New Base Mini Spinning Beach Ball

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by bgro, Feb 2, 2012.

  1. bgro macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2010
    Location:
    South Florida
    #1
    Hi All,

    I recently traded my 2008 Macbook Core 2 Duo for a 2011 Base Mini.

    I have been terribly unimpressed by the performance of my Mini compared to my Macbook. I haven't upgraded the RAM yet so I'm hoping there is still hope.

    But basically, I will have all programs shut down and open up a Safari window and get the spinning beach ball by just trying to open one page. Forget about opening up more than one program at a time (say Safari and iPhoto).

    Is the 2GB of RAM really my bottleneck? The Mini just seems all around slower than my 4 year old Macbook (Core 2 Duo 2.13 GHZ 4 GB RAM).
     
  2. philipma1957, Feb 2, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2012

    philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #2
    hard to answer but lion likes ram.


    the base mini uses 288mb of the 2gb ram for graphics 1.7gb is left over.

    the base mini uses 384gb of 4gb ram for graphics 3.6 gb is left over.


    the base mini uses 512gb of 8gb ram for graphics 7.5gb is left over.



    as you can see 2gb ram has less head room due to graphics.


    safari uses 100mb to 200mb with not much windows open. some pages will use a lot more. Also I know that lion

    10.7 need to be upgraded to at least lion 10.7.2


    safari has a ram hole in the early version of lion. besides 8gb ram is dirt cheap amazon has good ram for 40 bucks.



    http://www.amazon.com/Crucial-204-p...JQQI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1328236606&sr=8-2
     
  3. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #3
    Launch Activity Monitor and change "My Processes" at the top to "All Processes", then click on the CPU column heading once or twice, so the arrow points downward (highest values on top). Then look to see what may be consuming system resources.
     
  4. bgro thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 6, 2010
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    South Florida
    #4
    My system is 91% idle (even as I type this I got the spinning beach ball). I noticed that the page was not fully loaded tho (got the refresh button spinning in the browser bar of Safari). Memory is mostly being taken up by something called "Kernel Task" user: root. The next biggest memory hog is iTunes. Still though I have over 450MB of RAM free and my performance is still crap.

    Is it possible something's wrong or am just expecting too much out of the Mini? Can't see that being the case though as the performance is seriously worse than my 4 year old Macbook. Maybe I'll buy the 8GB of RAM and see if it fixes the issue. At worst, I'll use the RAM in the iMac that I trade this Mini in for (if the RAM is the same)
     
  5. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #5
    That's Mac OS X.
    No, you're not expecting too much from the mini. You simply need to diagnose what's impacting performance. Some of these may help:

    Performance Tips For Mac OS X
     
  6. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #6
    if you have left over ram of 450mb and spin the beachball Something is wrong.

    Was the machine new when purchased?

    are you on lion 10.7.2?
     
  7. bgro thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2010
    Location:
    South Florida
    #7
    Yes the machine was brand new purchased last Sunday and running 10.7.2. I noticed slowness basically immediately.

    ----------

    Thank you I will check out these tips. Going to get the 8GB of RAM and if it doesn't improve performance or the tips don't help I'm just gonna bite the bullet and get the iMac. Very disappointed right now.
     
  8. visim91 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
    #8
    Quick question: when you say "trade in", what do you mean exactly? Was this at an Apple Store?
     
  9. b-rad g macrumors 6502a

    b-rad g

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2010
    #9
    You need to find out what's causing the beachball before you just throw 8gb in there to cover up a problem. It should have no problem at all running on 2gb unless your running RAM heavy apps. I have 2gb in my 2010 Air and I rarely reach the full 2gb. Even right now I have Safari, Mail, iCal and iTunes running and have over 500mb left over.
     
