What's the bottleneck with my mini?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by rondocap, May 28, 2012.

  1. rondocap macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2011
    So I have a 2011 Mac Mini with the 2.5ghz i5 and 5400rpm hard drive.

    Compared to my 2006 Mac Pro, which is scores 1,500 points higher than on geek bench, it starts to struggle a bit when throwing more things at it.

    The ram and processor usage seems OK, it's not maxing those out- I am thinking the issue is likely with my hard drive since it's only 5400, and I have an SSD in my Mac Pro.

    Is that it? Or is the dual core Mac Mini just not that powerful even with 8 gigs of ram?
  2. McGilli macrumors 6502

    Nov 11, 2008
    What exactly is not working up to your expectations?
  3. rondocap thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2011
    I can best describe it as a "Slow down" - i.e if I have a few windows open, everything starts to just go slowly and open up slowly. Slower reaction time.
  4. drsox, May 28, 2012
    Last edited: May 28, 2012

    drsox macrumors 65816


    Apr 29, 2011
  5. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    This. SSD's are probably the best upgrade you can make to any computer especially to make it "feel" faster. I'm not saying it will change your scores, but it certainly won't feel so slow compared to your 2006 Mac Pro.
  6. McGilli macrumors 6502

    Nov 11, 2008
    Still, the Mini you have should not be sluggish after you've opened only a few programs.

    There are those of us here that use our Mini's for some intense work with no problems.

    It seems like you upgraded your RAM - what RAM did you put in?
  7. shinobi-81 macrumors 6502

    Apr 11, 2012
    You should check your page out numbers in Activity Monitor. Sounds like your computer starts utilizing virtual memory soon after you have opened a few programs. Using virtual memory slows down the computer severely, so it's important to have enough RAM for your tasks.
  8. John Kotches macrumors 6502

    Jan 19, 2010
    Troy, IL (STL Area)
    Agreed with the poster above who inquired into the RAM utilization.

    If you have less than 8GB, upgrade it to at least 8 -- if you can afford a 16GB kit (I use a Corsair kit) it is for someone like me worthwhile. It isn't for everyone.

    I run multiple virtual systems which is not a typical use.

    Yes, the drive is a bottleneck, it is on almost every modern system that relies on a mechanical drive. But if you are paging/swapping, even an SSD will seem slow.

  9. rondocap, May 28, 2012
    Last edited: May 28, 2012

    rondocap thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2011
    I have 8 gb of ram - but it's the PNY ram that I bought at Best Buy.

    Is it possible this ram is inferior?

    I just checked - I have 1.92 gb of page ins, and only 7.45 mb of page outs. Should be OK right?

    I really think it's the 5400rpm hard drive, and maybe the video card for some things.
  10. ciapka macrumors newbie

    May 20, 2009
    no, speed of RAM is irrelevant. Size it what matters(at least in this case:D) your bottleneck is slow HDD. Purchase Curial M4 and you're done.
  11. rondocap thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2011
    I have a OWC Vertex 2 I can install. I think it's only 3G SATAII. Can this Mac Mini support something faster?
  12. miniConvert macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2006
    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    Just replaced our Mac Pro with a Mac Mini Server + Promise RAID. Vastly faster. And yes, the primary drive is SSD. ;)

    I think you'll notice a vast improvement when you ditch the 5400rpm drive.
  13. ciapka macrumors newbie

    May 20, 2009
    you should be able to find this info in system info > hardware > serial ata (not sure, I'm on win now). However I think it's sata3 compatible.
    Vertex 2 is quite good, but it's also quite old now. If it's free upgrade, take it. If you will need to pay for it, leave it and buy as I wrote.
  14. SR45, May 28, 2012
    Last edited: May 28, 2012

    SR45 macrumors 65832


    Aug 17, 2011
    Just to add my 02 cents worth. I have the 2011 model MacMini with 8 GB ram with the same 5400 Hdd plus integrated video. I have no slow downs at all, but I also did a complete clean reformat and reinstall of iOS Lion 10.7.4. No added program install other than Pages/Angry Birds/Do not track plus program/Garmin updater/flash/Some music/Pictures and daily websites.

    Just because you and I have the spindle drive, does not mean its the absolute bottleneck. Could be something else that you may have installed on the system, but that is just a guess.
  15. pdafan macrumors member

    Aug 2, 2011
    I am quite sure it is the SSD effect.
    For someone like you who have gotten used to SSD speed, to use a system once again with 5400rpm HDD should be quite painful.

    Mac mini can be fast. A simple 128gb SSD and 8gb RAM will speed up the user experience tremendously (not geekbench).
  16. Mak47 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 27, 2011
    Harrisburg, PA
    SSD. You were used to it in your Pro, now you don't have it. It makes a difference in the "Feel" of how fast things are.

    You asked if your Mini could handle faster than SATA II, yes it can. It does SATA III which is twice as fast.

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