Upgrading MacMini 2.1: SSD, RAM, SuperDrive, and maybe CPU.

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Nikolai-D, Jul 8, 2011.

  1. Nikolai-D, Jul 8, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2011

    Nikolai-D macrumors newbie

    Jul 8, 2011
    Hi guys and girls,

    I wanted to buy an SSD drive already for some time. Was just waiting for it to become a littlebit cheaper. And actually it is good because there is already second and third generations available with Trim and etc. And now that i decided to buy an SSD. I see in the news that latest update for Snow Leopard and i think also Lion, have Trim support. But!, only on SSD's shipped with Mac's.
    So here's the question, what are that for SSD's in the Mac's? :) Wich SSD i have to buy to have Trim support on OSX?

    Another thing is. I already once upgraded ram from 1gb (2x512mb) to 2gb(2x1gb) in the Apple center. But now i want to buy ram myself and put it myself in the MacMini 2.1. Wich RAM is right for MacMini 2.1? I want to get 2x2gb. I was only holding it off so that i can put ram and SSD at the same time in it. So i dont have to go trough a process of disassembling all the time.

    Also maybe ill upgrade the CPU from 1.83 i have not to 2.0.
    Ah, and offcourse i also want to put SuperDrive in it instead of ComboDrive. Are they just normal slimdrives? Or it there something different?

    p.s. And ohh, yes, im also running Linux on it.

    Thanks in andvance,
    Sincerely yours, :)
  2. r.j.s Moderator emeritus


    Mar 7, 2007
    You won't be able to upgrade the CPU - and if you want to put that much effort into your older Mini, buying a new one will be cheaper.
  3. TheAnalogue macrumors member


    May 12, 2011
    Clearwater, Fl
    Loin has universal Trim support, not just apple SSDs. There is also a workaround that has been posted in the Mac Pro section to enable Trim in non-Apple SSDs under Snow Leopard

    as for RAM you need PC 5300 DDR2 667MHz 200 Pin.
    here is a link to a 2 x 2GB Matched pair kit from OWC (US $59.99)

    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other World Computing/5300DDR2S4GP/
  4. r.j.s Moderator emeritus


    Mar 7, 2007
  5. TheAnalogue macrumors member


    May 12, 2011
    Clearwater, Fl
    yeah, and the Mac Pro Single Processor can only have 16 (4 x 4GB) according to Apple, but I know for a fact that you can put 32 (4 x 8GB).

    Even if only 3 GB is addressable, the 4GB kit will work in the machine
  6. r.j.s Moderator emeritus


    Mar 7, 2007
    That is the case, but my point was that having a matched pair won't matter so much.
  7. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    If you have a 2.1 Macmini 1.83Ghz you can add;

    1) a cpu 80 to 180 depends on which one

    2)an ssd 200 to 300 an intel or a samsung from 128gb to 160gb

    3)4gb ram of which 3.1 gb is usable. about 40

    4) a superdrive about 55 used sometimes 75 new for the right one

    unless you have the parts 400 plus in upgrades for an old computer. here is a real seller on ebay that sells a 2009 2.26Ghz mac mini for 500 with a 30 day warranty and for about 65 more the warranty can be boosted to 3 yrs


    the computer you build via upgrades is not as fast as the one I listed. if you want you can do 1 upgrade to the listed on add an ssd or add a big hdd

    as for 3gb ram vs 4gb ram very little increase in speed.

    you really should think about getting a 2009 2.26 over your idea.
  8. Nikolai-D thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 8, 2011
    i want SSD :)

    Hi guys and girls,

    Oh, nice, so fast and so many replys. :)
    But ive been just thinking right now. I understand that sometimes its cheaper in time and money to buy a new car. Instead of repairing an old one. And even easier.

    But if im going to buy a new computer its going to be portable, powerfull, note book. ThinkPad x220 most probably. And its like 1k euro. Quite expensive, i havent bought it yet, because im nearly from a third world country, and still not feeling quite comfortable spending those bucks for some thecnology. But nevermind. Thats a littlebit off topic.

