Sick to death of Mac Minis

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Dreamkatcha, Nov 20, 2008.

  1. Dreamkatcha macrumors regular

    Dreamkatcha

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Manchester, England
    #1
    I'm now on my second one since 2005. The first one self destructed after a couple of years of unspectacular, bog-standard media centre use (no over-clocking or 3D gaming).

    Just recently my Intel Mac Mini (purchased in July 2007) started squeaking intermittantly so I did my research and concluded that the hard drive was on its last legs.

    I replaced that tonight with an SSD OCZ 64gb Core series SATAII drive, booted OS X from the DVD install disk and the damn thing won't let me format the drive. It can see it, but says I don't have permission to do anything with it and then says it's too small to create any partitions (it thinks it has a capacity of 0kb). Every option which might be useful is greyed out to complicate things further.

    To top it all off my Mini is still squeaking as it did before which suggests that the problem wasn't the hard drive at all, but the fan seeing as there are no other moving components in these systems.

    Any idea where I go from here? I'd really like to get this drive installed now that I've taken the plunge and paid four times more than an ordinary drive twice its capacity would cost.

    I'm really annoyed at Apple in general at the moment considering what a lousy job they do of regulating the temperature in these systems. You know, they're not quiet because they run cool, they're quiet because the fan doesn't spin up as you perform more intensive tasks as it's supposed to, all the while shortening the Mini's lifespan without you realising. This doesn't hit home until you run a fan speed regulating utility that does this job properly.

    Edit: oh how could I forget - my Superdrive isn't quite so super any more now that it can only read disks. It's barely had any use and now that seems to be defunct too.
     
  2. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Location:
    Britain
    #2
    Always buy AppleCare :)

    Sorry to hear your having issues. From what I have seen, because Minis are always using tried and tested technology, they are by far the most stable of the lot.

    As for the formatting, what exactly are you doing? Are you in Disk Utility in the OS X installer? Are you trying to format the partition and not the drive?
     
  3. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Location:
    Yahooville S.C.
    #3
    Apple is sick of them too, thats why they refuse to update them.:mad::mad:
     
  4. Dreamkatcha thread starter macrumors regular

    Dreamkatcha

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Manchester, England
    #4
    Yes, I'm using Disk Utility within the installer - to cause maximum annoyance the installer wouldn't even let me eject the DVD so I could try iPartition instead. I had to swap the hard drives back just to get the disk out!

    Out of the box the new hard drive has no partitions so you can only choose to format the drive itself.

    Why I ever bought something you have to open with a putty knife I don't know. Are Apple taking the proverbial or what?
     
  5. m1stake macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Location:
    Philly
    #5
    A crappy super drive and apparently not dead hard drive do not add up to $150. Cheaper to do it yourself.
     
  6. theLimit macrumors 6502a

    theLimit

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2007
    Location:
    up tha holler, acrost tha crick
    #6
    Considering a SuperDrive is around $100, I think AppleCare for the mini is a decent deal. Who knows what else will go wrong in the next two years?

    As for the SSD drive, the mini platform is currently so old that it likely doesn't support them.
     
  7. M. Poirot macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    #7
    Mac mini doesn't support solid state drives. Needs to be a good old fashioned spinning plate.
     
  8. Dreamkatcha thread starter macrumors regular

    Dreamkatcha

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Manchester, England
    #8
    No, it does support SSD. I did my research first and came across posts by people who have successfully installed an SSD drive in their Mini. It doesn't support SATAII, but will recognise such a drive and run it at SATA speeds.

    In case I decide to replace the fan I did a Google search and found the replacement part I'd need. £25 before VAT and postage!
     
  9. ADent macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2007
    #9
    AppleCare can be had for a lot less than $150.

    SSD drives work fine in a mini. The mini is really SATA I ( it has some SATA II feature, but only works at SATA I speeds) - does your drive require a jumper for SATA I?
     
  10. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #10
    $80 for AppleCare for a Mac mini off of eBay...
     
  11. Dreamkatcha thread starter macrumors regular

    Dreamkatcha

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Manchester, England
    #11
    No, the drive is jumperless so shouldn't need any sort of tweaking like that.

    I've got a SATA external enclosure I can try it with, but I won't have access to it until tomorrow.
     
  12. rmwebs macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    #12
    I know how you feel.

    Mine has huge issues. It first had a damaged memory slot, then a "Hardware issue" that prevented OS X from booting or re-installing.

    I slapped Ubuntu on it and it worked first time...go figure!

    Its now still running Ubuntu but locks up with no errors dumped.

    I'm seriously considering building an Atom based hackintosh. Its clear Apple have lost the ability to make quality products, so why should we pay a premium for cheap crap when we can build it ourselves for half the price.
     
  13. Dreamkatcha thread starter macrumors regular

    Dreamkatcha

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Manchester, England
    #13
    Yeah I'm coming round to that way of thinking myself. I used to believe the myth about paying a premium for superior build quality, but I've had it with forking out for overpriced hardware only to have to trash it long before it's past its prime.

    Apple should stick to what they do best; developing the best OS available.

    At least with something cheap and cheerful like the EeeBox for instance you wouldn't feel quite so gutted if it died unexpectedly.

    I've never gone in for extended warranties because...

    1. They shouldn't be necessary if you're buying a quality product to begin with.
    2. I wouldn't trust someone else to take good care of my computer.

    What are the best alternatives then if you just want a basic media machine? The Dell Hybrid is interesting, but their price point is designed around the Apple model so there's no benefit.

