New Mini Quad Running Extremely Slow

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by newellj, Nov 17, 2014.

  1. newellj macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2014
    Location:
    Boston, MA, US
    #1
    This is a new Mini 6,2 (2.3gHz, 4gb, 1TB, Yosemite). It has been running extremely slowly. Over the weekend I erased the disk and did a fresh install of Yosemite and my apps.

    It still runs extremely slowly. Almost any action, even switching apps, provokes at least moderate pinwheeling, sometimes extended (20-60 seconds) of pinwheeling, even with almost nothing open. Memory pressure shows low teens, CPU utilization extremely low. I have experience with Yosemite on my rMBP and have given it enough time that any indexing it needed to do should be long since completed.

    Suggestions welcome. Is it possible that there's some hardware issue? Thanks for any thoughts.
     
  2. Occamsrazr macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2012
    #2
    Don't worry - you have a two year old quad-core which just got a perceived speed bump by virtue of Apple releasing dual core 2014 minis.

    Any lack of performance is in your head and those bad thoughts should be suppressed immediately... and certainly not shared publicly!
     
  3. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2014
    Location:
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    #4
    Check the smart status on your HD. If nothing shows try zeroing it out (secure erase) then reinstalling. Keep in mind though that it is going to be slower in IO than you rMBP.
     
  4. newellj thread starter macrumors 601

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    Oct 15, 2014
    Location:
    Boston, MA, US
    #5
    I'll check the HDD. Here's the thing: I've got a 2007 Dell M1330 with a slower dual core CPU, 4gb of RAM and a 1TB HDD running Windows 8.1, and it runs circles around the Mini. Something's not right...
     
  5. NeilHD macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2014
    #6
    Could be Spotlight indexing?

    I've got the same machine but added 16Gb and a SSD as a boot drive. Seems pretty snappy so you could try an upgrade, but I wouldn't expect massive slowness from a new install even on 4GB and a spinner.
     
  6. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Location:
    USA (Virginia)
    #7
    I recently got the same machine but mine's running Mavericks (that's what came on it).

    Something is definitely wrong! There's no way it should be behaving like your description indicates. Is it brand new? Has it always run like this?

    Although I don't have personal experience with this, I've read others' comments that a faulty or failing hard disk drive can cause symptoms like yours, even while it appears to "work," so that would be my first suspicion.

    Do Macs still come with any sort of Apple Hardware Test?

    If it's feasible to take it to an Apple store, I'd do that. (I'm assuming it's still under warranty.)

    ----------

    There's no need to upgrade this machine to get good performance!
     
  7. scottsjack macrumors 68000

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    Aug 25, 2010
    Location:
    Arizona
    #8
    Each day I get more certain that Occamsrasr is really Tim Cook.
     
  8. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #9
    Yes, one possibility is a failing drive. If you're having performance issues, this may help:
     
  9. newellj thread starter macrumors 601

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    Oct 15, 2014
    Location:
    Boston, MA, US
    #10
    I don't think it's Spotlight. I'm familiar with that from my rMBP. It should be done by now (especially since there's very little software installed and even less user data).

    I'll run some tests on the HDD. In answer to one of the questions above, it's new enough that it's still within the return period, never mind the warranty period. ;)
     
  10. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #11
    I would certainly take it to Apple while you're still in the return window. I wouldn't wast a lot of time troubleshooting. Let Apple do it.
     
  11. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #12
    I'll offer some suggestions.
    These are tweaks I have come onto after using my late 2012 Mini to experiment with Yosemite. Y is NOT my "main OS". I have it installed on an -old- external firewire400 drive with an old IDE drive inside.

    You need more memory if you're going to apply the suggestions below.
    I upgraded the RAM in my Mini to 10gb. Just swapped out the uppermost RAM board from 2gb to 8gb. Mini still does fine in spite of the "mis-matched" RAM board size.

    As lizmoo mentioned above in reply #3, an SSD would be a big help (even an externally-mounted SSD), but my solutions below seem to help with an old platter based HDD that is probably spinning at only 4,200rpm.

    OK, here we go:
    1. TURN OFF Spotlight. I used the old "Mountain Tweaks" app to do this, or you can do it with terminal.
    (Aside: I have never had any use for Spotlight, particularly the way it "mucks with" your drive. If I need to "search" for something, I use "EasyFind" -- much better. If I need to search for text within files, I use DevonThink Personal.)

    2. TURN OFF memory compression. You can do it with this terminal command:
    sudo nvram boot-args="vm_compressor=1"
    Password required and you must reboot afterwards.

    You can check whether compression is disabled by using this:
    sysctl -a vm.compressor_mode

    If you want to re-enable compressed memory, use this:
    sudo nvram -d boot-args
    Restart afterwards.

    3. TURN OFF Virtual Memory altogether.
    Others are going to jump in and say, "you can't do that!" -- and still have a stable Mac.
    With 10gb of RAM I can run anything I normally use, without problems. I will readily admit that this may not work for some who really "load up" the number of active apps, or for those who use enormous amounts of memory for photo or video processing.
    But it works for me.

    I used this command:
    sudo launchctl unload -wF /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.dynamic_pager.plist
    Password required.

    To re-enable VM, use this:
    sudo launchctl load -wF /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.dynamic_pager.plist

    While using Yosemite, from time to time (using Activity Monitor) I've noticed that "disk writes out" can go crazy. By this I mean up to 200 writes per second. I've seen this occur when using Safari only, even when the page I'm viewing is "at idle" (i.e., not doing anything that would normally require a disk write).