    I would not like to buy another mac(mini). It is interesting expirience to expirience os x. When i bought it back in the days it was a nice hardware. And it is still a nice hardware. Thats actually the main reason i bought it. But anyway i run linux on it. But later i discovered cheaper and better hardware like Thinkpad or Dell. And most important freeer. I mean in the terms of not limmiting you here and there a littlebit. Im not so comfortable that i cant repartition mac's hdd's in easy partition magic way. The same goes for os x, i cant use it on my work computers. Where i can use linux. And i can share it if i want. Not os x. No i really like os x. When i first used it. I was like what a wonder of technology it is. They just make things right. I mean there are ideas like making a programm one single file. (I had this idea for years, and wondered if they couldnt come up with this on Windows, but when i saw it made on a mac.. no comments :) ) Or auto unzipping downloaded file and deliting the archive. Expose. Dock. Or take your foto after install. Automatically. So that you have a picture of you on login. I still havent figured out how to set it up on Gnome 3. And also many other little things that make computing just easier and fun.

    Here i have an SSD 120gb for 180euro:
    Here ive got 2bg ram for 30euro: (two times = 60euro.)
    (it says CL5, is the macmini's CL5?) ((ok, just saw on the OWC website from the link that its CL5 thats compatible for mac, so i expect thats the right one.))
    And here's the combo drive for 50euro:

    And here's the CPU for 100 euro new, and 80 used:
    Dont know if its a good idea to buy used. But i buy used smartphones all the time and thats not an issue. Worked good for me.

    So it is 300 euro for upgrade of SSD + ram + superdrive. And/or 400 if the cpu is added. CPU is not my biggest concern at all. Mainly the HDD is a bottleneck right now. And earlier i was thinking when i put ssd in ill also add some ram. So i can put it inside at the same time. Why not. But Now i also got an idea of okay maybe also upgrading cpu right away. If im already wanting even to upgrade SuperDrive. :) I already have an external superdrive. Connected trough usb. But it would still be nice to have an internal one. And i also but alot of cd's sometimes. So its nice to burn two at a time anyway. (spreading Kent Hovind's seminares).

    Also, how do you mean i cant upgrade CPU?

    And, yes, Lion supporting other SSD's with Trim are good news for me. :) Because this post is mainly the question about SSD's! Other things/questions are just adding bythemselves by the way. :)

    But then i think, if i buy a macmini you suggest. What do i do wtih thisone? Trow out? Ok even if going to consider buying another hardware. Its defenately not mac mini. Some i7/ddr3/ssd rig maybe. And selling this mac mini. Nearly forgot about this posibility to sell this one. I see that i maybe can sell my macmini for 300 euro.
    But no, i wouldnt buy an desctop. They are all ugly. Only i can think is x220 or something. But that 1k euro. And upgrade for this one macmini is 300-400.
    Althou mainly this machine is used by my mother. So replacing it with thinkpad x220 is not so good idea. Because ill have it all the time in my pocket an this way my mother cannot surf anymore. :) And also if i move to another appartment she will be left without pc.

    I have now for a moment been looking around for an alternative to mac mini and found this article:
    And i liked the next comment:
    I'm not sure why you think you need a new machine at all?

    You already said that performance is not the issue, but size is - you already have that in your mac mini. The EEE box (or any of the Atom based alternatives) is going to be less powerful than your Mac anyway.

    So unless you really do need the extra power why not stick with what you know? Maybe add some more ram if you feel the need to spend?

    But lets imagine, i consider your advice. And think about it for a while.
    The only alternative i see for this macmini i have is new unibody Mac Mini. And if i can sell my macmini for 300 euro. And buy used new unibody macmini for, lets see on the apple site. Ahh, i see it has only 2gb of ram in it. And no ssd. For 700 euro. But i see one on Amazon website for 600 euro. Let say i sell my macmini for 300euro. Add 300 euro. And i maybe have a new Unibody Macmini. Where i have to put in SSD and RAM. It's + 200 euro. So now i go trough more trouble then before and spend 200-300 euro more. Where is this chaper?
    I dont care about like 500mhz faster cpu. I am talking about an SSD! And the ram and the rest is just comming by because im about to tear apart the mini.
    And i dont care about 1 gb not usable. What i kind of doubt. Because i know that its still used by the system, but not available for programs. Atleast thats what i read bout it. And even if not. 3 gb is still better then 2 isnt it?

