Should I upgrade

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by mdehoogh, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. mdehoogh macrumors member

    Oct 30, 2012
    Just got a Late-2009 Mini, 2.26GHz Core2Duo, 2GB RAM and 160GB HDD for $100.

    I'm debating whether to leave it alone, or replace the hard disk with an SSD and upgrade the RAM to 4 or 8GB. Would it be noticeably faster if I did? I'm concerned that the processor might be the 'weak link' that slows it down, in which case the upgrades might not accomplish anything.

    Additionally, it has 10.6.8 but I think I can upgrade to Mountain Lion or Mavericks once it's released. Does anyone know if it will be possible to go straight from Snow Leopard to Mavericks? I know it's possible with Mountain Lion, but since 10.9 is right around the corner, it seems like a waste to pay $20 for ML, then another $20 for Mavericks
  2. spacedcadet macrumors regular

    Mar 5, 2009
    RAM to 8GB

    2GB RAM is not enough to do anything.
  3. MJL macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2011
    For windows I get away with 4 Gb but for OS X I find 4 Gb a bit sluggish and suspect 8Gb should be fine. Some performance increases are reported for Maverick but at the same time memory usage has increased as well.

    I do not think that the CPU is a great handicap - first get some memory and see what happens. Even just getting 4 Gb (secondhand - I do not seem to be able to give it away locally) should make a marked difference. If that looks fine then get a 128 Gb SSD - you can always later on put it in an external USB 3 enclosure when you decide to go to a later Mac mini and prices have come down enough to make it a worthwhile move. Gosh, I remember paying 500.- for a 400 Mb HDD, how things have changed.
  4. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    What do you use it for: that is the most important question to answer.
    As media center it is all you need, and in that case you're better of with a 7200rpm 750-1000Gb HD that costs close to nothing and a bump in RAM. I have the same machine and it was a world of difference when I put in the left-over RAM of my MacMini 2011 (4GB 1333mhz) and a 7200rpm scorpio black 750Gb. It boots twice as fast and feels a lot snappier overall.
  5. Micky Do macrumors 68000

    Micky Do

    Aug 31, 2012
    An island in the Andaman Sea.
    Pop 4 GB of RAM in along side the 2 GB, and it will be good to go for Mountain Lion (which requires a minimum of 4 GB). It should be good for Mavericks too.

    I installed 4 GB along side the 1GB in my base model 2009, along with Mountain Lion. It was like getting a new computer.

    It could be time to look at replacing the HDD, which will be 4 years old by now. The SSD could be a good option. Whatever, you have a computer that should be good for Mavericks, and a few more years yet.
  6. mdehoogh thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 30, 2012
    I bought it with the intent to use it as a media center computer, but after using it some, I might start using it as my main computer, and use my current Windows 8 desktop as the media center instead.

    I think I'll definitely upgrade the RAM, but you made it sound like I could add to the existing 2GB though, I assumed there were two 1GB sticks in which case I would have to replace them with new ones. Not sure what I'll do with the HD yet, I'd really like to replace with a small SSD.

    MJL, if you have spare RAM lying around, I'll happily accept donations :D
  7. mdehoogh thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 30, 2012
    Just picked up an 8GB RAM kit for $59 which seems to be the cheapest I've found, locally or online.

    Now for the SSD, I'm trying to keep it under $50-75 which seems to greatly reduce the available options. I found two different drives, a Sandisk 64GB for $55, or an Intel 530 60GB for $59 (links below). Intel appears to have a reputation for reliability, especially with their 320 line, but I saw some reports of a BSOD glitch on windows machines with some of their newer stuff. I'm still searching/reading but figured I'd ask for your opinions between these two drives.


  8. MJL, Aug 24, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2013

    MJL macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2011

    Take a look at the new Toshiba SSD's, I am fond of them. New ones on Amazon hover around the US$ 100 for 128 Gb. (I this moment have a new Toshiba as well as a Samsung 830, have had two Intel X25M-G2 80Gb, Intel 320, a couple pulled Toshiba's). I had some issues with the Intel 320 and I have read about some issues installing on some other non Apple SSD's (not limited to Intel, Samsung, Crucial amongst others) The Samsung every now and then seems to "hesitate" for a second or two before carrying on, never experience that with the early Intel X25M or the any of the three Toshiba's (fourth on the way - it is a pulled new one from an Apple MacBook Pro, SATA II 32nm 128Gb and I got it for USD 90. The advantage of a pulled Apple is that it does not need a third party "trim enabler".

    Perhaps best to hunt on eBait for a local seller that is selling one of these pulled SSD from a MacBook Pro.

    Unfortunately the only spare memory I have (and not even can give away) are two 1 Gb sticks that came out of a 2010 Mac mini. When just the 4 Gb came round I tried to sell them on the local auction website but could not even get $ 0.50 + postage for them - had it up for a long time.

    PS I believe Sandisk works together with Toshiba, you may want to investigate that.
  9. corvus32 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 4, 2009
    This one seems like a better deal.

    I've had the 180GB version for over a year, and it's been excellent.
  10. narutoninjakid macrumors 6502

    Dec 6, 2012
    New Jersey
    Yes you should upgrade that's pushing it if you really want some performance
  11. mdehoogh thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 30, 2012
    Yeah, I saw the 120GB but it says unavailable online and when I checked store availability, it's unavailable at the stores near me :(

    MJL, thanks for the advice, I don't think I've seen toshiba drives anywhere, but I didn't think to check for used OEM drives.

    You mentioned trim enabler, and I've see mention of trim elsewhere. Care to explain what that is? Do you know anything about hibernate mode regarding SSD? I've seen comments about disabling it, and other comments that say disabling isn't necessary

    There is quite a lot of information regarding SSDs and I'm trying to absorb as much as I can in order to make a good decision.
  12. MJL macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2011
    SSD's keep some internal record of where data is. If the OS "delete's" data then it is only marked as "no longer in use" but the cells holding the data on the SSD's are still filled. These have to be reset to "null" before they can be filled with data again.

    Depending on manufacturer there are different mechanisms to clear this data but if the data (which is marked as "deleted" is still there when wanting to write data it slows the SSD down. Enabling "TRIM" tells the SSD at an earlier stage that the "deleted" cells can be wiped.

    If it was not necessary then the function would not be included, it is only overhead programming it in. But enabling it is not mandatory - it just helps with longevity and with performance. It "all depends". I am using the "Chameleon enabler" (initially I did some manual editing of a file but this is much simpler).

    Try amazon for a Toshiba Q-series SSD.

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