  10. CoolmaxMini macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2012
    #10
    I also have the Mac Mini Core i5 2.3Ghz and it is FAST; a lot faster than my Core 2 Duo 2.4Ghz 4Gb RAM with Seagate Momentus XT hybrid ONLY after I upgraded the memory to 8Gb and swapped the internal slow 5400RPM Toshiba drive with a pair of OCZ SandForce 6G SSD. Lion needs at least 4Gb, 8Gb is the best for performance wise if you're doing anything graphics. Then upgrade your hard drive to 7200RPM like a Seagate Momentus XT or put in a SSD and then the Mini will really really fly! I use the Mini for HD video editing work cause it was getting real slow on the my Macbook and my ex Quad G5 which I had prior to the Mini.
     
  11. Yamcha macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2008
    #11
    I'm 99% sure that it's memory related, I had a similar experience when I first bought the 2011 Mac Mini.. I would get beach balls quite a bit as I was running out of memory..

    You have to remember that It's sharing some memory with the Intel HD 3000 Integrated GPU.. Anyway I upgraded the memory and voila everything works amazingly and fast =D

    But just to be sure you should also run Geekbench to make sure It's not a different issue.. Make sure not to buy memory from Apple.. I'd recommend NCIX.com they have great prices.. You should be able to get 4GB for $20 or less (CAD)
     
  12. frank4 macrumors regular

    frank4

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2011
    #12
    I have the base mini and with 2 GB only very occasionally had the spinning beach ball just a couple of seconds at a time.

    If it's a problem with insufficient ram you will see lots of page outs in the Activity Monitor "System Memory" tab at the time of the beach ball.

    I put in 8 GB because it was very reasonably priced and the page outs are gone but actually with 2 GB it wasn't bad at all, as long as not too many programs running at once.

    I'm surprised at how much ram Lion and Safari will grab up and it seems reluctant to free it, rebooting occasionally will reset things for a few days.
     
  13. stardustsa2011 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2011
    #13
    I purchased the base mac mini last week and have exactly the same problem.. Very disappointed as in all my years of owning mac products I have never seen such a slow machine (yes I know it's the base model but a £500 piece of kit in this day and age should not beach ball with mail, safari and a few other basic programs open)..

    I have ordered the 8gb ram so hopefully that will do the trick.

    I am just worried as a previous poster mentioned I may be covering up an underlying problem.

    I have a base MacBook air 11" 2010 (upgraded to lion) model with a dual core and 2gb ram which performs a lot better.

    The main reason for getting a mac mini was to take some burden of the MacBook air and perform more intensive web design. All I could afford was the mini but if I had known I would have held out for another six months and raised more cash for something better.
     
  14. bgro thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 6, 2010
    Location:
    South Florida
    #14
    Actually traded it in to Best Buy. They have a trade in program and I got $573 for my 4 year old Macbook (not Pro). Thought it was a really good deal and nice and easy although I probably would've gotten a little more selling privately. Still though I think I paid like 1k for it so I'll take 60% of my purchase price 4 years later especially on a laptop.

    ----------

    I also just ordered 8GB of RAM and am really hoping it will solve the problem. It's hard to compare against my Core2Duo Macbook because that was running Lion with 4 GB of RAM (still had beach balls on that but not nearly as much and could deal with them because it was an older machine). But once I put in the 8GB if I even get one beach ball when running Safari or opening Aperture or Garageband the Mini is going back for sure. I'm already considering returning it this weekend and getting a quad core iMac but am trying to patiently wait for the RAM and hope the performance improves.
     
  15. pdafan macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2011
    #15
    Not to worry about. You won't be disappointed with your purchase.
    I had a base mini with 2gb before so I can fully understand what you are saying.
    With 8gb now, all I can say is I am very satisfied with it.
     
  16. vengasuk, Feb 4, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2012

    vengasuk macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2012
    Location:
    Larnaca,Cyprus & Grimsby,UK
    #16
    If you get a beachball with the extra ram, then i believe it must be a faulty HDD with bad sectors on it. I encountered freezing up when someone handed me their Windows machine to repair & it turned out to be that. Perhaps the beachball thing is Macs way of telling you HDD faliure. I dont believe a 2011 Mac Mini should be doing beach balls that often. My 2010 17" Macbook Pro was doing it a few times a week until i put in an SSD. I dont think much to these cheap Hitachi HDDs apple are using. Dont know what is inside the mini though.
     