    I found that if I use the command to disable VM -again- (even though I may have used it previously), that it will immediately "quiet down" this behavior, and end the disk writes.

    Again, I'm only "experimenting" with Yosemite, but by doing the things listed above, it seems to run much better for me.
    If you have enough memory (10gb or 16gb, may even work ok with 8gb), these tweaks may be worth a try...
     
  12. chrfr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    #13
    These are entirely unnecessary.
    The reality is that the 5400 rpm that Apple shipped in these computers is woefully slow. Even a 2.5" 7200 rpm spinning disk offers about a 50% increase in speed over the included one, and of course an SSD is significantly faster than that.
    If the OP can afford to upgrade the disk and/or RAM, the computer gets a lot more usable. I have a mini where I too added 8GB for a total of 10GB and that made a noticeable improvement in operation even though I wasn't using that particular computer for anything that would be considered memory heavy.
     
  13. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Location:
    USA (Virginia)
    #14
    I don't mean to be antagonistic, but I think the OP is getting some questionable advice!

    Look at that description. Do we (collectively) really think he needs one or more of the upgrades and steps suggested above just to switch apps without pinwheeling? He needs to do stuff just to make it useable?

    He has twice the RAM that Apple claims is required for Yosemite. (Granted, Apple could well be overly optimistic on this, but... twice!)

    I have the same machine as the OP except (I just remembered) mine came with 8 GB RAM, and is still running the original Mavericks installation. I have the same 1 TB 5400 rpm HDD. Now, I admit the RAM can make a big difference in certain usage scenarios, and I admit I haven't done a lot (yet) with this machine, but so far I see no performance issues at all (*see caveat below) -- no pinwheeling or lagging or overly long delays. I do notice that Finder doesn't draw the file icons as quickly as my MBP w/SSD, but it is not at all unreasonable. I've installed/used Firefox, 1Password, Dropbox, a minecraft server, screen sharing, etc....

    (*As a side note, one thing I DID notice was the poor UI graphics performance running it "headless" (without a monitor attached) and screen sharing. This is a well-known issue, and most easily solved by plugging in a "dummy" monitor device (I got this at amazon for $15 and it works great -- everything is snappy again using screen sharing.)

    I really don't have any idea if the problem is software or hardware, but I claim that there's something going on that is fixable without hardware upgrades or obscure tweaks. I'd either return it or get Apple to fix it.
     
  14. newellj thread starter macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2014
    Location:
    Boston, MA, US
    #15
    I've been stewing on this and you have more or less the right answer. I've been using and working inside PCs and Macs since the original IBM PC (before the AT). I think the most likely candidates are:

    1. Disk is dying (very, very unlikely)
    2. Some sort of intermittent electrical issue (loose connector)
    3. Glitch in OS installation

    The fact that the machine isn't stressing either the CPU or RAM, heck it's barely using them, points to something one of those three to me.

    One additional fact that I didn't mention in the OP was several of the software installations, both from the Mac App Store and from optical media, had problems.
     
  15. Larry-K macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2011
    #16
    It's a 5400RPM drive, throw it in the trash (recycling) and get an SSD.

    If you're poor, get a 7200 rpm drive.
     
  16. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #17
    There's more to the story than rpm. A higher density 5400 rpm drive can be faster than a lower density 7200 rpm drive.
     
  17. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

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    Sep 24, 2014
    Location:
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    #18

    Buy something new is the bane of tech forums..

    It should switch apps without pinwheeling he should not need a SSD for that basic task. There is an issue with his drive and Apple will probably just fix it and everyone moves forward he doesn't need a SSD for basic tasks.
     
  18. Larry-K macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2011
    #19
    It can be, but that sad piece of junk in the Mini isn't.
     
  19. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    May 16, 2008
    #20
    Again, it depends on what capacity you have installed, and the capacity of the 7200 rpm drive you're comparing it to.
     
  20. Larry-K macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2011
    #21
    I'd rather put in a new drive than make a trip to the Genius Bar, but that's just me, and I immediately replace drives anytime I buy a computer.

    That's why I buy base configurations, I going to dispose of the RAM and HD anyway.

    ----------

    If you can find anything slower, I'd be amazed.

    A $60 WD 750 runs rings around the stock 5400s.
     
  21. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #22
    Exactly. Different capacities, like I said.

    7200RPM vs 5400RPM
     
  22. Larry-K macrumors 68000

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    Jun 28, 2011
    #23
    I assumed you knew that, and capacity would not typically be a synonym for drive speed.
     
  23. newellj thread starter macrumors 601

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    Oct 15, 2014
    Location:
    Boston, MA, US
    #24
    Thinking out loud has been useful (I hope).

    I'll run HD and system diagnostics and see what comes back.

    If that's inconclusive I may stick a spare HDD that's known to be good in, reinstall and see what happens.

    Thanks all
     
  24. P00t macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2012
    Location:
    Nottingham UK
    #25
    Try out DriveDX to see if there's any problems with your HD, I remember having other Mac Mini's with poor quality drives, one with noise, one was pretty much like yours.

    I had a terrible experience with Yosemite on my 2012 Dual Mac Mini, it was slow and laggy and frustrating, so I went back to Mavericks.

    Maybe it's some bugs they need to fix or it needs an SSD to boost things up.

    Can't wait to get an SSD in mine to be honest, I hate moving drives now.
     

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