    The most usefull informatin for now for me was from TheAnalogue. Thanks. :)

    Also some thing i was wondering. The other world computing link you posted. Im in europe / belgum. Can i order from this site? Is it in america? Or can i order something from Amazon.com? Or do i have to find european on. Like amazon.de or something? And will the shipping price be added if i order on amazon.com?

    Thank you guys,
    God bless,
  9. TheAnalogue macrumors member


    May 12, 2011
    Clearwater, Fl
    yes, OWC is based in the US, and i do believe that they will ship to Europe, but you will probably have to deal with customs. Maybe even have to pay a fee. that is something you have to find out about your own countries policies. I know of people who lived in the European Union who have purchased RAM from Newegg, but i do not know the details on what it took.

    As for the "you can't upgrade the processor" many people think that the CPU is soldered onto the board, but it is indeed in a socket and can be user replaced.
  10. Nikolai-D thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 8, 2011

    One real serious reason i think to upgrade this system would be a 1.5Gbit/s sata limit. Athou i doubt even new Unibody minis have it higer then that. But ok, lets wait. And see how i will speak when i put this ssd in mini, and see what becomes a next bottleneck. On this system. :) And what was better to put new things in thisone or to get a new one. :) Maybe its even better anyway to get a new one. But i still want to go trough the process of upgrading it myself. I think. :)
  11. MJL macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2011

    I can understand what you are trying to do and why. Let me give you something to think about. I have been using many laptops and would advice against the Dell and the Thinkpads. I have been using Thinkpad the past 11 years but the next machine is going to be either an Asus laptop or an Apple Mac Mini. See this article: http://lifehacker.com/5524704/laptop+reliability-study-highlights-the-most-sturdy-laptop-makers.

    (I have have had a lot of laptops, at one stage upgrading every 8 months because of my work requirements for more computing power).

    My eyesight is deteriorating and I want to get a bigger screen than that a laptop has. I also have noticed far more stress on my eyes with a glossy screen so want to have a matte screen.

    I am waiting to upgrade because the present Mac Mini is not going to work well with me. I have in the past changed CPU's (pentium 4, T2500, T7700 etc), added memory, replaced HDD with SSD and only the SSD made a difference. The CPU / memory does not make a large difference because they are more often than not limited by the speed data can get in and out of the CPU (IO constrained). So upgrading the FSB speed was the major change when I changed my machine.

    The newer CPU's (i3, i5 , i7) have a different way of communicating the data with their surrounding than using an FSB. This is why sandy bridge is so important.

    If you are only browsing the internet and do some wordprocessing or are doing heavy number crunching then the present Mac Mini is fine but if you are working with large databases (like I do) then the data IO is crucial: in my case the CPU has 10 - 15% of the "load" and the IO has the remaining 85-90% impact on my program.

    There is also something else you have to consider: laptops do not last as long as desktops, imho the ratio would be like 3 years for a "generic" laptop versus 5 years for a desktop. Batteries in laptops is a hidden cost: they seldom last 3 years and are expensive to replace. If a motherboard fails and you have the machine not insured then you have to replace the whole machine since just replacing the motherboard is more expensive than a new machine.
  12. MJL macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2011
    Although the Intel / Windows 32 bit architecture can "only see" 3 Gb (or thereabouts) two equal sized memory sticks will have normally the CPU access the memory in a different way accounting for an increase in IO throughput.
  13. Nikolai-D thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 8, 2011
    Here you are talking about memory banks, right? :)
  14. MJL macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2011
  15. mdgm macrumors 6502a

    Nov 2, 2010
    An SSD would still provide some benefit. My early and late 09 Minis have SATA II 3Gb/s ports, and I expect the 2010 Minis would also.

