8. jpietrzak8 macrumors 6502a

    jpietrzak8

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    #8
    Then again, I've got a 2007 Mini running as my home theater PC, as well as doing some light file serving. Stays on doing its job almost 24/7. Say what you will, Apple's hardware does tend to last. :)

    Okayyy... First, you do know that an SSD is a data storage device, right? It has absolutely no impact on the speed of Youtube video. :)

    I should ask, have you checked the RAM usage in the Macbook? It's easy to do, using the Activity Monitor (found inside the Utilities folder in the Applications directory). If you see a lot of compressed data, that might have an effect on performance. If you see a lot of swap used, that will definitely have an effect on performance.

    Also, Youtube has been changing the video codec it uses over the years (their latest is "VP9"). Which means, the problem is not the C2D CPU per se, but rather that the GPU doesn't provide hardware acceleration for recent codecs. If you want to run Youtube video cleanly (at least at high resolutions), you'll want to ensure that the CPU isn't busy doing other work.

    (I certainly have no trouble running 1080p Youtube video on my 2010 Mini...)
     
  9. ardchoille50 thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #9
    I don't use video or music on my computers, I see them as a waste of resources. Just web surfing, email and iTunes usage with my iPhone.
    --- Post Merged, Mar 30, 2016 ---
    Yeah, I knew Apple hardware will last quite a while. Thanks for that.
     
  10. Jambalaya macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    Understood ard .. for the keychain and other iCloud features like Safari history/bookmark sharing you'll have to check what was included in each release. I can't remember.
     
  11. ardchoille50 thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Feb 6, 2014
    #11
    ok, will check them out. It's just that OS X version before Yosemite are just plain beautiful.. that beauty is what attracted me to buy a Mac. If Flavours happens to become compatible with El Capitan then I'll buy the software and create a theme that mimics the older UI theme.
     
  12. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

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    Sep 21, 2010
    #12
    Mountain Lion will not run on a 2014 Mac Mini at all. Mavericks will install, but you will need to make a Mavericks USB installer first. Hopefully you have downloaded the Mavericks installer at some point from the App Store when it was still available.

    A brand new Mac Mini can be had from an Apple Authorized Reseller for $450, just $50 more than OWC is selling that 6 year old one.

    If you can wait a while, there will probably be a new Mac Mini in the Fall (no guarantees), and the price of the 2014 Mac Mini should fall, or you can opt for the new one. But a 2016 MM might not run Mavericks.
     
  13. jpietrzak8 macrumors 6502a

    jpietrzak8

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    #13
    Ah, right! I was thinking we were still talking about the 2010 Mini, not a new Mini. :)
     
  14. ardchoille50 thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #14
    I'm guessing that few people actually read the entire OP. Hopefully I fixed it.
     
  15. ActionableMango, Mar 30, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2016

    ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

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    #15
    Might I suggest an alternative? A 2012 Mac Mini is considered by many to be the best year. It is the only year with both USB 3.0 and upgradable memory slots. The CPU for base model 2012 is just as fast as the base 2014.

    It's the last year offering quad-core i7, the last year with Firewire, and the last year that can accept two 2.5" internal drives.

    More importantly for you, it's also the last year that still runs Mountain Lion (10.8.3 or newer only, it won't run older builds).
     
  16. CUDA_Switch macrumors newbie

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    Jul 23, 2015
    #16
    My in-laws have that machine and it ran fine on ML. But I absolutely can't justify that $399 price tag, especially when you factor in the cost of potentially upgrading either the memory or the hard drive (or both). If you have your heart set on hunting the last big cat, shop around for a 2011 Mini instead which would be a big upgrade processor-wise. You could probably find one for that same price, maybe even with some upgrades thrown in.
     
  17. jpietrzak8 macrumors 6502a

    jpietrzak8

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    #17
    Ok, a counter-counter argument from me. Yes, the 2011 Mini does have a superior CPU (and, in fact, both the 2011 and 2012 Minis had quad-core i7 options available). Both have easily-upgradeable RAM (just like the 2010 did), and the 2012 features USB3.

    Before we go any further on that front, can I ask, what does the OP actually want to do with their computer? If they are only using the machine for web surfing, email, and docking to their iPhone (as seems the case above), I don't see that the 2011 or 2012 editions of the Mini are superior in any significant way to the 2010. And 4GB of RAM should be adequate for these tasks, especially if the OP is going to stick with an earlier build of OS X...
     
  18. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

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    Sep 21, 2010
    #18
    You are absolutely right about the 2010, if indeed that's the use case.

    But I think we are all in agreement that a 2010 for $399 is not right! :eek:
     
  19. jpietrzak8 macrumors 6502a

    jpietrzak8

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    #19
    I think that until Apple releases an actual upgrade for the Mac Mini, something we haven't seen for four long years now, older Minis of all stripes are going to continue to be highly sought after, and therefore highly expensive. :) I just took a look at the Other World Computing site, and they've got a couple of quad-core i7 2012 Minis being offered right now at about $1200 each. Almost original list price. And I'm betting they'll go fast...
     
  20. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

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    #20

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