Smartest upgrade from mac mini?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by RobbC2, Sep 6, 2010.

  1. RobbC2 macrumors newbie

    Sep 6, 2010
    Currently have an older 2Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo Mac Mini, which is slowing down to a crawl on basic operations. Only 2GB SDRAM and a 120 GB HD. Primarily use the machine for word processing, surfing, iTunes, iPhoto, and video editing (home movies). Extensive media collections, which are stored on external drives. Also have an original 23" Cinema Display (graphite frame), which I love.

    Not sure if my speed problems stem from too little RAM or if it's time to upgrade to a faster processor (and more RAM). Also like the idea of a larger internal hard drive for the music and photos.

    The new iMacs are very attractive options. But I hesitate to give up the perfectly good Cinema Display for an all-in-one. The MacPro seems like overkill for my needs and the newer Mac Mini doesn't seem like enough of an upgrade for me.

    Based on my use and current Mac, can you suggest the right move for me -- time to upgrade? what should I upgrade to? lose the cinema display? or just put more RAM in the old mini and all will be fine?

    Thanks very much for any advice.
  2. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    Not sure if you can stuff more RAM into your mini. A reinstall of the OS might help, or creating a new user profile. You could try that first. An iMac does sound like a good upgrade for you, as you really don't need a Pro, but the mini isn't a ton better than what you already have. What you could do is use your cinema display as an additional monitor too.
  3. Exegesis48 macrumors regular

    May 2, 2009
    Personally if I had a cinema display i would spring for a macbook or macbook pro and then dock the laptop to the cinema display when needed.

    I would go for a baseline model and then upgrade the hard drive/ram yourself later. That way you can put in a truly massive hard drive to help deal with whatever comes up.
  4. RobbC2 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 6, 2010
    Thank you. I should have mentioned that I did do a reinstall, which helped a little, but not much.

    I like the idea of using the cinema display as an additional monitor, but I never knew why someone would need two monitors. And I don't really understand the mechanics of using two monitors -- can your cursor move effortlessly between monitors or do you have to manually switch back and forth somehow?
  5. Vylen macrumors 65816

    Jun 3, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    People use more than one monitor when they have that many windows/applications open for the work they do.... I have three monitors.

    The mechanics is simple, imagine the monitors as a really wide one - that's how it works. There's no need to manually switch - it acts as one single desktop.
  6. tuna macrumors 6502

    Apr 11, 2010
    It may simply be a RAM issue. Since these Mac Minis have integrated graphics, when you start filling up your RAM your whole graphical desktop starts to slow down. My brother has a 1.86ghz C2D iMac from 2006 that only came with 512MB RAM. When he would have even just 3 or 4 tabs open in Safari, his whole desktop would become unusable. I guess I'm not completely sure if this is because it caused his GPU to starve for memory or because it caused the computer to have to access virtual memory too much. Either way, its a problem solved by more memory.

    It cost me $44 shipped to upgrade his RAM to 2GB, which was the max it supported. Now he can open all the programs he wants and it doesn't slow down.

    But he doesn't use any of the video editing programs that you do so you could probably benefit from more RAM than that if your Mac Mini supports it. 2x2G RAM (so 4GB total) is about $80 now, depending on the type.

    Even if your computer used to work well with the 2GB RAM, you could easily have gotten to the point where you need more. Websites take a lot more memory to render than they used to, and as your music and photo collections have increased, the software requires more memory to index them.

    I only mention this because an upgrade to 4GB memory, if your Mac Mini supports it, would be a lot cheaper than a new iMac. But the iMacs seem very nice.

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