    I would agree with the suggestion of getting a newer Mac rather than doing lots of upgrades to an old one.
  16. MJL macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2011
    The speed is imho unimportant but 90% of what one is doing is a small 4k read. Of the writes the majority is 4k writes.

    To get data off the SSD is almost instantanious ( < 0.1 mS) whereas with a HDD you'll have the delay of moving the heads to the right track etc which is on average 10 - 12 mS and then there is something like a 3 - 4 mS latency when it is already on the track. So although big sequential throughput may be lower for a (cheaper) SSD than a good HDD in the end the SSD will feel a lot "snappier". If working on a good laptop (i've got a Thinkpad that at the time of its release was the "flagship" model) then the fan should be rather quiet and then you really notice the absence of HDD rotating. (especially when the fan is switched off which is 85 -90% of the time) I put in the DVD slot an adapter to hold a 300 Gb HDD and have it set to stop rotating after 30 seconds. Could not be happier with the setup except I want a bigger screen and a slightly better IO which mean I want to go to the i5-2xxx processors. Money has been put aside for the new Mac Mini which I fully expect to have one of the newer CPU's in it.
  17. Nikolai-D thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 8, 2011
    i want just an ssd not a new computer :)

    Hi guys and girls,

    Hoh, funny, you keep suggesting me to get a new machine. Ive been thinking and i think that is the not so right named header of the thread. Actually i don't want to upgrade my computer. I just want to try out an ssd. And the main question for me was about Trim support of different SSD's on OS X. :)
    I already got an answer for it here, which is nice. :)

    Whell, while i was thinking about it. I off course got little bit interested it the subject of getting a new computer. And i don't see anything that i would like for its design except, you know, mac mini.. Maybe it would be good to wait for an upgrade of a mac mini, who knows (anyone here?) maybe there will be an ssd in a new model? :)

    Maybe ill put my model on sale and see what they give for it. Will consider it in the coming days. :) To see what they give for it. So i can know is it worth it. :)

    Have a nice day,
    Sincerely yours,
  18. Nikolai-D thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 8, 2011
    more popularity more issues

    What about popularity? More popular = more issues. Like in the case of OS X's security trough obscurity?
  19. MJL, Jul 9, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2011

    MJL macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2011
    I am touching onto 60 and did a mid life career change in 1984 into computers after having had to learn Cobol back in the 70's at varsity: punch cards and reel to reel with no more than 64K memory. Only a single compile and if your program was not working after three compiles then you better find another vocation.

    A number of years ago it was very common to hear people having a great dislike to (quote) "Micro$h1 t" and the "M$N Tax". Certainly if you look at the price of the OS without hardware then you'll get set back a fair whack.

    While it is true that in the past there has not been much interest in trying to break / hack OS X (like Windows) it is only a momentum that is gathering now. More and more bright people are switching, after all we've seen TRIM added to OS X that did not have it build in. Yet no such equivalent is available for Vista. All these little things tell me something. Similarly the iPad selling like hotcakes tells me something too.

    If I was to have a hunch what computer will look like in the future then it will be this: Wireless display/PC along the lines of an iPad on a stand, wireless keboard and mouse added for office work / at home. For grunty requirments the iPad/wireless KB & mouse will act as a terminal to a headless server with large number of cores. Voice recognition will come quite common too and typing skills will slowly but surely disappear.

    Apple is clearly leading the way into this, imho this is their roadmap.

    What this means is that the "ordinary" (mini) tower desktop is dead as we know it. (You need only to walk into a computer store and you'll see far more laptops than desktops displayed.) Apple is sitting on enough cash to leapfrog / invest / buy out other technological advances that may threathen their march forward. This is all funded by their iPod / iTunes / iPhone and now the iPad.