    Oh, I forgot to mention that I'm also getting the hard drive icon in the centre of the screen on every other boot. You can select the drive and boot up as normal from here except that the aluminium keyboard isn't recognised at the pre-boot stage so you can't hold down C to boot from a CD or hold down D to run the hardware test. Pretty crucial flaw I would have thought. Thanks again for that Apple!
     
  14. ADent macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2007
    #14
    I want a MSI Wind laptop/netbook/hackintosh and there is a $139 MSI Wind barebones desktop that would be great for server or appliance use and maybe for the kids.

    Looks pretty easy to install Mac OS X (though it wouldn't be absolutely needed for the uses I was thinking, but I would do it anyways).

    Neither would replace my mini - they can't drive a 24" monitor and I have been doing some video conversion that keeps my C2D busy for hours.


    I got Applecare for my two units for $50 and $75 shipped off of eBay. Apple my G4 mini biting the dust, I made sure the news one got it.
     
  15. silverblack macrumors 68020

    silverblack

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    #15
    Any chance you have an external drive enclosure that you can drop your SSD in, and format it with another functioning Mac?
     
  16. jdwingnut macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Location:
    In the Redwoods, California
    #16
    +1

    Exactly what I was thinking.
     
  17. IroquoisPliskin macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2008
    #17
    ...if you feel like blowing money on nothing but making Apple that much more rich. Why not give them another $149 to add to their $25,000,000,000 in the bank?
     
  18. TSE macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    Location:
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    #18
    Because if you don't, and your computer breaks or has problems, you are going to take money out of your bank to fix a computer or buy a new computer when you could've sucked it up and just bought Applecare.
     
  19. IroquoisPliskin macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2008
    #19
    If the computers are so unreliable, why buy such a piece of junk in the first place? :rolleyes:

    The only things AppleCare are a good value for are Laptops and the old liquid cooled G5s. Its no different than life, auto, home, health insurance and extended warranties offered by BestBuy and such. They are banking on the fact that the vast majority of people never need to use the service and its a very easy source of pure profit.

    Apple already makes 30% profit on their computers, why give them MORE of your money!?
     
  20. mknawabi macrumors 6502

    mknawabi

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Location:
    Irvine, CA
    #20
    I think someone had this problem before, and they needed Leopard to install the SSD drive into their system. Are you using a leopard CD?
     
  21. godslabrat macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2007
    #21
    Ideas like the above sound so good in theory, but the truth is, when you DO have a problem, it doesn't matter much how often it SHOULD happen or how much money the vendor makes on the warranty. Fact is, you have a problem, what are you going to do about it?

    Case in point: I'm currently looing at a Mac Pro configuration for $9,700. This is one of many configurations I'm considering for when the time comes. If I were to buy this system, AppleCare would cost me $250 at full retail (I know I could get it cheaper on eBay, of course). Even at full retail, protecting this computer for a few years would cost less than 3% of the computer's price. No matter how good the computer is, if the difference is that slim, you'd have to be crazy not to do it.
     
  22. Hugh macrumors 6502a

    Hugh

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2003
    Location:
    Erie, PA
    #22
    Yep I agree with the poster. You never know what's going to happen in that 3 years of owning the computer. True most computers run fine way past their prime (My Apple ][+ Still works! :D ), but sometimes things do go bad fast for whatever reason. This doesn't mean the computer is junk. It just happens.

    Hugh
     
  23. Dreamkatcha thread starter macrumors regular

    Dreamkatcha

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Manchester, England
    #23
    silverback - I thought I had a USB SATA external enclosure I could try, but now that I've picked it up from my parent's house I realise it only works with PATA drives so that puts the kaibosh on that idea.

    mknawabi - I've read that too now and it makes sense because I was trying to install Tiger to the SSD drive as that's the only OS disk I had at the time. Hopefully if I try it with Leopard the drive will be recognised.

    That said, I'm really not impressed with the kernal panics I've been getting since re-installing the original SATA drive, so who knows if there are other underlying issues.

    I can't run the Apple Hardware Test to find out because I only have the aluminium keyboard which is incapable of issuing boot commands.

    IroquoisPliskin - I bought this "piece of junk" (twice) because it's the greatest system I've ever owned and runs the best OS available... when it works. If these Minis were reliable they'd be the perfect media centre computers seeing as there's nothing else available that's this small, low powered, quiet and performs this well. A Hackintosh like the MSI mentioned above may well be able to compete, but I haven't done enough research into them to know for sure.

    I take your point re: AppleCare - getting the whole thing replaced under warranty is obviously cheaper than chucking the thing away and buying new, though it's easy to say that with hindsight.

    How often do you have to abandon your whole computer when something goes wrong though? In my experience with PCs, when a component goes wrong you can generally replace that one component and you're good to go again without having to sell a kidney.

    As you say, with a system as expensive as the pro range, investing in AppleCare is a must.
     
  24. bigdaddyp macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    #24
    Hacintosh

    Before buying a wind check out this link http://www.mydellmini.com/forum/mac-os-x-f23.html. The Dell mini9 makes a Great Hacintosh and has an easy instal that uses a retail Leopard Dvd. I added 2 gb ram and a 64 gb ssd and have a screaming little computer for a little over 550 bucks. ::)
     
  25. bigdaddyp macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    #25
    Mini Reliability

    About two years ago when I was making my switch to macs my local repair shop had the following warnings about the mini. Always buy apple care on them and make sure to always have a backup of your data. They said that they were fantastic machines but the small size and the fact that many people used them as an always on machine that they had a much higher failure rate especially the hdd's.
     

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