Upgrade Existing or get New Mini?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by $MacUser$, Nov 7, 2011.

  1. $MacUser$ macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #1
    Hmm. I have a mid-'07 mac mini 1.83 core2duo with 1 gb ram and an 80 gb hdd. I know, a real smoker...

    ...thing is, all I really use it for is basic computing. Internet, email, word processing, etc. It's been fine, but more and more I'm getting hangs in Safari and extended beachballs in general. Searching time for the HDD is getting longer...I've tried freeing up space on the drive and it doesn't really seem to help.

    $200 for SSD + 60 for ram + 65 for optical is $325 roughly for an upgrade. Plus taking the thing apart and actually doing it. Will I need a boxed copy of the OS if I'm replacing the HDD? i've only ever done serious work on PCs before.

    A new mini will be about $640 out the door including tax and edu discount. Add $50 for ram upgrade and I'm pushing $700. Take off about $175, which is about what I think I can get for my current mini on ebay, and I'm looking at about $525 out of pocket for a new one.

    So I guess what I'm trying to determine is whether that extra $200 out of pocket is worth it, for what I use the thing for. I dunno. What would you do?
     
  2. mdgm macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2010
    #2
    You can clone the HDD onto a SSD using SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner. If you want to do a clean install you will need a boxed copy of the OS.
    I would say it's worth it. Your current machine can be upgraded to 4GB RAM (3GB RAM addressable). That's O.K. on Mac OS X Lion (10.7) but likely won't be enough to run the next version of Mac OS X. So getting a new machine is a better long term decision. Having said that you probably could get at least another 2-3 years out of your current machine if you are willing to stay on Mac OS X Lion or earlier.

    Do check if any of your Applications are PowerPC apps. If they are consider whether you are willing to replace them with newer versions of those apps or alternative apps. If not, then sticking with your current machine would be the better option as PowerPC apps are not supported in Mac OS X Lion.
     
  3. KScottMyers, Nov 8, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2011

    KScottMyers macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2009
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #3
    You're just throwing money at old technology. The new mini is so much more capable that you'll end up using it more and more. There are several places selling the mini at $568.

    http://www.appleinsider.com/mac_price_guide/

    BTW - I was able to sell my old mini that was older than yours on eBay for $300. They have great resale value.
     
  4. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #4
    plus 50 if I could.

    buy the 2011 mini from amazon it is 568

    http://www.amazon.com/Apple-MC815LL...CLM6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1320754918&sr=8-1


    ram is 42

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231342


    610 for the total cost. if you really want applecare

    best price is below 104

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/582539-REG/Apple_MC248LL_A_3_Year_AppleCare_for_Mac.html
     
  5. $MacUser$ thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #5
    Hey guys thanks for that info. At about $600 it seems a far more viable option, and I agree, the more I crunch the numbers the more it seems like the way to go.

    A few questions:

    I have a time machine drive connected to my current Mini. Would it be possible to unplug that, wipe my current Mini & sell, and then pull things off the time machine (like my iTunes library, Microsoft Office, etc) when I get the new one? I ask because I'd more or less have to sell this one prior to getting the new one.

    Also, I know the new mini has a standard HDD, as opposed to an SSD. I'm wondering if I'm going to encounter the same seek and read bog I have on the current mini? Or do you think this experience has more to do with the small size of my mini's drive and the fact that it's filling up?

    Thanks for your time!
     
  6. KScottMyers, Nov 8, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2011

    KScottMyers macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2009
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #6
    Yes - you can pick and choose files directly from the Time Machine backup. These files are stored in their native format. You could also just copy files over to the Time Machine drive, in the Finder for backup, if you have enough free space available - before formatting the internal drive.

    The drive they give you on the entry level model is quite slow, but I would bet quicker than what you have now. See if you can live with it before upgrading the drive. Its a pretty easy upgrade.
     
  7. $MacUser$ thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #7
    Hey, all things consider I'm going to go with a new Mini. One last question...

    ...will this RAM be compatible? Looks like people are installing it in 2.3Ghz Macbooks, so probably fine, but wanted to verify before ordering:

    Corsair 8GB Kit

    Thanks!
     
  8. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #8
    It works
     
  9. ansalmo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 23, 2005
    #9
    With all due respect, your price comparison looks a little skewed as you're comparing an upgraded old Mini with SSD (and optical drive) to a new Mini with neither.

    From your stated use cases, your current Mini is easily capable of what you want to do with a couple of minor upgrades. The main one is RAM, where bumping it up would reduce the need for swapping to a slow hard drive (and clear up the majority of the spinning beachballs). The second is the hard drive - though you would see big benefits from an SSD, I expect you'd see big gains with a modern fast spinner both in terms of general access and when you're swapping.

    I'd suggest cracking open your current Mini, max out the RAM, and drop in a fast hard drive. What's that - around $100?

    I've been running a couple of MacMini1,1s with maxed RAM (2GB!), upgraded hard drive, and upgraded CPU (one the same as yours, one a 2GHz), and recently replaced one with a MacMini5,1. The only real reason for this was for Lion compatibility, but there's no hugely apparent change in performance for the basic computing tasks that you mention. For more intensive computing that's a different matter, but it depends on what you really expect to need to run.
     
  10. $MacUser$ thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Mar 27, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #10
    I love when forum posts begin with this line ;)

    Thanks for the info, though. With the mini, if I'm cracking it open I'd want to replace the optical drive. And given the performance differences between the two and the fact I'd have to do the labor, I'm going to factor it in.

    A Seagate 7200RPM 250GB will run me $80 (the lowest priced 7200 from a reputable manufacturer I'm seeing...don't want anything slower). 4GB at $60. $65 for an optical. That's still $205.

    $625 for a new mini & RAM, take away ~$250 for what I can get for my current machine (conservative), ~$350-375 out of pocket, or a ~$150ish difference in price.

    Having done a fair amount of computer building in the past, I'd pay the $150+ just to avoid the hassle of doing the work myself. Micro-ATX cases are a real B to work with; I'd imagine the mini is right up there in the tedium department. And plus I'm getting the latest architecture, the latest version of the OS and at least several more years in the longevity department.

    Thanks for having me take a look at it from a different angle, but methinks I'm still sold on the new machine. Keep an eye on eBay the next few weeks for a pristine 1.83. ;)
     
  11. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #11
    having modded over 100 mac mini's the first 10 are the hardest! the time has come for new.
     
  12. $MacUser$ thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #12
    Hey guys, just got my new 5,1 up and running today. Before I even turned it on popped in 8GB of RAM.

    First time I've transferred one system to another via Time Machine and it worked flawlessly. This new machine is quite a bit snappier and there're some cool new features in Lion I'm digging. The Unibody design is a step in the right direction; very clean and I suppose more adult looking when compared to the 2,1.

    Also, the machine is nearly silent even being less than three feet from my head. That wasn't the case with the 2,1.
     

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