    IMHO what this means is that Apple is quickly becoming the dictator in hardware and we can see this with their special connector for HDD so no ordinary competitively priced components can be added. There is no doubt they will use customised chips (as in the Macbook Air) and we will see the use of those only increase. (IBM / Lenovo tried this for a while too but the BIOS get quickly modified)

    In the long run I see that Apple is going to be viewed in the same light as people in the past viewed M$N. Already we see many trying to circumvent some functionality of their iPhones with jailbreak. Next we saw at least one company using software detected and disabling their product if the user has used "jailbreak" on their equipment. (on a site note: IMHO this is a breach of privacy: if I own a product then it is up to me what I do with it and I should be allowed to do with it what I want.) When I look how aggresive Apple is with trying to force companies to toe their line then I suspect that this originated with them as well.

    Apple is throwing more money at their research than that is done at any of their competitors and they leave the PC market for the business world. The consumer market is where the big money is, the prices Apple charges cannot be commanded in the business environment. The ordinary public is like a rave: they want to have the latest, shiniest, fastest, whatever at any price.

    I will purely be switching because I need a faster platform and I have not found something locally sold in NZ that can compete with the Mac Mini (ASrock Vision 3D is a contender but not sold locally so servicing will be an issue).

    In any way to me it is clear that regardless how you look at it that the move from the PC desktop to a mobile platform is well underway and that Apple appears to be the inovator in this area. (the PC development appears to have been a gradual refinement of the same principle where Apple is bringing a new paradigm to the table)
  20. MJL macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2011
    Ps ssd

    Nikolai, by all means put in a SSD, if you decide to sell the computer you just put the standard HDD back in and migrate the SSD to your new machine.
    Check out the Intel and read up what they say about over-provisioning. Reducing the size allocated to the partition by 40% will extend the life about five fold and also speed up performance by a similar amount. So the total cost of ownership over the life of the SSD goes down.

    TRIM does not need to be build in; if you are running Windows then you can use the Intel toolbox and schedule a TRIM command. This means that with XP you can happily have a SSD. Some other brands have "garbage collection" where the SSD itself cleans up. Check out hdparm (there is a wiki) that can be used to bring the SSD back to factory performance as well as check out finnix.org for a live CD that uses hdparm.

    Enjoy your SSD and increased performance, it will feel like a much faster computer.
  21. Nikolai-D thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 8, 2011

    The analogy i was thinking about was: it's like i want to buy a new wheels for my golf and guys are like, come on man you have to get civic. never mind ^^

    i was thinking and actually it is maybe indeed not necessary to make to much upgrades on an old machine. Just I'm like ohh you know I'm going to put sad here in. So i get all excited and want to put everything else in. Even if it doesn't make a lot of sense anymore. :)

    p.s. ahh, and about apple and so on. I find os x technologically more advanced then others. (On the outside, maybe, to be more precise) Althou its overhyped. It's not that much technologically more advanced. But Linux i can install at home and at work without limitation. It's just practically easier for me. Nothing ideological. I am Christian and my belief is in Jesus. So i don't need to be religious for Mac or Linux or Unix. And as i start to notice linux is more advanced under the hood then the rest.

    And the funniest thing is when i installed Lion view days ago. Ohh, wait, it reminds me of Gnome 3 here and there that i was using last view month ^^
    I pretty like the give me nice features of linux on mac to. Because on Windows i really miss them. When I'm using it :)
  22. Nikolai-D thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 8, 2011

    another question i also have,
    i have a complete disk to image backup of my mac mini's hdd. Made with clonezilla. Is it a good idea to reinstall os x on ssd instead of restoring? Because maybe ssd have some other kind of settings on file system. Or it doesnt matter?
  23. Nikolai-D thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 8, 2011
    install Lion

    Hi guys and girls,

    Also another question, what do you think would be the best way to install Lion?
    I have Tiger install disk, Leopard Upgrade disk, and Lion apk on flash. Any suggestions?

    p.s. I think ill buy 2.4ghz mac mini in a view days.
    p.s. 2: I'm also quite interested in AmigaOne X1000, is this anything interesting? :)

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