  17. eutexian macrumors regular

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    Jan 6, 2012
    Location:
    Mapperley, Nottingham UK
    #17
    My base mini has a Hitachi Travelstar 5K750 inside.
     
  18. stardustsa2012 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2011
    #18
    Well my Ram arrived this morning and i have gone from 2gb to 8gb and all is no well (so far fingers crosses and all that)..

    I Know it's not rocket science - 2gb is fairly low with Lion for the base, but it is a shame for Mac newbies who for example decide to move away from Windows, purchase their first mac (not wanting to break the bank - so get the base mini).. and IMO a slow computer as soon as you do anything exciting on it,! I think for an introductury machine Apple could have spent another £20 and upped the Ram a bit :)
     
  19. CoolmaxMini macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2012
    #19
    Lion still needs 8Gb of ram to work well, but in your case the Air's SSD acts as your virtual Ram (page in/out), so there's little lag. I can assure you that once the Air's SSD is filled up full, you will get the same beach ball. The reason the mini gets it is because the hard drive used on the mini is slower than SSD, so virtual memory performance is also slow.

    Now, I have my 2011 Mini souped up with 8Gb of ram and 2 SSD drives in internal bays. Everything is FAST!
     
  20. sazivad macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2011
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #20
    Well, with the following specs, I am having none of the issues that you are describing. Granted, I have all-Flash memory, but... IDK.

    (This probably doesn't help at all... sorry :D)
     

    Attached Files:

  21. bgro thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2010
    Location:
    South Florida
    #21
    Just wanted to update this thread with results after upgrading my RAM to 8GB.

    Night and day.

    No beach balls, fast, responsive. Just a world of difference.

    Anyone who is slightly disappointed with their base Mini's performance out of the box....UPGRADE to 8GB RAM. It's easy to install, cheap (~$40 on Amazon) and dramatically changes the performance.

    Thanks. for the help/suggestions.
     
  22. Dentifrice macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2008
    #22
    thanks for your comment

    just bought a base mac mini yesterday and same problem as you. My ram should arrive on monday so I think this was a good choice
     
  23. Darien Red Sox macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2010
    Location:
    CT, USA
    #23
    You can also get an add in such as AddBlock Pro. I have been running it on Firefox and it is amazing how much performance is improved. Firefox's memory usage dropped by over 300MB.

    ----------

    Upgraded from 4 to 8 on my mid2009 MacBook Pro about a year ago, it made a HUGE difference, going from 2 to 8 must be even more amazing. I have noticed that 16GB kits keep on coming down (~250 now) in price, my next Mac might be a mini with 16GB RAM and a SSD as the boot drive.
     
  24. Walt449 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2012
    #24
    Mid 2011 Mac Mini is Slow Slow Slow

    If there is one thing i cant stand with computers, it's lag, so imagine jumping on the Mac Mini band-wagon after 20+ years with a PC . Initially, the 2GB of ram was just fine. Then the beach ball appeared so I upgraded to 4GB. Performance improved initially, then, yep - beach ball!

    Called Apple tech support and they guided me through "Permissions." It lasted about a week. Called ATS again and was basically told to delete programs I'm not using to free up memory. Right. So I use itunes with about 300 apps, 1100 photos & 1GB of music on a 500 Gig HDD spinning at 5400rpm, shared across 3 devices (iphone, itouch, ipad2). Primarily used to surf the web. A lot. Touching on 120hrs per week.

    At 8GB I was getting the beach ball effect and just today, I upgraded to 16GB of ram and the first thing it did, before anything else, was the beach ball.
    To say that I am terribly unimpressed with this POS would be an understatement. I am open to suggestions on improving performance before I dump it and go back to a PC.
     
  25. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #25
    You got some very bad advice from Apple tech support. First, repairing permissions only affects very specific situations, and is not a performance enhancer or a "cure all". Also, deleting apps to free up memory is ridiculous. Deleting apps only frees up drive space, which won't have any effect on performance, unless you're almost out of free drive space. It doesn't matter what you have installed or stored on your Mac; it matters what you have running.
    This is a good place to start: Performance Tips For Mac OS X
     

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