Save Money & Upgrade My Late 2009 Mac Mini?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by yakabod, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. yakabod macrumors newbie

    Oct 3, 2010
    I been using my MBPro as my daily use. For business purposes, I would like to use my Late 2009 Mac Mini. I would utilize this for web design, graphic design and possibly video editing for Youtube.

    Since I upgraded the iOS to Mavericks, I noticed my Apps taking forever to load. Doesn't matter if it was TextEdit, it wouldn't be an instant open like it used to be. Even if i utilized the App "Cleanmymac 2" or try to open only 1 app (with nothing else in the background), it stills takes a while to load.

    I almost pulled the trigger on using my BestBuy Credit Card to buy myself a 27" iMac. But after thinking it over, I don't need to spend that much and put myself in debt even more. So after doing some research, I figured that I should just upgrade my Mac Mini.

    ***This Mac Mini has only 2GB of Memory. Specifications say only a max of 4GB, but i read that people are maxing out on 8GB. Would you guys recommend this? If so, Exactly what kind of Memory should I buy?

    ***What is this SSD or Flash you guys speak of (sorry for the noob question)? Would I benefit in upgrading this too?

    ***Display Monitor - I am using a LG L226W. I want something bigger, but affordable and worth it. What would you guys recommend?

    Sorry for the long post!
  2. yakabod thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 3, 2010
    After reading a couple posts, I'm guessing the SSD is the Harddrive of the Mac Mini?
  3. Micky Do, Jan 8, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2014

    Micky Do macrumors 68000

    Micky Do

    Aug 31, 2012
    An island in the Andaman Sea.
    Probably where your problem is. My base model daly 2009 Mini came with just 1 GB of RAM. Things started to get quite slow 18 moths ago. I asked a shop to install 4GB, which they did along side the original 1 GB. Since then it has been running just fine.

    SSD….. Sold State Drive. Faster and more reliable in the long run than a HDD (Hard Disc Drive). SSD is more expensive, but the price differential is closing. Probably worth a look. I don't have an SSD installed in my Mini, but probably will if the HDD fails, if not before.

    Monitor….. why not just go down to a shop and check some out? Choose whatever takes your fancy and fits your budget.
  4. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    You can use 1333Mhz Ram for the mini, SO-DIMM DDR3.
    It was mentioned to be used with 1066Mhz, but in 4GB modules that can be hard to find or expensive. 1333 works great too.
    Brands like OWC, Crucial have Mac series that are almost same money as generic stuff.
    You can mount an SSD, but you can also consider a hybrid like Seagate Momentus XT drives. That one is 1TB with 8GB SSD. The Mini has Sata 3Gb/s, so most modern full SSD's are a bit overkill for it.
    Myself I mounted a cheap 750GB Scorpio Black. It is a lot faster drive than the default 5400rpm Apple/Hitachi ones. Booting came down to 20 seconds, which is nice for a HD.
  5. Jambalaya, Jan 9, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2014

    Jambalaya macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2013
    I was in exactly the same position, late 2009 Mini base spec with 2gb and 160gb hdd which was full and the machine ran but very slowly.

    I put in 8GB ram and 750hdd running at 7200rpm (so faster than more typical 5400rpm) and the machine has been transformed. SSD will be even better than a hard drive but is much more expensive (SSD is sold state so no moving parts so much faster).

    I would say your first upgrade is to the RAM, go straight for 8gb. I bought mine online (Corsair 1066MHz 2x4gb sticks was easy to find) and followed online how-to-guides (e.g. OWS, iFixit). There are many threads here about which RAM and how to. I started one, I'll dig it out for you.

    The Harddive/SSD upgrade is a bit more complex as you must rebuild the drive, make sure you have a good back up etc. How full is your current drive, if you have 20% plus empty then you don't need to upgrade.

    I bought a Western Digital Scorpio Black drive as recommend on here (and used by posters above), its 750gb and 7200rpm. If you do a hard drive upgrade you need to something like the following
    1) make a backup
    2) buy an external housing (cheap) and format your new drive in the external housing
    3) clone your existing drive onto the new drive
    4) put the new drive into the machine and I suggest the old one into the external casing
    5) when all is running ok you can reformat the original drive and use it as an external drive/backup in the external housing.

    I did RAM and HDD myself, you can of course pay someone to do it for you, the RAM is quite straight forward, the HD less so. The hardest part of doing the RAM was opening the mini case !

    A late 2009 Mini with say 8GB ram and a 256 SSD will run very sweetly indeed.

    As for monitor I have a 22inch (?) Samsung HD monitor (has HDMI and normal computer input) - these days for $125 you can get a nice 27 inch monitor I think. Note I also have a mini-display out to HDMI connector as my Mini splits it's time being connected to monitor and large flatscreen tv

    EDIT Here is my thread from June 2013 asking exactly the same questions
  6. Jambalaya macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2013
    A quick followup based on @blanka's post above.

    I do believe the 1333 MHz RAM will work too, if it's cheaper than 1066(7)MHz then use that, no point paying more in my opinion.

    If you are really budget conscious you can put one 4GB 1066 stick in (so you'll have 5GB = 1 + 4) but I would strongly suggest you go for 8 = 4 + 4 as the machine will run better and mismatched RAM sticks (there are two in the computer) can give you problems.

    I want a nice new 27 iMac and was drooling over one at the Apple store yesterday but I don't need one and neither do you :cool:

    Good luck.
  7. Jambalaya macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2013
    Do you really need to start a whole new thread to ask the memory question ? Yes that's a OK price/offer, how many more $'s are you trying to save ? I personally wouldn't buy from Amazon as suggested on your new thread for a variety of reasons mainly tax avoidance and poor employee work conditions but that's your choice.
  8. Micky Do macrumors 68000

    Micky Do

    Aug 31, 2012
    An island in the Andaman Sea.
    No problems evident with my mismatched pair.
  9. Delmar macrumors 6502

    May 10, 2012
    I have a Early 2009 Mac Mini, it's used as our media server, is our file sever for all of our MBA's, iPhones, iPad, my wives work issued MacBook Pro & does all the MakeMKV & Handbrake work.

    I upgraded the ram from 2GB to 8GB after I upgraded to OSX 10.9. It's still running the OEM 5400RPM HDD, the 8GB ram upgrade made a significant difference. This is the ram I used well worth the few bucks extra to go with 8GB instead of half assing it & installing 4GB (with the 8GB ram it always has ram to spare). In the next couple weeks I will be installing a SSD to replace the OEM HDD, once again well worth the extra cash over a outdated spinning HDD.

    Our Mini is good to go for many more years or until the wheels fall off & we're forced to purchase a new one. I say keep your 2009 Mini, spend a few pesos upgrading it & use it until she dies.

Share This Page